If you’re a runner, you’ve no doubt heard of running apps like Strava, RunKeeper, MapMyRun, and a variety of others.
If you’re looking at downloading one to start tracking your runs, you may be unsure which is best.
Today we’re comparing Strava vs RunKeeper. Although they both serve the same purpose, they are quite different apps and would be suited to different types of people.
Let’s get into the details of each of these apps so you can choose which one would suit you and your running.
How Does the App Work?
Strava is an app designed for both runners and cyclists.
Its primary purpose is to be able to track your workouts and analyze your metrics. You’ll also be able to get a monthly round-up of your time, distance, and activities.
But it also has an active social side. When you sign up for Strava, you’ll find that you have a profile and a home feed, similar to Facebook. You can follow others, including your friends, family members, and even some pro athletes.
On your newsfeed, you’ll be able to see the workouts they’ve completed and like them or leave comments.
You’ll also be able to join different “clubs”, where you compare your activity to others in the group.
How Much Is It?
You can download Strava onto your device for free and use it, but you will have limited access to metrics and analysis tools.
You can upgrade to their premium version—Strava Summit—which costs $5 a month or $59,99 per year.
No Watch Necessary
If you don’t have a smartwatch, you can still use Strava to track your runs. There’s no need to be connected to a watch to get running data, so all you need is your phone in your pocket.
You can also track plenty of metrics on the free version, although the premium version is affordable and does offer much more.
Multiple Running Metrics
Strava offers plenty of running metrics in both the free and paid versions. Using the free version of the app, you’ll be able to track total time, moving time, distance, average pace, calories burned, and your elevation gain.
When using the paid version, you get access to many more stats, including a fitness level, relative effort, pace zones, and grade-adjusted pace. You’ll also be able to use a training log feature, set goals, and get your monthly statistics.
If you use a cadence sensor, heart rate monitor, or power meter, you may also be able to access heart rate zones, power—average and maximum—training load, and cadence metrics.
You’ll also be able to compare the pace of different runs you’ve done on the same route, so you can see your progress.
Follow Friends and Pros
If you’re a social runner, Strava allows you to keep up with your friends’ activities.
You can comment on their activities, and they can do the same for you. You may even find that you meet new people who have similar interests.
Seeing your month’s worth of activity in a quick round-up can be beneficial if you like to track progress.
Strava integrates all your data into one easy-to-compare total, for things like time, distance, and swimming or biking activities.
Challenges and Competition
You can find a variety of challenges in the app which you can compete in. This is a great feature for those runners and athletes who are driven by competition, as it adds an extra element of motivation to your training. It also helps you to move towards new goals.
Strava’s “segments” are mapped routes that have been created by other users on the app. You can use these segments and run the same routes if you’re in the area.
You can then compare your data over the same route, either to your own previous runs or to the data of others who have run that same route.
You can also create your own segments if you have a specific route that you like to train, or if there’s a section of a route that you’re paying particular attention to in your training—for example, an uphill climb or a difficult part of the trail.
Tracks Shoe Mileage
You can keep track of which shoes you wear on a run and the app will calculate how many miles you’ve done in those shoes. It’s ideal for keeping track of when you need to replace your running shoes.
Although Strava is excellent for engaging with other users and competing or comparing yourself against them, it also offers privacy options for those who don’t want their data to be seen.
If you would prefer to keep your data to yourself, you can hide your run statistics, or you can choose to hide just your starting or finishing points.
No Direct Messaging Tool
Although the social part of the app is prominent, there’s no feature that allows you to send direct messages to other users.
This means that all communication on the app has to be via comments on your activity, and these aren’t private.
Social Media Politics
Social media platforms naturally have politics. In the case of an app like Strava, people will compare themselves and others, which can lead to unhappiness and nastiness when competitiveness gets out of hand.
There’s also the danger of it becoming just another social media platform that you end up spending too many hours on.
Triathletes or runners who swim and bike as cross-training. Strava offers tracking options for swimming and cycling as well as running, which makes it ideal for triathletes.
It’s also great for those who want to closely follow their statistics and who value a monthly round-up that can be compared in order to track progress.
We also recommend Strava for athletes who enjoy some competition or like to engage with others. You can interact with your friends on the app, and join in segments to satisfy your competitive side.
How Does the App Work?
RunKeeper is made by ASICS, and it’s aimed more towards beginner runners.
When you sign up, you’ll have to answer some questions about your goals—whether you’re running to lose weight, maintain your fitness levels, improve your mental health, or any other reason behind it.
It uses the sensors in your phone to provide you with real-time, accurate data. One of the best things about RunKeeper is that it can actually track many more workouts than just running—you can track things like cycling, walking, swimming, rowing, hiking, and even skating.
The app will track things like time, your distance, pace, and how many calories you burned during the workout. You can also add these details later if you run on a treadmill or forget to press start.
As you build up more experience in the app, you will be able to go back and check statistics like total mileage, what activities you’ve done, and your average pace.
You can also earn badges for achieving 5K, 10K, half-marathon, and full-marathon distances. This is a nice incentive to push yourself towards those goals.
ASICS Studio allows you to do audio-guided runs, which can give you real-time tips and keep you company on your run. There’s also a Pocket Track feature, which automatically tracks your workout if you forget to press start. iPhone users will be pleased to know that RunKeeper syncs with iOS Health.
RunKeeper has minimal social functions compared to Strava, although you can upload photos and tag your friends.
How Much Is It?
You can download RunKeeper for free and use it to track your basic metrics like time, distance, pace, and calories.
The Elite version of the app costs $9,99 a month, or $39,99 annually.
No Watch Needed
You can use the app on its own, even if you don’t have a running smartwatch. It uses the various sensors on your phone to measure your data.
With that being said, the app does pair with the Apple Watch, Fitbits, the Garmin Forerunner, Garmin Edge, Soleus devices, and the Timex Run Trainer 2.0.
Multiple Running Metrics
You can view multiple running metrics on your app, and see even more detailed data on the website. For those using the free app, you’ll be able to see your weekly, monthly, and yearly statistics, which can help you track your progress.
For each run, you’ll be able to measure mileage, pace, elevation, your time, and the calories burned. You will also have access to features like trainer guidance and insights.
The paid version will give you access to features such as premium training plans catered to you, personal training and performance insights, live broadcasting of statistics, and even weather alerts.
Great for All Levels
RunKeeper is an excellent tool for runners of all levels.
Beginners will be able to track all the data they need, and more advanced runners can sign up for the premium plan to access even more statistics and training plans.
It’s also a good option for those who cross-train such as swimming, cycling, rowing, and other activities, as it offers more options than Strava does.
Can Connect to Music
If you have an Apple device, you can connect to Apple music and play your own playlists as you exercise. You can sync to Spotify or iTunes.
ASICS Studio and Pocket Track
ASICS Studio provides insight, motivation, and encouragement through your run. Pocket Track means you won’t miss your data if you accidentally forget to start a workout, as it automatically starts one when it detects an increase in activity.
RunKeeper offers you preloaded routes that you can select and run. This offers some variety to your training routine and keeps things interesting and easy.
Running Shoe Mileage Tracker
Like Strava, RunKeeper offers an option to note which shoes you ran in. It then keeps track of how many miles you’ve logged in that pair of shoes and sends you a reminder close to the time when you may need to replace them.
Challenges and Groups
You can join running groups of people on the same level as you and take part in virtual running challenges.
This helps keep things interesting and adds a bit of healthy competition, as well as support and motivation from other runners.
GPS May Be Less Accurate
This is only likely to be a problem if you run or cycle in remote areas where your phone may have a harder time picking up a signal. It shouldn’t affect your data very much, but it can be annoying.
Fewer Features in Free Version
If you want personalized training plans and insights, you will need to upgrade to the premium plan. It is slightly more pricey than Strava month-to-month, but more affordable if paid annually.
Beginner runners, those who want a more user-friendly, data-specific, and less social-focused application.
It’s also ideal for runners who want to connect to your music while using the app.