Running with my phone: now and then


Running with my phone: now and then

I started running in 2008, long before phones became smartphones. I started running on a treadmill in a basement gym, staring at the numbers on the dashboard slowly ticking over. It was boring, but I was too nervous to run outside and I had no way to measure how far or fast I was running other than on that treadmill.

Once I’d made it to 20 minutes of running, it was time to be brave and leave the confines of the gym to run in the open air. I sometimes think about that run as I get ready to go out now, iPhone 12 in hand with a host of apps at my disposal, and about how different running is now. I don’t think I even took my phone with me on that first al fresco run. There didn’t seem to be any benefit in it.

running downhill in the park

In the past two years I’ve explored new running routes in my local area, trying to find quieter, wider streets to run on. I don’t have to plan my route because I know I won’t get lost for very long, I have Google Maps to turn to.

I’ve struggled with injury this past year too. The first time I tried to run 10 miles post-injury I was nervous about what would happen, but I gave it a go anyway. I could, afterall, turn to my phone and call an Uber if I needed to.

On evenings when I head out after dark, I’ll turn on WhatsApp and share my location with my partner. I hate that I feel the need to do this sometimes, but I do it and know he’s watching that little blue dot moving along the map. 

There are many more cheerful things I use my iPhone 12 for too. Last year as I ran a solo half-marathon, I used Strava Beacon to allow my friends to follow along and their encouraging messages that popped up through WhatsApp along the way helped me keep going.

running in the park

I’ll stop mid run to take a photo of things I see: a nice view or a funny sign. And, of course, what run would be complete without a post-run selfie posted to Instagram?

5 best apps for running

  • Couch to 5k – for getting started and training for your first 5k.
  • Strava – for measuring and recording your runs.
  • Interval – for setting timers for your interval workouts.
  • WorkOutDoors – for planning and navigating new run route.
  • Apple Music – for tunes to keep you moving.


*Post in collaboration with O2. All views my own.*

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