There are many components to RunKeeper’s strategy to create what CEO and founder Jason Jacobs routinely calls a “personal trainer in your pocket.” The company has made a ton of strategic partnerships with other innovators in the health/fitness/quantified self sector, including Jawbone’s UP, Fitbit, the Withing’s wifi scale, healhcare providers, brick and mortar stores like CitySports, and various other apps, including GymPact and most recently, MyFitnessPal.
At its core, the company is about working out, improving fitness, and achieving peak athletic performance. Yesterday, RunKeeper announced a major redesign of its “Training Plan” feature, a key element of RunKeeper's identity.
The training plan feature has long been one of the features that differentiated RunKeeper from other fitness tracking apps on the market. For a period of time, all of the race/event specific workout plans were pay-per-plan. The fitness plans represented one of RunKeeper’s earliest outside collaborations. Most of the plans, particularly the race/time specific ones, were designed by well known trainers including Jeff Gaudette and Jeff Calloway.
Since the inception of the training plans, RunKeeper has focused on way to constantly improve its best feature. Over the past year and a half, they made some of the plans free to users and promoted less 'elite runner' geared workouts such weight loss plans and first time runner plans. Currently, there are both free and paid options for the workout plans available.
But the most recent re-vamp of its training plan experience may be the best yet.
For one, there is greater engagement within the app with the training plans. If you participated in a training plan in the past, you would only have very limited information accesible through the mobile app. Although more details and information could be found on the RunKeeper site, the mobile training plans, while good, were basic in terms of UI/UX design and lacked personality.
The new design is part of an overall trend with RunKeeper where the UI/UX seems to be lighter and more welcoming than previous version as seen in the comparison below.
The older design is on the left, the new design is on the right.
Additionally, RunKeeper has teamed with fitness, health, and happiness site Greatist to create more variety in the type of fitness plans a user can select. Adding a more varied training plans options allows RunKeeper to add better features without overloading the app with “feature creep,” the overabundance of distracting, superfluous app features. As the press release announcing the update states, the newly updated training plans “help users break down long-term goals into a set of manageable, day-by-day steps. These plans are reinforced by daily tips on topics like nutrition, stretching, and hydration, making the experience within the app a more complete view of how to lead an overall healthier lifestyle.”
The new features add more character to the app, specifically with the introduction of “daily tips” incorporated into the training plans. The tips, which often appear on scheduled ‘rest days’, include suggestions on getting more sleep, the benefits of drinking chocolate milk for post-workout hydration, and motivational quotes to help push the training forward.
In the press release annoucing the launch, Jacobs said, “With this update, RunKeeper is taking another step towards bringing the expert guidance of a personal trainer to the convenience of a smartphone, in an automated way.” He added, “Tracking your activities is a start, but guidance is key for many people who are trying to improve and may not know where to begin.”
“Over time, the goal is to evolve into a sort of personalized coach for our users -- helping them make smarter decisions about their health and fitness.”
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Dennis Keohane is a staff writer for VentureFizz. You can follow Dennis on Twitter (@DBKeohane) by clicking here.