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Strava vs. Runkeeper: Which App Is Better for Running?
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Strava vs. Runkeeper: Which App Is Better for Running?

Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by Isabel Mayfield | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on 2022 September 23
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8 min

When selecting the best workout app for running, you have probably come across Strava and Runkeeper among suggestions. Which app better suits your running needs?

strava vs runkeeper
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Regardless of where you run (indoors or outdoors), you might want to track your workouts, see your progress over time, and share your stats with like-minded people. 

While there are so many fitness apps in the market, selecting one app based on your needs becomes challenging. Each app works differently in tracking workouts, displaying stats, and supporting social connections. 

If you did your research, you have probably narrowed the selection down to two apps – Strava and Runkeeper. These are the two most known fitness apps widely used by runners of all stages. 

So, which app suits your running needs better? In this review, we will compare Strava vs. Runkeeper, so you can pick one without trying out both apps.

Which App Is Better for Running: Strava vs. Runkeeper

Both Strava and Runkeeper are perfect running apps. Strava is more popular and better known for its community aspect – it works like a social media app for runners (strongly resembles Facebook). 

Runkeeper is a great app for runners looking for a custom workout plan, encouragement, and motivation in their running journey.

Strava Overview

Strava
  • Active community
  • Effective tracking across metrics
  • Performance insights
  • Neat interface
Our rating:
4.4
Learn More

Strava is a top-class fitness app ideally tracking indoor and outdoor runs and other types of exercises (hiking, swimming, yoga, etc.) Firmly established in the running and cycling world, Strava is widely praised for its easy-to-analyze detailed stats and sense of community. 

Strava is a perfect social fitness app if you want to feel a part of the runners’ community. Once you start tracking your workouts, you will see them in a feed, together with your friends or even professional athletes. 

This encourages people to support others, upload photos, comment on their physical activities, and feel motivated

Strava is also great at tracking GPS. You can see the map of each workout (for privacy, you can hide your home address). This allows you and other Strava users to get inspired by sharing each other’s running locations and exploring the same routes as other runners. 

To boost runners’ security, Strava introduced a Safety Beacon feature. It allows you to share real-time workout data (including your precise location) with up to three people you trust. 

Overall, Strava is a perfect choice if you are looking for a well-performing running tracking app. You can track your workout using your smartwatch or phone or enter data manually. 

Pros
  • Accurate GPS tracking and detailed workout stats
  • Widely used app
  • Supports interval training
  • Supports various types of workouts
  • Safety Beacon feature for safety tracking
  • Community-centered app to follow friends and pros
  • Supports many wearables
  • Personal and local heatmaps
  • Tracks running shoe mileage
Cons
  • Limited features in the free version
  • Does not offer customized training plans
  • Might feel too competitive or discouraging for some users
  • Privacy issues when sharing location

Runkeeper Overview

Runkeeper
  • Makes it easy to follow basic workouts
  • Displays splits
  • Lets you set up target metrics
  • Easy integration with Apple Music and Spotify
Our rating:
4.2
Learn More

Runkeeper is another excellent fitness app that can help you to improve your running journey. Perfect for complete beginners and more advanced runners, Runkeeper lets you set running goals and work toward them.

That being said, Runkeeper is a more coaching-oriented app than Strava. When you begin using Runkeeper, it asks you a few questions about your physical activity level. Based on your answers, the app recommends a training plan. This way, you always have a clear goal for your next run.

The paid version of the Runkeeper app provides personalized training, audio-guided instructions, and timely bits of motivating and educational content. 

However, Runkeeper is not as community-centered as Strava (which, depending on your personality, might be a pro or a con). While you can still share your progress, Runkeeper is not designed to be a runners’ social media app. 

Similarly to Strava, Runkeeper integrates a live workout tracking feature to increase safety, so you can send a link with your location to up to five contacts, like family members. 

Overall, Runkeeper is a great running app that seamlessly integrates with many wearables (like Android or Apple watch) and makes running smooth and more motivating. 

Pros
  • Great for beginners and more advanced runners
  • User-friendly app interface
  • Supports many wearables
  • Accurate GPS tracking and detailed workout stats
  • Motivational and educational content
  • Customized training routine based on your goals
  • Audio-guided runs (optional)
  • Tracks running shoe mileage
  • Very customizable audio and stats
Cons
  • Limited features in the free version
  • Does not provide heatmaps
  • Less in-depth running stats than Strava
  • Reported slow autopause

Price

Both Strava and Runkeeper offer free and paid versions. Both apps will do the job in their free versions if you need simple workout tracking. Yet, if you seek to immerse yourself in the runners’ world, you will need to upgrade to premium versions. 

Strava costs $7.99 monthly or $60 annually. Runkeeper offers a slightly different pricing model: $9.99 monthly or $39.99 annually. The pricing makes Strava a more attractive monthly choice and Runkeeper a more cost-effective yearly subscription.

Efficiency

Strava and Runkeeper are efficient apps that work well in tracking runs, presenting detailed stats, and displaying users’ progress. 

Runkeeper is perfect for new runners who want to build a running routine and receive recommendations and audio cues. The app allows you to select free runs or work toward a goal: specific pace, distance (like a half marathon), losing weight, improving mental health, toning your body, etc. 

Strava is more suitable for runners who want to improve their performance. It is an attractive app for people motivated by a sense of competitiveness and responsibility or for those who seek to find inspiration in other athletes. You can track your workouts, share your stats, and enjoy your progress. 

Integration With Wearables

Both Strava and Runkeeper support integration with wearables. 

For users who want more in-depth stats like heart rate zones, cadence, and power meter, both apps are compatible with many wearables: from smartwatches (like Apple Watch, Garmin, Fitbit, and others) to heart rate monitors.

Yet, this feature is optional. You do not need to have a smartwatch to use the apps. If you prefer running with your phone only, the apps will pocket-track your runs.

Beginner Friendliness

While beginners will find both apps intuitive to use, there are a few differences between them. 

Strava is a better option for runners used to working out on their own (without a plan). It also works well for people who want to progress naturally without pushing themselves. Heatmaps and activity suggestions make it easy to plan new routes for beginners. 

Runkeeper is a more friendly app for people who have just begun their running journey. After filling out a questionnaire, the app helps beginners reach their goals with customized training plans and guidance. Timely educational bits and motivational content makes running engaging.

Brand Reputation

Strava is undoubtedly a more popular app compared with Runkeeper. Many famous athletes and professionals use the app and share their progress. It is a reputable app that has been in the market for many years, bringing the fitness community together.

Runkeeper by Asics is also a highly reputable app that is intuitive to use and devotes its attention to helping runners improve. Runkeeper incorporates Asics Studio – fitness professionals with personal trainers that provide audio-guided workouts for their users.  

Music

For users who love to listen to music while running, both apps provide a well-working integration with many music apps like Spotify. Also, both apps support audio cues during a run (although optionally turned off). 

Strava allows you to open and play music in the background. The only downside is that there is no direct in-app control. Runkeeper makes things obvious and more convenient for a user. It lets you access your music right from the workouts.  

Premium Version Features

While both Strava and Runkeeper offer sufficient running tracking in their free versions, both apps made their premium versions highly valuable and worth the upgrade. 

Strava’s premium, called Strava Summit, unlocks more advanced stats like HR and pace zones, real-time performance data, route creation, personal heatmaps, group challenges, leaderboards, Strava Beacon, and others. 

Once you upgrade to Runkeeper Go, you receive an individualized approach to your workouts. Runkeeper premium version crafts an individualized training plan to help you reach desired goals. Also, the app provides real-time feedback and in-depth statistics, so you can learn from your past runs. 

Strava and Runkeeper Alternatives

Although the fitness market is saturated with apps, beating the two top-class apps is hard. The only app that comes close to Strava and Runkeeper is Joggo

You could consider Joggo an attractive alternative to Strava and Runkeeper because it is probably the most customized running-focused app. This app exclusively focuses on providing you with a personalized running and meal plan. Joggo helps you reach your fitness goals with professional assistance on track and in the kitchen. 

Joggo’s in-house team of running coaches and dietitians crafts the plan based on your physical level, age, BMI, and desired fitness goals. It effectively tracks and guides your run, so you can progress with confidence in what you are doing. 

Yet, Joggo does not serve as a social fitness app. Therefore, if you want a community-driven running experience, stick with Strava or, at least, Runkeeper.

Joggo
Running Training App Designed for Your Lasting Running Habits
  • Personalized running plans created by professional coaches
  • Meal plans perfectly tailored to your current diet, allergies, and health needs
  • Treadmill mode for people preferring indoor running
  • Educational articles on easier running, injury prevention, nutrition, and more
  • Behavior science-based reward system for lasting motivation
Our rating:
4.7
Learn More

Final Verdict

There are no doubts that both Strava and Runkeeper are excellent choices for tracking your runs. They both combine an easy-to-navigate interface, accurate tracking, and safety features. But they also differ.

Choose Strava, the widely used social app, if the sense of belonging and friendly competition is what motivates you and pushes you forward. With the Strava app, you belong to the fitness community. This might encourage you to show up and progress daily. 

Runkeeper will be a better fit for beginner runners (but not limited to) who seek professional coaching, customized workout plans, and educational insights for their runs. It is a well-designed app for people looking for goal-oriented workouts, so they always know the next objective they need to hit.

In the end, you can always grab a free trial (both apps provide it) and see which app suits your needs better.  

A Word From Coach

With so many running apps on the market, picking out one can become a time-consuming task. However, you do not need to evaluate every single feature of all of them.

Choose the app that offers an accurate workout tracker with GPS. Yet, do not forget about rainy and heavily snowing days – pick the app that supports treadmill mode.

If you plan to run with your smartwatch or a chest strap to monitor oxygen level or heart rate, select an app that is compatible with your wearables.

A professional running app should provide you with detailed workout data: duration, distance, average pace, route, speed, and calories burned. Also, it could display heart rate, cadence, fatigue, shoe mileage, and other stats relevant to your run.

Of course, some people prefer planning and doing their workouts individually, while others enjoy custom-tailored training plans and step-by-step assistance.

There is no right or wrong answer here. You know yourself best. Select the running app that meets your personal needs.

Conclusion

Strava and Runkeeper are excellent choices for people on their running journey – heading to their first run and training for a half marathon. While you will not regret using either app, there are a few differences between them.

The Strava app is more suitable for people that prefer a sense of community. Uploading photos, sharing workouts with others, and belonging to a community of like-minded fitness enthusiasts sets Strava apart from the rest. 

Strava works well in accurately tracking the run indoors and outdoors and supporting basically any existing wearable. 

Runkeeper will be more attractive for runners seeking guidance and professional training toward their goals. Used by many runners globally, the app does an excellent job tracking essential running stats and supporting their runners. 

Choose the app that suits your current needs better and find joy in your running journey.

Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by
Isabel Mayfield is a certified yoga instructor with over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. She is passionate about self-improvement and loves to help people improve their sense of self-worth through education and support in meeting their fitness goals.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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