RunningBlog: RunKeeper Pro Review

RunKeeper Pro Review
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but if you have an iPhone and you run/walk/cycle/ski/hike outdoors, you should get RunKeeper NOW. It’s so good. It uses GPS to track your distance and speed, and it’s a lot more accurate than Nike+. (You also don’t need special shoes or attachment hacks.) I downloaded the free version in February, but not long after I paid the $10 to get the Pro version. Every release has brought welcome new features, including voice prompts during the run and the ability to edit your run data afterwards. Yesterday the highly-anticipated interval workout functionality finally dropped. Nike+ can’t do this at all! I’ve been so frustrated with all the training plans that suggest running intervals laps at a track, because running tracks are very, very rare in Sydney. I’ve done them by looking at the RunKeeper distance as I go, but I’d much prefer to keep my eyes on the road. So I was really waiting for this one!

When you open the app, there’s a new button at the bottom of the main screen labelled “Training.” Clicking it brings up a menu of your saved training workouts. (They give you a couple of them as a examples.) You can edit an existing workout or add a new one. Each interval consists of “slow,” “steady,” or “fast” and an appropriate duration (which can be time OR distance!). You can set the intervals to repeat, and you can also tack on a 5:00 warmup and cooldown if you want. This morning I was meant to do an easy 30 minutes with 6 x 100m “strides.” Since the shortest distance interval you can set is 250m, I instead changed it to 45 seconds (which is way longer than it takes me to run 100m, but it seemed like a good compromise.) So I started off with the 5:00 warmup, then did 10 minutes “steady.” Each time period is announced with a chime and a voice prompt telling you what to do next. I did my 6 intervals of 45 seconds “fast” interspersed with 1:30 “slow,” then finished with another 8:00 of “steady” and a 5:00 cooldown. The system worked PERFECTLY, not a single glitch. Something like this could make a huge difference to amateurs’ training.

I’m also happy to report that I had ZERO leg/shin pain this morning. Yay! New shoes and rest seems to have done the trick. I’m really looking forward to my long run this weekend to see if my fitness has held up.

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  1. Yup, the new RK release certainly does ROCK! Only glitch, as you mention, is that you cannot freely choose your interval lengths/distances. I am sure this will come up in a future version.

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