Run Like a Boss

Blugold alum creates running app to give your workouts a musical push

Tom Giffey

When it comes to getting fit, most of us could use some encouragement, whether it’s from a personal trainer, a digital device, or some upbeat tunes in our earbuds. BOSS Running, an iPhone app developed by a UW-Eau Claire alum, combines elements of all three into a program designed to help the miles fly by.

“Our goal is to make exercise fun and accessible, hoping that it will become a part of your daily routine,” says Jeffrey Kern, the app’s lead developer. “We’re not just delivering an app, but instead a happier, physically-active lifestyle.”

BOSS Running was released in March and is available free from the App Store for iOS devices (such as the iPhone and iPod touch) and the Apple Watch. The app is meant to help users take steps – literally and figuratively – toward better health.

“When I started my own personal weight-loss journey back in 2011, I weighed almost 300 lbs. and could barely jog for five minutes,” says Kern, who graduated from UWEC in 2009 with a bachelor’s of business administration in information systems. “I understand how difficult it can be to become physically active and to lose weight; BOSS Running is the result of my own weight-loss journey, and it is my goal to help people with theirs.”

If you’re seeking lower-intensity workouts, the app can help you with power walking, walking and jogging, or just jogging. If you’re more interested in building speed and endurance, the app also includes training programs for everything from a 1.5-kilometer run to a full marathon. All told, the app can generate more than 9,000 daily workouts of gradually increasing intensity.

While there are other running apps on the market, Kern explains that BOSS Running is different because it’s free, requires no registration or membership, and doesn’t intrude on users with advertising. “What makes BOSS Running unique – compared to other apps – is that it provides a breadth of features all in one package: There are two coaches that provide advice and feedback while you work out, and guide you through each workout,” Kern adds. “Coach Ian is the gruff, alpha personal trainer that wants to kick butt while working out, while Coach Kelly is the supportive, encouraging personal trainer. There’s over 1.5 hours of recorded dialog in the app, with plenty of advice and tips on how to work out, your equipment, how to be safe, and what kinds of food to eat.”

When you install the app, you can allow it to accesses the music you already have on your device, creating a customized workout playlist. You can also pay a bit extra to buy some specially selected tunes that will get your body moving. The app automatically adjusts the music to fit the pace of your routine, so you get a little extra rhythmic push when you need it most. Kern says he’s currently working to integrate music from streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora into the app.

Like all good apps, BOSS Running is evolving, and in the coming months that process will be assisted by the summer start-up accelerator program through Penn State University. (Kern now lives in State College, Pennsylvania.) “A substantial portion of this program is learning about your business market and to challenge your assumptions about potential customers, and to learn what features customers want – there’s no point in making a product if there’s no need for it!” Kern says. Already, Kern is working with three interns to experiment with the app and explore the possibility of bringing it the Android platform.

The response to the app from users has been “overwhelmingly positive,” Kern adds, but he admits that he wishes more people would download and use it. Nonetheless, as any runner knows, sometimes it takes a while to pick up speed, and Kern seems willing to push forward toward the finish line.

Learn more about the app and how to download it at bossrunning.com.

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