RunKeeper Pro iPhone app a great training partner

Sep 18, 2010
Sports

Although I had a few issues on my first outing with the pricey fitness iPhone app RunKeeper Pro ($9.99), it seems like the only the thing the feature-filled app can’t do is actually run for me. I was initially nervous about dropping $10 on an app I was unsure would work for my novice needs, but the draw of GPS mapping, coupled with customizable training modes, looked too promising to pass up. The good news is that RunKeeper Pro is worth more than its $10 price tag and is a great training option for beginning and seasoned runners alike.

RunKeeper Pro uses the iPhone’s (sorry, iPod) GPS to track you on an integrated map as you run, walk, bike, or perform a variety of other activities. The app is then able to calculate your average speed, pace, current speed and distance traveled, as well as detailed split times. On my first outing with the app, I was unable to get the GPS sensor to enable on my iPhone 4. I’m not sure what caused the issue, since all of the settings were correct and reinstalling didn’t help, but I was able to fix the problem by launching Google Maps and syncing RunKeeper with its GPS. Since then, the app has run flawlessly.

My favorite part of RunKeeper Pro is the training workout. You can design your own workout down to the second (or quarter mile/kilometer), and the app will prompt you with audio cues to walk, jog or run at the correct interval. You can also have the app provide audio cues for time, distance and average pace at every mile — or every five minutes. Not having to worry about keeping time is great for a new runner and the pacing cues makes it easy to hear if you’re holding steady or need to push yourself harder. Or, set a target pace and have the app coach you as you run. RunKeeper offers iPod integration, will run in the background and has a built-in camera function.

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When you’ve completed a run, you can input notes and then all of the information is uploaded to your easy-to-create account at RunKeeper.com. Through the settings tab, you can opt to make your runs public, or send automatic updates to Twitter or Facebook. If your GPS were to drop out for a portion of your run, you can make manual adjustments to your route, mileage and time on RunKeeper.com, as well as access comprehensive fitness reports. All of your activities are stored in the RunKeeper app and it’s also equipped for manual entries, so you can track things like treadmill runs or elliptical sessions, too.

If I haven’t convinced you that RunKeeper Pro is worth its weighty price, there is a free, pared-down version of the app available (sans the interval trainer), which will give you a feeling of functionality and interface.

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