Friday, June 29, 2012

Running App Review Part 1: Map My Fitness and Runtastic

So begins my Friday Product reviews.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I will be discussing  the two apps below this week, followed by RunKeepers and Endomondo next week.   I will end with Strava the following week.

Let me know if you agree with my reviews or you have other running app recommendations.

This app is kind of the granddaddy of the bunch.  Originally an one-stop site to track both your fitness and diet, it has since put out apps that interface with their site.  This is the site I began tracking much of my running three years ago since it interfaced nicely with Google maps.

For the most part, it is a sound app.  It does track pretty accurately; however, I stopped using it because it was power hog.  When it first came out, unless you like running with a bulky powerskin, you are good to have an hour to maybe a hour and a half of battery life.  They have since fixed the problem and it now uses power much more efficiently.

The GPS tracking is pretty accurate.  I also run with my Timex Ironman  Global Trainer GPS and the differences between the two are with 1/100th of a mile (probably because I started on before the other and moved a smidge).

A new feature found on their site is challenges.   Very similar to Strava, you can create segments that you may run on a regular basis, and it will record your achievements and those of other runners that run the same course as a creative way to improve your running.
I am a bit disappointed with the audible.  While you can adjust the frequency, currently it will only provide you an update every mile.  This is fine for a race; however, it very good if you are using it to train with.

Also, and this is why I switched to, I over analyze everything.  While Map My Fitness is an one stop shop from a fitness standpoint, allowing you to track your diet and activities, this is a basic site that doesn’t do a good job of in depth tracking and trending.  That you get at the fee based premium level.

I do not recommend this app. While it has so much potential; however, you do not get much through the basic program.  There are a series of premium levels; however, why pay when you can get so much more on the other sites?  

For example, it does have audible cues down to the half mile; however, you need to purchase the premium level if you are going to run further than 1.5 miles (which you are alerted to when you run past that distance).  Also, the metrics provided are very basic, the time you have run, your average miles per hour (not pace) and calories (I can care less on the amount of calories I expend while I am running).

It appears that they are more of a company run by the technology instead of the end user.  For example, I have been getting an e-mail on a regular basis.  I would love to read it; however, it is in German.  Their limited basic service shows that they are focused on marginal revenue instead of wanting consumers to want their product, driving premium membership.

With all the competition, they really need to reexamine their business model.  Strava, RunKeeper, and Map My Fitness provides so much more content at even a basic level, I do not see much adoption by runners other runners which will further hamper innovation at Runtastic.  From my experience, Runtastic is not fantastic.


  1. I normally over-analyze everything, but weirdly, I haven't gotten into this aspect of the running yet. The only app I have is MotionX-GPS, which is OK, but I suspect is nothing special when compared to all the competition. (It was the first app I ever actually paid for!) This review is interesting reading - thanks for being my guinea pig for these things!

    1. Thank you for the comment! I think my obsession with these apps began when I missed my PR last November at Long Beach by 5 minutes because I was fiddling with an app. You would think I would have learned then? :(


submit to reddit