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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Houston couldn't keep up

Astros fall to Blue Jays as Toronto gets homer-happy

Houston's bats couldn't keep up with Toronto's Saturday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With an offensive clinic in the opener on Friday night, which helped them handily defeat the Blue Jays, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park Saturday with a chance to secure another series. Toronto had other plans, though, reversing roles with Houston by getting big home runs to even the series.

Final Score: Blue Jays 8, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 17-16, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Steven Matz (5-2)

Losing Pitcher: Cristian Javier (3-1)

Toronto flips the script and turns on their offense against Javier

Toronto flipped the script from the night before early in this middle game of the series, dealing damage to Cristian Javier, who so far in 2021 had been able to limit his amount of earned runs. After retiring the first four batters he faced, a one-out walk in the top of the second set up the Blue Jays' first hit of the night, a two-run home run by Cavan Biggio, giving them a 2-0 lead over Houston.

After a leadoff home run made it a 3-0 score, Javier would deal with the fallout of more walks in the top of the third, issuing two to set up a two-out two-RBI double to give the Jays a commanding 5-0 advantage. Javier would battle back and complete five full innings, getting one out into the sixth before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to make the call to the bullpen. His final line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 2 HR, 91 P.

Alvarez keeps mashing as Houston tries to claw back into it

Javier would exit with at least some runs on the board in support of him, with Yordan Alvarez hitting a two-run opposite-field homer in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead to three runs. Alvarez accounted for another run in the next inning, coming through with an RBI-single to make it 5-3, which is where the game stood as Andre Scrubb would take over in the top of the sixth.

Scrubb finished that inning for Javier and returned for a 1-2-3 seventh to keep it a two-run game. Bryan Abreu was the next reliever, and he, too, was able to retire the Blue Jays in order in the top of the eighth. The Astros continued to chip away at Toronto's lead, getting another run in the bottom of the inning on an RBI by Yuli Gurriel to make it 5-4 heading to the ninth.

Toronto evens the series

Brooks Raley entered to try and keep it a one-run game with a clean inning, but instead, two runners would reach on a walk and error before Joe Smith would enter to try and strand them. Instead, a two-out home run put the game back out of reach at 8-4, with Houston coming up empty in the bottom of the inning, setting up a rubber match in the finale.

Up Next: This series's third and final game will be an afternoon start of 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Zack Greinke (2-1, 3.76 ERA) will try to add more wins to his record for Houston, while Nate Pearson will be making his 2021 debut for Toronto.

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