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Fitness apps: Make rhythm-based workout playlists with Spring’s streaming music app

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Spring is an app that’ll get you moving and track where you go. Think of it as a DJ who moonlights as a coach and motivator.

This app is not alone in the streamable music service market — iTunes Radio, Spotify, Pandora, just to name a few — but what sets it apart is its ability to create playlists based on your activity’s steps-per-minute cadence.

Launch the app, choose an activity (walking, running, cycling or rowing) and select your steps-per-minute rate. Don’t know your SPM? The app includes a test — albeit no more technical than counting on your fingers — to determine your rate.

The next step will ask you if you’re exercising indoors or outside. If you select the outside option, the app will track and log your workout using the GPS on your phone. (Warning: As with any GPS-based app, this’ll crush your phone’s battery life.) Choosing the indoors option will turn off the GPS, but will allow you to log your workouts manually. If you already track your runs (such as with a GPS watch) then it’s probably better to choose the indoor option and save your battery life.

From there, Spring will generate a playlist from the more than 20,000 songs in its database. And these are real songs — with words! — instead of the electronic house music common cadence-based music apps (umps umps umps … ).

Customize your playlist by choosing the genre of music or moving a song higher in the list. Keep hearing something that makes you want to run away? Swipe right to left to delete it. (No, Spring, I really don’t want to hear Billy Idol over and over.)

You can change your SPM rate mid-workout by using the slider at the top of the app. Starting at a slower SPM keeps me from starting my run too fast, then I crank up the beats once I’m warmed up.

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Available on iTunes (sorry Android users); free for the first 180 minutes. Subscription-based Spring Unlimited is $2.99/month.

Sara Davidson

Sara Davidson is an ultrarunner and contributor to PT365. She's run 7 marathons and 32 ultramarathons -- including her first 100-miler. This fall she is training for the Marine Corps Marathon using our PT365 Run Plan. Reach her at sdavidson@gannett.com .