Last Updated on May 21, 2023 by Michael Brockbank
When it comes to outdoor activity, Runkeeper has the potential to be an effective tool. With all of the apps out there for health and fitness, how does it compare to the others? Today, I’ll take a closer look at Runkeeper and what you can expect.
Remember, though, that no app is going to magically dissolve the fat or make you healthy. You have to put in the effort to get as much out of the tools as you can.
In the end, that’s all any of these fitness apps are: tools. You still have to wield them properly if you want to sculpt the body you want.
What is Runkeeper?
Runkeeper is a fitness tracking app that measures your movements through your phone’s GPS capability. By monitoring your movement, Runkeeper can estimate speed, distance, and relative calorie burn for the activity.
However, you don’t need to use the phone-based app to enter your progress. You can also use Runkeeper’s website to manually record your walks, runs, or swims.
The app will also report your performance, let you set goals, set custom routes in your area, and has a slight social aspect for group activities.
While you’re perfectly capable of getting quite a bit out of the free version, Runkeeper does have a premium upgrade. The premium service includes:
- Coaching plans
- Deeper insights into progress reporting
- Comparing your workouts
- Live tracking of your activity
Though, the only two things I’d probably use in the premium service are live tracking and progress insights. I think it would be fun to stream my ride across the state of Colorado on Twitter or Facebook.
What Can You Expect from Runkeeper?
Out of the several apps I’ve used in the past, Runkeeper is probably among my favorites. I’ve been using it off and on since 2014, and it’s helped me lose quite a bit of weight.
Especially in the beginning. Though, I am getting back into using the app on a semi-regular basis. I have a lot of goals I want to achieve.
So, what can you expect by using Runkeeper to track your outdoor activities?
GPS Tracking Works Well Enough
For the most part, the GPS tracking works well. There were a few times when I lived in northeastern Colorado when the GPS jumped a block away from where I actually was. Though, that’s what happens when you live in the armpit of Colorado.
Still, since using it in the Denver metro area, I haven’t had a single problem.
Keeps a Tally of Personal Bests
I am a geek when it comes to personal records and data. Although a lot of info is locked behind the premium version of Runkeeper, there is still enough available to hold my interest.
For instance, I’m able to look back at my logs for every activity stored in Runkeeper and can see that I set cycling records back in 2014 that I want to break.
Planning Custom Routes in Runkeeper
Creating a custom route is a cool feature. It lets you plan out your activity to find the best paths. This way, you can plan with accuracy how many miles you’d like to travel.
You can also get creative with the route and plan one that takes you past certain landmarks, such as taking a 15-minute break at a coffee shop at a certain point.
Social Element is Kind of Lacking
You can have followers and follow others in Runkeeper. And you can also comment on their activities when they perform one. However, that is virtually the extent of the social element.
I suppose I just expect too much. I’d love to be able to challenge others like you can on apps like Fitbit. Still, it’s kind of nice to encourage and to be encouraged by your friends and family who use the app.
Setting Goals for Personal Challenges
I am a big fan of setting goals for just about any purpose. I have spreadsheets galore to monitor my progress from writing to fitness. It’s nice that Runkeeper will keep track of these things for me.
Adding a new goal is pretty easy, and Runkeeper will periodically send you reminders. Usually, I’ll set my goals to simply surpass my previous records.
Runkeeper Calorie Burn is a Bit Off
Like most other fitness apps, the calorie calculation for Runkeeper is slightly off. But that’s to be expected since everyone is unique. It can only base the data on what you have entered for physical parameters.
This is a very rough estimation and should be taken with a grain of salt. However, it can be used to demonstrate how active you are on the platform. This is especially useful if you don’t have a calorie burn tracker like a Fitbit.
Runkeeper Integrates with Other Fitness Apps
There are a lot of apps that you can integrate into Runkeeper. The list is pretty big, and you might get a few ideas of other apps you might want to try.
This lets you share or create an intricate web of fitness management to cover all of your bases.
Several Common Activities to Record
Currently, there are 14 activity types you can track through Runkeeper. They range from walking to using a wheelchair. So, regardless of your health status, you can keep an eye on almost anything.
Keep in mind, though, that Runkeeper’s primary function is through the GPS. So, activities that keep you stationary or don’t have a lot of distance involved probably won’t track as you’d like.
For example, I don’t use Runkeeper when I walk around the backyard. It’s simply not big enough for GPS to really gauge how far I’ve traveled.
No Exporting Your Data
Although there is the option to download and export your data, it doesn’t seem to work. I’ve tried a couple of different things and the system fails to download the .ZIP file it claims to provide.
As I love diving into data in a spreadsheet, this feature would have been nice. I’m not sure why Runkeeper hasn’t fixed or removed this yet, but it just doesn’t seem to work for me.
My Experience Using the App
I don’t get out as often as I should. In 2014, I used this app quite a bit. But since then, I’ve mostly stayed in one place with short walks or treadmills.
Still, Runkeeper is on the home screen of my phone for a reason. And not just because of sentimental value.
One of the things I want to do is get more active in one way or another. This means more distance walks, bike rides, and possibly even a run or two.
Overall, I truly enjoy using the app when I do wind up traveling further than my backyard. In fact, I’ve decided to set some new records for various activities.
I want to break those personal bests, most of which were set back in 2014.
In any case, Runkeeper has been an effective app to help me lose a huge chunk of the last 80 pounds. And while it would be nice for the developers to polish it up a bit more, the app functions great, even in the free version.
Would I Recommend the App to Others?
First of all, always remember that everyone’s needs, priorities, and goals are different. What works awesomely for one person may not be a good option for another.
With that in mind, Runkeeper is probably among my favorite fitness tracking apps. I can monitor progress, set goals, and create activity plans that fit my daily routine quite easily.
Although Runkeeper will also let you keep track of weight training, its abilities for such activities are kind of limited when compared to others on the market. But for cardio movement, it’s probably among the best.
Then again, it also relies on a decent GPS signal. If you’re located in a rural area or have anything nearby that can screw with the signal, it’s not going to work well.
In that case, you can always manually enter the activity. It’s quite easy to do on the website.
So, long story short, yes, I would recommend anyone to at least try Runkeeper. Especially since it’s free to use.
Where Can You Get Runkeeper?
There are three ways you can access the Runkeeper app. It’s available on:
The Runkeeper Website
Obviously, the Runkeeper website is essentially the hub of your account. Though, it seems the developers put far more effort into the mobile apps than they do for the site itself.
This is more than likely why the export option doesn’t work.
What Is Your Favorite Fitness Tracking App?
It’s hard to say which is my favorite fitness tracker. I use MyFitnessPal and Fitbit on a daily basis. However, I do plan on getting more out of Runkeeper. After all, I want to cross the state of Colorado on a bicycle soon.
I better get working on that.
Anyway, what kind of fitness trackers do you use in your daily routines?