Run Away

Did you ever take a run down the Strip (dodging cars and strollers, of course) and discover a new hotel or restaurant you never noticed before? (Yes, that might have happened more frequently a few years ago.) Well, finding things already there is common in the digital world, particularly when it comes to iPhone apps.

It happened to me a few weeks ago after Nike introduced an app for runners, called Nike+ GPS. Nike was once an innovator in the digital workout space, creating a unique running product for the iPod to track your mileage. It was developed before the App Store existed and required a sensor to be inserted into specially designed Nike shoes to track how far and how long you ran. It was a great marketing play for Nike and Apple because you needed new shoes and an iPod to make it work. Plus, the iPod tracked and displayed your mileage, creating a nice digital record of your achievements.

Nike’s new tool taps into the iPhone’s built-in GPS, making it a much more affordable product. (No shoes required!) But despite this improvement based on the modern smartphone’s ability to track our movements, the app is overpriced at $1.99. Why? Because Nike lost the innovation edge as plenty of other apps (often free) have the same features: GPS-based route maps, workout results, times, distance, and the ability to share your results with others. Of course, none have the Nike marketing muscle behind the app, so I’m sure it will sell well.

I’ve compiled a list of GPS workout apps (see below) that can track your runs (or bike rides) for the iPhone and Android phones. This list is a fraction of the workout apps available. Before spending $1.99 or more, try the free ones first. It’s probably all you need to spend.

GPS iPhone apps:

  • EveryTrail, free
  • EveryTrail Pro, $3.99
  • RunKeeper, free
  • RunKeeper Pro, $9.99
  • Fitnio, $4.99
  • Nike+ GPS, $1.99

GPS Android apps, all free:

  • Buddy Runner
  • Runner
  • SmartRunner