How to Create a Fitness App Like RunKeeper
How to Create a Fitness App Like RunKeeper

How to Create a Fitness App Like RunKeeper

Today a healthy lifestyle is in vogue. And a healthy lifestyle implies, among other things, regular physical activity. But let's face it: doing sports isn't exactly easy, you need self-discipline, regimen, motivation... Fortunately, various fitness tracking applications provide us with all of the above and much more. Thus, they help us keep in shape and achieve our sports goals faster.

That's why these applications are such a big deal at the moment; they’re incredibly popular. And one of the top solutions on the market is, of course, RunKeeper. Moreover, it may well become your source of inspiration if you’re interested in fitness app development.

Let's figure out what should be done to build a Runkeeper clone. What technologies will help you achieve the best result? How do you stay in the market among strong competitors? Where do you even start?

None of these questions will go unanswered.

What is RunKeeper?

Runkeeper is a free GPS-based fitness app. Today it supports both iOS and Android platforms and has over 40 million active users.

The application has existed since 2008: it was then that FitnessKeeper initiated the running tracking app development. Over the past years, the service has made remarkable achievements, among other things, it has ranked 28th in the Health & Fitness category in the United States. Moreover, in Sweden and the Netherlands, it was rated even higher: 2nd and 4th places respectively.

RunKeeper has many competitors, sought-after fitness tracking applications, but most of them are being led by famous sports companies like Under Armor and Adidas today. RunKeeper remains independent for now (although who knows what the future holds?).

The secret of RunKeeper's popularity is the variety of features it offers, including convenient workout planning and social media integration. In addition, RunKeeper has partnered with Fitbit and Spotify, which makes it even more in demand among users.

Who is using RunKeeper?

The application covers the needs of both beginners and professionals. It mostly depends on what you want to get:

  • self-discipline during fitness activities, whether it be cycling, long walks, or walks;

  • the ability to communicate with other sports fans;

  • monitoring the process of achieving your goal related to sports and a healthy lifestyle;

  • a more fun way to do your workouts.

To develop run and walk tracking apps like RunKeeper, you must understand what is special about your source of inspiration. Let's figure it out right away!

What is good about RunKeeper?

RunKeeper offers different ways to enjoy sports training and makes the whole process more efficient:

  • It provides you with numerous sports data such as running or cycling speed, calories burned, and so on.

  • Why not do a workout with your favorite music playing in the background? RunKeeper's integration with Apple Music and Spotify makes it possible.

    • Surely, you don't need an application to engage in sports with music, it's just another perk of any efficient app like the Run Keeper.

  • You can use RunKeeper to show your friends your fitness progress by sharing results on social networks.

  • Of course, all fitness tracking applications help you make your training plan, but RunKeeper is especially good at it. Thanks to flexible settings, planning and progress control become almost invisible.

So far, we’ve only given a brief overview of RunKeeper... it's time to dig a little deeper and show what makes it so hot.

RunKeeper pros:

  • Integrations with useful services. RunKeeper syncs with such solutions as Garmin, Fitbit, Withings.

  • Wide range of sports options. Users resort to RunKeeper to run, walk, hike, swim, row, cycle, and more.

  • Convenient background mode. The app continues to run smoothly even when it goes into the background.

  • User-friendly UI. The app is easy to onboard; in addition, its key features are always available and at hand.

  • Multilingual UI. The app interface supports a lot of languages, which allows expanding the audience of users. Take it into account if you want to build a Runkeeper clone covering various countries too. 

  • Saving your results and achievements. After the end of each workout, the results are not only stored in the application itself but also being sent to the email specified during registration.

  • A minimum of advertising, so that the service doesn’t annoy the user.

It sounds next to perfect, but there's also a flip side to that coin, Rankipper is no exception in this regard. And you should know its shortcomings and try to avoid them while working on a similar project of yours (if you're serious about developing a fitness app like Runkeeper).

RunKeeper cons:

  • The app drains your battery a lot, making long-term workouts a challenge;

  • No background sensor-pedometer;

  • Without a GPS signal, there are no alerts and notifications;

  • It’s impossible to connect a fitness bracelet or heart rate monitor to RunKeeper;

  • Some important features are available only in the paid version.

Features to Build a Runkeeper Clone

Creating a clone doesn’t mean developing an application, which is exactly the same as the original. You should only use RunKeeper as a source of inspiration providing you with some interesting ideas.

Fitness app development

Now let's take a closer look at what it all means.

  • User Profile. The purpose of the feature is to give you access to your personal information.

  • Newsfeed. You can see your friends' feeds, including their photos, runs, achievements, comments, and more. If you wish, you’re welcome to comment on their posts too and share your sports-related news.

  • Maps. Any geolocation application has a Map feature (should have it anyway). And fitness apps are no exception. In the end, RunKeeper is based on GPS, as we wrote earlier, so maps are a must (keep it in mind when planning your run and walk tracking app development).

  • Activity tracking. Also, the user should be able to see all his fitness activities, whether it's jogging, walking, swimming, riding a bike, collected in one place (application screen). 

    • By the way, RunKeeper has made this section even more visual and illustrated user activity with graphs, maps, and the like. In other words, the service simplified and visualized activity tracking as much as possible.

  • Goal setting. The user can set goals for himself depending on what he wants to achieve: lose weight, prepare for a marathon, improve some physical indicators, and so on.

  • FitnessReport. Of particular importance is the section, which visualizes the user's sports achievements: his progress, personal records, analytics, and so on.

These features are enough for building a running app in its basic version (the so-called MVP model). However, if you want more, we suggest adding a few more options, such as:

  • Training programs. RunKeeper offers an expanded customizable workout option for those who are serious about getting into their fitness routine.

  • Audio stats. That's a very interesting feature, and it makes RunKeeper truly special. It's about the sound notification of the user about the selected training indicators at the specified time intervals and/or distances. Let’s say, the system can report to the user the distance traveled and his average pace or speed after each kilometer passed. 

    • By the by, if the user listens to music during training, it'll automatically be muted when receiving audio stats.

  • Wearables integration. Another important feature (though, it’s not a must) is the ability to exchange data with various sports gadgets, whether it's Apple Watch, Android Watch, or sports bracelets. Fitness tracking applications work with these wearables in several ways:

    • Data collection in the gadget itself (a smartwatch or a bracelet), and its subsequent processing in the application in the smartphone.

    • Installing a special wearables-adapted copy of the application in smartwatches (and some types of bracelets). In this case, the gadget can also work autonomously, although with limited functional options.

  • Gamification, or adding fun and competition to the training process. We're talking about a chance to compete with other users or even with oneself. In the first case, winning such a competition leads to some cool bonuses. In the second case, the user should be rewarded for each successive record or achievement of the goal set. Prizes can be both virtual and real, including cash discounts and free subscriptions.

  • Reminders. And finally, an efficient app like the Run Keeper provides a feature of reminders: let's say, notifying the user about the approach of the next scheduled training or any other sport-related event.

What to Consider to Develop an App like the Run Keeper

To create a perfect fitness app, you need to consider many different factors and develop a smart strategy on their basis. So we invite you to study this section carefully and understand how you can best approach your project.

Social component 

The main features of RunKeeper-like software are tools for monitoring the user's physical activity and analyzing his sports achievements. However, a truly dynamic and effective running application should also include a social component; namely, it has to provide users with the opportunity to communicate with each other and ensure mutual support. All of this adds up to the gamification factor we’ve mentioned earlier.

To connect a social component, you can create an internal application community as part of the software functionality. An easier option is to allow integration with social networks and the export of sports achievements to FB, Instagram, etc.

Geolocation solutions

By developing a fitness app like Runkeeper, you're focusing on the creation of special GPS-based functionality. After all, it's the essential feature for a running application, as it must constantly display the user's location on the map, agreed?

The implementation of such a feature is possible using Google Maps (Android) or Maps (iOS). Also, let's not forget about GPS navigation in the smartphone, which comes to the rescue too.

These tasks are relatively simple... the real difficulty is placing some unique "flags" on the map to indicate important points on the route (say, the company's partner sports stores). Creating such flags is a task for a skilled development expert. By the way, our team has experience with location apps, and a prime example is our project named Shark Taxi. As you must admit, the taxi application cannot work properly without the geolocation feature, right?

Help from HealthKit & Google Fit

Today, the run and walk tracking app development project is rarely complete without the use of such cool services as HealthKit (iOS) and Google Fit (Android). These solutions are a real help to any developer as they’re able to collect health and fitness information from a variety of sources, including third-party apps (say, RunKeeper). In addition to gathering information, these tools process and securely store it in a single database.

  • HealthKit & Google Fit have a great many cool benefits, and there are a lot of reasons to use these services for developing a similar app like Run Keeper. We've outlined them in another article, so follow the link if you need more information on the matter.

Data Protection

Securing the user's personal information also never hurts. However, when using the just mentioned HealthKit or Google Fit, you have nothing to worry about: both solutions resort to advanced data protection and encryption.

Fitness app development-focused UX/UI 

Creating a fitness app interface should follow a few simple principles (or rather rules)… they’re optional, but we wouldn't recommend ignoring them. Otherwise, you run the risk of receiving an unclaimed product that is inconvenient or unpleasant to use (it fails to provide proper UX).

Here are these rules:

  • Maximum ease of use. The fewer steps (clicks or taps) required to reach the goal, the better. The rule applies not only to running tracking app development, of course.

  • Large icons and app screen elements. It's mostly about noticeable workout control buttons (those needed to start, pause, and end a workout).

  • Useful information on one screen. Everything the user may need during his workout should be easily accessible. The user won’t have much time to switch between screens.

    • We’re talking about a map with the current route, information about the parameters of the training, such as speed, distance, number of steps, calories burned, etc.

As you can see, there are very few rules, but they’re really important.

Tech Stack for Building a Running App

There are different development technologies, and we would fail in an attempt to describe each option. So we're going to share only our expertise with you. According to our qualifications and experience, the tech stack below allows developing a similar app like Run Keeper without extra time and effort (which means the solution is cost-effective).

cost to create an App like Runkeeper

Fitness App Development: Competitive Environment

To recoup your development expenses and stay on top (alas, the cost to create an app like Runkeeper can't be too low), you need to understand what environment your software is going to run in. RunKeeper is just one of your potential competitors. 

Strava

The application is incredibly popular among those who are passionate about fitness, not without reason is it called the “sports social network”. Even the name suggests that its users are people striving for a sporty lifestyle ("strava" is an analog of the English word “strive”).

Strava has both free and paid versions. The first offers only the most basic functionality without the greatest features. Among the premium options are setting personal goals, determining the levels of physical activity, online monitoring of friends doing workouts, comparing the results of your training, and more.

Pros of Strava:

  • The so-called "cloud of safety". Imagine the following situation, which is quite typical: you plan some jogging (or other physical activity) and open the application when leaving the house. As a result, at the end of the workout, the route of your jogging, walking, or cycling (whatever!) remains in the account's memory… which means other users may know too much about you. But the Cloud of Security feature allows you to hide the starting point (and the zone of residence if it is one). So Strava is a dangerous rival to anyone trying to figure out how to build an app like Runkeeper and can serve as a source of inspiration too.

  • Integration with Instagram. That's why Strava is a great option for fans of this social network... which is growing in number every year!

  • User-friendly interface. Users won't find it difficult to figure out how to work with Strava.

  • Community of sports professionals. Strava allows you to join different fitness clubs and watch famous athletes doing their workouts.

  • Many cool features, such as a training diary, sports analytics, various activity trackers, and so on.

Cons of Strava:

  • The paid version is expensive, and the free one doesn't provide all the must-have features;

  • No audio statistics and built-in music.

But even these disadvantages don't diminish the importance of Strava. It remains a good inspiration option.

Is it difficult to create a fitness tracker app? The answer is yes, the task isn't easy. But it's quite doable... if you follow our tips in the article.

Runtastic

Top fitness tracking applications also include Runtastic; a service is primarily focused on cardio training, whether it's walking, running, or cycling. Runtastic offers users the ability to easily record cardio metrics such as speed, time, distance, pace, and calories burned. All this data are useful to people who are trying to get in shape with cardio.

Pros of Runtastic:

  • You can track your sports progress in real-time, here and now, right in the process of training;

  • Like RunKeeper, Runtastic is good at setting personal goals;

  • Runtastic is aimed at those who enjoy competing with others and/or themselves (comparing their results with other users or watching their own progress);

  • Need motivation and support? Then Runtastic is what you are looking for as it offers motivational quotes;

  • In addition to motivation, the application makes audio tips so that the user's workouts are as effective as possible;

  • A good option is the possibility of advanced app customization, including the creation of personal workouts and unique routes;

  • And of course, don't forget about the multilingual interface of Runtastic (more than 15 languages are available).

Cons of Runtastic:

  • The application offers the coolest features only in the paid version;

  • Many users are annoyed by ads, as there are too many of them in Runtastic;

  • There are some inaccuracies in counting calories and other related indicators.

Endomondo

Before we move on to the description of the running tracking app development stages, we would like to invite you to explore another competitor of yours, namely Endomondo.

Endomondo is being promoted as a sports social network. That's why the service pays much attention to such features as advanced communication, the ability to share photos and achievements when using the app, and so on. However, it doesn't mean training with Endomondo is ineffective: not at all, it's just that workouts aren't the sole purpose. Endomondo's goal is a community of people interested in fitness activities.

Pros of Endomondo:

  • Access to a huge number of different features, which makes the process of using Endomondo more enjoyable and efficient;

  • The ability to practice almost any sport (Endomondo has a considerable set of fitness options in its arsenal);

  • A few interesting ways to monetize the service, and users like them too, which is quite unusual (for example, they get the chance to enjoy premium features without payment during the trial period). But we'll detail these monetization options later when discussing how to recover the cost to develop a similar app like Run Keeper and get a source of income;

  • High level of application customization, including flexible training and interface settings;

  • A multilingual interface is also considered a plus, right?

  • Besides, users of Endomondo appreciate such a feature as training statistics and analysis of results;

  • There is audio support, including audio trainer tips and real-time audio messages from friends (even during a workout);

  • Integration with third-party systems, social networks, and wearables. Therefore, users can share the results on FB and Instagram and actively improve their workouts with fitness gadgets;

  • Like Runtastic, Endomondo has in-app ads but its advertising approach isn't intrusive; on the contrary, it's almost unnoticeable. And it doesn't piss off users.

Cons of Endomondo:

Its cons roughly repeat the disadvantages of other similar services: no alerts with poor GPS, fast discharge of the smartphone's battery, paid access to the best features, and so on.

How to Build an App Like Runkeeper?

Let's start by listing the tasks that someone who wants to develop run and walk tracking apps like RunKeeper should take on.

develop an app like the Run Keeper

And now it’s time to discuss what steps are needed to implement all of the above.

#1. Formulation of the primary concept

Not enough to say: I need a perfect fitness app! To actually get it, you have to figure out what will make your service special. And instead of reinventing the wheel, analyze the existing market and its players (your competitors):

  • A good option is to combine the most popular features from other applications and create a new service based on them;

  • You can find the disadvantages of other applications and do your best to solve these problems in your app;

  • Why not come up with features these services don’t offer?

Don't try to create a concept from A to Z; for now, your task is to formulate a primary idea. As to the concept itself, you'll have to work hard on it, and we advise you to involve professionals in the process.

#2. Expert Research (Discovery Phase)

To develop an app like the Run Keeper, you need a clear plan, a well-thought-out strategy. Therefore, you have to conduct a Discovery Phase. Its goal is to help you select must-have features and tech stack, determine the budget and deadlines. 

Read more about Discovery in the article at the link.

Discovery is the best way to save time and money and not waste resources on something the modern market doesn’t really need. After all, according to the latest research data, more than 70% of startups fail because the created software doesn’t work as the average user expects… which happens due to skipping the Discovery stage.

#3. UI/UX

After the Discovery phase, you'll be provided with a set of deliverables. And one of them is your software prototype (schematic or interactive one, depending on the specific project). However, a prototype isn't an interface design yet. And at the next stage, UIX/UX experts should work through all the screens of your application, visualizing each of its elements.

#4. MVP development

Building a running app in its full form should ideally be preceded by the MVP development stage, during which you create a product with a basic set of features. Such a project is easier and cheaper to implement, and the time to market is also reduced. 

Why do you need to start with an MVP?

  • you have the opportunity to properly test the application before launching the full-fletched version;

  • you can find  your very first users and start monetizing them without delay;

  • you get a chance to improve your strategy before you've spent too much money and time on undemanded software.

#5. Fitness app development

It's time to iron your product out, so to say, and bring it to perfection (as far as possible). It'll have all the features your users really need, which is the 1st step to your app's success.

#6. App testing

That's it, the software is ready to launch! However, before proceeding to the intriguing final stage, you should test the app properly. You have to be 100% sure your product is running smoothly.

#7. Collection of feedback

Work on the application never stops, it is cyclical. And to improve your software, you have to understand what your users like and dislike about your product (which explains why you need user feedback). 

If you started with MVP on our advice, then there won't be too many corrections and dislikes, but you won't be able to avoid them altogether. The IT market is constantly evolving, which is changing user requirements too.

#8. Application improvement & monetization

Now you keep bettering your product day by day by adding new features and improving old ones. The process never ends but it’s truly exciting.

Also, don't forget your software should be profitable and bring you money (otherwise, why develop it, to begin with?). As we’ve already mentioned, the cost to create an app like Runkeeper is rather high, so you have to work out ways to monetize your software. There's no room for error.

And by the by, we’re happy to give you a couple of useful tips.

How to Monetize Innovative Running Apps

Most fitness app monetization strategies are typical for other mobile services too. It's about the freemium model (basic free and advanced paid application versions), in-app ads or purchases, subscriptions, and so on. We've covered and detailed these methods in our article at the link and revealed the pros and cons of each method. Therefore, there is no point in dwelling on all this once again.

But we’d like to return to the Endomondo application with its interesting approach to monetization, namely:

  • advertising challenges that the sponsor of Endomondo throws to users: the one who completes a certain task receives a prize (Endomondo owners get their share too);

  • setting the premium version by default for a month. After 30 days, the user himself decides what he wants: to pay and get more or switch to the option with limited features (thus the number of paid users is growing).

We hope you’ll be able to come up with your own monetization strategy. Anyway, you can’t go wrong if you approach the matter at hand properly and plan the whole thing beforehand.

Wanna know the actual cost to develop a similar app like Run Keeper? Follow the link and read our piece related to the topic in question!

Our Agilie team knows how to build an app like Runkeeper and has relevant experience. And we're happy to help you in the implementation of your project. If you're interested in our services, feel free to contact us without delay. 

 

Helen Vakhnenko
Helen Vakhnenko

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