This is the first in a series of 3 posts that aim to tell you why you should run with your smart phone. Yes, I know that probably 99.999999…% of you already run with your phone, but there is always something that can be learned or a new use that someone else has thought of. A trick or tool that you could be using your phone for while running, biking, swimming (if you are using a waterproof case of course), rock climbing, yak herding, etc.
This first post will give you 5 reasons why you should be carrying your phone with you when you run. In the second post, I will compare some different phone cases and carriers to help you pick the best system / apparatus to hold your phone while you run (You don’t carry your phone in your hand while you run do you?). The third post will compare 5 running apps that will help you track your performance. I am saving this one for last so I can use all of the apps myself and have some time to learn about them.
Before we get started, I need to advise you all to make sure you carry your phone as discreetly as you can to avoid being a target for robbery.
1. Tracking – So your family can keep tabs on you while you are on a long run, ride, etc. There are multiple apps for both iOS and Android that will allow you or your family to track you or your phone. A quick search on the respective app stores will give multiple options. If your spouse or significant other is anything like mine, they will love the ability to confirm that you are ok while on a 30 mile training run and not have to call to check in to make sure you haven’t been hit by a car or anything.
2. Music – So you can have a soundtrack to keep yourself going. I wish I had a dollar for every time a run was about ¾ done and I was starting to drag my feet a bit and just the right song came through my earphones and helped me finish strong. It sounds a bit trite, but music is still a great motivator while exercising.
3. Performance Monitoring – With all of the apps available for capturing your performance metrics and then organizing the data into trend analyses and reports, why wouldn’t you want to tap into that function? In the third app in this series, I will present my reviews and compare 5 running apps that are currently available to help you choose the right app to achieve the goals you have for yourself. Without giving anything away here, I have been completely surprised by just how much information can be made available quite literally in the palm of my hand immediately after I finish my runs.
4. Receiving motivation from others – I’ll never forget my first ultramarathon. It was a 50 mile race in Tulsa in July. The race started at midnight to try and avoid as much of the heat as possible. As this was my first ultra I didn’t know how to train properly and I just wasn’t ready for the amount of time it would take to cover that much ground. 9 hours in it was already 95 degrees and I could feel my skin starting to burn. I had just been passed by a woman in her 60’s who was looking strong for this stage of the race and I was ready to stop. I sat down under a tree to get some shade and to process what I was feeling and decide whether or not I was going to keep going. I’m not making this part up, but about 3 minutes after I sat down, I received a text from my dear wife with a picture of our son (9 months old at the time), telling me how proud she was of me and that she knew I could finish this race. If that doesn’t motivate you, I’m not sure anything can. I took 5 more minutes to drain one of my water bottles and got back up to keep going in the heat and humidity. Just being able to have the dearest people in the world reach out to me and tell me that they know I have the ability to finish what I’m in the middle of makes all the difference.
5. Camera – It’s always a good idea to have a camera with you. Sometimes the perfect vista presents itself, sometimes you see something your friends will never believe, or sometimes you just want to show off how fierce you look while you run and you want to have the photographic evidence to back it up (not that I’ve ever done this). You would be hard pressed any more to find a smart phone that didn’t have at least a 5 megapixel camera in it now. Having a camera with you on a trail run is an especially good idea so you can take a picture of where you started the trail and of any markers along the way to help identify where you have been in case you get lost or don’t remember where you parked (yes, I say this from personal experience).
So, there you have it. 5 reasons to carry your smart phone with you while you run, bike, swim, rollerblade, gather berries, etc. I hope at least one of those reasons above is one you haven’t thought of already. Do you have another reason why I should carry my smart phone with me while I run? Leave a polite comment and let me know. I’d love to hear other ideas. Next time we’ll look at some of the cases and carrying options out there to make it easy for you to take your phone with you.
Can you think of any reasons I forgot to put down here to carry your phone while you run? Leave a comment and let us know.
Respect the Run!
Jonathan Keeth is a proud father of two and the husband to a beautiful and longsuffering wife who tolerates his obsession with running shoes and gear. Jonathan is the author of odyssey100.com where he blogs about his two great goals, training for his first 100 mile race and losing 100 lbs so he never has to register for a race in the hippo class again. Follow him on Twitter: @odysy100