Some thoughts re music and Runkeeper

Further to my last post, I’ve been giving some thought to using music to make me run quicker.

As I mentioned, I’d been using the Cadence app on iPhone as well as Audio Fuel’s compilations of BPM matched music in my training workouts.

Unfortunately, currently neither will allow me to listen to the right BPM tracks for today’s workout which is as follows:

  • 5 mins warmup (155bpm)
  • 1km fast (175bpm)
  • 2 min slow (150bpm)
  • 1km fast (175bpm)
  • 2 min slow (150bpm)
  • 1km fast (175bpm)
  • 2 min slow (150bpm)
  • 1km fast (175bpm)
  • 2 min slow (150bpm)
  • 1km fast (175bpm)
  • cooldown

Even though I’ve created this training workout in Runkeeper, I haven’t really got a playlist to match tracks with a matching BPM to each interval.

Wouldn’t it be great if Runkeeper (maybe using an API from the makers of the Cadence app) chose tracks (including those from Audio Fuel) automatically from those available on my iPhone to match the intensity of each interval?

In addition, wouldn’t it be even more amazing to have more customised announcements along the lines of the ones on the AudioFuel compilations that countdown into each interval, provide encouragement etc, etc. It’d be like really having a personal trainer running along with me; one that was selecting just the right tracks to help my boost my performance just when I needed it and scolded me (politely of course!) when I was slacking!

As well as some of the normal Runkeeper stats announcements, I’d like to hear more like:

  • ok, it’s time to go for it, 5 minutes at 185 bpm in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
  • you’re half way through the interval and doing really great. Keep it up, it’ll be over soon!

These would need to be intelligent based on my workout, how well I’m doing, etc etc.

Of course, I could use the individual Audio Fuel tracks, mix together a compilation myself and then use the Playlist feature in Runkeeper to play my own creation. But, that involves hard work on my part! Also, unless I recorded my own announcements (which would be ‘static’), the experience wouldn’t be the same.

Having Runkeeper automatically and intelligently choose and playback tracks to match my workout would be awesome.

OK, let’s stretch the requirement a little. In reality, I mean really stretch it. I would want my iPhone to integrate with a HRM and maybe a cadence sensor (Wahoo Fitness provide a dongle and case that do this but they’re bulky, the case isn’t iPhone 4 compatible and Runkeeper (to my knowledge) aren’t integrating with WF’s API. Polar have just integrated their Bluetooth HRM band with Nike+ but the belt isn’t compatible with the iPhone 4. Something has to give! Apple could make a real jump forward if they allowed integration with fitness sensors via Bluetooth. Maybe iPhone 5 could be Ant + compatible? ‘Til then, allow me to use Bluetooth.I realise that this may be limited if I have BT headset or want to use a footpod and HRM.

Why do I want this integration? Simple, I want to hear announcements such as:

  • your cadence is dropping, up the pace a little to match the BPM
  • you’re hitting 90% max heart rate. Great work!
  • you’re in the ideal cardiovascular workout zone. Well done

To my mind, the ideas above aren’t rocket science. Yes, they may add load to the iPhone’s processor but they’d make working out so much more fun and enjoyable. These features would make the iPhone an amazing workout device encompassing many of the smartphone’s inherent features to:

  • -keep track of my workouts via GPS
  • provide a personal trainer facility with highly motivational feedback and encouragement
  • play intelligently-selected tracks to match my workout and intensity of intervals
  • use additional sensors to both measure performance (including heart rate and cadence) and feedback this information in real time via announcements.

I guess I should just carry on dreaming! 😉

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3 thoughts on “Some thoughts re music and Runkeeper

  1. I think you are on to something with this blog. The combination with music, HRM and announcementa would be a killer feature with Runkeeper and really push it to the next level. However it is hard to know what the RK team is aiming for since they are a bit secret about their roadmap.

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