Saturday, March 7


During my long run today, I tried the new version of RunKeeper for the first time. This is a great app for the iPhone, available in both a stripped-down free version and an amped-up “pro” version costing a whopping $9.99.

The application uses the GPS capabilities of the 3G iPhone to plot the course, time, pace, and distance of any run. It also works for cycling--a huge advantage over something like the Nike+.

The app allows a user to create a personal page on the website where all the tracking, social networking, and communicating features you might expect are available. In addition, the site provides GoogleMaps archives of each run which can be shared, linked, posted, displayed, and cross-referenced.

During the run, there are pause and lock features--both vitally important. And the display is large and easy to read. The “pro” version even has audio prompts (though unlike the Nike+ they’re not recorded by Lance Armstrong). And of course, it is very easy to toggle between the app and other iPod and iPhone functions.

The only real disadvantage of RunKeeper, is that you have to run with the iPhone in tow. That’s not such a problem in the winter with all the pockets and MP3-ready features of most jackets and vests. But, in the spring, summer, and fall, what to do with the little brick is an issue--oh sure, there are readily available arm straps, belt clips, and fanny packs. But each of those solutions have inherent drawbacks.

All-in-all though, I really like this application and will look forward to using it in my final six weeks of training leading up to the Country Music Marathon at the end of April.