Saturday, 26 March 2011

Android App of the Month: Run Keeper

Techie post again :)

This morning I went for my Saturday morning run, even though the weather was absolutely dire here in Holland.  It was cold, wet and miserable!  But never let it be said I am a fair weather person!

I woke up, watched the mornings activity in Melbourne (go Macca's!), drank my fill of cappuccinos and caught up on blogs that I have been kind of neglecting this week due to the amount I have on at the moment.  At about a quarter past nine I got up the courage to get ready for the run and leg it into the world.

Today there was a difference.

I always run with a heart meter to make sure that I am running at the optimum pace for what I want to do - most of the time this being keeping fit and keeping the weight down.  However, in three weeks I have to run the Hilversum City Run for my company (well 'have to' is a little incorrect here, I want to run the 5km and they enter teams so I *can* run the 5km).  I don't think I am going to beat my time from last year but I would like to try and get close...

So for now I am *trying* to run at competition pace, about 160 to 170 bpm to make sure that I can keep it up for the distance required and to try and make sure that the 170bpm actually equals a decent pace.  A colleague of mine gave me a tip for an Android application this week: Run Keeper. This uses the GPS of the phone to keep track of your run for you and give you live feedback.

You start it up and put your phone in your pocket, and it gives you updates through your headphones as you go along.  Telling the time so far, the distance so far and the average time per kilometer. I found this really useful for the competition training, as I could adjust my pace to both the heart meter and my required pace (today I was going for 5 minutes per km - 30 seconds slower than my pace last year).

And using the machine, the watch and with a bit of will power I managed to achieve it!  For the first 5km's I did 5:02 average per KM.  Of course this dropped to something like 5:17 average by the time I had finished running at nearly 7 k's - but I can live with that as I am not running a 7km distance so the performance can drop after 5 without me too worried :)

On coming home I found that I can also use it to make training plans, giving it warm up times and then unlimited intervals for fast, normal and slow running.  I think that I'll try this tomorrow when running with Mrs Stace.

And finally...  When you stop your run it uses Google Maps to let you know where you went - not that much use when you run the same road everyday, but nice when you take a different route and are just running to make the time, you can see where you went for the next time (and where the KM markers are).

Anyway - just thought I'd pass it on to anyone out there who is insane enough to run to keep fit!  I thought it was a nice, free app - there don't seem to be that many out there that work this well (I have tried some in the past that were awful, and only worked if you held the phone in your hand for the whole run!)

BTW, one last thing :)  If you work out indoors you can still use it, you just have to turn off the GPS mode and work in time rather than distance I think.


  1. I used to run to keep fit, but that was many moons ago! The old knees and back can't handle the shock load anymore. Good luck on our run!

    Melissa XX

  2. Thanks! I really do it just to keep fit (trying to hover at the 70-73KG point), but the run is fun to do once a year.

    I try not to take it too seriously - just do the best I can :)