Keep Track While You are On the Track

Which running app is the best?

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @TourismGymHtx. Facebook @TourismGymHtx

I was talking to a friend recently, who just picked up running. She wanted to lose 60 lbs. She had been running for a couple of months, but she was already bored. She, knowing that I had done a number of races, wanted my advice on how to get more excited about it. My advice: get a running app for your phone.

I was not being flippant or dismissing her, but was telling the truth. Running apps are super useful for recording your running metrics like distance, time, and pace. Running apps can sync to your playlists and heart rate monitors, FitBits, or Apple Watches. And of course, you can share comments and photos about your workout. After our conversation, I began to look at the different running apps and these are the ones that stick out to me:

Map My Run by Under Armour

I'm going to be honest. I was already partial to Map My Run because it logged all of my routes, but it has been a while since I used it. I also loved that it was a great journal for all of your workouts. Since I was regular on it, some great improvements have been made.

  1. Different activities- Change your activity from just a regular run to a treadmill run, group run, gym workout, or swim.
  2. Voice feedback -Keeps you informed of your distance and time.
  3. Mile Tracker- Keep track of the total miles run on the same pair of shoes. This lets you know when it is time to change.
  4. You could also choose to upgrade to get live tracking for safety, training plans, guided running, heart rate analysis, and predictive guided running.

Strava

Starva is more for marathoners, bikers, and triathletes. They use Strava to connect with their friends all over the world and compete. Because they are geared towards setting big goals, they do not offer a lot of perks. Only the basics are free. If you want perks, you have to do the upgrade. Here are some unique points about Strava:

  1. Easy notes- keep notes on each run through virtual "sheets" that automatically come up for each workout.
  2. Challenges- choose from many challenges and virtual races.
  3. Run Clubs- Connect with run clubs in your area and not just virtual

RunKeeper

After checking RunKeeper out, it looks like the one that is best for my friend. It seems like it is great for novice runners. It is oriented towards fitness goals with some competition. In fact, it seems experience based. Here is why I would say that:

  1. Voice Feedback- You have more choices with the vocal feedback. You can choose the accent, which stats, and how often you receive feedback.
  2. Easy to understand- Modules are step-by-step and with large print. This seems simple, but it means a lot to new runners.
  3. There are not a lot of perks unless you upgrade.

Nike Run Club

Nike Run Club is geared towards that in-between runner. They are kept motivated by challenges that they can join. They also are given awards and achievements for their milestones. These are milestones like your longest run to your fastest 5K. Other perks are:

  1. Mileage status- You can achieve a Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum status.
  2. Buy shoes- You can purchase new shoes from the app.
If you are a new runner or are thinking about getting into running, I hope you can use this information. As for me, I look forward to giving each one of these apps a try.

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Altuve's homer starting the scoring for Houston on Friday night. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
After a solid showing to take the three of the four-game series in Arlington against the Rangers to start the week, the Astros returned home for three against the Diamondbacks in a weekend series. They would have a slow start to the opener but would ultimately come away victorious.

Final Score (10 innings): Astros 4, Diamondbacks 3

Astros' Record: 87-60, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (3-4)

Losing Pitcher: Tyler Clippard (1-1)

Bielak makes the impromptu start

With Luis Garcia having to move his start ahead by a day on Thursday instead of Friday with Framber Valdez's finger cut, Brandon Bielak made a start for Houston in the opener against Arizona. He didn't go as deep as he probably would have wanted and certainly ventured out of his comfort zone with traffic on the bases.

He loaded the bases in the top of the first, allowing a single and two walks, but was able to strand all three to keep it a scoreless game. He rebounded with a 1-2-3 second, but he dealt with a threat again in the third as back-to-back singles pressured him to start the inning. He would get back-to-back strikeouts, but that's as far as he would go as Houston moved on to Blake Taylor. Taylor got the final out of the third on one pitch, then erased a two-out double in the top of the fourth.

Altuve breaks up the no-no with a go-ahead homer

Brooks Raley took over in the top of the fifth, but in his three batters, he faced allowed a single while getting two outs before Cristian Javier took over to end the frame. Javier allowed the first run of the game in the top of the sixth, a leadoff solo homer to Kole Calhoun to put the Diamondbacks in front 1-0 before he finished the inning.

Madison Bumgarner didn't allow a single hit to the Astros through the first five and two-thirds innings. He allowed a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth, which proved costly as Jose Altuve would get the first knock of the game for Houston, a two-run go-ahead homer. Phil Maton was the next reliever for the Astros in the top of the seventh, maintaining the new one-run lead by erasing a leadoff single.

Astros get the win in extras

The Diamondbacks tied it up in the top of the eighth against Kendall Graveman, getting a leadoff single followed by a walk, then later an RBI single to knot things up 2-2. Houston stranded a runner in the bottom of the eighth, then brought in Ryan Pressly, who tossed a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to keep the game tied.

Despite getting the winning run in scoring position with a leadoff ground-rule double by Jason Castro to start the bottom of the ninth, they would strand it as the game went to extras. Arizona scored their free runner in the top of the tenth, getting a sac fly to move it to third then going in front on an RBI single.

The Astros matched that and more in the bottom of the inning, moving their runner to third on a lineout to start the frame, followed by an intentional walk to Yordan Alvarez. Jake Meyers tied the game with an RBI single, then after another walk to load the bases, Chas McCormick was hit by a pitch to bring in the winning run, moving the Astros closer to clinching their playoff berth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will have a start time of 6:10 PM Central on Saturday. Tyler Gilbert (2-2, 3.15 ERA) is expected to make a start for Arizona, while Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.12 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston.

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