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Dear running colleagues,

I start the forum thread to let you know about the app I wrote to help me control the running pace. It helped me a lot so I share the news, maybe it will help you as well. The app is called Pace Control and it can be installed from Google Play on an Android phone. Ah, and it is free! Before I begin “my story”, please, also forgive me my English – I am not a native English speaker, but I hope you will be able to understand what I mean… :)

I have run regularly for about three years. I am not very young (almost forty), but I think I am still far from my top performance, so I still find motivation to improve my personal bests. Because of this I decided to run according to training plans that match my goals. Unfortunately, I found it very difficult to run the workouts right because I lack feeling the pace of my run. The common theme was to start too fast, I usually realized it before the end of the first fast interval (I felt my legs were burning) and then the only thing I could do was finishing this interval and trying to do the same thing for a few next intervals. But the longer the workout, the harder it was to speed up, and in the end, I was unable to do what was expected. I ended the workout totally tired and with the feeling that I failed.

I tried using GPS apps on the phone to solve this problem, but none of them matched my needs. They were either not reliable (consecutive pace readings differ a lot while in fact I run without speeding up or slowing down), I experienced some annoying bugs or I just felt this is not exactly what I wanted. And I missed the functionality to give me the feeling of being in control of my races. I dreamt of setting the race distance, expected time at the finish line and whether I want to run with the constant pace or with a negative split strategy (start slow and gradually speed up) and then I wanted to have regular feedback whether I am in line with my plan. This was a functionality I believe still is a killer even for dedicated running watches (they usually offer something similar but without a negative split strategy).

Ah, watches. Why not to use a running watch? I had my reasons. First, I like running with my phone anyway, because I can listen to music (I even have a playlist with songs at 180 BPM exactly) and in case something unexpected happens, I can easily call anybody I need. Second, I did not want to look at my wrist trying to recognize digits displayed on the watch face as this is not something natural at least when you run really fast, I just wanted to hear the voice feedback. And last but not least, phone I already had was powerful enough to do all the things the watch can do, so why to spend (sometimes irrational) money on a watch?

Luckily, I like programming and I wanted to learn how to develop for mobile platforms, so I just wrote the app I wanted to use. The name for the app is Pace Control. I’ve been using it regularly (in development build) for almost a year now and I also run some races with it. For example, thanks to the negative split function my last marathon race was something I could be proud of from the point of view of strategy – and I beat my personal best by almost 10 minutes…

I know that for many of you the app lacks some functionality. If you expect social Facebook-like functions, you will not find them. So far there is not even a workout history or a map. But Android being a multitasking platform makes it possible to run Pace Control together with other app at the same time. For example, I regularly run with Pace Control and Endomondo. Pace Control tells me how fast I run, so I know I do my workouts right, and Endomondo registers everything so I can easily analyze the training at home and see my full workout history. Of course, I will add some of the missing features to the app (a map is coming soon), but I decided to share the news with you now, because I found the app to be extremely useful for me even at this stage of maturity. If I get your positive feedback, I hope it will also motivate me better to continue working on new features.
Okay, I think this is enough for the introduction of Pace Control. If anyone is interested in trying the app, go ahead:

Pace Control homepage (I suggest at least skimming the manual): http://pacecontrol.pbksoft.com
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pbksoft.pacecontrol
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pacecontrolapp - thanks in advance for your likes :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Version 1.5 is out!

Change list:
• improvements of voice feedback
- you can decide whether to hear standard messages or more informal but shorter ones.
- when some other app is playing music when a voice feedback message is to be played, Pace Control can ask the app to either lower volume or pause the playback completely.
- possibility to decide whether to hear extended message after each kilometer/mile.
- support for Australian English voice.
• some minor changes
 

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Version 1.9.0 is out. There were many changes in comparison to 1.5. The most notable thing is probably a remote race functionality. You can run against your friend (who can be anywhere in the world as long as he/she has an internet connection) with real-time feedback. It is a lot of fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You can try 1.9.2. Even more stats and option to prevent accidental clicks during workouts are available.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I work on adding charts to workout information screen. I hope you will like it. If you have any idea, what useful but non-standard (I believe I thought about "standard" graphs myself already) could be displayed on these charts, please, share your thoughts.
 

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Hi Bieniu79,

This app sounds exactly what i am looking for, i struggle to control my pace, which then effects what distance i can run. I am looking for an app where i can set the time i want to do each km on a set distance, which sounds like you have created. Are there any plans though to put it on to the IOS platform?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Why would I want to carry a phone with me when running?
Well, everyone can have their own preferences and I do not say that you must carry a phone when running, but I can tell you why I do it:
1) I want to have a phone with me anyway, so I can contact others in case of an injury or whatever else happens so I can inform others I will be back home late for example.
2) When running in areas I do not know well (and I like trying new routes) I need to have a map with me.
3) I also like listening to podcasts and/or music when running. Some sport watches make it possible to listen to the music, but for podcasts I think the phone is probably the only option.
4) Having a phone with me also means that I can use it to pay for something (e.g. I can buy some water in the middle of long runs when it's hot - very handy)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Still not convinced.
As I wrote before everyone has a right to have their own preferences, so I am not going to insist that everyone must run with a phone in a pocket. :)

But if you want to try a remote race then using Pace Control on a phone is probably the only option. And it is a lot of fun. You can read more about it here: https://pacecontrol.pbksoft.com/en/remote-race.html
 

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I also do not see the need for a pace control app. People these days seem to need an app for every little thing they do, sometimes it is better and easier to learn from experience.
You would be surprised at the number of people who will not go out for a run because their Garmin is not charged :)
To me, running is probably one of the simplest sports out there, just run, no gadgets no tricks just do it.
Best of luck with your venture.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you.

You know, I also love running because zi do not need anything special to do it. But if there is a possibility to impove your training (reliable pace information) or getting some more adrenaline (remote race) sometimes just for fun and all of this with help of a device I already have anyway, than why not?

It is great that you shared your view and opinion on this topic. I really appreciate it and enjoy discussing with people who see something in a little bit different way than I do. This is always very interesting to learn from experience of others. So thanks again.
 

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Recently during the winter months I have been carrying my iPhone with me, but just in case I need to ring for help. Normally I wouldn't carry the phone as I don't have pockets, and I certainly don't want it strapped to my arm. I use a Garmin Forerunner to see pace, timer, mileage, heart rate, etc while on the move.

I am curious how you would use the app, do you have to run holding your phone out in front?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
No. I have it in my pocket and rely on voice messages generated by the app (Pace Control can be set to generate voice messages every 200 meters or 1/8 mile). I have headphones paired via Bluetooth connected to the phone. But you must spend some time to select headphones that sit comfortably in your ears when running - not every model on the market will.

But becauae you mentioned iPhone I must admit that there is no iOS version of Pace Control available. But maybe you can have the same way of using a phone when running with other apps. Good luck anyway.
 
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