The RunKeeper App for Android

A man runs in the Hudson River Park at sunset in New York City
Gary Hershorn / Getty Images
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The Runkeeper app for Android is an app geared towards runners, walkers, and hikers. Like the other top running-based Android apps, RunKeeper takes advantage of the GPS features built into your Android smartphone. With route tracking, a great history feature, and a few other personalization features, RunKeeper can hold its own against the pack. 

This app is impressive, but how does it stand up when compared to other Android fitness apps?

 

A Detailed Summary of Your Workout

Runkeeper will show your route on a detailed map. More than just your route, however, Runkeeper will tell you your pace, average and top speeds, distance and time. A great feature the Runkeeper includes is the ability to view your route map while still engaged in your workout. For hikers, this feature can be invaluable if you ever venture off the beaten path.

Like all apps that use the built-in GPS feature on Android phones, you need to have a clear view of the sky in order for the tracking to work. So while Runkeeper can function like a much more expensive stand-alone GPS tracking device, don't expect it to work when you are hiking in the deep woods. The last thing you want is to go hiking off-path and not have your GPS working to guide you back.

Settings and Personalization

Running-based apps like Runkeeper, Cardio Trainer, and RunTastic all allow varying levels of personalization.

With Runkeeper, you set how you want your workout to be recorded, choosing either distance or time. You also choose whether to use miles or kilometers. Unlike Cardio Trainer, however, Runkeeper does not give you total calories burned summary, nor does it provide details on your altitude covered like Run Tastic can.

The main setting features are how you want (or don't want) Runkeeper to share your workouts with social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. If you are part of a fitness group that relies on social networking sites to share your workouts or competes against other members, Runkeeper provides effortless uploading and will even post your route on Facebook if you choose.

If you're not a fan of social networking, these features and personalization settings of Runkeeper will be a bit lost on you. 

Mapping and History

In the B.A. days (that's "Before Android,") runners who wanted to keep track of their workouts had to rely on pen and paper or a computer. With apps like Run Keeper, not only can you get a wonderful and easy to view the map of your route, but the app will automatically save each workout to its "History" section. There, you can review the details of your workout and compare workouts against each other.  

Summary

If Runkeeper is the only running-based app that you'll ever try, you will be impressed by its mapping features and social networking capabilities. If you are installing a few running-based apps and Runkeeper is just one of them, you'll find things you like and things you wish it included.

 

Runkeeper is useful, easy to use and feature rich enough to list as one of our top running apps for Android. It is not, however, so feature-rich that it does the running for you.  

Marziah Karch contributed to this article. 

Always consult your health care provider prior to beginning any exercise routine.