Runkeeper is one of the best running apps in the business and has been around in various forms for some time now, helping us to log more miles and maybe even run a bit faster as well.
The now Asics-owned app is a popular choice for runners thanks to its clean layout and the fact that it's packed to the rafters with features. There are training plans and 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 hundreds of 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 app for the
Apple Watch Series 2, which means you can run without your phone and take advantage of the onboard GPS. You'll now be able to view mapped routes on your phone after you go out running with the Series 2.
There's also the addition of active metrics you can see on the watch itself, including target pace and live heart rate graphs. Other features you might find useful include the ability to view GPS signal strength and get live audio cues to keep you informed on your progress. Have a read of our best Apple Watch running apps comparison to see how it fares against the competition.
Use it on your Android Wear smartwatch
Don't fret Android Wear fans, there's smartwatch love for you as well. Whether you've got the Polar M600 or the LG Watch Sport, you can now track runs once you've got the app downloaded to your phone. If you've got a smartwatch with built-in GPS you can leave the smartphone behind when you're out running. Result.
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. You need to have Spotify and Runkeeper downloaded on your phone and select Spotify in your music library to launch it. It's iOS only for now, but Runkeeper is working on bringing support to Android in the future.
Runkeeper can track your running – but also wants to coach you to get better. The new Pace Academy challenges are built to get you running faster with a series of interval workouts that are tailored to your running level and with audio coaching to guide you through. To access the new coaching modes, head to the Challenges tab and you can start getting to work.
Add activities manually
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 and a new, previously hidden, menu will appear with a list of sports. Choose the right activity and key in your stats to have it added into 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.
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 go for a run. Which is a sure-fire way to make you feel bad when the notifications find you tucking into a burger and fries.
Pair your Fitbit with Runkeeper
Runkeeper is loaded with neat integrations so you can get more out of your training. One of the smartest is its Fitbit partnership, which means you can have details of your daily activity loaded from your Fitbit Alta HR, Charge 2 or older Fitbit tracker into the app. It only works one way, though, so you won't see runs in your Fitbit – which is a real shame. Shame on you, Fitbit.
Just fire up Runkeeper.com, go to the cog and choose Account Settings. Click apps, and you'll find Fitbit listed, along with Withings (now Nokia) and some other, less fun options. Follow the instructions to sync both services together.
Step up to a challenge
If you're struggling to find the motivation to pick up your running shoes and put some miles in, Runkeeper's new Challenge section is definitely worth checking out. In exchange for completing a 5K that day, or simply putting in a run, Runkeeper offers discounts from its store as well as the chance to win new running kit. The good news is that GPS and Stopwatch activities are generally eligible for most challenges so even treadmill runs won't be wasted.
Keep on running
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 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 amongst 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, and choose the length of the event you're 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 as well.
Connect a heart rate monitor
You can connect up a heart rate monitor like the Polar H10 (above) 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, you're good to go.
Read this: The best heart rate monitors and HRM watches