When it comes to run tracking apps, RunKeeper is one of the best in the business. We’re not the only ones that think that either as running giant Asics snapped up Runkeeper picking up its 45 million users for a reported $85 million.
The reason for its popularity is that it’s packed with features. There are training plans, social integration and the app has been at the forefront when it comes to collaborations with the likes of Fitbit and Spotify.
Essential reading: Best GPS running watches
If you’re a RunKeeper user and you’re just tracking your sessions and checking out your times, you’re barely making use of one of the most powerful running apps out there. But never fear. Wareable has amassed over 100 runs and 300 miles of pavement pounding to really get to grips with RunKeeper.
Read on to supercharge your training.
Use it on your Apple Watch
RunKeeper now has its own proper watchOS2 app for the Apple Watch, which means you can run without your phone and have your activity logged in the service. If you leave your phone at home you won’t get GPS tracked activity, but if you take it along for the ride you’ll be able to pause and resume runs using the Watch, and get live readouts on your distance, pace and performance.
Run to the beat
Runkeeper DJ has been kicked to the curb in favour of adding Spotify Running support. Instead of simply filling your session with your favourite songs, it’ll pick out tracks to match your running tempo and hopefully get you covering more miles. It’s iOS only for now, but Runkeeper is working on bringing the support to Android in the future.
The social aspects of running should never be overlooked, and joining RunKeeper is like having your own running club. Just head to the friends tab within the app and RunKeeper will mark those with RunKeeper installed. Alternatively, you can add those who don’t, and motivate them to get their running gear on.
You can check in on how your connections are doing, send likes and comments on their runs for motivation – and the app will even nudge you when they do a run. Which is a sure-fire way to make you feel bad when the notifications finds you tucking into a burger and fries.
Play nice with Fitbit
RunKeeper is loaded with neat integrations so you can get more out of your training. One of the neatest is its Fitbit partnership, which means you can have details of your daily activity loaded from your fitness tracker into the app. It only works one way, so you won’t see runs in your Fitbit – which is a real shame. Shame on you, Fitbit.
Just fire up RunKeeper.com and go to the cog and choose Account Settings. Click apps, and you’ll find Fitbit listed, along with Withings and some other, less fun options. Follow the instructions to sync both services together.
Add runs from your wearable devices
For many people RunKeeper is their first run-tracking app before upgrading to a running watch, but it’s such a shame to move platforms and not be able to see your progression from those days when you could barely run a single mile.
Well, RunKeeper will accept GPX/TCX files, which means any run completed with a Garmin device or Fitbit Blaze can be added retrospectively. To do it, just download the file from the service you originally used to track the run and log into RunKeeper.com.
From there, go to + LOG on the top bar. Select the type of exercise, and in the following menu choose Upload Map. Browse to the GPX/TCX file on your Mac or PC and then upload it. RunKeeper will suck in the data and create a new run listed among your existing data.
Start a bespoke training plan
If you’re preparing for a race or just looking to lose a few pounds, RunKeeper has a series of built in plans to get you on your way. You can access the training plans from within the app, choose the length of the event your training for or a target weight.
RunKeeper will crunch the numbers for you, breaking down the plan into manageable sessions. It will even build in days to do interval sessions, and take a break. You can easily move the sessions around too, so life’s commitments don’t ruin your preparation.
Get new shoe reminders
Experts say you should replace your shoes every 300-400 miles, which is a little hard to keep track of. For some runners that will be a matter of months, for others, a couple of years. In the RunKeeper app go to Settings and add the brand of shoes. Select the milage you want to work towards, and you’ll get a reminder when the distance is up.
Train within tighter parameters
For those training for races, it’s not always about how far you run, but how fast. If you’re gunning for that PB it’s helpful to have a helping hand in making sure you’re on track. You can set a target pace in RunKeeper by changing the type of workout and choosing Pace Free Run. You can also set target distances, total time and even set up interval sessions, too.
Connect a heart rate monitor
You can connect up a heart rate monitor to RunKeeper and have your biometric data displayed with the rest of your run stats. To set it up head to the settings menu and go to Apps, Services and Devices. Tap Devices Hardware at the bottom and you can pair a device. As long as your heart rate monitor is Bluetooth compatible – or wired, like the SMS Audio BioSport headphones – you’re good to go.
Read this: The best heart rate monitors and HRM watches
Add manual activity
If you’ve missed out on tracking a run with RunKeeper you can add it manually when you get home. In the main Activity tab just tap the icon to the right of the screen. A new, previously hidden, menu will appear with a list of sports. Choose the right activity and add in your stats to have it added to your feed.
Live blog your runs
Need some added impetus? You can not only share your runs on Facebook and Twitter, but also display your live progress so people can see how you’re getting on mid-run. Just hit Live Track when you’re setting up your run and choose the correct service, to have it posted to your social channels.