Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Techy Tuesday: C25K (Couch to 5K) App

I am often asked how I got started running.   I'd love to say that I just bought some running shoes and headed out the door and found that I was naturally talented and just did it.  The reality, though, is that I had A LOT of help in the form of a fairly popular learn-to-run program called Couch to 5K and any running successes I may have had in the last year (success = crossing a finish line) is owed to this program.  It truly is amazing.   In 9 weeks, it will take you from zero to crossing the finish line of your first 5K.  There are many ways a person can do the Couch to 5K program.  I knew that if I relied on setting up run/walk intervals on a stopwatch, I was sure to fail.  Instead, I hit the iTunes store for an app.

There are several apps designed to get you through the program.   I used this one and my husband used this one. Both did the trick, but I am only going to cover the one I used in this post. 

Pros
  • Lets you set up your own playlists
  • Does the timing for you - a voice-over tells you when to run or walk
  • Easy to use interface - you can scroll through each day to see what's coming up next
  • Twitter/Facebook integration keeps you accountable/let's people know what you're up to (Great for motivation)
  • Very customizable settings
  • You can re-do a day or a week if you don't feel ready to move on without the app (I never valued this enough until I started using the 100 Pushups app that screws up if you try to redo the program.
Cons
  • Must carry a bulky iPod Touch or iPhone to use it
  • Hard to operate with gloves on (I started my program in February when gloves were a must)
  • Not always safe to run with headphones/earbuds (my hubby got around this by doing the program with a group and just using the speaker on his iPhone)
  • Not a free app.  Costs around $3.
Screenshots:

It is a pretty app.   Gentle colours.  Easy to use interface.   No real glitches (something I've found to be rare in my iPod app usage)


I really liked this app and I do recommend it to people who ask me about learning to run.   It takes the guesswork out of those intervals and, if you are running alone, it kind of becomes a little like having a running buddy. For all of the joy that I have gotten out of running, I wouldn't have had it if I hadn't spent the $3 to get me started with this app!

I only used the app for the first 6 weeks...I feel I should put a disclaimer in here.  Once the program has me running 25, 28, and 30 min stretches, I no longer felt the need to carry the bulky iPod with me.   I switched to a much more runner-friendly Nano and ran on my way!   Nowadays, I don't run with any music, but using a bit of technology at the start was great for motivation and learning.   It certainly got me off my couch and made me into the runner I am today!

1 comment:

  1. i'm super inspired. my husband and i are JUST starting. i started yesterday morning, but wimped out 10 minutes early - the jog part was more than i was used to, but was mad at myself all day for not finishing! he completed day 1 last night, so i got up early this morning to do a do-over of my day 1. but we need two apps. . .one isn't going to cut it. thanks!

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