Author Archives: Alex

Introducing Forums

One of the reasons we developed RunHelper Connect is to enable our customers to connect with each other and share their running experience with the community. We are thrilled to announce that we have added Forums to our apps where you can do, just that.

To access the forums tap on the Connect tab in your app, then tap on the Forums button. As they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s a screenshot that introduces the Forums and how to use them:

Example Forum Post

 

See you at the Forums!

The 5-Minute Stretch app

stretch-rounded 

The wait is over! Download the 5-Minute Stretch app and put an extra spring in your step. Stretching is a cinch with the 5-Minute Stretch app. Open the app, select a routine, and let the app guide you through the stretching session.

Why Stretch with an app?

The app will show you how to perform each stretching exercise, tell you when to switch to the next one, and let you know when you’ve completed the stretching session. It’s like having a coach right next to you. The 5-Minute Stretch app has 18 stretches specifically chosen for walkers/runners, targeting key muscle groups used while working out.

WHAT YOU’LL GET WITH OUR STRETCH APP:

  • Beautiful animations show you exactly how to perform each exercise.
  • Pre-workout and post-workout stretching sessions.
  • Dynamic and static stretching exercises.
  • 5-minute sessions with 10 stretches each.
  • Integrated with all our training apps.
  • Shuffle exercises to avoid getting bored.
  • Add multiple rounds to extend your stretching session.
  • Alerts tell you when to switch exercises.

Congratulations to the 50 Giveaway Winners!

We’ve notified the winners who have received a free app as part of our launch giveaway. If you won you should have received an e-mail with instructions on how to download your app for free.

 

Three new GPS tracking apps

bfs-walk-cycle-run-1

I’m happy to announce that we are adding three new GPS tracking apps to our suite of mobile apps: Run Tracker Pro, Cycle Tracker Pro and Walk Tracker Pro.

Since the beginning we have been focusing on developing running apps based on training plans, but we’ve always had customers ask us about having non-training plan based apps as well. When our long time partner Peaksware approached us with the possibility of acquiring their suite of GPS tracking apps we jumped at the opportunity. Adding a Cycling app to our offering and more choices for non-plan based tracking apps is something we’ve always wanted to do.

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome all Tracker Pro users  to the Bluefin family. Other than a few logo changes you won’t notice anything different about the apps now. In the future we plan on adding new features and continue making the apps one of the best GPS trackers on the market.

Here’s a link to the press release announcing the purchase.

What’s new in Version 3.3.3

When running some of us want to be able to see our stats at all times. Are we slowing down? Are we running faster than usual? The biggest change in this update is the Workout screen.

Here’s a highlight of the new features we are introducing with version 3.3.3

Workout Screen gets a small face-lift

We’ve heard from a number of you that the GPS values on the workout screen are a bit hard to read while working out. We are happy to announce that we have fixed that with this update. The Workout screen now sports larger values that are easier to see with just a glance while in the middle of a run.

In order to accomodate larger pace and distance values we have redesigned the music/volume/sharing tabs into a smaller bottom bar that lets you easily control your music and alerts volume, and lock the screen.

The New Workout Screen

Larger Distance and Pace values. Slimmer bottom bar gives you access to Music, Volume, and Locked View.

Another improvement on the workout screen is the music integration. You can now change your playlist mid run without having to stop your workout. Just tap on the album artwork and select a new playlist.

The previous version of the app had a “Lock Buttons” feature which placed  small padlocks on the buttons that could accidentally interrupt a workout. That was a bit confusing so we have replaced that feature with a more intuitive “Locked View”. If you have previously had “Lock Buttons” turned ON, the Workout screen will now automatically change to the “Locked View” when you start a workout. You can also tap the “Lock” button in the lower right corner of the screen to switch to the “Locked View”. With the lock view all buttons that could interrupt your workout are removed.

Locked View

The Locked View removes all buttons preventing workout interruptions by accidentally tapping the screen.

Try Connect free for 30 days

With this update you are able to try RunHelper Connect free for 30-days. The RunHelper Connect service enables you to automatically backup your workouts, see your progress across all Bluefin apps, and much more.

The New Connect Tab

Everyone needs a little extra motivation to stay on a workout schedule. RunHelper Connect helps you stay motivated by awarding you points every time you workout thus making working out a bit more fun.  You can also unlock Achievements that give you extra bonus points and a beautiful trophy for your virtual trophy case.

Connect Tab

See your latest activity, points earned, and unlocked Achievements.

Changes to the training plan

This update brings an adjustment to the training plan based on the feedback we have received from customers. Workouts for Week 1, Week 2, Week 5 – Day 3, and Week 6 have been modified to make the training plan more gradual.

In addition to interval changes for the workouts above, we have made the following changes:

  • Workouts don’t end with a Walk interval anymore. Since a 5 minute cool-down walk is included, having a Walk interval as the last interval before the cool-down was redundant.
  • Week 1 Run intervals have been increased to 60 seconds.

For any comments or feature requests please don’t hesitate to write us at support@runhelper.com

RunHelper Connect Launched

Last night we released version 3.3 of Power Walk, Bridge to 10K, and Ease into 10K apps. The update for Ease into 5K and the rest of our apps will follow early next week.

This update brings something we’ve been working hard on for quite some time: we are thrilled to announce RunHelper Connect the companion service for our training apps.

We’ve talked about the upcoming RunHelper Connect release and some of the features earlier this summer. Continue reading

Facebook and Twitter Integration

What happened?

This morning we learned that posting to Twitter from our apps stopped working. It turns out Twitter has changed their API, which means that the now old way of posting does not work anymore. They have announced this change on their website but unfortunately we have failed to notice it.  Continue reading

Check your tags — fabrics for summer runners

We’ve talked before about how to run smart as the temperature rises and ways to stay hydrated throughout the day.  Now that the Canada Day / Independence Day BBQ season has arrived, we’re once again reminded that it can get really, really hot out there — and that running effectively and safely requires being smart and thinking ahead.

We definitely recommend clicking through those links above for some basics of summertime running, but there’s another opportunity to improve your hot-weather running performance hiding right under your nose (or, more accurately, just behind your back).

We’re talking about your clothing tags, particularly on shirts, which will cover most of your surface area.  For a lot of people, cotton is the go-to fabric for both casual and workout gear in the summer.  If you’re not planning to sweat a lot and can wear something loose-fitting that allows your skin to breathe quite a bit, this might be fine.  But cotton is the last thing you want hugging your body when you’re doing longer endurance work (or just generating a lot of sweat).

It might seem like wearing a drenched shirt darkened from neck to navel in sweat should be a badge of fitness honor, but in reality that’s just a heavy layer of perspiration that isn’t allowing your body to cool itself effectively.  Synthetic materials — such as polyester, nylon, or spandex — will help wick away sweat and allow it to evaporate into the air, which is precisely how your body’s cooling system is supposed to work.  Putting a layer of spongy, sweat-absorbing cotton between you and the outside air makes things a heck of a lot less efficient.

So if you want to run as cooly as possible as the temperature rises (and perform better as a result) take a look at those tags tickling the back of your neck.  Making some strategic adjustments to your running wardrobe can made a huge difference this summer.

Three and a half (Awesome) alternative energy bars you can try today

On Monday, we talked about some natural, practical alternatives to traditional sports drinks.  Today we have some similar alternatives to those energy bars that are so tempting for grab-and-go nutrition.  If you look at the ingredient labels (aside from seeing lots of things we can’t pronounce), you’ll notice a lot of the times that the fat and calorie content is on par with the unhealthiest candybar on the shelf.  Here are some simple ways to get the benefits of a high-energy snack while avoiding the junk.

Snack smart.  Your snack doesn’t have to be shaped like a bar to provide solid, convenient energy.  Think ahead and grab some easy, self-contained fruits like bananas or apples, which are pretty much as convenient as an energy bar anyway.  Less handy but just as good are a container of diced pineapples or grapes.  These foods can leave your feeling lighter on your feet than an energy bar would.

Bake your own.  If you really like the idea of energy bars, you can save yourself some money and avoid a lot of extra additives by making them yourself.  There are TONS of recipes out there, so you should be able to find something online that meets your tastes.  Here’s one from practicalhacks.com, but there are plenty of different approaches to try.  On the whole, they tend to be pretty easy to make.

Mix something up.  If baking isn’t your thing and you just want to whip up something quickly, making your own high-energy trail mix is a great alternative.  Choose your favorite items and mix them up in a bag.  That’s all there is to it.  Some solid ingredients to consider are nuts, cranberries, almonds, raisins, and even chocolate chips for a sweet bonus (darker is healthier).

Skip it.  Unless you’re doing serious endurance work, chances are that you don’t really need a concentrated dose of energy before a workout (assuming you are eating properly otherwise).  Keep in mind, depending on your training goals, that there are usually a lot of calories packed into high-energy snacks — that’s kind of the point.  So unless you are training hard enough to work off the extra intake, you might want to consider focusing on mealtime as your main source of both calories and nutrition.

Three and a half awesome (alternative) sports drinks you can try today

In the past, we’ve always recommended good-old-fashioned water as the best way to stay hydrated throughout the day or during a workout.  Of course we also realize that sometimes you want a little extra kick, not to mention some additional vitamins and electrolytes your body can use to keep firing on all cylinders.  More and more, athletes are passing on the traditional bottled sports drinks in favor of more natural alternatives, skipping the artificial flavors (and neon coloring) along the way.

Here are three (and a half) easy ways to do exactly that.

Try coconut water.  In some circles, coconut water is being passed around as the latest superdrink — a high-potassium, low-sodium way to replace electrolytes and improve performance.  Realistically, it’s probably more on par with plain water in terms of hydration benefits, but if you like the taste and feel good about drinking it, by all means give it a try.  It’s a little pricy to be downing all day long, but makes a good post-workout treat or warm-up drink to mix things up a little.

DIY brewing.  About as easily as you’d make a pitcher of iced tea, you can brew up your own Gator/Power-ade replacement, avoiding the high sugar content and hard-to-pronounce ingredients.  Here’s a quick, natural recipe that starts with water, green tea, coconut water, or another base and adds salt for electrolytes and fruit for flavor.  This is one you can adjust for large or small quantities depending on what you need.

Quick mix.  For a faster, simpler version of the brewing approach above, you can actually just mix up a bottle, chill in the fridge, and be ready for action.  There are some good instructions over at LIVESTRONG.com that pretty much require you to mix and drink.

Even quicker mix.  Okay, this one barely counts as a sports drink, but it’s perfect if you’re in a hurry and water just isn’t doing it for you on a given day.  Try just slicing up (or dropping in whole) a few pieces of your favorite fresh summer fruit into your water bottle to add some flavor and vitamins.  It’s an unbelievably easy way to add some variety to your hydration without worrying too much about it.

Six legs are better than two — running with your pooch

There’s not a whole lot better than going for a good, long run with your dog by your side.  Though if you’ve never trained alongside your canine friend, you might wonder how you go about it.  After all, dogs can find themselves out of shape just as easily as people and you don’t want to wear your dog out or risk an injury by going too hard, too soon.  Here are some tips for getting an inexperienced dog running like a champ.

Let them grow.  While the boundless energy of a new puppy might seem perfect for logging miles, growing dogs are just not ready to train that way.  Their bodies are still developing and excessive running can put excessive stress on joints.  Wait until your dog is fully grown before logging miles.

Ease into it.  Unlike people, dogs can’t tell you if they’re going too hard or too fast.  Plus their natural enthusiasm might make them push harder than is safe in the name of fun or to please you.  The only way to safely get your dog up to speed is to start slow and build over time.  Be sensitive to cues of discomfort like licking paws, panting excessively, or refusing to run.

Be sensitive.  Above all, it’s important that you are willing to respond to your dog and know when to go easy.  Your instincts might tell you to push through your own discomfort, but if it seems like your dog is struggling, it’s probably time to take a rest.  Don’t let finishing your workout compromise the health of your pet.

Be prepared.  It might cramp your running style a little, but it’s still important to have the right puppy gear handy on your run.  The leash, some water, and waste bags are all good ideas, depending on your running locale and logistics.