Tracking your exercise activities may not be something you do now, but it’s definitely something you should consider doing. Not only is it easy, it can help you analyze your performance, see your progress over time and even help you prove how much better in shape you are than your friends on Facebook. All you need is an iPhone and a wonderful app called RunKeeper.
RunKeeper is a web service that allows you to enter and save details about your runs. You can save things like maps, times, notes and more. You can even map out your usual paths and save them as routes. But the fun doesn’t stop there; RunKeeper will take nearly any trackable exercise it can get you to share. A few of the more common options include running, cycling, mountain biking, walking, hiking, even snowboarding. And while you can always map out your outdoor activities after you’ve completed them (or just enter time and speed for a treadmill or the like) there’s a better way.
To track your activities in real time, all you need is an iPhone with RunKeeper installed. And since there’s no swoosh on it, RunKeeper and most of its amazing features are free. The first thing you’ll need to do is create an account, if you don’t already have one, and log in. RunKeeper remembers your log-in, so you’ll only have to do it once on your iPhone. Now, get on your exercise attire and get ready to go, because there’s very little left to do. All RunKeeper needs to know is the type of activity, any possible routes, a playlist to pull songs from and possibly some coaching. Then just tap “Start Activity.”
While you’re running (or other activity), RunKeeper will tell you how you’re doing. You can set it up to remind you at certain time or distance intervals. It will tell you how long you’ve been going, how far, your average pace and your current pace. This can be quite helpful if you’re having trouble remembering that you should be running faster towards the end of your run. And when you’re done, RunKeeper will take the GPS data it’s been collecting on you, throw it on a map, upload it to the server and tell you how you did. And to think, they don’t charge for any of this!
So, why would you want to do this? Good question. It’s likely that you already carry an iPod while you’re exercising, and if it’s your iPhone, even better. So you already need it for music, why not get it to do a little more? Not only will it encourage you to stay on track during your run, it makes it simple to see how you’ve been doing over time. Maybe running 7 minute miles is the norm for you now, but do you remember when it used to take you 8.5 minutes? RunKeeper does, or more accurately, could have. Your entire history is easily accessible via the web and the iOS app. Clearly, RunKeeper is an excellent tool for anyone who’s trying to stay healthy by exercising, and it’s free. But ultimately, the biggest motivation available here is the fact that it hooks up to Twitter and Facebook, so you can brag about how much faster you are than all of your friends.
Is there anything better?