More and more, smartphones are becoming an indispensable item for joggers. Right up there with proper running shoes and a good water bottle, your smartphone can make the difference between a run that’s no fun and a run that makes you feel great. Here are nine reasons why you’ll want to be sure to take your phone along the next time you head out for a jog.
You can call for help in an emergency.
One of the most important reasons to have your phone with you on your run is so that you can call for help if need be. If you get injured, lose your way, or feel unsafe, you’re not on your own as long as you have your phone. Even if it’s a non-emergency situation (say, you were feeling so good that you decided to run an extra mile or two), it’s still helpful to be able to let friends or family know that you’ll be later getting back so they know not to worry about you.
You can keep your mind busy while you run.
Let’s face it: running can be boring, especially if you always take the same route. But with your smartphone, it’s easy to keep your mind not just occupied, but entertained. When you have your phone with you, your daily jog can be a great time to catch up on your favorite podcast or listen to the next chapter of your audiobook. And if you need a little extra motivation, your smartphone’s music library means that you’ll never be short of tunes to pump you up when you hit the sidewalk. (Not sure what you like to listen to when running? Check out the RockMyRun app, which has hundreds of great music mixes made for runners.)
You can see and be seen.
One of the most popular times for jogging is in the evening after work, but depending on where you live, this could mean that you find yourself jogging in the dark for a good part of the year. This is where your smartphone’s flashlight app comes in handy: not only does it let you light up particularly dark parts of your route so you can see where you’re going, but it also helps you stay visible and makes it easier for other runners, and especially cars and drivers, to see and avoid you.
You can track your miles.
If you’re training for a race or have a specific fitness goal you want to hit, it’s helpful to be able to track the exact distance of your run. Fortunately, there are plenty of smartphone apps around that can make this an easy task. Two of the most popular options, Strava and MapMyRun, keep a record of your mileage and can also track additional helpful details like your average pace.
You can keep tabs on your health.
Along with tracking your miles, you might also want to know information like how many calories you’ve burned on your run so far or at what point on the run you reached your optimal heart rate. With useful apps like the iPhone’s Health app, this information can be right at your fingertips, ensuring you’re always making the most of your run.
You can snap a photo.
You never know when you might see something on your run that you want a record of. A beautiful sunrise or sunset, some spectacular scenery, new sights from running in a new or different place, a friend you unexpectedly run into; whatever you spot, you’ll be able to capture it with your smartphone camera.
You can bring a buddy along.
Most runners agree that they are most motivated to go for a jog when they’re going with a friend rather than just on their own. But what do you do if you’re not living near any running buddies? Not to worry; if you have Skype or FaceTime on your smartphone, it’s always easy to bring a friend along for a virtual running date.
You don’t have to miss your favorite sporting event.
Are you using the big game on Thursday night as an excuse not to go for your regular jog? With your smartphone, you can have the best of both worlds: sporting apps let you listen to, or even watch, your favorite team while you’re out running.
You can make sure you know where you’re going.
You’re not likely to get lost if you usually run the same route near your house or your office, but if you want to shake things up a bit or you want to go for a run while you’re on vacation or in a different city for work, your smartphone’s GPS capabilities will come in extremely handy. If you’re not sure where you are, you can always check your GPS or map app to pinpoint your position; or better yet, you can plan your route in advance and get audio directions delivered to your earphones so you’ll never have to wonder where you need to go next.