Runkeeper Review

by Jodi

Carissa and I are both training for a triathlon in mid-September.  All the swimming and biking has taken a toll on our running.  We both feel slow...slow...slow.  I needed a little confidence boost that I still have some speed left in me.  Today I chose a hilly 10k route through the country by my house and decided that my purpose would be to "race" this route.  And then I remembered...

My trusty Garmin Forerunner 305 that I have used consistently in all types of weather since 2008 just broke - literally into two pieces as I was taking it off - this week.  No amount of duct tape or praying would revive it.  It is officially in the Garmin Graveyard.  May it rest in peace.
poor Garmin... May it rest in peace.
I know I'll buy another watch that tracks pace/elevation/etc. but what's a girl to do when she needs something NOW?  I searched the App Store on my phone and stumbled upon Runkeeper.  It was a free app that appeared to track running pace and distance.  I downloaded it and took off on my run without paying any attention to the features of the app.
on my run today - I just love living on the perimeter between town and the country.

Now that I've had time to review the app I'm really impressed.  Runkeeper has most of the features I love about my Garmin, plus some really cool features that my Garmin doesn't have.

Runkeeper has audio cues, something I've never used before, although I know many runners rely on this for their training.  The first time The Lady talked it startled me.  Every five minutes she told me how long I'd been running, how much distance I'd covered, and what my average pace was.  Today I appreciated her verbal cues because I was doing a speed workout and she spurred me to pick up the pace when I was climbing the hills.  If my intent for a run was meditative I would definitely turn the audio cues off.

 Runkeeper kept track of my splits per mile and recorded them in this handy dandy chart complete with the slowest mile highlighted in RED and the fastest mile highlighted in GREEN.

Runkeeper kept track of my elevation gain/loss, something I always enjoy looking at after a hilly route.  It also included a really awesome pace chart. I often come back from a run and am surprised - in good and bad ways - at the overall average pace.  This chart is the bomb because it shows exactly where I was struggling and where I was running well below the average pace.
The overall summary screen was very appealing to me.  It showed a map of the route I ran, had a place to record notes about the run, and showed a quick overview of the total distance, pace, and calories burned.

One thing that bothered me about using Runkeeper versus my Garmin was the accessibility.  If I wanted to see my pace I had to dig out my phone, enter my password, and open the app.  This was not at all convenient and something I only did when I was approaching traffic lights or forced stopping points.

I have gotten spoiled with my Garmin because it has an auto pause/resume feature.  When I stop moving the Garmin stops.  When I start running again it resumes timing.  Runkeeper does not have this option. When I stop I have to dig out my phone, open the app and physically hit the pause button.  When I start running again, I have to hit the resume button.  I found this to be cumbersome and annoying. <<< Our Sole Sister Kathleen pointed out in her comment below that Runkeeper actually has an auto pause feature that needs to be manually turned on through the settings function.  I've adjusted my settings and am looking forward to trying it out on my next run.  Thanks Kathleen for the tip! <<<<

Carissa questioned the accuracy of the GPS on a phone app versus a running-specific GPS watch.  She found this article that makes a case for Runkeeper being inaccurate in recording distances.  With that said, I've run this 10k route a bazillion times.  I know it's exactly 6.2 miles from my driveway back to the entrance of our neighborhood.  Runkeeper tracked it at 6.23 miles.  That seems pretty accurate to me.

Runkeeper also has planning (goal setting) and connecting (Facebook/Twitter) options available as part of the basic app.  I don't plan to use either of those features but can appreciate why they would be helpful and motivational to other runners.

Runkeeper is user friendly without a huge learning curve.  It has helpful information and really cool charts.  Plus it bailed me out of a jam today.  I'm really grateful for this new resource and will use it until I replace my Garmin.  I've only used Runkeeper once, but I really liked what I discovered so far.  I'd give it an initial five out of five stars.

Sole Sisters what do you use to track your runs?  I'd love any input you have as I begin the process of researching my options.


  1. I've been using RunKeeper for the past 2.5+ years. I really like it. I love going back and reviewing at my history to see how far I’ve come.

    I agree with your review of it and would like to point out RunKeeper does have auto pause. You have to go under settings on the app and make sure you have it on. One thing to note though if you decide to manually pause it during your run you will have to manually restart for that cycle but it should resume auto pause at your next stop. Was the auto pause not working correctly for you?

    As far as being accurate I feel it is usually right on or pretty close. There are some spots in Forest Park that it doesn’t receive a signal but keeps timing you then resumes tracking your mileage when it picks up a signal again. In that section of the park my min/mile are 30! I figure at least I know how long I was running and can manually figure out an average of my min/mile if I want. I don’t like hearing audio cues when I run so I don’t use that feature. If I did use them I do like in one of the updates that you can pick what you want it to say and when.

    I also use it to track my cycling, walking, and I can manually add other gym workouts. For my first marathon I did purchase the RunKeeper Live version. My friends and family could see exactly where I was at and my speed during the race. It helped my husband, who was waiting at the finish line, to know when I would be rounding the last corner and have his camera ready. :) Overall I love my RunKeeper and hate working-out without it.

    Thanks for your review. Love you tons!!! Kathleen

    1. Thank you Kathleen for all the extra info. You are always so helpful and my Getter Doner!!! I adjusted my settings to include the auto pause feature. That's a relief. I'm glad you find it pretty accurate. I hate using all my data on my phone to track myself and will probably still buy a watch, but this app buys me some time before I purchase one. Love you tons too!

    2. Good point about data. I have unlimited and often times forget all about usage.

      I am interested in getting a waterproof heart rate monitor that I can use while swimming or running. RunKeeper has heart rate monitor that you can link to the app but it appears not to be waterproof and expensive for just being a heart rate monitor. Any other suggetions for one??

    3. I know our Garmin Forerunner 305 has a heart rate monitor (that we NEVER use) but I don't know if it's water proof. It might be a good place to start in your research though.

  2. I know this is an old review, but just wanted to mention, I've been using runkeeper in various forms for some 4 years. It only turns off if you want it to. You can keep the ap open when you run and it will stay on your display as long as you have battery - at least it does on the iPhones. Grab an arm band and you can glance over to see your split pace, average pace in number and graphic form, several options there. Anyway, just in case other people run across this review ...