Taking a chance with a cloudy sky, the runner took off for a quick workout. Then came the thunderstorm, stranding the Fitbit nut (me) in a shelter. My Fitbit is great – but it can’t predict the weather.

When phone calls and texts to family weren’t answered, there was one choice as darkness closed in: Dash for home and get drenched.

So a month later, guess what: The Weather Company (an IBM company) unleashes something that could help runners, bikers, swimmers and walkers avoid Mother Nature problems.

It’s the new “GoRun” forecast, which debuted Tuesday, and is built into The Weather Channel app.

But this app is more than a forecast. It offers analysis of just how effective your workout might be at a given time and place.

Boy, does my Fitbit need this app.

“Like to run? Now you can create a personalized GoRun Forecast to help you answer questions like ‘When should I run?,’ ‘What should I wear?,’ or ‘How far should I go?'” So touts the app.

It’s touted as a “running companion.”

Yes, Fitbit or other wearables can provide data on your heartbeat, blood pressure, distance, calories burned, stairs climbed, and such. But helping you predict the weather? No way.

So here comes GoRun.

“Our GoRun forecast is a great use case of translating weather data into personalized decisions that help make life better, easier and safer for a mobile user,” said Domenic Venuto, a general manager at The Weather Company, in announcing the app.

“The GoRun forecast brings new insights to the running and outdoor fitness enthusiast with the goal of improving their performance.”

The touted benefits

Here are what GoRun is supposed to help you do:

  • Better running decisions – Translating what the weather science behind running means, helping make it easier and safer to plan runs in a weekly glance
  • Get your GoRun forecast – Using factors such as humidity, temperature, wind, precipitation and cloud cover to find – and even forecast – optimal run conditions personalized for you
  • Plan your runs – 48-hour and ten-day run forecasts use your specific preferences and results to help decide the best time to run outside.
  • Trusted companion – The GoRun forecast will only get smarter and more personalized with time as a runner interacts with it.

​I’m not sure about trust. As much as I like my Fitbit, I keep a daily record of my workouts and cross-check data to see if it is consistent, therefore reliable.

So if I am going to rely on GoRun, it needs a better batting average on predicting local storms that even the best TV weather people.

How it works

As Weather Company explains the app, there’s much more at work here than a quick update of temperature and current conditions that you can get on your smartphone from a variety of sources.

Here’s the explanation:

“Once a user opts to personalize their settings, The Weather Channel will surface relevant and timely messaging on the app’s home screen to let them know when the time is right to run, using an optimum running index based on weather tailored to their best run conditions.

“Using The Weather Company’s powerful computing technology, trove of data, and forecasting expertise, The Weather Channel provides meaningful weather insights and tips unique to an individual runner’s profile, preferences and location to help determine the best time to run based on your body and goals. The Weather Channel analytics allows GoRun to correlate weather’s impact on a run based on different demographics, geo-locations, time of day, distance and more.”

An app deployed in 2014 – the OutSider – was designed to show how weather affected running, using a mix of environmental conditions and what is called “biometerological” research to form an index that The Weather Company is seeking to patent.

GoRun builds off that foundation.

It can be used on Apple and Android devices as part of The Weather Channel App.

Watch a video at:

At iTunes:


At Google Play: