Racing in the Smartphone Age


Five years ago, I walked a half marathon with my good friend, Sonia. When we planned our training walks, we had to use an online map tool to trace out where we would walk and determine the mileage. We then used a stopwatch to time our walk and did some quick math to determine our pace.

Training in the smartphone age is infinitely better (as I learned when training for the 2013 Tinkerbell Half Marathon). There are now apps on the market that will track your pace and mileage as you walk or run, with no pre-planning needed, and many of these apps are free.

Why is pace important? For runners, it relates to a goal. Most runners I know improve their pace over time, and each race is a chance to achieve a personal best. By keeping track during your run, you will know where you stand in comparison to where you want to be, thus enabling you to make changes during each run you do in order to hit that goal.

For walkers (like myself), most races have a minimum pace you have to hit in order to be able to finish the race. A blogger that I follow summarizes it better than I can here, but unlike runners, walkers are worried about getting picked up by “the dreaded golf cart.” Most races specify that if you cannot finish within their allotted time, that you can be picked up at any point, and thus not finish the race. No one wants to work out for months and then not finish, right? So, for walkers, knowing that you can consistently perform at the minimum pace is crucial to getting your bling at the finish line.

The following are highly-rated apps that allow you to track your walk/run using GPS:

MapMyFitness (This is the one I used during my training.)
Nike+ Running App
RunKeeper Pro

In addition to keeping you motivated during a training workout, it’s always good to have an arsenal of websites in your back pocket of other racers. Reading their accounts of the highs and lows of training will make you feel like you aren’t alone and on those days you just want to throw in the towel that you should keep going!

Some of my favorite go-to racers:

The Matt Morgan Weblog: Friend. Nice guy. For you everyday runners, THE guy to follow.
I thought they said RUM: Started with the Couch to 5K program, now a regular half marathoner.
FAB Running: Great spot for tips, inspiration, and reviews of products and nutrition for racing.
According to Kelly: Mother of three. Runner. Shares my love of the Run Disney races.
13 in ’13: Alex is always running. Literally. He is striving to run 13 marathons in 2013. I am tired already.

What are some of your favorite technology tools or blogs for racing? Help out a fellow racer by posting in the comments below.

5 Responses to “Racing in the Smartphone Age”

  1. Scott says:

    Great apps. Never had used them before. I used to build music playlist and base how faster or slower I was going by the song. Just had to remember no slow songs. Great tips though

  2. Melissa says:

    Thank you for mentioning my blog–it’s really great to know others enjoy reading it!

  3. thewildernessgirls says:

    Melissa – You bet. Thank YOU for all the great content you post. It’s sites like yours that help the rest of us to stay motivated and hit our goals. Can’t thank you enough!

  4. Matt says:

    Thank you, too, TWG Jenny, for the mention! Although I haven’t tried it myself, I’ve heard good things about You give it some basic info (like your pace) and it selects music that best fits. You can also browse popular workout music by pace and heartbeat. The iPhone app is $2.99. If anyone tries it out, I’m all ears!

  5. thewildernessgirls says:

    Thanks, Matt! I am going to have to try that out sometime. I tend to get in a really good pace and then a slower song comes on and messes me up. :) #Jenny

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