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Monday, September 30, 2019

Two Apps Every Runner Should Download

Eight years ago, Quiency Duggers stepped onto the doctor’s scale during his annual physical and saw the numbers on the screen climb to 440 pounds. “That’s 60 pounds shy of a quarter ton,” he says. “I thought, This is unacceptable. I need to change a lot of things in my life.” So he bought an exercise bike, started riding for two minutes every day, and eventually began jogging 100 yards at a time in his Atlanta neighborhood. Today Duggers is half his former weight and an avid runner, logging upwards of 300 miles each month. “I’m a junkie at this point,” he says, laughing.
In addition to that exercise bike and a whole lot of conviction, Duggers gives credit to two free apps, MapMyRun and MyFitnessPal, which he utilized throughout his weight-loss journey. The apps’ secret sauce? They work together to give you a holistic picture of your fitness plan. “All the Under Armour products talk to each other,” Duggers adds. “I like that.” 

Ben McCallister, Under Armor’s senior product director for MapMyRun and connected footwear, says that’s by design. “You can track your run in MapMyRun and then see how that caloric burn influences your nutrition with MyFitnessPal,” McAllister says. In other words, the apps are not designed simply to track your progress, but to actually improve your running and fitness along the way. That’s something any athlete looking to make gains—no matter how big or small—can benefit from. Here’s how the apps work and how to get the most out of them.

Record Your Runs (and Every Other Activity, Too)

MapMyRun was built specifically for runners, with a focus on extreme accuracy, so it delivers consistent results from run to run, regardless of speed or stride length. But it also tracks activities like cycling, mountain biking, walking, and gym workouts, all of which play into your broader fitness program managed by the MyFitnessPal app (more on that later). You can also use it to plan routes—which is especially convenient when traveling to new cities—and real-time prompts tell you things like your split time or whether you need to speed up to reach your goal. And if you run with music, you’ll love that it syncs with Apple Music or your library, further streamlining your workouts. 

Leave Your Devices at Home

McAllister helped design MapMyRun to be one of the most intuitive fitness apps out there, so you can focus on your workout—not your devices. The real magic, however, happens when you use it with Under Armour’s HOVR™ Phantom/SE smart shoe. Synced directly with MapMyRun, the shoe’s built-in chip frees you from needing a GPS watch or smartphone to track workouts. It automatically measures the distance of each stride, which the app then tabulates into an easy-to-read graph that tells you if you’re overstriding—a common mistake runners make that causes injury and inefficiency. “Before the HOVR, you’d have to buy a pretty expensive device to get access to that data,” McAllister says. “Now it’s included in the price of the shoe.” It’s a virtual personal coach, fitness tracker, altimeter, route planner, and social network—all for a price tag that starts around $100.

Build a Comprehensive Fitness Plan

In addition to building a strong training routine, your overall fitness plan has to start with what you eat, and the MyFitnessPal app gives you access to the world’s largest nutritional database. “Whether you’re a competitive athlete or just want to feel better every day, MyFitnessPal is the best tool out there to track nutrition,” McAllister says. The app offers meal planning and nutritional advice tailored to your athletic objectives.

You can enter everything you ate (search for things like “meatloaf” or “avocado toast”) in an easy-to-log diary, add any exercise that hasn’t already been tracked in the MapMyRun app (mowing the lawn and cleaning the house count), and see your projected weight loss or gain five weeks down the road. The premium subscription also tracks calories according to when you consumed them—more accurately calculating how many you’ve burned—and tells you which foods are best and worst for you.
Duggers still uses both MyFitnessPal and MapMyRun every single day to help him reach ever loftier objectives. “They tell me where I’m lacking and how I can improve,” he says. “My next goal is to do a 10K in 45 minutes. And my next marathon? I’m going to run that in as close as I can get to four hours.” 

from Outside Magazine: All

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