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Tech Trends: Keeping Up With The Runkeeper App

A deeper dive into the popular smartphone running app.

In a previous edition of Tech Trends, we introduced three of our favorite iPhone GPS running apps. We’ve gone into more depth about what makes each of them worth considering on your next run. For our final installment in the series, we take a look at Runkeeper.

Released in 2008, Runkeeper was one of the first apps to appear in the iTunes store. As smartphones have become more competent fitness devices, the app has kept pace with timely updates and improvements. Runkeeper was recently bought by running apparel manufacturer, ASICS.

Options Aplenty

Viewing the Runkeeper app for the first time can be a bit overwhelming. Instead of hiding buttons and features in menus, Runkeeper presents a large number of options on the home screen. With the current version, there are 13 buttons and five slider options to navigate. On the bright side, the trade off for Runkeeper’s cluttered home screen is quick access to a host of useful features.

Runkeeper performs the basic tasks of a GPS running app well. Recording a run is simple and the app logs the run data in an easy-to-read, organized entry. Unlike other apps, Runkeeper isn’t only for running. The app can also keep track of other activities, including cycling, cross country skiing and more. For those wanting an app that goes beyond running, this is a welcome addition.

Another strength of Runkeeper is the ease of creating fitness and health goals. While other apps provide basic training plans, “Goal Coach” provides a simple, more personalized approach. The app determines your current level of fitness based on user responses to a series of questions. Whether the objective is to finish a half marathon or lose a few pounds, Runkeeper has the ability to create a realistic path for different types of goals.

Paint A Picture of Your Overall Health

While bouts of exercise are vital to your well-being, other daily habits and activities also play an important role in your overall health. Runkeeper brings exercise and daily activity data together by acting as a central hub. The data collected by Runkeeper’s large list of health and fitness partners is viewable from within the app. For example, Withings and Jawbone fitness trackers can send daily step counts to Runkeeper. Sharing sleep, nutrition, weight, and your GPS watch’s activity data can help paint a more complete picture of your health.

Is premium worth it?

The majority of Runkeeper’s features are available in the free version of the app. For those who want more, Runkeeper Go is available for $40/year or $10/month. The most notable additional feature with Runkeeper Go is Live Tracking. When this feature is enabled, family and friends can track you in real-time during your next marathon or during your weekend long run. Your location will be broadcast to their mobile device so they can be aware of your exact location.

Runkeeper Go members also receive detailed reporting features and a few more training plan options. Unless live tracking or advanced reports are a must, you’re not missing that much by sticking with the free version.

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