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Doing An Interval Workout? There’s An App For That

  • By Geoffrey Nenninger
  • Published Jan 25, 2012
  • Updated Nov 28, 2012 at 2:45 PM UTC

The Seconds Pro interval timer is a fantastic app for triathletes available for purchase from the iTunes App Store. It is a great way to keep track of your favorite cycling and running interval workouts using your iPhone.  If you’re like many athletes, you already depend on your smart phone to keep track of your busy life. Everything from scheduling workouts around business meetings to sending emails to your coach on the fly, your phone is never more than an arm’s reach away.  So why not take it a step further and actually use your phone as a training partner and motivator?  Think of the Seconds Pro interval timer as a coach who comes along with you, guiding you through your workouts, and alerting you when intervals and rest periods begin and end.

This app works by allowing users to program interval workouts into it and then running as a countdown-style timer during a workout.  The menus are intuitive and easy to navigate, and athletes can customize the experience, down to what color the screen will be during certain intervals, and what sound will indicate the beginning of an upcoming interval.  The app can even announce the name of an interval when it begins using a text-to-voice feature. Users can program their music to match their workouts, with the ability to play a specific playlist during a specific interval. Think fast, upbeat music for a more intense interval versus more ambient and relaxing music during recovery time.  The app allows users to share favorite workouts with their friends or training partners via an easy, built-in interface.

This is the perfect time of year to begin integrating the Seconds Pro app into your training program. While the days are short and the temperatures are cold, training time is limited, and much of it is done indoors. The benefits of winter interval training are two-fold: for one, doing intervals is a great way to get a lot of bang for your training buck when you have a limited amount of time. And doing creative interval workouts can also help you to keep things interesting while stuck inside.

One of the easiest ways to use the Seconds Pro app indoors is to place the phone on a hard surface that is easily seen and reached from your position on the bike or treadmill.  This way you can not only stop and start the timer while working out, but seeing the timer can help you along during a workout by keeping you abreast of the time remaining in each interval.

The Seconds Pro app can be useful outdoors as well as inside.  With the previously mentioned text to talk feature, it will read the name of an interval as it starts, alerting you to the specifics of your workout even if your phone is still tucked safely away in a jersey pocket. If you regularly run or ride with music, the app will run concurrently with your iPod, with the app’s alerts playing over your music letting you know when your next interval is beginning.

The app does have functionality that allows users to share their workouts automatically via Facebook and Twitter. This can easily be turned off if an athlete doesn’t want to alert their whole social network to the latest endeavor.

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There are a couple of additions we think would be useful in terms of how Seconds Pro allows users to share workouts. It would be great if, in addition to sharing via email or social network, users could post their favorite workouts to a website for others to download and use. And while the majority of the Seconds app’s functionality is very sleek, the process required to share a workout is not. It requires a user to copy a large amount of text directly from an email and then paste this text into the app. While not actually difficult, it simply doesn’t match the rest of the well thought out menus and functions.

The only other improvement we’d like to see is a minor one. Occasionally when running the app and playing music, either through Apple’s AirPlay or through headphones, the tones of the app can be off by a few seconds. All this means is that the audio tones signaling the start of an interval don’t sync up with the timer on the display. It is never more than a couple of seconds off, and only happens intermittently. The developer of the Seconds Pro app seems to actively update and improve the software, so this small bug will almost certainly be worked out in a future version.

At only $2.99, we find the Seconds Pro Interval Timer is very affordable for the benefits it provides.

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