I didn’t immediately learn about apps after getting my iPhone, but once I tapped into that technology, I was in love—with apps and the iPhone. It is amazing the technology available to us in our little smartphones. I once told my husband that pretty soon the phone could cook dinner for us (how I long for that day!). For the first several weeks after discovering the app store, I only downloaded two apps (I now have about 60). Lose It, which I’ve written about two or three times, was one of those. The other is just as good: Runkeeper.
Runkeeper is an app for measuring and recording your exercise. The name is a little misleading, in that it is not just for runners (thought that may be the most common use). You can measure your biking, walking, hiking, etc. You can also record your treadmill runs and other machine workouts (elliptical, rowing machine, etc.). The cool thing is that it not only records your distance, but it also monitors your pace, as well (as in 11 minutes to run a mile).
When you’re through with your run and you save the information, Runkeeper will records a summary of your workout—complete with a nice little map of your route. The most important information (distance, pace, calories burned) will be available on your phone, but not all. You can log into your Runkeeper account on a computer and get more info (the Runkeeper account on the computer has the same sign in info as on your phone). In the screen shot below, you see the map of one of my runs, as well as the stats for that particular run. From left to right, Runkeeper shows the distance (8.42 miles), the length of time (1:41:50), the average pace (12:06 min/mile), the speed (4.96 mph), calories burned (978) and the climb (676 feet).
At the bottom of that same screen shot, you can scroll down to see the graphic below.
The green in the graph represents elevation and the blue is for pace. So as you can see, when the elevation increased, so did the pace. For instance, one of those spikes represents a pace that decelerated from 10:46 min/mile to 16:59 min/mile. The box of figures at the bottom left in the screen shot is a brief summary of each individual mile. For instance, on mile 1, the average pace was 12:19 min/mi and the average elevation was 19 feet. Most people don’t use much of this information very often (if ever), but for serious runners (those that are really trying to improve their speed), I’m sure it would be valuable. For me, I just like looking at the pretty colors (just kidding!).
Another fun feature of Runkeeper that you can only experience at the website is the “Street Team.” In short, this is a social network built around fitness. You will note in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen shot above that there is the question, “How did it go?” You can answer that question on your phone as soon as you’ve completed your activity, and all your street team can see your comments (and respond to them) on the website. Earlier this summer, I wrote: “hills, hard! hot”. I thought that aptly summed up how I was feeling at that moment.
There are other features of Runkeeper that I have not used enough to really report on them, but I know they’re there if I need or want them. There is a “coaching” feature in which you can get audio cues to notify you to pick up the pace or slow down at specific intervals according to what kind of program you are working on (you can also design your own program). And, if you want to upgrade to Runkeeper Elite, your friends and family could actually watch you “live.” That is, they can observe the little dot that represents you moving on their computer screen. This would be a wonderful feature if you ever plan to run a marathon (or even a half marathon). I think it would also be a very nice safety feature, as your loved ones can “check on you” while you’re out on a long run.
This is one of my favorite and most-used apps. I use it every time I run, hike, walk, bike. I highly recommend. Search for “runkeeper” in the app store, or you can get more info at www.runkeeper.com.
If you are on Runkeeper, I’d love you to be part of my street team! We can cheer one another on.