This news was posted on Tuesday, December 16th, 2014
tagged: Fitness, Technology, Tips, Wellness | tags :

Exercise Smart Phone App Review Series; RunKeeper

Welcome to the second installment of the Exercise Software App Review Series. This time we review the pros and cons of RunKeeper by FitnessKeeper, Inc.
Just as with the last exercise tracking software I reviewed last month, Walk Tracker Pro, RunKeeper tracks distance using the phone’s Global Positioning System (GPS). It must be turned on in the Settings of the phone, IPhone or Android (not on Kindle Fire, sorry; this requires Google Play to run). There is a free version of RunKeeper which is a great starting point. If you are the type that wants more than just some basics, the price points vary from $9.99 up to $39.99 for the Elite version with several price points in between. You will need one of these upgrades is you want to compare from one workout to another.

It is very easy to use, just click on start and let it record where you go, how fast you travel, and the calories you burn. Unfortunately, their web site is just as simple and does not contain much useful information such as the operating system versions it needs to run or what options you get with the various price points. I had to get some of this information off reviewer web sites instead. Inside the phone app, you may start the music you previously downloaded to the phone but it keeps playing if you pause, stop, or even close the app. To stop the music, you must enter the music app on the phone and stop it there. During the exercise you can see your route, bar graphs and statistics. You can save this information to track your progress as well. Again, I turn off the voice reminders that break into my music to inform me of my progress, but you can adjust this yourself in the settings of RunKeeper. Also in the settings you are able to set the items you would like to see on the screen such as time, distance, pace, etc.
If you forget your phone and workout without it, you can add this information by hand by selecting the Log button. This is also helpful if you are staying in one place on a treadmill or elipticle. Walk Tracker Pro did not have this option. RunKeeper also has an area to set goals that, Walk Tracker Pro did not have, such as losing weight or running a marathon 6 months from now. An odd quirk of the program is that you must set the future date starting with the year. If you start by changing the month or the day without changing the year first, the program can see the date as in the past and the dial will bounce back to today’s date every time. Like Walk Tracker Pro, RunKeeper delivers the option of uploading your workout information to your friends via Facebook, Google, or by email. You may also set a reminder to exercise at a certain time of the day which is helpful for those of us who get engrossed in our work and lose track of time. Unfortunately, this did not work when I set it.
I was also surprised to see a screen of splits so that you can compare your pace from the first mile to the last mile and see where you may need to push yourself. At the end of my 2 mile walk on flat ground (not very challenging but enough to get data into the app for the screenshots) I was rewarded;

I just put in my email but as of yet did not receive my reward coupon. Perhaps I typed my address wrong?
It is no wonder this app is very popular among runners. It is very easy to use and seems to have all the necessary items anyone would need to track, and improve their workouts.

Exercise Software App Review Series; Walk Tracker Pro

Welcome to my new series exploring technical advancements to help all of us track our exercise progress.  Whether you are an exercise novice or a seasoned athlete, you will benefit from this series.

We begin with IPhone Apps, specifically Walk Tracker Pro which has been my personal favorite for two years now.  It uses a GPS signal to tell me how far I have walked, and I can control my music choices right from that app.  You, of course, need to have your music selection already downloaded to your phone.  Then you may start the music, pause it, or change it right from the Walk Tracker Pro app.

There is a voice that will break into the music to let you know the distance you have traveled, your average pace, and the calories you have burned.  Since this is also tracked on the display, I typically turn off these announcements and just enjoy my music or audio tape.

It contains nice bar or line graphs showing your progress.  It can be used whether walking, running, or cycling but it does not recognize a combination of exercises and records everything under the type of exercise you chose to begin the workout.

Walk Tracker Pro can be used on any IPad, IPod, or IPhone with an iOS (operating system) version 5.0 or higher. Each workout can be saved.  I use that feature to know the distance of each of my routes and about how long they will last.  When I walk or run on my lunch hour, I don’t want to be late getting back.  If I want to add a meditation to the end of my workout, I will look in my history to choose a shorter route.  By default, the app saves the workout by date and time, but you can use any name you wish.  I typically name the workout for the route I took.  For example I will name it “Once around Campus” or “Long way around Campus” or “Short trip around water falls”, etc.

The only complaint I have is that the use of the phone’s GPS tends to drain the phone’s battery even when you are finished using the app.  To get around this, you have to turn off the GPS to disengage it from Walk Tracker Pro.  I typically keep it turned off until I need it again.  This can be done in the phone’s Settings App in the Privacy setting, then turn off Location Services.

I also use the display’s Elapsed Time seconds to count my heart rate. I begin counting my pulse when the seconds read x4 (example; 04, 14, 24, 34 and so on).  I keep counting my pulse until the display reads x0 (10, 20, 30 etc.) which means that I have been counting my pulse for 6 seconds.  Then I add a zero to the back of the number of pulses I counted which gives me my beats per minute (60 seconds). I wish there was a way to record the heart rate but this one does not have that feature.

It even has a graphic display of the route you took which takes advantage of the Pinching zoom-in, zoom-out feature of the operating system.  The display can be viewed either in portrait or landscape mode as well.  You can also sign up with free, upload your progress and brag about it on Facebook to your friends.  I, admittedly, have never used this feature since I prefer to keep my workouts private.

In reading other reviews, there was apparently problems with versions 14.0 and 14.1.  Some people had trouble launching the app, others report it crashing while in use.  I have used this product for years and have not seen these issues.  After several updates over the years, I am now using version 14.3.3 without any issues.

The app costs a very reasonable $2.99 in the app store which is well worth the money.  I have always found this app to be very accurate in both time and distance and is very easy to use.  If you would like to be successful tracking your progress right out of the gate without much fuss and bother, Walk Tracker Pro is a good app to use.

Please like this post, and follow this page.