- Editor's Rating
- Provides training plans for 5K, 10K, half marathons and marathons
- Allows users to track other activity such as biking and skiing
- Accurate GPS mapping
- Social integration didn’t always work
- Online community is small
Quick TakeThe 5K Runmeter app is a great tool for runners serious about training for an upcoming race or to meet a specific goal.
Apps like MapMyRun and Nike+, and products like the Nike+ SportWatch GPS, are popular among avid runners, but those training for an upcoming race may be looking for a little more guidance and structure. The 5K Runmeter app for iOS is aimed at those users. With 12-week training plans for 5K, 10K and half-marathons, and a 20-week plan for aspiring marathoners, Runmeter is a goal-oriented fitness app that offers a lot more than just running statistics.
5K Runmeter is a GPS running app at heart. Geared towards runners serious about their training, the app tracks a host of data during a run, including time, distance, elevation, calories, stopped time, pace and splits. The stopped time, which calculates how much time a user isn’t moving, is great for city runners who often find themselves waiting for lights to turn red. They can subtract the stopped time from the total time and recalculate average pace for more accurate statistics. The map feature calculates in real time, so users can always see where they are. Users can also save particular routes to the app and pull them up when starting a run.
Within the app, users can select what music they’d like to listen to directly from the iTunes library. The app will also push out real-time updates on distance, pace and overall time. The updates aren’t spoken through the headset, but rather are displayed as push notifications. Users who run with their smartphone in an armband won’t have any use for the notifications and even users who carry their iPhone in their hand will find it difficult to read while still paying attention to where they are going.
Tracking Other Activity
TechnologyGuide tested the app while mountain biking and found the GPS mapping to work just as it did when running. Runmeter will automatically store every recorded activity, and has a calendar feature to remind users when they have completed a particular activity. For those users looking to partake in one of the training plans, the app will send SMS reminders when it’s time to head out for a training run. The training plans can also be adjusted within the app to adhere to a user’s ability level or suggestions from a trainer or doctor.
The Runmeter interface isn’t flashy. It features a grey and black background with yellow and blue numbers, purple lines on the graphs and a big green/red start/stop button, but that’s about all the color users will find. The numbers are big and easy to read. Users can swipe right to left to view different data during or after a run, which is displayed in large tiles on the screen.
During testing, the app functioned well and all the GPS recordings were accurate, as were the run times. One annoyance is that the app records everything in kilometers that has to be manually changed to miles after every run. The same goes for the training programs, so users more comfortable using the mile measurement will want to make sure they know the correct kilometer to mile conversion (1.6 to 1, for the record) before starting a plan.
Location services must be turned on in order for the app to accurately map a runner’s route. However, even with the location services on, GPS activated and music from iTunes playing, the app didn’t use much battery. After a 30 minute run, my aging iPhone 4 was down just seven percent, which is equivalent to having consistently checked social media for the same amount of time, and much less than some streaming music apps.
The Runmeter app has a ton of social features built in. Users can register for its online network, and view all of their run history and data on a web interface, as well as see what other runners in their area are doing. The Runmeter community isn’t as expansive as that of MapMyRun or Nike+, but it has all the features one would expect from an online interface.
Users can also set the app to send e-mail alerts to themselves and their friends at different times during the run. E-mails can be sent every mile, certain amount of time, or simply at the completion of the run. Additionally, users can organize the same settings to sync to their Facebook and Twitter accounts. However, when TG tested this feature, asking to app to automatically tweet results at the conclusion of the run, it didn’t work.
If a user opts to share that they’ve started a run on Facebook or Twitter, the app will then speak comments and replies directly to the user mid-run. Assuming friends are supportive, a user should hear motivation like “good job,” or “keep it up.” In TG testing, all we got was a “you’re weird” from a Facebook friend, rendering it the opposite of motivational and frankly, annoying. The quality and usefulness of this feature is really going to depend on a user’s friend and follower-base on the social networks.
For those users who aren’t happy with just the Runmeter online community and their own Facebook and Twitter network, the app can be automatically synced to a user’s Dailymile account. Dailymile is an online community of runners that tracks how many miles its users run every day. Its interface is similar to a constantly updating Twitter feed and allows users to see the entire communities fitness activities for the day. The app will automatically post to the Dailymile feed, which in turn updates the mile count.
However, the social integration isn’t the app’s strong point. 5K Runmeter is a serious running app for determined runners training for an upcoming race or to meet a specific goal. It doesn’t have a fancy user interface or many bells and whistles, but offers expansive and reliable data that runners can use to improve. The social features are a nice addition and can motivate some users, but it’s not the core focus of the app.
Runners who have tried other apps and are looking for some serious training guidance and results, 5K Runmeter is a great option. The app is available for iOS only and is priced at $4.99 in the Apple App Store at the time of the review. It requires iOS 4.3 to run.