Exercise App Review: Runtastic
Runtastic has probably the best running app on the market.
And there’s no shortage–Strava, MapMyRun, Endomondo, Runkeeper, etc.
I’ve been using Runtastic for a couple years now–first on an iPhone 5C and now an iPhone SE. Runtastic is cross-platform: it has an Android app, as well as a Web interface you can access from any Internet-connected device.
Runtastic: the iPhone App
Even if the user interface doesn’t look “native” to the iOS world, the layout is clean, intuitive, and easy to read at a glance.
Here’s what it looks like mid-run:
You may notice that screen says “Internet not reachable.” That’s because I have a highly limited data plan, so I use the app with my data off. Still, the GPS tracking works remarkably well, even without Internet or cell data. This is impressive.
The app updates everything in real time–your map, your current pace, your average pace, your distance, and your duration. The Premium version of the app (more on that later) also has auto-pause, which detects when you’ve stopped running and automatically puts tracking on hold. (Not every running app has this.)
Here’s what it looks like when you’re done:
Again–everything is really easy to see at a glance. You can even see your spits:
And–what’s amazing to me–drag your finger across the line to see what your pace was at any given moment in your workout:
You can even customize how your splits occur–whether miles or minutes:
The history screen (easily accessible when you open the app) looks great:
And you can compare statistics (by week, month, or year). I find this motivating:
There’s more–you can track how many miles you’ve run in a given running shoe:
Which also permits a more detailed view:
The voice coach is even customizable, and gives you audio markers for different points in your run:
Runtastic does a great job tracking your personal records, and letting you know when you’ve beaten them. One lack is that a personal record does not pop up automatically within the app once you’ve gotten it in a given activity. You have to wait to check the Website or receive an email (automatically generated). Record notifications look like this:
I loved getting this email!
The Web Interface
It’s not perfect, but it shows you a ton of information. The home screen looks a little cluttered to me:
Even with Runtastic Premium, which removes ads, I have an item on the top and everything in the right sidebar that just look like, well… ads. They’re all in-house, but I could do with less. You also still get pop-ups (rarely, but more than expected) like this on the phone:
You can set everything to private, though, so no one knows when, where, or how fast you’re running, except you.
This activity view on the site is much cleaner (minus the vexing “Report a Problem” pop-over that I can’t close out):
The site allows you to see some cool stats, too. I loved knowing (and was grateful Runtastic tracked it) when I most often work out!
You can also easily import a workout (either a GPC or TCX file) from another app. This process is pretty easy and smooth. You can export a single workout from Runtastic elsewhere, but there is no bulk export option. If you do a bunch of workouts in Runtastic, it’s not so easy to later migrate all that data elsewhere. Other apps are proprietary like this (some accuse this kind of thing as a sort of “holding your data hostage”), although Runkeeper allows you to bulk export your data. Runtastic should add this feature.
You can also have a weekly fitness report delivered your way, which is cool:
There’s a lot more I could mention, as this is a really great app. You can set yourself a duration and distance goal and track your progress in real time. This has made a couple of my runs better! Here I am meeting my pace goal:
But then I fall behind:
I didn’t make it that time:
The next time, however….
To Premium or Not to Premium?
Easy. Premium. You get ads removed (except for in-house stuff that I’d like also to be able to remove), free training plans, free “story runs,” the aforementioned records tracking, a free 3-month trial to Runner’s World, accelerated response to support queries, and more. (Details here.) It’s a subscription model, so you just have to decide whether you’d use the premium features. The price is definitely reasonable for what you get in return.
I’ll have a Runkeeper review posting soon, so will be able to better compare, but from what I’ve seen so far, Runtastic (especially in its Premium version) is the best running app I’ve seen. Check it out here.
Thanks so much to the folks at Runtastic who set me up with a trial of Premium so I could review the app!