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Recently I was contacted by the people who created the app Cadence for the iPhone and iPod Touch, asking if I wanted to give it a shot. I looked at their web site and saw that it was a training app that is supposed to use BPM to help a runner pace themselves. When I saw that, I said, “Yes… yes I do want to try that.”
I downloaded the app and created a couple BPM smart playlists on iTunes. I have a VERY LARGE digital music library, but only about a quarter of it is tagged with BPM right now. So by creating smart playlists that looked for songs in a certain BPM range, I was not quite sure what kind of list I would end up with!
According to the Cadence site there are a few BPM ranges that correlate to typical paces. For example, a 10-minute pace is typically inline with 146-151 BPM, a 9-minute pace is 153-158… You can view their whole chart of BPM/Paces on their special page for runners.
When I downloaded it and saw the metronome, I thought I would be able to hear the metronome in the background with the music. And this was something I was really excited about, since using a metronome for training drills can help with cadence and foot turnover (remind me to talk about that sometime, if you’re at all interested!). I had downloaded a metronome app at one point, but it’s kind of painful to listen to ONLY the ticking of the metronome.
Unfortunately, this app didn’t have the option to hear the metronome ticking. It’s only used to dictate which of your playlists it will start playing, you set the metronome upon opening the app to match the pace you want to run that day. You can choose to shuffle through your BPM list, so that’s what I have elected to do for my test runs.
It was fun having a bizarre mix of music. And it was definitely a MIX, an assortment that I would never have thought to put together, but it kind of made for a fun run, never quite knowing what was going to come on next. I heard old Mariah Carey, Devo, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Flogging Molly, Interpol, Bloc Party, Avril Lavigne… very eclectic. I did have to skip when Guns ‘n’ Roses “November Rain” came on, it brings up memories of high school dances, not in a good way. I even ended up with a movie clip that came from the Brady Bunch movie… random.
But it all seemed to be pretty well matched in terms of beat to keep me moving.
It’s simple enough to use and I think if it gets a few more features it will be a fun addition to any iPhone/iPod Touch runner’s assortment. Some complaints are that it seems a little too limited for the price right now. And when I got a call while running, the app shut off and I had to start it up again. Not a huge deal, but still a little annoyance. My iTunes library will pause when I get a call and then pick itself up again… Just saying!
If you have a Mac, they also offer a desktop program to help scan your library to collect BPM counts. They are planning on offering a PC version later this year. They offer several options for Windows downloads if you wanted to scan your library and still use the app.
If you’ve got an iPhone or iPod Touch and are interested in trying it out, I’ve got a spare discount code I could give away. Just leave a comment!