Using Android as a running tool

Recently, I’ve been training up for the Bristol 10K in May, and been playing with different apps on my phone to help me measure my average pace and times as I improve.

There are many different ways of tracking your running. Most of the popular ways are by getting a GPS watch. This device will lock on very quickly and track your run, delivering you a host of stats once you connect it to the computer. However, if you have a phone with GPS, you could save yourself the £100+ and use your phone as a running aid.

The only problem I found with my Motorola Defy is that the GPS takes about 15 minutes to start tracking me. The GPS is really slow in warming up. When my run lasts 25 minutes, I don’t find hanging around for 15 minutes (and it really does take that long) whilst my phone figures out where I am.

I thought about leaving the GPS on overnight, so when I wake up, I can grab my phone and it knows where I am, but this doesn’t work. I need the app to be on, so it can get my location. Ideally, I need my app to launch 15 minutes before I wake up, so that when I do wake up, it has located me, and is ready to go for a run. This is where AppAlarm comes in.

AppAlarm is a brilliant (free!!) app which launches apps like an alarm clock. I set my alarm for before I wake up and leave my phone on the windowsill. When I am ready to run, my phone is ready too. Bloomin’ brilliant.

If you are wondering which app I use to track my progress, I currently use Google’s MyTracks. A great free app from Google, which allows me to save track information to .GPX format and upload it to a service like Garmin Connect, so I can monitor my performance and use their tools online to share and compete with others!