Is RunDot Project Legit? My Experience

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If you’re a runner with social media, chances are that you’ve seen the RunDot ads inviting you to participate in their research and receive a two-month training plan for free.

I’m a marathoner who signed up through this ad, and here’s why I didn’t use RunDot in the end. Spoiler alert: the app is buggy and you have to give your credit card information.

What is RunDot?

RunDot is an AI- and data-driven training platform that creates personalized training plans. They claim “better results in less time with fewer injuries.” Their website homepage states that RunDot athletes “improve an average of 3.2x more than non-users and experience performance improvements in 30% less training time.”

The “Dot” in RunDot stands for “data optimized training.” Their take your past training data to create a plan, and they then evaluate your execution of that plan.

The company was created by the founders of TriDot, which is essentially the same thing as RunDot but for triathlons. TriDot has been around for about a decade. The two website homepages are extremely similar and cite the same stats. (They likely pulled the improvement stats from TriDot, especially since RunDot is only a few months old, as far as I could find; that said, it’s unclear how exactly they analyzed performance improvement data to arrive at those numbers).

Pricing ranges from $13 to $149 per month, depending on your race distance and the level of support needed (the highest tier gets you a dedicated coach).

How Do You Get the Free Training?

The ads going around basically offer you the $29 tier for free, for two months. This provides a personalized plan based on your training data for one scheduled race up to a marathon distance.

If you click on the link in the ad, you’re taken to a brief application where you provide some demographic information, your past training, and your training goals.

I was accepted to the project just 3 days later, and sent an email to claim my spot and set up my account.

After you create your account, you’re asked to sync your past data. RunDot can sync with Garmin, Strava, Apple Watch, Fitbit, Polar, Suunto, MapMyRun, and Rouvy. Unfortunately, you can’t sync COROS data.

You then get 2 weeks of a free, personalized plan before the real 2 months starts. But, there’s a catch!

Forerunner 265S training load
You can sync your Garmin data to RunDot

Is the “Free” Training Plan Really Free?

To activate the free, 2-month training plan, you have to sign up for a subscription and give them your credit card info. You won’t be charged upfront, but you will be if you forget to cancel after the two free months.

This is a very typical “intro” subscription bonus—sign up and it’s free at first, but then you get charged later. That said, RunDot is not upfront about this at all, and they market it just as two free months, without mentioning that you need to sign up for a subscription and give your credit card information.

You’re also giving them really valuable training data to improve their product. I’m not sure how far back they sync your activities, but it could very well be all your training data. Of course, they have to have your data to personalize your plan, but it makes the deal feel like an uneven exchange since they’re benefiting from potentially years of your data while you get two months free.

Is the RunDot Project Worth it?

The app was extremely buggy for me and hard to use. I unfortunately didn’t take screenshots of the app before I asked for my account and data to be deleted, but the interface was clunky and some important things didn’t work as they should (it took me several tries to add my upcoming race).

I also felt that the plans were too high intensity for me as someone who’s coming back from an injury, likes to add in cross-training, and has lower mileage for a marathoner.

Because the plan is personalized based on your training, you also can’t see more than one month ahead.

In the two weeks I had free access, I only did one of the interval workouts, which I thought was okay but too focused on speed for a distance runner. In case you’re curious, it was a warmup, 40 seconds at approximately mile race pace and then 3 minutes recovery pace (repeated 5 times), then a cooldown. (Note: it’s entirely possible that this is not exactly the workout recommended; I went back into my Strava since I don’t have a RunDot account anymore. I remember the workout being kind of confusing in the app).

All in all, I felt like signing up for the project was a waste of my time, and I didn’t like that RunDot was benefitting from my data without me actually using the app. So, I asked them to delete my account and data, and it seems like they did since I can’t access my account anymore.

I think the app could be useful if you’re looking to get ideas of workouts, but it seemed too buggy to be used as a dedicated training plan for an upcoming race. I don’t think it would be worth the money if you’re only using it for the occasional workout idea.

me grimacing as I cross the finish line of the Philly Marathon
Me crossing the finish line of the Philly Marathon in 2021

Where to Find Free Running Training Plans

I’ve never been one to follow a training plan (I just liked the personalized element of RunDot), but here are plans that I’ve heard have worked well for others.

Hansons (Marathons, Half Marathons, and 10ks)

Boston Marathon (Beginner to Advanced Marathon

Hal Higdon (Marathons)

Runner’s World (Beginner to Marathon)

David Roche road marathon plan for trail runners

If you have a COROS watch, you can also make free, more personalized marathon plans after the December 2023 app update. If you want to learn more about COROS, here’s a post on COROS vs. Garmin.

In November 2023, I actually started training with a coach, so I’ll update this post with any thoughts/reflections when I have them.

Feel free to suggest any in the comments that worked for you!

I hope this post was helpful in explaining why I don’t recommend the RunDot Project. I didn’t find information on this before I applied, so I’m hoping I can save other runners some trouble.

Let me know what you thought of RunDot if you tried it!

If you want to follow along my training, here’s my Strava profile.

You may also like these posts:

My race recaps
My GPS watch comparisons

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  1. Thank you for writing about your experience. I’m such a sucker for social media ads but I’m def not signing up for this based on your review. This was very helpful for me

  2. This was super helpful. I’m running the NYC Half in March 2024, I’m looking for a plan. I was going to sign up for Rundot because of the free 2 months but I think I’ll just use the NY Roadrunner training. At least it will be tried and tested. It’s a one time $79 from now until Mar. 24. Thanks for the review.

    1. Just to chime in, I know friends who love using the NYRR app (if you’re referring to RunCoach) I also used it one training cycle – I encountered the same app issues some here have with RunDot in that it’s not completely personalized and is buggy. Ultimately I found the built in plan in, say, my Garmin or a pre-made one online just as effective. HOWEVER I do think NYRR’s at least is completely up-front about what it is and costs.

  3. Thanks! I’m also not going to sign up – went through the enrolment but don’t like what you describe. Also I realise that the Stryd powermeter that i use is actually a pretty good deal as it comes with plans for 5k to marathon that adjust to your power test results. Sibille stick with that

  4. Thanks for the detailed post, super helpful! If the app is based on AI, perhaps entering just some basic info into an app like ChatGPT can output a plan too? 😉

    I’m not fond of the bait and switch (credit card subscription.). If the company stand by their product, they should give it free with no strings attached esp since they are getting info to help the app too. Hard pass!

    1. Glad it could help! You could definitely try ChatGPT for a plan, though I work a bit with AI and am not sure I would trust its plan unless I got it reviewed by a coach. Totally agree that RunDot should be way more upfront about their “free” trial. Hope you find a plan that works for you!

  5. Thanks. I did sign up but as soon as I got the activation email today, I changed my mind when I saw I had to give my credit card details. They could have made it that you were automatically unsubscribed after the trial but didn’t, so like you, I’m also out. I don’t think they would have liked me much anyway as I would have simply done my own thing if what they suggested didn’t fit my own schedule and regular runs I do with a running group! I also struggled to add a race in the app and found three so as a whole pretty confusing.

    1. Totally agree! If they’re going to give you “2 free months,” make it no strings attached. Thanks for sharing your experience, and good luck with your training!

  6. Read your review, thank you. I did sign up and enjoying the planned approach to improving running. yes they need all your years of running data in order to get you to an appropriate starting point and help you improve from that starting point and not 10 years ago or at a beginner level when your advanced and vice versa. As with all subscriptions, Paramount +, apple Tv, etc that offer 7 days free, you need to set a personal reminder to cancel. no biggie. The app is easy and if there is any difficulty, there is a great team working behind the scenes that provide assistance. The facebook group also provides great insight. As with any training, one type of plan is not for everyone.

  7. thank you for sharing your experience, valuable info. I am not a professional runner but I am interested to start slowly with a program. The rundot seems interesting, I was about to join but I decided to search a bit about the company in google, was good since I came across your page. Thanks again and good luck with your training 🙂

  8. I tried it briefly, I ran into so many problems in the 2 week trial, they said 2 months, but mine ended up being 2 weeks with zero explanation. In the short time I did find the app super buggy and nothing felt personalized for me. I enjoyed your article and seeing somebody else’s opinion!

    1. Glad the article could help, but I’m sorry you had a bad experience too! I hope you find a training program that you like!

  9. Thanks for this. Bugs aside, I am not sure the app is for me, but I especially don’t appreciate the false exclusivity they rely on to get signups and mask that they’re basically just heavily marketing their paid membership via a “free trial.” I haven’t registered yet, so they’ve persistently emailed daily alerts with false urgency to remind me to claim my spot. I’m pretty sure anyone who applies who isn’t a bot gets accepted. It’s like those game ads that appeal to people’s ego with claims like “only 5% of humans get this right!” when it’s a pretty open acceptance rate, and they’d likely take everyone they can get.

  10. I am almost at the end of my 2 months trial and love it. After that I will pay for the essential program of $29. I can add one race at a time with that program. I will upgrade if needed but for now I am traing for a half marathon on march the 17th. They predict a finish time for me of 2 hours and 15 minutes which seems ambitious for me 🙂 If I ran somewhere near the rundot predicted time I will stay with the program. For now I have taken 32 seconds of my 5K in 7 weeks of training.

  11. I have been training with RunDot since January and it has been a game changer for me. The time based training is amazing in my halfmarathon prep! The program inspired me not to miss any of my training runs, and the challenges it gave me made the training runs fun. I learned how important heart rate is and am impressed with every aspect of the program. I look forward to working with RunDot and can’t wait to see my progress!

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