I had been using Runkeeper since about 2009. Recently, about the same time Jo and I upgraded to new iPhones, Runkeeper’s GPS tracking became so inaccurate it was virtually useless. Runkeeper would report my runs as more than twice the actual distance, and the GPS points during a run were mostly a jumbled mess. At first I thought it might be the new phone or the new version of iOS, but after a Runkeeper update and the issue was still not resolved, I submitted a bug report to Runkeeper. I received a very generic response of trying the various basic steps which I had already done, so I wasn’t very happy with that response. The response from Runkeeper also reminded me that I could manually edit my run data to remove inaccurate GPS points along my run, which I had been doing but it was extremely tedious and annoying. Meanwhile there were other various minor issues with Runkeeper, but the poor GPS tracking was a deal breaker. I mean, a run tracking app at the very least should track runs fairly accurately, otherwise they are kind of missing their whole core competency.
So I started researching other running apps. If a new run tracking app would track my runs without issue then I knew it wasn’t my new phone. That’s when I ran cross this thread on reddit. After reading this thread I knew I was not alone with my issue. Also, one of the really cool pieces of information from this thread was the Tapiriik site. This site allows you to migrate your running data from one service to another. This was awesome news. That was one of the biggest downers about potentially leaving Runkeeper is that I’d lose my running data history. So after reading the thread I decide to give Strava a try. After installing it and setting up an account, I went for my first run, and sure enough Strava tracked my run with reasonable accuracy. It also syncs with the heart rate monitor I was already using and I like their web site well enough. The only thing Strava doesn’t do that Runkeeper did was during my run, Runkeeper audio cues would also provide my current heart rate. Strava does not do this so that’s a nice to have feature they could add. Other wise I am totally happy with Strava, and it’s free. I was paying for Runkeeper Elite.
Notice I said Strava tracked my run with reasonable accuracy. One of the down sides to running in the city is the large buildings will interfere with GPS tracking. See the image below.
You can see as I run along Bush Street there are portions that look like I’m jutting off the street and running through buildings. Obviously this isn’t the case and Runkeeper even used to have this level of inaccuracy as well, but with the more recent versions it went from this to something that looked like I was running a full block or more off of Bush Street, or running back a block, then forward a block, or running in complete circles. It was basically just a jumbled mess. I should have saved one of my unedited runs in Runkeeper to show here. You can see that with Strava, once I get out onto the Embarcadero the GPS tracking improves quite a bit. However this was not the case with the more recent versions of Runkeeper. See the following image.
It was sad to leave Runkeeper since I had been using it for a while, but there was a noticeable increase in issues that both my wife and I noticed. With that said, it was nice to run across Strava. It offers all the features I had, minus one, and for free, and they have a great web site. Strava also has a cool social aspect and a really cool feature called Flybys that shows other runners on Strava that you run by during your route. It’s a very cool app and well worth checking out.