Game Changer: RunKeeper

“How many miles do I run a month? How many minutes do I spend running a week? What is my average pace?” These are all questions I used to ask myself when I began running. Based on these inquiries, I began to track some of this information (mostly the total miles run) using very primitive ways.

Implementing a whiteboard technique, I was able to track how many miles I was running weekly. That, linked with “MapMyRun”, an app that you can use to plot out a route and know the distance, I was doing pretty good. I set goals for myself at the beginning of the month and strived to hit the number of miles or days indicated. For the few months I was doing that, I was hitting all of my marks. It was great.

My whole running adventure changed when my sister suggested I try an app called “RunKeeper”.

What’s great about this app is that it offers you a multitude of options and information to help you improve your running. Although there is a free version of the app, I prefer the upgraded version, “RunKeeper Go” (formerly “Elite”) because I have access to more insights to my running. Some of the information this app offers:

  • GPS tracking of your run, along with audio cues at your specified distance or time.
  • Tracking of total miles for the week as well as for the month that even compares your previous week or month to the current.
  • Archiving of all previous runs.
  • Insights including total miles since using the app, average pace over time, mileage per month, and average run distance.
  • Tracking of calories burned per month as well as weekly.
  • Comparison of number of activities completed weekly or monthly.
  • Elevation climbed weekly or monthly.
  • Optional tracking of weight over time.
  • Goal setting capabilities in several different fitness areas (weight, longest distance, finishing a race, or total distance).
  • Challenges set forth by “RunKeeper” to earn prizes or discounts.
  • Tracking of Personal Records

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The aspect of this app that I think has helped me the most is the audio cues. I have cues set at every 5 minute interval and every .5 mile interval although there are several different options to choose from. These cues of the person telling me, “Time: 4 minutes 45 seconds. Distance: 0.5 miles. Average pace, 9 minutes, 36 seconds per mile,” really helps me keep my pace, especially during races. I am the kind of runner who likes to know how far I am fairly often.

Other great options that “RunKeeper” offers is that it will play the music from your phone or iPod. You can select a playlist you have already created or you can use a new feature, “RunKeeper DJ” where you select your intensity level and “RunKeeper” will take music from your phone that matches that intensity. And just like any great and fun to use app, RunKeeper allows you to “friend” people and follow their progress and running adventures as well.

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The only issue I have ever run into with using this app is that sometimes when I am tracking a run using the GPS, it will start to glitch and the person will tell me I have just run 5 miles in 12 minutes (and I don’t know about other people but that is nowhere close to my average 5 mile time). I have been able to fix that problem every time by deleting the app and re-downloading it.

Overall, “RunKeeper” has been a definite game changer when it comes to my running. It provides motivation in its initiative to provide challenges for it’s users, as well as reminders to run. Being able to see your progress and keep track of every run or activity you do is beneficial when you are training or a half marathon or just a 5k. “RunKeeper” even offers training options and plans for people who need the direction and coaching. I highly suggest runners use this app in order to help themselves improve and archive the progression of their running careers. I know I have benefited greatly from it.

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