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Exercise App Helps Runners Map Their Workouts

By Selena Hernandez, CBS 11 News
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An iPhone 4 is displayed on July 30, 2010 in Auckland, New Zealand. (credit: Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

An iPhone 4 is displayed on July 30, 2010 in Auckland, New Zealand. (credit: Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – One of the best parts about running on a treadmill or using other high-tech pieces of gym equipment is that you can instantly see how many calories you are burning. This makes it easy to track your progress. But it might actually be easier to track progress outside of the gym now, thanks to highly developed smartphone applications that can travel with you outdoors.

A locally-produced workout app called MapMyRun – available for the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry – is making it easier than ever to record your runs and view your progress. The app essentially becomes your personal trainer, no matter where you want to jog.

Businessman Robin Thurston is an avid runner and cyclist. So, needless to say, when he became inspired to create the MapMyRun smartphone app, he hit the ground running. “As technology progressed, it made sense,” said Thurston. “As the GPS phones came on the market, we could allow runners to run with their iPhones and track their distance, their speed, their calories, their time – everything.”

The app comes packed with different features. It maps, tracks and records your workouts in real time. You can even monitor your heart rate, generating additional real-time feedback as you move. And the app lets you invite friends, so you can chart your progress together. “It gives you a real visualization of data,” said Thurston. “You get an opportunity to see what you’ve done, see how many calories you’ve burned.”

Thurston recently gave CBS 11 News a run-through of the app at work. “It’s going to locate us since we’re outside,” he showed. “If I switch to the stats page, there are a number of different elements – paces, speed, distance and heart rate. I can go in and view the route.”

Several runners along the Katy Trail in Dallas also said that the app – a high-tech trainer that you can keep in your pocket – is practical for a serious workout fanatic. “I think we’re really goal-oriented,” said Jocelyn Lancaster. “It’s nice to be able to track things like that and see your progress.”

“That’s really cool,” added Kaitlyn Guinn in Dallas. “That sounds interesting because I wear a heart band, and sometimes the watch isn’t accurate. So, having it on a smartphone would be pretty cool.”

The app even extends beyond your phone to a dedicated website. You can upload your progress and get suggestions for new running routes. There are over 8,000 routes in Dallas alone. Plus, the website allows users to monitor calories burned versus calories consumed.

Many of the features are included in a free version of the app. There is also a paid version that includes GPS location pictures and integrates with an iPod.

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