RunKeeper, the free fitness tracking app, just received a major upgrade that was announced this morning. The app has been gaining a lot of attention since mid-summer, when the company launched a Health Graph API that developers have been using to integrate RunKeeper capabilities into third-party apps and devices.
That's not keeping the RunKeeper team from keeping an eye on the core mobile app, and the upgrade shows that RunKeeper is listening to the desires of the user community. So what are the changes?
Auto Pause takes care of one common problem with apps that record your running, cycling and walking. When you stop running to tie a shoe, talk to a neighbor, wait for a traffic light to change, or take a picture of the snake that just crossed your path, you need to remember to pause the app's timer. If you don't, you'll find that your average speed for a run, ride or walk drops drastically. Auto Pause pauses tracking when you stop moving, then starts up the timer again when you begin running again.
If you use a third-party heart rate monitor with RunKeeper, the app now has Heart Rate Zone visuals and audio cues to let you know when you're in your optimal heart rate zone. The app has had audio coaching around target paces for a while, telling you if you're ahead or behind your pace. Now you can do the same thing with your heart rate, knowing when you're in the zone, need to work yourself a bit harder, or need to slow down a bit.
Finally, the RunKeeper team has included updates to their GPS algorithms that improve tracking performance and stability. Altogether, the team says that the performance of the app has improved as well.