Like most IT people I would not classify myself as the fittest of people in the world. A career sat at a desk consuming mostly caffeine and sugar filled drinks to keep going throughout the day and not moving to much from my chair a marathon runner this does not make. Slowly over the past few years I have gained some fat and lost some muscle, the latter not really used on a day to day basis. This is not really the best of situations for anyone. To put it in some kind of IT related terms I feel like the server in the corner that has been getting slower over time due to lack of a good maintenance plan.
(This image is a mock up from the 50s as to what computers might become in the 21st century; and no, I dont know what the big wheel is for either)
I have tried running in the past with various degrees of success. The main stumbling block each time has been the motivation to continue on a regular basis, to keep up my maintenance plan. Some people seem born to be fit and become grouchy if they haven't had their daily workout. I am the opposite, the thought of any exercise makes me grouchy. Yet its about time to make a change. Runkeeper has been helping me along with this plan more than I thought it would.
Runkeeper is a free app for your iPhone or Android platform that you use when taking your exercise pill. It keeps me going back to putting on the trainers and getting out the door pounding tarmac not because of some training schedule or fad diet. It give me data, good data at that and lots of it. After completing a run with Runkeeper the GPS log gets uploaded to Runkeeper.com and your online profile. It tracks things such as Distance, elevation, average speed and calories burned all displayed on top of Google Maps.
The website is cleanly laid out with easy access to your data over time so you can see how you are progressing and detailed information on the route you took. It also has integrated social networking features where you can create a 'street team' with people in your local area. Full Facebook and Twitter integration allows you to automatically post your runs into your social space. I love looking at my runs on my profile when I have returned home, sweating, spluttering and grasping for air. It feels like a permanent record of my achievement no matter how small it may be in comparison to some of the top runners on the site. Something I can actually show to people in addition to tracking my progress on the long road to being able to describe myself as 'fit'.
There is also a paid version of Runkeeper, Runkeeper Elite, that allows real time tracking while you are out recording your run. Other people can tune in online to cheer you on and help you along while you are out. I am not sure the price is worth it for me at this moment, but if I ever do get to that elusive first 5k I might just invest.
TL;DR Runkeeper gives you good data to make you fitter