- Cool shoe-wear feature
- Website is slow
- GPS is finicky
Running apps, which use the iPhone’s GPS to track your runs, are popping up all over the App Store. You’ll pay between US$5 and $10 for the best running apps, which is why I was eager to test out miCoach (Free). Is this free app a good budget alternative to RunMeter or RunKeeper Pro? Find out below.
Read More: The Best Running Apps for the iPhone
Setting up the miCoach app
Like most iPhone running apps, Adidas’ miCoach tracks your running pace, distance, time, and calories burned using the built-in GPS module. As a result, you’ll need a GPS-enabled iPhone (all models except the first generation). Although you can use the miCoach app without an account, you’ll get the most out of it if you set up a free account at miCoach.com. The setup process is relatively quick and requires just some basic personal information. You’ll also get to customize your settings.
MiCoach has voice prompts, and you even get to select the voice you would like to hear. In addition to the generic male and female voices, you can pick Reggie Bush or Derrick Rose to deliver your workout details. Kinda neat, huh? During the setup process, the app has to download the “coaching voice package,” which takes about 30 seconds over a WiFi connection. I’m not a huge fan of voice alerts, so I’m glad that miCoach lets you customize how often you hear them.
Running with Adidas miCoach
Compared to running apps like RunMeter or RunKeeper Pro, miCoach has a pretty barebones interface. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the app is easy to navigate and you can figure out how it works very quickly. My runs with miCoach were generally pretty good, but the app had a harder time keeping a GPS signal than other running apps I’ve tested. I lost the connection several times, although it did come right back. As a result, however, my distance details were not totally accurate and my runs were typically off by 0.1 to 0.3 miles.
The miCoach app syncs with miCoach.com, where you can transfer your workout data and view charts and exercise totals. It is great to have this detailed analysis, but one thing I really like about RunMeter is that you don’t have to leave the app to view all the reporting features. In addition, the few times I’ve visited miCoach.com it has been pretty slow, and I received a “Sorry, we’re experiencing technical difficulties” error message several times. I’m not sure if that is the case all the time, but it’s worrying.
Track your shoe mileage
One thing I do really love about miCoach is the shoe-wear feature. Most runners need to replace their running shoes after 300 to 500 miles, and I typically track this information in a spreadsheet -- not exactly the most elegant solution, but it works. The Adidas miCoach app actually does that for you. Just list your running shoes at miCoach.com and the app will automatically calculate how many miles you have on each pair. That is really, really cool and a feature I haven’t seen on other running apps.
The app also integrates with your iPod app, but it doesn’t have on-screen controls to skip or pause a song during your run. MiCoach also lacks a lot of the features I’ve come to love on the RunMeter app, including Twitter and Facebook integration and automatic email alerts.
The Bottom Line
If you are in the market for a running app, I would recommend shelling out the money for RunMeter or RunKeeper Pro. These apps are more accurate, have more features, and have a better reporting structure. That said, if you just want to test out a GPS running app to see if it works for you, miCoach is a free download and will give you a sense of what it’s like to run with the iPhone. Just don’t expect perfect accuracy. Overall rating: 3 stars out of 5.
What You’ll Need