For many runners, the daily jog is a precious time that provides a brief respite from the worries of life, and one of the most effective ways to leave these anxieties at the door is to listen to good music.
If you’re passionate about your playlists, then you’re probably already aware of how useful they can be. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve by delving into the world of beat-matching music apps. And once you’ve scratched the surface you’ll be wondering how you ever went a mile without them.
Let’s run through a few of the resources that are bound to get you energized, motivated and most importantly, outside.
Spotify Running (Android and iOS, Free)
The idea behind this particular app is a simple one. Download the latest version of Spotify for your mobile platform and look for the new tweak – a dedicated running mode that will curate specific tracks matched to the beat of your run.
Activating the option is as easy as selecting it from the home screen dropdown menu and following the prompts. It’ll ask you to run at a steady pace before using your phone’s built-in accelerometer to record the motion.
When ready, the app will convert the metadata from your library and work out the beats per minute (BPM) for each song. You can use this to create nonstop playlists that are perfectly in step. Don’t worry, your listening history is analysed to ensure you’ll love every minute of it.
Zombies, Run! (Android and iOS, Free)
No other app on the market will help you beat your personal best as much as this application for Android and iOS. Why? Because none of them give you the impression that you’re running away from a horde of walking dead.
Zombies, Run! is an immersive audio adventure where you’re at the heart of the drama and every outing becomes a mission for survival. The app can sync with Spotify and you will be able to listen to your own pulse-pounding playlists among the pre-recorded story messages.
This app also does a good job of integrating gaming aspects and as you walk, jog or sprint through each of the 200 episodes. As you run, you’ll find supplies you can use to improve the defence of your home base. Essentially, the more you run, the better you do.
RockMyRun (Android and iOS, Free)
If you’re looking for something that gets you motivated and keeps you moving, you’ll find everything you could want and more in the aptly named RockMyRun app. It works with some of the world’s best DJs – think David Guetta – to deliver a finely tuned service with advanced sorting and search functionality.
Though the standard ad-supported app is free, a Rockstar-level membership is available for $2.99 per month. Signing up will remove the ads and allow you to listen to seamless playlists for up to four hours, where song rotation is influenced by beat changes.
Researchers from EPARC and the University of California, San Diego have tested the app and confirmed that it can increase people’s intrinsic motivation by 35 percent. In addition, the study’s participants ran at a comfortable rate 3 percent faster than with other apps.
For those looking into an app that makes use of the body-driven music mechanic, RockMyRun gives you a great experience for a small (or no) price. Definitely one to try.
PaceDJ (Android and iOS, free)
This free mobile app is the perfect alternative to RockMyRun as it works with beat-syncing tracks in a similar way, but instead of using professionally mixed playlists, it makes use of your private music archive.
As you’d expect, each song is analysed in terms of beats per minute and this gives you total control over your running routine. Slower songs of 70 BPM are ideal for walks while those at or above 120 BPM are especially suited for spirited jogs – and of course you can mix and match to give yourself a workout at every pace in between.
The only real downside is that the interface can be a little tricky to navigate on the go due to the small size of the buttons. That said, the UX experience is quite pleasant overall and you will love the sleek design.
Download PaceDJ: For Android (Free) [No longer available] | For iOS (Free)
jog.fm (iOS, $2.99)
jog.fm might be an app for you if you’ve spent time accumulating songs in your iTunes library, though you can go through myriad micro-transactions to purchase well-known tracks in bulk if you’re new to the whole thing.
As an app that caters to three distinct audiences – walkers, runners and cyclists – it’s flexible enough to adapt to your changes in motivation, helping to improve cardiovascular activity while providing a distraction from fatigue. In addition, jog.fm lets you mark particular tracks as Pump up Songs, meaning they’re always on hand when you need them most.
Beyond that, the app learns what you like and don’t like to listen to while running and will tailor the playlist based on your preferences. A great buy for runners of every level.
Download jog.fm: for iOS ($2.99)
TempoRun (iOS, $0.99)
As with many other apps on this list, TempoRun is one that syncs your footfalls to the rhythm of your music and vice versa. Impressively, it categorizes your music archive into separate tiers for different speeds. Walking speeds are a “one” and faster speeds, like sprinting, are a “ten”.
When you’re jogging, songs of around 140 BPM will play until you break into a run, where the mix will change to something suitably more upbeat.
All in all, the app has the ability to turn your average excursion into one that’s fluid, exhilarating and invigorating. Many researchers agree that music is essential to peak performance, with tempos of 180 BPM being ideal for runners hoping to achieve a seven-minute mile.
The app will also allow you to stream your music and track your progress so you can see how far you’ve run and how many calories you’ve burned in the process.
Download TempoRun: For iOS ($0.99) [No longer available]
Nike+ Running (Android and iOS, Free)
What’s special about the Nike+ Running app is that it can generate heat maps to give you more insight into how your routine breaks down.
Yellow segments indicate your average pace, orange and red show where you’ve slowed down along your route and green is used to identify sections that were faster than average. Not bad for a unique selling point.
You can listen to songs through iTunes or Spotify within the app itself, however, the automatic Power Song functionality will override this when your phone’s accelerometer senses that you’ve dropped below a certain threshold. If you need help staying on the straight and narrow, this is definitely an app for you.
Stay Motivated with Your Pace-sensitive Music
Whether you decide to run a 5K or take a walk around the block, the important first step to remember is that getting out of the house and getting some exercise is vital to your health. A recent study from the University of Cambridge found that lack of exercise plays a bigger role in premature death than obesity. That’s pretty huge (no pun intended).
These apps will help you enjoy exercising more, so you’re likely to do it more often. And by having easy access to music that matches your pace, you can avoid overdoing it on a run in the first mile.
So, which of these apps will you use this week? Tell us how far you walked or ran!
Image Credits:woman running by Jacob Lund via Shutterstock