Some of us embrace technology with an open heart; some of us do not.
If, like me, you fall into the latter category and become faintly tragedian when talking about the demise of map-reading skills, then you probably wouldn't think much of apps like Runkeeper and MapMyRun. Until you'd tried them, that is.
That's the problem with technology. It's forever making hypocrites of us confirmed Luddites. Take Runkeeper. It doesn't sound like much, an app that allows you to log your runs, walks and cycles on an interactive map, either by hand or using a mobile phone GPS. In an age when the latest smartphone has more computing power than the Apollo 11 guidance computer, that probably seems rather, well, pedestrian. Why would you bother? you might well ask, reasoning that you've lived without such information until now. Use it, though, and the benefits quickly become clear.
Running apps record your distance and route, and calculate the altitude you've reached, average speed and calorie burn. So if you've not made it to the gym, but have nipped to the shops and back, you can see how much exercise you've had along the way. You can find out how many calories you really burn walking the dog. For long-distance walks or cycles, you can generate a hill profile of your intended route, so you know where the tough bits are. If you're doing a 10K or a half marathon, the apps allow you to study the terrain in advance. If you're running with the mobile app, you can programme verbal updates on your average pace at 10 or 15-minute intervals, so you know whether you're meeting your targets. By storing past runs and cycles, you can see whether you are improving.
Have I sold the idea yet? No? Well, don't take my word for it (I never do). Try it. You might be amazed.
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