RunKeeper is a mobile fitness application that makes fitness tracking easy by using GPS functionality for tracking speed and altitude.  As you can see from the iPhone screen captures below,  it does a great job of tracking speed and distance and by looking at the chart. It’s quite easy to see where I got held up at red lights while I was trying to run through the downtown core. In terms of tracking, the app is very accurate.

Once you are done your run, you can push the data to the RunKeeper.com website where all the data is displayed in graphs. Through one push of a button, you can quickly share your training with all your friends (and probably make them feel very lazy!).

As a running tool, Runkeeper free would outclass all of the other similar fitness applications if you didn’t have to buy the Pro version in order to get voice cues as you run. Let’s face it, having to take out your iPhone in order to read your distance and pace can be a tad of an annoyance.

Runkeeper also needs to work out some of the kinks in order to maximize it’s potential:

  • iPod integration: First you have to start your music, and then launch RunKeeper. iPod controls can only be accessed if you set your  “double click home button”  to bring up the iPod controls.
  • WiFi interference: To have accurate tracking, you must turn off WiFi. If the wifi signal becomes stronger than the GPS signal, it uses the WiFi location instead, and adds sudden strange patterns to your route.

Overall, a very intuitive and easy to use application, but since voice cues for pace, speed and distance are not available with the free version (The pro version is $9.99), I would say that it won’t become my primary free running app. That said, it does have other settings for various activities like, cycling, walking, hiking, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and skating. It should not be discounted as one of the better fitness tracking tools.

Photo Credit: Mike Baird