Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Product Review: iSmoothRun

For several weeks, both Runkeeper and Active have been selling me the merits of a new (well, new to me) app called iSmoothRun.  A couple of my friends who run have been using it, too, and I decided last week to give it a try.  Know what sold me on it?  It records temperature and humidity.  That’s right, I paid $4.99 for a running app that’ll save for all time the weather conditions of my every run.

Best $4.99 I’ve ever spent with the iPhone App Store.

As anyone reading my blog posts knows, it’s bloody HOT down here in west-central Florida.  And hot, humid conditions mean a slower pace.  I know all of that and I’ve even mostly accepted it… but it’s still frustrating.  But to be able to look back at a run’s data and see, right there in black and white, that I managed a 12:14/mile average pace when the temp was 90° and humidity was 87%?  To quote a ridiculously annoying commercial we all know, it's “priceless.”

It turns out, though, that iSmoothRun came with a few more nifty features I really like, so here’s my little review…

  • Its readout is BIG – as in, I can see my time and distance clearly through my armband without reading glasses.  Yes, the little voice tells me those things regularly, too, but I’m a visual learner; you can tell me something ‘til the cows come home, but it won’t sink in until I see it in print.  Really BIG print, now that I’m over 40.
  • It allows me to track mileage on my shoes – no small feat, given that I’m rotating between four different pairs.  After each run, I need only scroll down in the edit function and select which pair of shoes was on my feet.  iSmoothRun keeps a total mileage tally going on each pair.
  • There are options at the end of each run to tell how it felt via smilies.  Trust me – after my last 9-miler, when the most complicated thought I could muster was, “Guh,” picking a face that matched how I felt was a good thing.  At that I had a hard time choosing between an orange, slanty-mouthed “Blah” and a pink, tongue-out “Tired.”
  • I can elect to have iSmoothRun tell me the fastest song I heard during each run.  This does nothing for my training, but is a nice little surprise to see while walking through a cool-down.
  • Auto-pause – each time I stop for a red light, to tie my shoes, to refill a water bottle, to take a 2-minute mid-run swim in the pool (for real – I was roasting!), the app pauses and then resumes when it again feels motion.  From what I can tell, it does so very, very accurately, too.
  • It tracks cadence!  As you know form my last post, I love counting my cadence.  But after about 5 miles, my brain can’t seem to count past 20 without losing track.  iSmoothRun tracks average cadence, though, so my walk intervals kind of kill any attempt to reach a “perfect” cadence of 90.  But, I’m pretty sure an average of 83 is pretty good, with walk breaks included.
  • Aside from environmental conditions, though, my favorite element of my new app is the vocal feedback.  My new pal “Smoothy”, as I’ve come to think of the female voice-over used to report time, distance, etc., is very motivating.  Smoothy doesn’t say much – just enough to get her point across.  But her inflections are spot-on: in a perky, excited little voice that I just know belongs to a pony-tailed, pert-nosed, wisp of a cheerleader, Smoothy tells me when it’s time to “Run!”  A few minutes later, she informs me in a calm, relaxed tone to “Walk.”  Every so often, she lets me know how much time and distance have passed and how I’m doing on pace; she always sounds so positive and proud of my hard work.  And I just love when Smoothy busts in with an exuberant “You’re halfway to your goal!”  Which may or may not have anything to do with my final commendation for iSmoothRun…
  • It makes me run faster!  Okay, maybe it just tracks differently than Runkeeper and only looks like I’m cranking out a faster pace.  Whatever.  Lower numbers keep me motivated, so it’s all good.
In every other way, iSmoothRun offers the same things I had before using Runkeeper alone: the ability to set up customized intervals, data tracking, synchronization with social media, mapping, etc.  And it works with Runkeeper, so each iSmoothRun is uploaded to my Runkeeper profile.  I’m looking forward to many more fun runs with Smoothy by my side!


  1. Thanks for the review! I like that it does intervals IN the app...right now I have the Nike+ app and an interval timer going.

  2. Sold. Tracks mileage of my shoes? Holy cow yes!

  3. Wow! Do you know if there is something similar for Android? Don't have an iphone but this app sounds perfect!