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App of the Week: Striiv

Developer:
Striiv Inc.

Compatible with:
iPhone 3GS or up

iPod 3rd gen or up

iPad

Requires:
iOS 5.0 or up

Price:
Free

Available here

 

As saloon old timer number 3 said in “Back to the Future Part 3”:

The sad truth is, running is simultaneously one of the most beneficial activities you can embark on, and one of the most unappealing. Whether it be the exhaustion factor, the sweaty clothes, the fact you probably have one of those “ridiculous” running styles you criticize strangers for having, or the dreaded chaffed thighs, just about everyone has a reason for not wanting to run, which is why starting the activity is often referred to as finding your motivation.

Now your motivation may come in the form of the app Striiv. Once a $99.95 smart pedometer, Striiv is now a free app that provides a lot of the usual pedometer functions like tracking calories burnt, miles ran, steps taken, etc. Where Striiv makes it’s name, though, is in how it enhances the running experience for its users.

The most basic element of this is the available social functions. It’s always more fun to run with someone else and, using Faceook, you can link up with your friends who also have the app in an ongoing stat comparison competition. Even better is the challenge feature which carries a number of pre-determined goals like walking a certain amount, time challenges, or specialty goals like ascending  the statue of liberty (or the equivalent number of steps). Completing these challenges give you trophies, making them similar to Xbox 360 achievements.

Even more similar to gaming is the actual game included with Striiv. Called MyLand, every step you take and every milestone you reach, earns you points to spend on stuff to fill your virtual world with ranging from foliage to buildings. While not as fun as say “SimCity” it’s a surprisingly deep and entertaining way to reward you for your progress.

Really the whole point of this app is to help make running fun, and it surprisingly succeeds at that. It may not help you to get started running by itself, but if you’ve already decided to start then this is one of the best apps available for helping you to keep going. The challenges are well placed and varied, the MyLand feature is addictive and implemented nicely, and best of all the basic pedometer features have all of the stats, graphs, and counters you could ask for to go along with these enhanced entertainment modes.

It’s not easy to make running enjoyable, but Striiv makes some incredible progress in achieving just that. Whether it be by providing you a constant group of running companions, or that little extra incentive to go that extra mile, Striiv’s abilities to enhance your running experience was almost worth it as a standalone $100 pedometer. As a free iPhone app, it runs away with my app of the week.

 

  

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