Runkeeper's Running Groups keep you motivated

Challenges and chats encourage you to run that extra mile.

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If you have running buddies, you know the advantages they bring -- they'll encourage you to run when you'd otherwise slack off, or when you just have to one-up a friend. And Runkeeper knows it. The Asics-owned developer has updated its Android and iOS apps with a Running Groups feature that, unsurprisingly, promises to keep you off the couch. As many as 25 people can participate in challenges (such as distance or the most runs), and there's a group chat to either motivate your pals or trash-talk them when you emerge triumphant.

As VentureBeat observes, the tricky bit is getting everyone to settle on a single running app. You may use Runkeeper, but what if your friends use Endomondo or Nike+ Running (which, we'd add, already has a social feature)? Of course, that's really the point. If Runkeeper can get you to settle on its app for your running circle, it's going to get a few new users in one shot. Not that you'll necessarily complain, especially if you find that solo runs just aren't cutting it.