I have been using RunKeeper Pro since it was first made free in January of this year. I am training for a half-marathon run in April, and wanted something to help motivate me and to track my progress. RunKeeper fits the bill perfectly.
There are two components, the mobile app, which runs on iPhone and Android devices, and the web application, which allows more detailed analysis of your activities. The mobile application has a simple, straightforward interface, which allows you to track the time of your activities (this could be running, cycling, walking, hiking, etc…), as well as plot a GPS map of your activity, so RunKeeper can figure out how fast you were going, and how far you went. The app also offers verbal reporting while you are performing your activity, to let you know the time you’ve been working out, how far you have traveled, and your average pace for the whole activity. This is really useful to help you keep on track and not go too slow or too fast for your particular goals.
After each activity, you are asked if you want to post it on Facebook, if you have linked your Facebook account with RunKeeper. I would recommend this, as it is a great way to get encouragement from your friends which just offers more motivation to keep working toward your goal.
Your activity is also uploaded to RunKeeper.com, where you can login later and analyze your activity in more detail. You can look at a Google Map of your activity as well as see the elevation, pace, and speed at any given point during your activity. You can make your activities public or private. You can see an example of one of my runs here.
(Credit: Adam Pash/Lifehacker)
There are some more social aspects integrated into the RunKeeper site, such as groups of your Facebook friends who also use RunKeeper, so you can keep abreast of their activities and offer them encouragement and motivation as well.
Additionally, RunKeeper has some “classes” that you can purchase, which are created by sports trainers or professional athletes, that will help you to reach specific goals. Once you have purchased a class, you can start using it during your activities, and the app will give you verbal coaching while you work out, such as instructions to run the next mile at a fast pace, or to sprint for 45 seconds. This makes your workout more dynamic and also helps you to improve specific parts of your performance (like speed or endurance) without having to come up with a workout plan on your own. In my case, there are several Half Marathon classes available for different experience levels and different amounts of time to train before the race (16 weeks vs 24 weeks, for instance).
Since I’ve started using RunKeeper my outlook on running has changed, I’ve connected with a few other runners from my Facebook circle, and my endurance and motivation to keep going towards my goal of running a half-marathon have improved.
I’ve used other run/sport tracking apps for Android in the past but this one has them beat on the simplicity of the user interface, and the smooth social integration, which for me has proven very useful to keep me motivated.