Like many athletes, I’m obsessed with stats. I tally miles, check pace and scrutinize route maps, ad nauseam.
Recently, I signed up for a new MVP subscription to MapMyFitness. I’ve used the free, Web-based version of the app for years, mainly to measure how far I’ve run. The new paid version of the app comes with more features.
The premium subscription covers all three MapMyFitness platforms — MapMyRun, MapMyRide and MapMyWalk. To test it out, I tucked my smartphone into a waist pack and set off on a run one day and a mountain bike ride the next. Afterward, I geeked out on all the info I’d collected.
The app showed me my pace — by mile as well as half-mile, quarter-mile and tenth of a mile. It showed my elevation profile, too. I zoomed in so closely on the maps afterward that I could spot the points where I veered into a coffee shop for a quick pit stop and when I cut the corner through a parking lot.
“It fluidly allows you to go out for a run using a mobile phone, record your activities and save it into a workout profile,” says Robin Thurston, co-founder of MapMyFitness.
It was easy to use, too, one of the Austin-based company’s goals. The app can be synced with Timex, Garmin, Polar and other devices so you don’t have to carry a smartphone. Right now it costs $30 a year. Basic features like mapping, logging and sharing workouts will remain free.
So what does the cash get you? That live tracking, for one. If I’m pedaling home from work alone, my husband can see where I am (and come pick me up if I suddenly become stationary at Shoal Creek Saloon). Or a friend could monitor my progress in a race.
The coaching feature can be set for an interval workout. It’ll pipe up, telling you when it’s time to sprint and when it’s time to recover, according to what you tell it to do.
If you’ve got a Bluetooth heart-rate strap, you can set the app to alert you if your heart-rate goes over a certain level. That could come in handy if you’re pregnant or your doctor tells you not to overexert. The app also can chart and analyze heart rate and power output.
On the Web, a new feature called route recommender lets you plug in a few criteria — how far, where and specifics like avoiding highways or using only bike paths — and it’ll spit out a suggested course. The MVP membership also gets you online training programs, nutrition tracking, fitness calculators and event listings, all of which can be shared.
For fun, I posted the map of my 29-mile mountain biking route on my Facebook page. It’s a convoluted route that ties together a bunch of different trails, so it’s a lot easier to share a map than try to explain it. Voila!
For more information go to www.mapmyfitness.com.
Classmates ride for a cause
In two months, Brady McEvoy will pedal his bicycle 180 miles from Houston to Austin as part of the BP MS 150, a two-day fundraising bike ride that benefits the National MS Society.
Brady, who is 13, won’t be the youngest person ever to make the trip. That distinction belongs to Sophia Menyhert, who first participated when she was 8 years old. (Today, you must be at least 12 years old to ride.)
Sophia, now 14, is the reason Brady is riding. Her mother has had multiple sclerosis for 15 years, and she’s raised more than $40,000 in the four MS 150s she’s completed. She asked Brady to join her on the April 20-21 ride this year.
“The hardest part was saying yes,” Brady says. “Riding 180 miles — I’ve never done something like that before.”
Together, the two Austin Montessori School classmates have set some lofty goals. Sophia hopes to raise $14,000 and Brady’s aiming for $12,000. They’ll be riding with Team Taco Deli.
They’re chipping away by baking and selling homemade mint chocolate chip cookies and hand-crocheted hats. Brady has already raised more than $5,000, but figures he has to earn $103 every day from here on to meet his goal. “I want to set my goal as high as I can and if I achieve that goal, great, and if not, that’s OK too,” he says.
Reaction from friends and family has varied, from one who said, “You’re gonna die,” to Brady’s brother, who immediately forked over $25.
Brady didn’t start off liking bicycling much, but it’s grown on him. He and Sophia are training by pedaling up and down Shoal Creek Boulevard and around the Veloway, a paved cycling loop in South Austin. So far Brady’s up to 21 miles.
“I like when you’re cruising and the wind is whistling and you don’t hear anything else,” he says.
About 13,000 cyclists participated in last year’s BP MS 150, raising a collective $17.5 million.