One of this year’s major trends in tech is fitness, or at least, tracking or measuring your daily activity and exercise routines. Whether it’s S Health and the heart rate monitor on the Galaxy S5, or a wearable band like the Nike FuelBand, the tech industry wants us all to be a bit more healthy. The trend is growing in the app world too, and we’ve been using one of the latest apps to embrace it, called RockMyRun.
Unlike RunKeeper or Endomondo, it’s not yet another tracking app. Instead it’s designed to help make those walks, runs, or whatever other routine you’re doing, a little more enjoyable. Think of it like Spotify for fitness fanatics. Hold on, you’re thinking, why not just use Spotify? The clever part of RockMyRun is, it’s built to properly enhance your performance, not just accompany a run. The development team talked with both runners and DJ’s to come up with tailored mixes, based on real runner’s requirements, and many of which are designed to give you a real burst of energy over the final 15 minutes.
The app contains a wide range of pre-made mixes, all of which have different runtimes, and crucially, different beats-per-minute. By providing an accurate bpm count for each mix, it’s easy to tailor the music to your pace. Anyone who uses a treadmill will know how frustrating it can be to run at a different pace than the beat of the music. It’s surprisingly simple to avoid this annoying (and silly) problem with RockMyRun. There’s even a feature to set the bpm to your own pace, which can then be tweaked if you want to speed up or slow down.
There’s a massive range of mixes available inside the app, and all are sorted by genre, length, and bpm. If you know your average pace coincides with songs running at 140bpm, the app will only show you mixes which play at that speed. Genres range from the expected pop, rock and house mixes, but also include some more unexpected ones, such as seasonal, country, classical and even Christian rock. Personally, I found the excellent Pump Up The Volume mix, an hour’s worth of 90s house music, worked really well during a steady run.
When you find a mix you like, it can be added to your own library for later use. Mixes can be streamed over the air, but obviously this is going to use a serious amount of data if you’re a regular at the gym. Alternatively, mixes can be downloaded on to your phone. Tracks can be skipped if you don’t like them using either method.
So, does RockMyRun work? Yes, it does. Almost regardless of your music taste, you’ll find something good. The mixing is of a high quality, at least to my relatively untrained ears, and there’s a good selection of popular and less well-known songs. It’s also handy to just open an app and fire up a pre-built mix, without the need to choose one of your own. Not only does this avoid indecision, but it also means you don’t end up listening to the same thing over and over. I’m not sure if any of my chosen mixes motivated me any more than usual, but they certainly didn’t detract, or annoy me. As someone who usually listens to spoken word while at the gym, this is a compliment.
RockMyRun is free to download, and for that you get unlimited streaming across all standard mixes of 45 minutes or less. Chances are, this option will be enough for casual exercisers looking for a little musical variety, with the added bonus of it being crafted for the job. If you want to listen to longer mixes, then you’ll need to pay for premium access. It’s £2.99 for a month, £8.99 for three months, or £24.00 for a full year. The annual subscription is good value, but unless you’re very serious about your running, it may be overkill to pay up for the premium option.
RockMyRun has been a welcome companion at the gym over the past couple of weeks. The app is attractive, fast, and can be used with one hand while jogging on a treadmill! The mixes are eclectic enough even for someone with a narrow taste in music, and the tailoring to a certain bpm is clever and effective. It’s free to download, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take it along to your next workout.