Dedicated GPS devices have for a long time been a must for the serious fitness fanatic. However the evolution of smart phones which has seen GPS become an almost permanent fixture in the majority of devices makes fitness tracking much more accessible to all. RunKeeper is an app which is available for a wide range of devices, including the most popular iPhone and Android models, and is used for tracking all of your runs. The app will give you regular updates and statistics on each and every run, as well as aid you in setting goals.
In this review I’ll start by talking through the setup of the app. I then detail the very straightforward way you will track your run. I finish by delving into all of the added extras you’ll find within the app, before giving an overview of RunKeeper.
Having downloaded the app, you’ll sign up either through an e-mail address or through a social media site such as Facebook. You’ll be asked to enter some basic information about yourself, as well as your weight, which it will use to help track the amount of calories you’ll burn when on a run. Before you start your first run, you can choose a plan based on losing weight, learning to run, prep for a race or to simply get fit. Under each of these categories you’ll find a number of free plans, as well as some plans which you can access if you join ‘Runkeeper Go’ premium, which you can join for a monthly or an annual fee.
To track a run it couldn’t be easier as you’ll simply go the ‘Start’ page where you’ll see a map of your current location and hit the ‘Go Running’ button. On the screen you’ll now see a page displaying the total time of your run, the average minutes per kilometer, the number of calories burned, the total distance and the current pace. In the middle of the screen you’ll also see a bar chart which shows your current and past pace. During the run, you can opt to have an audio update of your progress, this customizable and very useful if you’re the type who wants to know exactly how you are progressing. At the end of the run, you’ll receive a detailed report of your activity, including a map of your route. Of course, RunKeeper isn’t just ideal for running, as it will also track any walks in exactly the same way, so if a hike in the country or a stroll around the park is your thing, this app is equally useful.
Clicking the hamburger button found on the top left of the app will bring up all of the added features. The ‘Me’ section keeps a track of all of your previous activities, where you can also set goals and look at your personal bests. Progress checks can also be viewed when a member of ‘RunKeeper Go’. The ‘Friends’ button allows you to share info with app buddies, while you’ll find a number of different targets in the ‘Challenges’ section. The final options are the already touched upon training plans and the ‘settings’ option. Under ‘settings’ you’ll be able to set reminders, set when and how often the audio cues come in when on a run, choose your primary display when running and find options for sharing activities with friends. You’ll also be able to set the app up to communicate with another fitness app – for example, you might want to communicate the number of calories burned to another health or fitness tracking app.
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