Blog Post

RunKeeper takes next step toward total health tracking

RunKeeper is taking another step forward with its HealthGraph API initiative by updating its user reports feature. On Tuesday, the company announced refreshed Fitness Reports that are easier to use and incorporate more health data. RunKeeper Elite members can customize the Advanced Reports to show two data points on the same graph.

The new reports show more signal and less noise: If you only run, for example, you won’t see menu options for activity types you don’t track. Information on strength training, sleep and weight tracking is pulled in from products using the HealthGraph API. And it’s easier to limit reports by date of activity as well.

Although RunKeeper started out as an iOS(s AAPL) app to track exercise activities, the product — and the company — have morphed into what my colleague Ryan Kim calls “the Facebook of fitness.” RunKeeper is now available on multiple mobile platforms, has embraced social networking functions such as Street Teams, and is reaching beyond standard exercise tracking.

As a daily runner since New Years Day 2011, I track all of my exercise in the app. And as a “stats junkie,” I’ve been hitting my RunKeeper graphs on a daily basis since using the program. As a paying member of RunKeeper Elite — costing me $20 per year — I like the new graph functions available to subscribers. Instead of simply showing a single data point, I can now combine two and look for correlations; my running pace or distance compared against hours of sleep, for example.

But there’s value here even for those that use the service for free and want to go beyond simple exercise tracking. For data you’re not already tracking, RunKeeper will suggest apps or products that can help. I don’t track my strength workouts, for example, so RunKeeper pointed out three options for me to consider.

Between the new graphs, numerous health stats and app suggestions added to RunKeeper of late, it’s clear the company is focused on total health tracking, a theme that trended high this year at the Consumer Electronics Show. Instead of having a narrow vision and single purpose, RunKeeper is poised to take advantage of the growing number of devices and apps consumers are likely to use for health awareness down the road.

2 Responses to “RunKeeper takes next step toward total health tracking”

  1. Jason Levine

    The new FitnessReports are very pretty, to be sure; the ability to graph two different series of data on the same chart is also fairly awesome. But for the perspective of 100+ users that are pretty upset about the changes to the FitnessReports, see the mammoth support thread on the RunKeeper forums:

    Overall, it seems like the changes were deployed without a full understanding of how users were using the reports. The first iteration of the new reports omitted any ability to track multiple sports on the same graph, which led to all the triathletes getting (rightfully) upset about losing that ability; that functionality was hastily added back, although not in a way that a lot of the affected users like. The ability to include your social network’s activities in your graphs also got removed (although it’s still advertised as a feature available to you if you pay them for an Elite membership!); there’s been absolutely no response from the RunKeeper folks about whether they’re going to add it back.

    It feels like RunKeeper has quickly extended itself beyond its capacity to support its user base. That support thread is a great example; there are a lot of specific and repeated requests for a better understanding of why paying customers are seeing changes to functionality they were regularly using, and barely *any* official RunKeeper response in-thread or otherwise. But in the end, there are thousands of users whose fitness data is locked in the RK databases without any meaningful way to get it out, so users are just stuck. It’s disappointing.