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RunKeeper gets a second wind with new training programs

New features in the app help you plan out a personalized training program.

For all the glorious multitudes of data that your Fitbit pulls, it can't encourage you to stay hydrated. And while there are dozens of sensors, and trackers, and watches that you can strap on to download details on your steps, pacing, and heart rate, none of them can remind you to stretch before a run.

RunKeeper, a favorite app among fit tech fans, announced today that it is extending its reach by incorporating training plans into its app, courtesy of content partnerships with companies like Greatist. Now, in addition to being able to track your runs and view stats about your pace and distance, you can also receive expert guidance to help you map out a training plan. The additional features help you break down a long-term training goal into realistic daily goals, and also provide daily tips on nutrition, stretching, and hydration.

The idea, says RunKeeper CEO Jason Jacobs, is to "bring the expert guidance of a personal trainer to the convenience of a smartphone." The company has overhauled its app experience specifically to provide users more personalized training and encouragement to think about their training in real-life ways. A broader menu of goals gives users the ability to tailor their training programs, and the additional healthy-living tips make the RunKeeper app a more complete lifestyle app.

It's clear that RunKeeper is looking to take advantage of the app's popularity and expand it into a full-featured digital fitness platform. It's a smart move for the company. As ever more fitness apps and devices flood the market, and usage increases, companies will no doubt be looking for ways to increase the value of their products--either by partnering with more hardware devices, or including additional data and metrics in their software to help users put the information to practical use.

Jacobs more or less admits as much, stating, "Tracking your activities is a start, but guidance is key. The goal is to evolve into a sort of personalized coach for our users." With this announcement, RunKeeper is certainly getting one step closer to that goal--at least for iOS users. No word on when the new features will be rolled out to the Android version.

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