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Running Playlist: Music/Running/Playlist App review of the week: Metronome:

Running Playlist
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What is a Metronome?
A metronome is a device that creates regular ticks (beats) and is used by some musicians to maintain tempo.

As I mention in multiple places on this site, running to a BPM of 180 beats per minute is the optimal foot turnover that a runner should strive for and a metronome is the best tool to use to do this.

If you run with an iPhone, you are in luck because there are dozens of metronome apps out there that you could use.

Most of these apps also allow you to listen to music if you start playing music before you launch the app, thus you get the benefit of running with music and the benefit of having a metronome constantly ticking to help pace yourself.

Since most of these apps were designed for musicians, when choosing an app, you need to make sure it allows you to set the beats per minute you are looking for (180 BPM), and also that you can set the time signature (that is, how often does it produce a “special” tick, which I’m sure is important for music, but if you hear a different sound every 3 ticks, it gets confusing when you run).

I set the time signature to 2/4 so that I have one “regular” tick and one “special” tick and I can associate each of them with my right or left foot touching the ground.

It will take some getting used to running at 180 BPM if you’re not doing so already, but if you keep using a metronome, and controlling how often your feet touch the ground, you will find yourself getting faster very quickly.

Here are links to a couple of my favorite metronome apps:
Free simple and does the job:
Metronome

Not so free, has lots of cool features and does a lot more:
Beats

And of course, you can just search iTunes for the term “metronome” and you’ll find plenty more.

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Running Playlist: Music/Running/Playlist App review of the week: Cadence:

I had a chance to play with the Cadence app over the weekend, and here’s my review:

What it does:

The cadence app is a very simple app. All it does is scan you music and let you find songs that match a certain BPM you are looking for. This simplicity is also its greatest strength.
It’s very easy to use and finds songs by BPM so you can run or exercise to the BPM of your choosing.

Does it work?

Well, the answer to this is yes and no.
The most important question really, is it accurate? if it’s not, then the whole thing is a waste of time.

I’ve been studying songs’ BPM for a while now, and I’m usually pretty good at figuring out the bpm by just tapping to the beat. I don’t know if this is a testament to my skill or to that of the app, but in most cases (I’d say about 70-80% of the time), it’s spot on to my manual beats.

The problem starts when it comes to slower songs, or at least that’s where I spotted it.

It has a very hard time scanning and getting bpm right on a slow song and it makes a huge mess when it does.

One very clear example was Barry Manilow’s Mandy. it showed the bpm for that to be 219. if that was the case, running to Mandy would give me a heart attack because that is a VERY high BPM. but that’s not the correct bpm for that song.

The app is also limited by the size of your music collection. a typical iphone has usually around 16gb of storage. if you use all of its features, you will have some videos, some books, and some apps which don’t leave much for a very large music collection. if your collection is at around 1000 songs, which is a pretty good size, you’ll be limited to a small amount of songs for each bpm you choose. of course, you can expand the range, but the more you expand it, the less you need the app.

Overall though, I think this app does add value to a run. I would rate it at 3 out of 5.

Get the app here:

Cadence

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