Monday, October 1, 2007

Hit your stride with these five running log programs


By Heather Wardell

Like many people, I find it difficult to just get out and exercise without some sort of goal. And if you're going to set a goal, why not make it a wild and crazy one? And so, I decided to train for a marathon, specifically the Toronto Scotiabank Waterfront marathon held September 30th.

In this article, I'll put five fitness applications through their paces, so to speak, and make recommendations for other runners and fitness enthusiasts.

Let's take a look at each of the programs in more depth.


As the name implies, this program tracks more than just running, and it does it with ease. Figure A shows the data entry screen, which is clear and well-organized. Tabs along the side of the screen allow you to enter notes, heart rate and weight information, energy levels, exertion, and just about anything else you might want to track.


MySportsTraining's data entry screen is easy to use but collects a lot of information. (click for larger image)

Where this software really shines, though, is in the statistics and graphs it creates. Want to see how much time you spent this month on each of your activities? With a few clicks, you get the graph shown in Figure B.


MySportTraining's graphs are clear and easy to read. (click for larger image)

MySportTraining also excels in tracking weight training programs. Each individual exercise can be entered, along with the number of sets and the repetitions for each set, and the program will show you how you're improving over time.

For a multi-sport enthusiast, or anyone who likes to try out and track a variety of exercise programs, MySportTraining is outstanding. There is a desktop version available as well; I tried it out briefly and found it just as good as the Palm version, with excellent synchronization.



This program is essentially a subset of MySportsTraining, only permitting you to track your running. This specificity allows the software's statistics screens to be very focused, as Figure C shows.


MyRunningLog's statistic screen shows you how your running is coming along. (click for larger image)

Just as in MySportsTraining, this program's data entry screens are clean and easy to use. It doesn't track quite as much information as MySportsTraining does, but it still keeps pretty much everything a runner would want. The only exception? It doesn't keep track of how much mileage I've put on a particular pair of running shoes. I can never remember how long I've used a particular pair of running shoes. When I ran a maximum of ten miles a week, it didn't really matter. Now, it does, and I wish MyRunningLog kept track of that for me.