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Featured Web Site: Is Bones In Motion (BiM) ‘The Final Frontier’ for Tracking Your Runs?

Posted by Filed Under: Gear & Apparel, GPS & Mapping, Speed & Distance Trackers

featured websiteIf a runner from the 70’s running boom was magically transported through time to present day, I’m sure he or she would be astounded at all the technological options we runners have for tracking our every footstep.

It wasn’t long ago when, if we wanted to figure out how far we were running, we’d have to do things like:

  1. count city blocks (which meant we’d have to run in mostly straight lines!)
  2. drag around a mechanical distance measuring device like the ones engineers and surveyors use and measure out a route
  3. drive our intended route and measure it with our vehicle’s odometer

All of these options were cumbersome and limiting in various ways. Most notably, if we wanted to accurately know how far we were running (what runner doesn’t?) they required us to measure out and stick to those routes. For better or worse, we were hopelessly tied to our chosen paths. In spite of these problems we made do and, not only that, we were even able to figure out how fast we were running using a lost art/science I think we used to call “mathematics”.

And then some pretty revolutionary products started to come out. I remember the first time running alongside a friend with his brand-new Timex BodyLink system (a GPS equipped speed+distance monitor). Wow. That was terrific! We could go pretty much anywhere (look Ma, no more set route!) and know how far and fast we were going – all in real time. Several other companies got into the game with their own products: Garmin with it’s now famous Forerunner products, Polar (my system of choice) with it’s ultra-durable line of speed+distance+heart rate monitors, and many other companies.

Flash forward only a few years and many of these products have integrated with now taken for granted services like Google Maps that not only tell you how far you ran, but exactly where you ran. Could it get any better?

Yup.

In the last year or so, Apple and Nike teamed up to integrate the too cute iPod Nano with a footpod and a tremendous Web service. The outcome: Music + voice prompts + speed + distance monitoring and a kick-butt Web site where you can upload your data and compete with other runners and even teams of runners. Wow.

But, are we done evolving?

Nope.

Bones in Motion (BiM)—today’s featured website—takes things in another direction. It merges yet another kind of technology into the world of tracking your runs—it merges the technology included in your GPS phone. I think this kind of system might just be a no-brainer for a lot of runners—especially runners who like the security of carrying a cell phone and who would rather not carry other devices when they run.

So, exactly what does BiM do? Well, a lot:

  1. because it is GPS enabled, it records where you run and the elevation of your runs
  2. using your phone, you can upload your run data where it can be analyzed for speed, distance, elevation and more
  3. integrates with Google Maps
  4. you can make/answer calls while your run data is being recorded
  5. if your phone is equipped to play mp3’s, you can listen to them while it is tracking your run
  6. integration of BiM tracking stats into your blog!

BiM does a lot more than that and it looks like they’re working on adding even more. Please take a look at their video demo and read their FAQ for more information.

So, is Bones in Motion the Final Frontier for tracking your runs? I’m not sure but it sure seems to be a great step toward it – and it’s a nice alternative for runners who might be looking for something a little different.
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Note: BiM may not be available in your area. Check their Web site for details.

About Mark Iocchelli

Also known as the "Running Blogfather", I'm a 40-something marathoner who has beaten stress fractures and terrible shin splints. Now I'm running double the mileage with no pain - and I'm getting faster. I love to talk about running form and Arthur Lydiard. I also enjoy taking photographs, have a beautiful (and very patient!) wife, and am the proud father of two crazy kids. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about the site.



13 Comments
  1. Thomas on March 16th at 7:01 am

    Method number 3 is the one I used for most of my running routes, everything else is calculated by time.

    I won’t hold my breath waiting for fancy stuff like that to be enabled in my remote corner of the world.

  2. Karen in Calgary on March 16th at 8:25 am

    THIS is cool! I don’t own a GPS thingie yet, but I do take my cell on long runs. Having the capability to measure my runs added on to the usefulness of the cell is a great idea.

  3. Mark Iocchelli on March 16th at 8:29 am

    Karen,

    BiM is not yet available in Canada but I have spoken to someone there who said they are working on setting up relationships with cell phone providers. I’m sure they’d be happy to hear of your excitement.

  4. Irene on March 16th at 7:29 pm

    I saw an ad in Runner’s World Magazine for BiM. I was toying around with getting a Garmin, but I already carry a cell phone with me when I run, and I did need a phone upgrade. I upgraded to the Razr and bought the BiM service for $9.99/month (in addition to the cell phone service I already have.) I haven’t used the MP3 player for running YET because I need to be aware of sounds when I run, but I might give it a whirl soon. So far, I really like it! I also like that you can go on their website and look at your stats, instead of just the small phone screen. The ironic thing is that it wasn’t too long ago that I joked about having GPS on my phone just for running,and there it is. Now, if it could just monitor heart rate… :)

  5. thodarumm on March 17th at 4:14 am

    No way. I draw the line here :). I just got a Garmin Forerunner and that is as far as I will go. In any case, I can rarely get a satellite signal where I live. And cell phone is a big no no for me. Because, half way through the long run, I will call my husband and ask him to pick me up.

  6. Bill Gibbs on March 17th at 5:49 pm

    So many gadgets, so much data. Doesn’t anyone run for the fun of it anymore?

  7. derek on March 18th at 10:54 am

    running is fun. the gadgets and data make it even MORE fun.

  8. Irene on March 18th at 11:03 am

    Any day I get to run is a joy. I have to carry a cell phone for emergencies because I run alone. I might as well make it even more useful. :)

  9. Dawn - Pink Chick on March 18th at 3:08 pm

    Gadgets or not running is fun. But being a geek I like knowing where I’ve gone, how far, and all the little details. Yeah one can figure some of it out the old fashioned way but the toys are cool.

  10. jank on March 19th at 8:03 am

    Now, can you enable an option for it to report your position during races? IE, selectively let it tell on you?

  11. KMP on March 20th at 9:38 am

    (In full info-mercial style . . .) But Wait! There’s more! If you combine the iPod Sport Kit with BIM you get the Adeo GPS training monitor WITH voice over music feedback . . .

  12. jon on March 20th at 9:08 pm

    Live Tracking is coming to BiM Active on March 31! The Cooper River Bridge Run 10K will be the first to have live race tracking for those running with a BiM Active enabled mobile phone. See http://bimrace.com/cooper for more details…

  13. Colorado Running on October 31st at 12:39 pm

    BiM looks pretty cool, thanks.

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