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Gadget Review: RunKeeper App

I have had my eye on an all-in-one, watch/GPS/heart rate monitor since I signed up for the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon. You need an easy way to stay on track when you are logging all of those miles, right? What better way than through the magic of the GPS?! As snazzy as these gizmos are, the $300+ price tag was more than I wanted to spend. My solution – let’s see if there is an app for that!

Sure enough, there is. And, it’s free – even better! There are a number of applications for the iPhone that allow you to take advantage of the GPS capability of the phone. After flipping through a few options I chose the RunKeeper Free application. The application has stopwatch functionality, displays your per mile pace, current pace and lists the number of calories burned during your workout. The calorie count is just an estimate since you don’t enter your weight, but the application allows you to track your time and distance for several sports in addition to running. Cycling, walking, hiking, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, skating, swimming and mountain biking are all included activities in the free version of RunKeeper.

You can also manually enter your workouts that are completed when you are indoors or on gym equipment. After recording a workout, all of your data is then saved into your account which you can access at any time online or through the RunKeeper application.

I like that I’m able to launch the application, throw my phone in my fanny pack (oh yeah, I sport the pack when I run outside) and go. I know I’ll have an accurate mileage calculation when I’m done and the application can be paused when needed for bathroom and water breaks. During your workout the display includes your distance traveled, your average per mile pace, and current pace.

My verdict – it’s pretty darn handy for a free app. This has given me the flexibility to track my outdoor runs and the freedom to make up my route along the way. Who likes to backtrack and drive their route after they are finished? Not me! I also like having an easy way to access an electronic record of my runs. I can flip through to see my progress and get a pre-workout pick-me-up if needed; it’s nice to have a reminder of the miles I have already logged before heading out for a long run. I recommend it for anyone who is looking for a reliable GPS option, but doesn’t want to spend a small fortune on the “perfect” watch/GPS/HRM combo. I’ve still got my eye on my dream watch, but my handy RunKeeper is what I will be using to stay on track until the big day in April.

RunKeeper also offers an upgraded version and a subscription service that allows you to utilize their reporting functions to analyze your workouts, view graphs, and connect with other users.

How do you prefer to track your mileage when walking, running or cycling?
-Sara

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