AWT Health Club: RunKeeper

By Chris Brown (originally posted to Flickr as Marathon Runners) [ CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

By Chris Brown (originally posted to Flickr as Marathon Runners) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This week’s app: RunKeeper

Other than a few stints over the years when I was training for and running 5Ks, I have never been a runner. I prefer to take the world at a slower pace with trail walks instead, but that doesn’t mean I can’t use what’s undeniably one of the best running apps on the market, RunKeeper (free, but with $39.99 in-app purchase for RunKeeper Elite and other IAPs for training plans).

The app has been out for years, and is a sibling to Breeze, which I also use. So what’s the difference between the two apps? Think of Breeze as being the iPhone app version of a Pedometer, giving you coaching along the way and letting you know how many steps you’re taking during a regular day. It’s when you get out of the house or office and dedicate time to a run, walk, bike ride or workout that RunKeeper is useful.

Let’s say I decide to go on a hike on one of the local trails. When I first leave my house, I tap a “Go Walking” button that not only starts a timer but also begins tracking my walk using GPS. Every ten minutes or so I get a verbal update from the app telling me just how far I’ve hiked, and at any point I can look at the app to see other stats like my pace, how many calories have been burned, etc…

When I’m done with my hike, I tap Stop to capture the walking distance, elevation gain and loss, and more info. I can choose to share that information with my friends or through traditional social networks. I personally love the fact that I can see a map of my walk or hike on a map, with the ability to save that “course” for future reference.

I’m hoping to make use of another RunKeeper 5.5 feature at the end of this week… the app now has Apple Watch support, allowing runners and walkers to keep their phones in a pocket and control the app all from the Watch.

Probably the best feature of RunKeeper is the ability to set goals and get guidance along the way, either through the use of purchased training plans or creating your own.

RunKeeper probably works with more fitness trackers and apps than any other app on the market. If you have a Bluetooth Smart or ANT+ heart rate monitor like the Wahoo Blue HR, Polar H7 or Garmin HRM, RunKeeper tracks your heart rate to keep you in a specific zone. Users of MyFitnessPal can have calories burned data transferred automatically from RunKeeper, Fitbits work with Runkeeper, the Garmin Forerunner GPS watches and Garmin Connect work with the app, and even the Withing Wi-Fi scales can send weight information directly to RunKeeper. The list goes on, and is huge.

There’s so much going on with RunKeeper that I could write a 100,000 word book on the subject… but I won’t. Just download the app for free from the App Store, try it for a while, and then decide if you want to go for the Elite subscription or buy a training plan. You can’t go wrong with the free version.

Health Club Members!

Rather than having to post your progress (or in my case, the lack thereof) on the Apple World Today Facebook page, I’ve created a group that’s strictly set up for us. You’ll need to be invited to the group; please use the email button on the right sidebar to send me the email address you use for Facebook so I can invite you.

My weekly stats:

  • Weight: 194.3 lbs
  • Change from last week: -0.3 lbs
  • Steps taken each day: M-1781,T-4051, W-2582, TH-2048, F-2185, SA-2754, SU-4423
  • Average steps per day last week: 2832 (+645 from previous week)

Let’s hear how you did! Let’s get moving!