UA Connected Running Shoes and the UA MapMyRun app
Written By: Ben Mounsey
It’s safe to say that running kit and technology have both advanced significantly since I bought my first pair of running shoes back in the early 1990’s. Over the last few years, revolutionary cushioning, unique lacing systems, ultra-lightweight designs and carbon fibre plated shoes are just a few examples of the mind-boggling technological advancements that have captured our attention and, in some cases, caused plenty of controversy.
So, what can we expect to see next in the world of running? How about running shoes that can actually help to coach athletes?
Well look no further, because Under Armour has now got that base well and truly covered. Connect your running shoes to the UA MapMyRun app and get real-time Form Coaching to help you become a better runner. Track everything from pace, stride length, and cadence, plus get personalised coaching tips along the way.
Here is my quick guide to getting started, how to use the UA MapMyRun app and the benefits of using this revolutionary new technology in conjunction with the range of UA Connected Footwear:
GETTING STARTED - HOW TO CONNECT UA FOOTWEAR TO THE UA MAPMYRUN APP
STEP 1: DOWNLOAD
Getting started couldn’t be easier. Firstly, you need a pair of UA smart shoes and then you’ll need to download the free UA MapMyRun app.
STEP 2: CONNECT
Find a flat surface to set up and connect your shoes to the app. It’s also important to set up your profile and include your biometric measurements, as ultimately these details are extremely important to help the app measure your target stride length and cadence.
STEP 3: RUN
Turn on Form Coaching and start running to get real-time guidance on how to improve your form.
WHO IS THE UA MAPMYRUN APP SUITABLE FOR?
The UA MapMyRun app is obviously only useful to anyone who owns a pair of UA smart shoes, but suitable for runners of all ages and abilities and anyone looking to improve their running technique, form and fitness. It’s extremely easy to use and is packed full of useful features and benefits.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING THE UA MAPMYRUN APP AND UA SHOES?
1. TRACK YOUR RUN ON THE MAP
Track and view your run in real-time by using the UA MapMyRun app to see exactly where you are in the map and where you’ve been. You can zoom in and out, to plan a route during a run, or track back to your original starting position. This feature is particularly useful if you’re exploring unfamiliar areas and want to discover new paths, tracks and roads, or plan a completely new route by simply viewing the map.
2. BASIC SUMMARY
During and after your run, you can track and monitor basic information like the distance covered, the duration of your activity, average pace and calories burned. This information can either be viewed in the corner of the screen with the map or as full screen.
During a workout, you can choose the appropriate workout type (e.g. run or treadmill) and select the level of feedback you receive and also how it’s given to you. For example, this can be live audio feedback which will coach you as you run, including audio cues for intervals, distance goals, pace goals, plus many more. The Form Coaching Audio can be adjusted to how often you hear the coaching audio during exercise. Personally, I prefer to analyse my run afterwards, but it’s good to have the option as it will suit a range of personal preferences.
3. FORM SUMMARY
This is where the app really starts to get clever. Post-run, it’s possible to analyse your performance and running form in much greater detail. Your average cadence (in steps per minute), average stride length (in cm), average ground contact time (measured in milliseconds) and your average foot strike angle can all be viewed as headline figures and as graphs over the duration of your run. Get more from your next run by learning how to improve your technique and running style, achieved by reading and responding to general coaching tips provided by the app.
There’s more; based on your data, the app will provide personalised coaching tips to specifically help you correct and perfect your running form. For example, I learnt that my stride is longer than my target range – a common feature among runners. The app then suggested I aim for a stride that allows my torso to remain upright, with my hips forward under my belly button. It also warned that incremental adjustments are better than drastic change. For my next run, the app suggested I try and adjust my stride by just a few inches for a few minutes and see how it feels. It concluded that 21% of my stride length and just 11% of my cadence were in target range. Plenty to work on it seems!
4. CREATE TRAINING PLANS
Within the app it’s possible to create training plans for improved results and ultimately to help you become a better runner. There are specific training plans included with the app that can help you lose weight, learn about running basics or target specific races for 5K, 10K, half-marathon and full-marathon distances. Additionally, you can create and customise your own personalised plans and access a range of strength and conditioning training routines built by UA performance specialists. This collection of workouts provides you with written guidance and videos, or are hosted on the Zwift Running platform.
Personally, I’ve found the video workouts extremely useful. For example, the Bodyweight Circuit last for just 15 minutes, so it’s extremely easy to incorporate into a busy lifestyle as it hardly takes up any time at all. Each exercise is timed, really well explained and perfectly demonstrated in the supporting videos.
5. CREATE AND FOLLOW ROUTES
You can create and follow routes based on your previous activities which you can access from the main menu. A leaderboard is automatically created which includes a list of all other UA MapMyRun users who have completed the route. Another handy feature, which I’ve used a few times is the ‘DO IT’ option, which allows you to run the route and use the map trace on screen for handy navigation and route progress in real-time. Additional route details include distance, ascent and a route profile. This feature is particularly beneficial if you want to compare and contrast your efforts and demonstrate progress over a period of time. It’s also really handy if you’re someone who often gets lost during a run!
6. UPGRADE TO PREMIUM FEATURES
The free app allows you access to plenty of useful features, but upgrading to the premium subscription provides you with even greater benefits (£27.99 per year or £5.49 a month). One particular example is the Live Tracking feature which lets your family and friends follow your runs with real-time location tracking. Additionally, you can get race-ready with personalised training plans and detailed heart rate analysis (app is compatible with UA Heart Rate Monitor).
7. JOIN CHALLENGES
Aside from personalised training and coaching, you can also join challenges and earn badges to help improve your motivation. Organised challenges are free to join and you can compare your efforts against other UA members via the overall leaderboard.
There is also the opportunity to create your own personal challenges and even invite friends to take part. This is a great little feature and helps create some friendly rivalry as you can compete in 4 different categories, including Most Workouts, Most Distance, Most Calories Burned and Most Workout Time. They can be further customised by allowing you to set the frequency and duration of each particular challenge.
Overall, I have found the UA MapMyRun app to be really easy and fun to use. It is extremely useful for anyone who wants a free alternative (or cheaper paid subscription) to comparable apps like Strava and offers a wealth of excellent features and benefits. For example, the ability to access training plans, create your own workouts and challenges and improve your running form and technique with Form Coaching, is something completely unique to Under Armour and MayMyRun.
As running equipment and kit continues to develop and evolve, for better or for worse, the UA MapMyRun app and connected footwear is one technological advancement that should be both praised and celebrated.
Are you feeling inspired to lace up your running shoes and hit the road? For more advice and inspiration then head over to our Running Hub. Need to get kitted up? Our Running Store has everything you need including Running Shoes, Clothes and Equipment.