For those of you just joining us, we are on a continuing journey to learn more about heart rate monitors, and the best way to choose the right one. Our website covers all types of electronics and tech stuff, but overwhelmingly, triathletes and runners come to our site to check out heart rate monitors and GPS watches. We have had so many questions about using smartphones as a heart rate monitor device, which smartphone heart rate monitor straps to buy, and which apps to use that we decided we should start reviewing the the heart rate monitor straps, and the smartphone apps that work with them. Today, we are reviewing the MapMyRun and MapMyRun+ apps for smartphones.
Before we get started, we should tell you a little bit about us and how we perform product evaluations. We have a group of 4 people who do the evaluations of all of the stuff. One person is the lead on a piece of gear, but everyone gets a chance to evaluate the product. We have 2 guys and 2 ladies, so it’s a good mix of people. It gives us better insight, and we get a better review overall. Everyone has an input to the review, and if there is a major disagreement, we will note it in the review. If you want to know who these people are, check out our About Us page. Four of us are seasoned triathletes, and 2 of us are are also full time Pilates instructors. Jennifer Lynn, who is a guest blogger, is a full time Pilates/spinning instructor. All swim, bike, run, do Pilates and Yoga, and use all of the gear on a daily basis. Many of you have read the FitnessElectronicsBlog disclaimer, but here it is in case this is your first time reading one of our reviews. For the record, we are in no way connected with MapMyRun any of the companies whose gear we review. We remain disconnected, in large part, because we love playing with the latest technology, and we couldn’t keep our hands off this stuff if we tried. We downloaded and purchased MapMyRun and MapMyRun+ from the iTunes store. No give-us-gear for a favorable review, or anything like that. We call ‘em as we see ‘em. It keeps us honest. Typically, if we like the product, we will buy it to have around, use, and be able to check out software updates and answer questions. So, enough with the babble. Let’s get to the review.
- iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S, iPod touch, iPad with the optional Wahoo Fitness Pack
- iPhone 4S with an optional Bluetooth 4.o Low Energy HRM strap like the Polar H7
- Android Phones
- BlackBerry Phones
So what are the features?
Here are the features of the free app:
- Live Route Map
- Friends (live map, and activity feed)
- Stats (Heart Rate – requires purchase of accessory)
- Voice prompts give you updates on your progress as you go
- Post your runs and records to Facebook and Twitter
- All of your info syncs securely with your free account on www.MapMyRUN.com.
Plus version has all the features of the free app plus:
- iPod music integration
- GPS Camera
- No ads
Using the app
Here is the main screen of the app. Before using the app, you will want to set up a few of the basics. If you want to use any of the sharing, friends, or storing features, you will need to create an account. It’s easy and free, and only takes a minute. Once you have done this you can go into the main screen:
Check your Profile from this page, and add in the needed information:
Once these are correct, go back to the main screen and click on Settings. There you will see an number of options. If you want to connect and post your workouts to Facebook and Twitter, click on the Settings buttons and fill in the required information:
If you have a heart rate monitor or other sensors, click on the sensor settings and and pair your devices:
Once you have paired your devices, your Sensors screen should show the sensors connected:
Now, head back to the main screen. You can see you routes that you have run by clicking on Routes:
You can also see nearby routes that other people have run:
From the main screen, you can add friends, and invite others to join you by sending them an invitation:
You can also check out and log your daily caloric intake:
Finally, you can track you friends live, and see where they are working out:
Going on a run
From the main screen, press Record Workout. The Workout screen is displayed:
Before you start your workout, you may want to get your music set up. This is one of the features of the paid version, MapMyRun+. Pressing Music allows you to set up your music and playlist inside the app. You can still play music using the iPhone Music app:
So now you’re ready to go. Press Start, and your workout is started:
That’s it! You are logging your workout. On the paid version, you can see the camera in the above image. This allows you to take a picture with attached GPS coordinates. This is useful if you want to see where along the route you took a picture, or if you want to go back at a future date, or if you want to share it with others.
Once you are done with your workout, you can view it online. Just log in, and you can view your workout, including distance, time, and elevation:
You can also get more features with pay programs, which you can get training plans and printed maps:
You can also find workouts in your area by click Routes, and clicking search runs:
Thoughts, Opinions and Summary:
- The app is very easy to use and configure
- It has all of the features that most people request
- Has Facebook and Twitter capability, which many users liked
- Nice online logging capability and views
- You can get training plans online, but this will cost you extra
- MapMyRun claims 26 million routes to discover, and 5 million users
- If you also hike, walk or bike, there is also MapMyBike, MapMyWalk and MapMyHike. This allows you to use similar software, and the same online user interface
- Would be nice to be able to create workouts online, and download them to the phone
Overall, we liked like this app. It works well, and works with most phones. Would we recommend it? The answer is yes. We use this app, and feel that this is one of the top 5 workout logging apps. MapMyRun is free, and MapMyRun+ costs $2.99 in the iTunes store. If you don’t care if you have in app music (you can still listen to music outside of the app), don’t care if you see ads, and you don’t care about the picture taking feature with tagged GPS coordinates, the free version is great. Otherwise, get the paid app.
As an FYI, iTunes gives the current version of MapMyRun a rating of 4.5 out of 5 star rating, and MapMyRun+ a 4.5 out of 5 star rating. MapMyRun also won the Best Running App 2012 Reader’s Choice at About.com.