If 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:
- count city blocks (which meant we’d have to run in mostly straight lines!)
- drag around a mechanical distance measuring device like the ones engineers and surveyors use and measure out a route
- 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?
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?
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:
- because it is GPS enabled, it records where you run and the elevation of your runs
- using your phone, you can upload your run data where it can be analyzed for speed, distance, elevation and more
- integrates with Google Maps
- you can make/answer calls while your run data is being recorded
- if your phone is equipped to play mp3′s, you can listen to them while it is tracking your run
- integration of BiM tracking stats into your blog!
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.
Note: BiM may not be available in your area. Check their Web site for details.