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Today’s Long Run And The Fitfriend App

39 degrees with sunshine this morning certainly made 13.1 miles comfortable and almost summer-like.
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I had my usual long run partners with me:
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The worst part about my run today was dropping my last jelly bean. I never sweat the small stuff but I will admit losing the last bean bothered me more than a bit.
I was really happy to get today’s long run accomplished outdoors even though I haven’t been totally hating the treadmill.
In fact, I may even like it. Saying this outloud seems oh so wrong but I do think it’s true.
 
I think it’s THE IDEA of the treadmill that upsets me more than actually running on it. I have started to get into a real nice groove on that machine, pushing myself to run at paces I am quite capable of, working in speed intervals and really achieving some great workouts.
I haven’t lost my mind, don’t worry. Outside will always be my favorite. You can’t get lost in thought on the treadmill and I think that’s the part about running I enjoy the most.
Anyway, do you remember how I have always had a love/hate relationship with the MapMyRun app?
I will be honest, since it is only fair to share the good instead of always the bad, ever since I upgraded my iPhone a few months ago, the MapMyRun app has been working like a charm.
The nice lady chimes in my ear letting me know what mile I am at as well as my current and average pace without being completely off target as it used to be in the past.
Since I am the opposite of tech savvy, I don’t really utilize all of the features MapMyRun has to offer (and don’t ask me what the extra features are because I have yet to care enough to take the time to find out).
That all being said, have you heard of Fitfriend?
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An iOS app with a minimal sportswatch interface.

“It’s the best friend you can have for taking splits, interval training, or endurance. Used in running, cycling, crossfit, and any kind of cardio workout.”

I have yet to test this app out but I have heard great things about it; it is super streamlined in its functioning (which I love) and the best part, it’s A FREE APP.
Click here for the link to the App Store for iTunes.
 Fitfriend was just listed as one of the Top 10 Fitness Apps for 2013.
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One of the best things to come from social media for me has been my ability to network and make friends with so many people I might not otherwise get to know.
I have spoken to Mike, the developer of Fitfriend on several occasions and just recently decided to pick his brain regarding his Fitfriend app so that we can all better understand how it operates and how it came to be.
 Why did you create the Fitfriend App?
 I’d been using a Garmin as my primary training tool for about a year in 2011. I liked it, it had the simplicity that I’d come to expect from other stopwatches before it. But it was my first GPS watch, and the only frustrating thing was having to wait anywhere between 1-5 minutes for it to get a “signal”. I didn’t have the patience for standing around in the cold before every run, and I noticed that my iPhone never had a problem in picking up GPS outside of a few seconds.
 
So I started experimenting with using iPhone apps, mainly RunKeeper and Nike+. They were ok, they had a few innovative things like the voice cues. But I always found them a little too gimmicky (like the excessive animations and motivations), at the expense of adding value to real training needs. I still used my Garmin for serious training, like track workouts or hill repeats. When my Garmin broke in 2012 I had to train with my iPhone 100% of the time, but I couldn’t find an app that would let me take splits like a Garmin or any other stopwatch on the planet would.
Everything I thought of for FitFriend was created with the idea of interacting with the app while running, just like with a stopwatch. For instance:
 
 
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the timer is as big as possible
– the main round timer outline is made to be a similar size to a watch, with buttons in a similar location
– the buttons are large so it doesn’t matter if your hand is shaking around a bit
– everything is 1 click or swipe away, nothing is buried under multiple menus. Nobody has time to squint at menus while running
– it has to be visually appealing, way too many running apps are messy and cluttered.
 
Is Fitfriend user-friendly? I am so not tech savvy that I like an app to be simple.
I wanted to make everything even easier to use than it is on a Garmin or Polar. The simplicity with the layout of the main timer, your 3 main stats are there with you all the time – Time, Distance, and Pace. You can even just press the KM or MI label to just switch the distance and pace between Kilometers and Miles, no fumbling around in settings to do this.
 
Does the information recorded in Fitfriend sync to other services?
Yes. Originally just RunKeeper. But now FitFriend also syncs to Dailymile. You can now also export the GPX file via email, so you can upload it to Garmin Connect or any other training log you use. So you really can just use FitFriend for your runs, then upload it to a website after to analyse the in depth stats.
Talk to me about the new photo feature….
Share a photo with something we’ve called a FitFrame. After a workout, your training data can be automatically pasted into a photo layout.
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A FitFrame is a seamless way for you to create an inspirational photo. It’s easy because it’s created automatically from your workout data.

The process is so simple, you don’t even need to spend any effort in entering in text manually. Click here for a quick demo.

 
It is no secret that I am stubborn and resist change which is the only reason I have yet to test out Fitfriend. I finally have MapMyRun working for me yet I can’t help but think I will be downloading Fitfriend and giving it a whirl. I mean, it’s free, so why not?
So much in life is complicated and bogged down with details and extra information that we just don’t need. The best part about Fitfriend really appears to be how SIMPLE it is. I could use more SIMPLE in my life, you too?
 
What do you guys think? Are you going to try it out?
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  • willrunforpizza January 18, 2014, 2:58 pm

    Totally downloading this app!!! Ohmygosh! I’m so excited to use it because I have been wanting to start doing intervals, splits, etc…basically working on my speed…But since I run at a park or on the treadmill, I don’t know how to actually DO it! I feel like the TM would be too hard because of having to wait to increase speed…but maybe I’m making excuses. 😉 Anyway, I’d rather do speed training at the park, so this app looks like JUST what I need to try!! Thanks for sharing!

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles January 18, 2014, 4:02 pm

      Let us know how you like it!

      • willrunforpizza January 18, 2014, 11:27 pm

        I will! I just downloaded it and am “playing” with it now! 🙂

    • Mike @ FitFriend January 18, 2014, 4:02 pm

      Hi!

      You can use the treadmill for speedwork, and some runners do quite easily. Personally I don’t, I find the speed adjustments too unnatural. But I don’t like using the treadmill much for any kind of run. If you’re looking for a place to start, a park or a local track (maybe at a school) would be great. You don’t have to treat it too scientifically or anything… for your first session I’d start off with something easy like 4 sets of 400 metres (with a 2 mile warm up before), and leave it at that. What you’ll find is that you’ll probably feel like you could do more! So that means that intervals won’t be too daunting for you next time, and you can push up to 6 sets, then 8 sets the next week. Then play with distance variations, etc. Just have fun with it 🙂

      Runner Academy have got a great podcast at the moment, in one their latest episodes they talk about how runners were asked to rank workouts in terms of fun, and hardness…and what they found was that runners usually rate the hardest workouts as the most fun too. Even though we like to complain about it before the workout 😉

      • willrunforpizza January 18, 2014, 11:27 pm

        Thank you!!!! This is super helpful info because I really didn’t know what I should start with! You said it much better than I did – it does feel unnatural adjusting speeds on a treadmill! Just got the app downloaded and I’m playing with it now, so can’t wait to try a speed workout this week! Thanks again for the tips!

  • Cait the Arty Runnerchick January 19, 2014, 3:31 am

    YAY for an outdoor long run!! i’m glad you were lucky with some sun, and non below-freezing temps!! but seriously, dropping THE LAST jellybean?!?! oh man, where is murphy so we can go and suckerpunch him and his law in the face. 😉 way to get ‘er done, girl!! #runnerchicksrock