APP OF THE DAY: Strava run review (iPhone/Android)
There are a lot of fitness apps out there, most cost money and very few do much more than map out a run, give you music and let you know how many calories you've burnt. Strava run, however, like its cycling cousin, does a lot more than that and best of all, it costs nothing.
Designed around a leader board system which connects with your phone's mapping app, Strava run will not only keep track of your run, but also those of others using the app on the same run, building up details of who performs best. We are already addicted, using it to try to beat the time of someone we have never met.
The app also does a good job of making you feel extremely unfit, by showing the top groups of people who have conquered a specific part of a run. Our local park had someone who had run uphill nearly a minute faster than we had. This spurred us on to try to post a similar time: partly out of fear that he might be a 60-year-old man; partly because we just like to be the best at things. We never managed to beat it.
On top of the leader boards and the mapping, Strava run can also provide full statistical readouts of your run. Once you have input your weight, age and height, it will come up with calories burnt, average speeds and elements such as elevation, all mapped out in easy-to-read graphs.
The UI is nice and clean as well, making it easy to negotiate and make sense of everything your body got up to. We particularly like being able to expand the map view to fill the phone screen, especially as the app has just been updated to support the iPhone 5.
Runs you have completed can be posted direct to Twitter or Facebook from within the app. There is also the option to purchase Strava membership, at either £3.99 a month or £39.99 for a year. This also includes an intelligent pace zone map, which can work out how much effort you put in during a run and a heart rate analyser -should you have biometric sensors - which will create a special suffer score showing how much stress you put your body under. You can also filter leaderboards by weight and age.
We think the free version is more than enough and a great application for those looking to try something different from the Nike tech included with the iPhone or apps like Runkeeper.