App name: Runkeeper
Platform: iOS, Android
Running Tortoise Rating: 4.5/5
With the rise of running apps out there for iPhone, I thought I should share with you my experience with a handful of the apps which I’m familiar with. Kindly note that I am not paid to write this review and I am not in any way associated to the developer of the app.
As far back as I can remember, Runkeeper was the first app I installed when I started running in December 2011. The app since then has gone through some major overhauls but all for the better.
The first screen that greets you when you launch the app is the ‘New Activity’ screen. Here you can change your input type (GPS or Manual), activity type (running, cycling, walking, hiking, etc), route (if you have a saved route, you can access it here), playlist, workout (excellent feature which I will explain below) and live tracking (for paid users).
As I mention above, the workout feature is (in my opinion) what sets Runkeeper apart from the other running apps out there. You can use it to follow either one of the free training plans offered, one-offs (which are custom workouts) and target pace. The free training plans ranges from beginner 5k to a sub 3:45 marathon; all free, and all spanning from 8 to 23 weeks. Personally, I rarely use it as I prefer to follow my own training plan.
The ‘one offs’ option is the meat of my running especially for a run-walker like me. Here you can design your own interval training. For example, in mine here, I have set it to 7 minutes run and 1 minute walk; this interval will be repeated until I stop my running activity. What this essentially mean is that, audio cues will be triggered at the beginning of these intervals so that I know when to start running and when to start walking. The intervals do not have be in terms of duration; you can also structure your intervals based on distance. For example, if I needed to run 6 times of a 400m distance with a walk break of 200m in between, I’ll set the intervals as 400m run and 200m slow, and then repeat the workout 6 times. Brilliant right? The possibilities are endless.
The target pace is self-explanatory though I haven’t tried it out myself. I’ll update this post once I’ve given it a shot. Most likely audio cues will be triggered to keep my pace on target.
Once your running activity is completed, you can choose to share your runs on Facebook or Twitter. You can also specify whether the map is viewable by the public, your Runkeeper friends or just for your eyes only.
Under the Activities tab, you have a complete list of your previous activities. Each activity saved will be expanded to 3 mini tabs which are the route of the run, a graphical representation of your pace and your splits. Other than the maps, I personally do not check my splits via the app (see, since I almost always use intervals workout, my splits are based on every single run-walk interval. If I wanted to see my splits every 1km, I’d have to log in to the Runkeeper website for that).
Under the Friends tab you have a Leaderboard chart. Here you can see how you stack up against your friends in terms of the number of activities in the current month. You can also ‘invite’ friends from your Facebook to use Runkeeper. Why I use the term ‘invite’ instead of ‘add’ is that, the app only displays your Friends who are NOT using Runkeeper – if you need to add them, its easier to do it via the Runkeeper website and it is also useful if you have their Runkeeper username.
Finally the ‘Me’ tab displays a summary of your cumulative distance, average pace, number of activities, calories burned and elevation climb in comparison to the previous month (you can also change the option to have it compare to the previous week). If you have set any Goals, that will also be displayed on this tab. Here I have set a goal to run 70km in the current month and it shows how far along the goal I’m in. Last but not least a tab which lists down your Personal Records for biggest elevation climb, farthest distance, fastest average page, longest duration and most calories burned. While the data is useful, I think it would be perfect they added fastest 1k, 5k and 10k to the list. These personal records (so far) are only found in the web portal for the Nike+ app. I’ll save info on that once I write a review on it.
Hope that helps. Do let me know if you have any questions or comments below and I’ll be happy to help.