I made the rounds on all the running apps on my phone, and always ended up frustrated. One of the popular apps always screwed up distance for me when I used it. Another popular one never got my pace right. A friend of mine uses the Nike Plus app, but he also has the sensor that goes in the shoe and I don’t have that. Another friend owns a Garmin watch, and I just don’t have that kind of cash flow to purchase a watch that costs me a couple hundred dollars when I know there is an app out there that can do all of that for me.
So when I downloaded Runmeter, I was skeptical. But using it I found it to be fantastic. Then I paid for the Pro upgrade, and loved it even more. After seeing the latest upgrade to the Elite status, I paid the $5 to get the Elite version and have been thrilled ever since. This app tracks my distance almost perfectly, my pace is on spot, having the ability to have a voice in my ear every quarter-mile is awesome for speed work and tempo runs, and the auto posting makes it even better.
I had a chance to chat with Steve Kusmer, Co-Founder of Runmeter about the app and what’s to come.
IRG: What prompted you to create RunMeter?
SK: My friend, Kevin Wallace, and I had just sold a company, and we were looking for a new mission. It was 2008, and the iPhone had just come out, and we have always enjoyed being on the leading edge of new platforms. In addition, we thought that building fitness apps would be good for us. There’s nothing like having to take a ride, run, or walk every day to test the app!
IRG: In a world where tech toys are king, sometimes apps have a hard time getting recognition. How do you see RunMeter competing with the watches and chips out there?
SK: Watches and fitness trackers have captured the attention of the press, but every single one of the connects to an app. We connect to dozens of devices and displays, because this leads to a better experience for our users.
My favorite setup for running is to use the Runmeter with the Casio STB-1000 and for riding I use our app with the Wahoo RFLKT bike computer. This allows me to stow away the iPhone in a running belt while listening to podcasts through my earphones, yet be able to stop, start, and see stats on the Casio or the RFLKT.
IRG: One of my favorite things on RunMeter is that it automatically posts my stats to a variety of social media platforms, including My Fitness Pal and DailyMile. Are there any other social media platforms in the works to be added to RunMeter?
SK: We also recently added Strava to the list. We may add more, but we prioritize very carefully based on two things: 1) What our customers are asking for, and 2) Where we can innovate. Our MyFitnessPal integration has been especially useful, because it allowed us to integrate with a leading nutrition and exercise tracker, which helps our users have a total view of their fitness.
IRG: I feel like RunMeter is the most accurate when it comes to pace, distance, and timing. Is there any special algorithms that you have to make sure it’s as accurate as possible?
SK: Yes, we do. Especially with earlier iPhones, we found that iPhone GPS accuracy was lacking. We have spent almost a year of our time developing algorithms that attempt to filter out GPS inaccuracy. We also have special algorithms around stop detection, which is something our customers tell us we do better than any app. It’s extremely hard given the kind of noise that is in GPS data. The good news is that more recent iPhones have become so much more accurate. It’s a solid platform for a fitness app like ours.
IRG: I subscribed to the ELITE version of the app. What would you tell people to convince them that paying $5 a year for the ELITE version is worth it?
SK: When you first download our app, it is free, and then you can upgrade to the Elite version if you’d like. When it is free, it will solidly track your workouts, show them on a calendar and in a history list, and on a map. But with Elite, you get EVERYTHING else. Stop detection, email updates, Facebook posting, MyFitnessPal and other social fitness networks, heart rate analysis, training plans, …, the list goes on and on. See our product description page for Runmeter in iTunes. Every feature with a * after it is an Elite feature. Many people upgrade to Elite to avoid seeing ads, which helps support our development.
IRG: Any sneaky bits of information that you can share about future updates?
SK: You and your readers will love what we’re doing for iOS 8.
IRG: What about you? Are you a runner yourself? How many members of the team are fitness junkies like the rest of us?
SK: I’m a runner and a cyclist, and my colleagues all exercise, whether it’s a San Francisco hill climb or a 4 mile fast beach walk. For me, exercise is like meditation. I can see how it positively affects my mood as well as my fitness.
IRG: What’s the farthest distance you have run, if you are a runner?
SK: I’ve run the San Francisco marathon twice. These days, my running is usually a hilly San Francisco route, and my racing distance is 10k. I’m about to take a 3 miler around a beautiful New Hampshire lake.
IRG: Any last bits of information you would like to share? I’m sure I’ve missed some points you’d like to get out to the audience.
SK: One thing you may not have noticed: Our app includes the 7 minute workout. Just tap the activity in the upper right of the stopwatch, select 7 Minute Workout, tap Start, and it will walk you through the workout. (With Elite, it will talk you through the steps, not just show it on screen.)
In case your readers wonder about difference is between our apps: Cyclemeter, Runmeter, Walkmeter, and 5K Runmeter are built from the same core foundation, but come pre-configured for cycling, running, walking, or training. Essentially, the only difference is the icon, the name, and how the app comes configured. For example, you can capture rides with Walkmeter, do running training plans with Cyclemeter, and capture hiking with Runmeter.
Something else you might like to talk about with your readers: Running helps you live longer. This Stanford study shows that running regularly will add 16 years to your active life. Now there’s a reason to start running right now.
If you want to download Runmeter – the free, the pro, or the highly recommended Elite version, it’s available for iPhone right now in the app store. Just search for Runmeter! You can read more about the app here –> http://abvio.com/runmeter/