Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Yesterday at about 4:45 pm, I was looking out the window at work and noticed that it wasn't dark out. I mean it was *dusk* but it wasn't black as death out. It was that day, when you realize that the days are in fact getting longer and that April is right around the corner (when I mentioned that to my friend Jake he looked at me like I was crazy...which I am...but I told him we were closer to April than we were yesterday and so it's right around the corner). So I got the itch to go for a run when we got home.

I noticed a post about iPhone running applications on this blog, and thought that it would be a good time to try one of them out as I didn't really care how far I went and so if the GPS got all wonky as GPS devices can do in the city, I wouldn't really care. She mentioned two apps, one called RunKeeper and the other called Fitnio. I decided to try out Fitnio (I had a reason for this....don't remember why) but as they are both free I'll give the other one a whirl as well and then I can have more accurate reporting/opinions.

So we got home, changed quickly before changing our minds, downloaded the App, and filled out the information (great user interface by the way, very clean and simple to enter all your information....they have you enter height/weight/birthday etc and it's all via menus and not typing via the keyboard which is nice and quick). Went outside, started the program and it quickly got a GPS signal, I threw the iPhone in the pocket of my running jacket and off we went. I looked at the phone after about the first 1.25 miles and it was still running, and accurate as compared to my Garmin watch (I wasn't wearing the watch, but have run that route a lot and know what the miles are). But I looked at it again at the turn around point and the screen was off. I turned it back on and had a nice message from the app saying something like, "Oh NO!!! Fitnio lost the GPS signal and has had to estimate your location" So it grabbed it again, and we finished the run, finishing up at Belmont and Sheffield. The run said about 4.5 miles which I would say was about right.

I got home and logged into my account online only to still find the welcome screen. I tried to sync things up a couple times and couldn't get it to work so I left it for the morning. Overnight the servers must have caught up with updates or whatever and my run was there. When you log onto your account you will see a listing of all of your activities :

Then you can click on one and get more details about that particular run (or bike ride as they have that too), including the pace for each mile (it got a little wonky for miles 2 and 3 where I think it lost the signal as I dont' think I was running 10+ or 7ish min/miles :) ) :

Fitnio's tag line is "We're just getting started..." so I think they are going to add in a lot of other functionality. The website however, is really slow and so that's kind of annoying. I like the idea of making RunTrackRun into an iPhone app, using it's GPS instead of the Garmin's. There is a lot of framework on RunTrackRun and it might be cool to jump on the iPhone development bandwagon. There is a lot of power in RunTrackRun and it might be cool to pair it with an iPhone App and their GPS. It would also be nice to keep in the Garmin reading functionality in there, but add in an iPhone portion. I own for the next three years and so we'll see where that goes.

I want to get a workout strap for the iPhone so that I can attach the phone to my forearm so I can look at the screen while I am running so if the GPS gets lost I can turn the phone back on.

So there's that. And if you missed this :

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lifestudent said...

Glad you tried one of them - I downloaded both but have yet to try one ;) As soon as the freaking city thaws I might venture out for a run!

RunKeeper said...

If either of you try RunKeeper, I'd love to hear your positive/negative feedback. If you try both, I'd love to hear how they compare. We're continually working to make RunKeeper better. Enjoy!

Founder of FitnessKeeper, creators of RunKeeper

Fitnio said...

Thanks for trying out Fitnio!

We appreciate the writeup and are always looking for feedback and suggestions. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to make the experience better.

Fitnio Founder

Colin Timberlake said...

Interesting, will check it out. Thanks for the tip!

Troy said...

Great post. Also check out iMapMyRun. I talk about it on my blog here:

Colin Timberlake said...

Cool picture. The sky looks great.