Apps For Running
Trying to find the best running tracker for your workout might seem like something only professional athletes and pro runners need to worry about. But having an app running in the background to keep you on track, monitor your progress and help you work out effectively is incredibly valuable, whether you’re a novice or an expert.
Running is about more than just downloading an app – there are other tools and products that make the whole experience more enjoyable and rewarding, from the right running earphones to ensure you fully reap the rewards of your motivational playlist to a lightweight running jacket for the colder months. Gore Tex running shoes, combined with good running socks, are also a must if you’re serious about running regularly, as they provide durability, warmth and guarantee that your feet stay dry. Finally, a running backpack that offers comfort, but practicality is essential, whether you’re taking part in a marathon or heading to the gym to train.
There are so many options to choose from when it comes to picking the best running apps for iPhone and Android devices, but we’ve selected 12 of the best for all different types of runners and circumstances. These are some of the top running apps that running enthusiasts will benefit from, whether it’s to train for a race or to mix up the workouts.
If you’re a competitive runner, Strava is the app for you – it doesn’t just record your runs and cycle sessions, but also creates a competition between other people who run the same routes as you. This GPS-based functionality requires giving up some personal data, such as your location, for the full experience. Using your phone with the Strava app means you can monitor your stats in real time, but the data is uploaded to your account at the end of the session for your perusal at a later date. The key feature of Strava is its segments which enables you to name areas such as the park or sections of the roadside, so you can see how you stack up against other people in your area.
Strava keeps a log of your ride stats as you travel, including your distance, speed and time, as well as your location, and gives you an overview of calories burned, and elevation ridden at the end of your ride. This distance tracker app is available on iOS and Android and is free, although the Premium version comes at a cost if you want additional functionality such as filtered leaderboards, indoor training videos and the ability to create and track goals.
Runkeeper is one of the best-designed running apps Android has to offer and is well suited to those who are serious about their running. The intuitive interface and simple, clean design makes it easy to keep a track of your progress and monitor your stats in real time. The app enables you to plan out routes in advance before you set off for a run, so you know exactly how much distance you’re covering without the risk of getting lost – particularly useful if you’re new to a city. The real-time audio is also helpful in guiding you through your workout and works in tandem with your favorite Spotify playlists for a unique running experience. Runkeeper lets you set fitness goals too, so you can track your progress and see how far you’ve come.
Friendly competition is what fuels RaceRunner, a virtual racing app that works well to keep you motivated as you compete in real-time events. You’ll get live audio notifications about where you placed in a race or you can set a distance ahead of time and find out how you did afterwards. If you fancy taking part in events such as International Women’s Day, there are runs associated with such days, and you can even connect to other trackers such as TomTom or Garmin. RaceRunner is one of the best running training apps if you’re interested in the competitive, social side of running.
If you’re someone who often forgets their phone, or you simply want to be able to go running without having to be chained to your smartphone, MapMyRun is ideal. Taken over by athletic wear company Under Armour, this app works in connection with UA’s Record Equipped shoes which have a built-in chip that measures your distance and pace without your phone having to be anywhere to be seen. All you have to do when you get back from your run is sync your shoes with the app and you’re done. MapMyRun also works with MyFitnessPal to give you a clear overview of the calories you’re using up on each workout too.
While many of the top fitness apps out there aim to include every physical activity you can think of, Runtastic is one of the best run tracking apps that tracks just that – running. It’s perfect for runners who just want to stay focused with their running progress, without the worry about how other exercise fits into the programme. That’s not to say this app is devoid of features though and what it does have gives you the opportunity to track your progress in great detail.
In addition to the usual running metrics, you’ll also get additional details such as the surface, heart rate, weather and more to enable you to fully assess the circumstances as well as your individual input. One of the most impressive features of the app though is the Runtastic Earth View which lets you watch your workout in 3D. If you want a powerful but easy-to-use app that lets you maintain a detailed log of your workouts, Runtastic is ideal for all that and more.
6. Nike+ Run Club
There are only a handful of apps which work with the GPS features of the latest Apple watch, including Strava and Runkeeper, but what separates Run Club is that there’s no need to pay out for the premium version in order to gain advanced tools. If you’re keen to get involved in the social side of running, this is one of the best running apps as it keeps you updated on the latest Nike Run Club events in your local area.
There’s something to suit all abilities with this app, so it’s one of the best running apps for beginners who want to start off slow, accompanied by the motivational words of athletes like Mo Farah or Eliud Kipchoge. But this is an app that has been engineered for experienced runners too, with audio-based workouts from top Nike coaches and motivational features.
7. Couch to 5k
Training to run 5k is a feat that takes a lot of dedication and motivation, but it’s something that Public Health England believes can be achieved in just nine weeks. The completely free Couch to 5K app guides you through each week with audio support from celebrities and athletes, taking you from novice to experienced runner. You’ll partake in three 30-minute workouts each week to prepare you for a 3.1 mile race at the end of the nine-week period.
The app serves as more than just a tracking device, but it also becomes your virtual coach, providing you with verbal cues to keep you on track. The data also gets uploaded to your account where you can share and discuss your achievements with others in the newsfeed.
For many people, the motivation for downloading jogging apps is to establish a regular running routine. As a beginner, Pacer is ideal as it’s an app that’s focused on step counting, to build up to a consistent habit. This free app works quietly in the background, working like a pedometer to log your steps as you go about your day, so you can gauge what your level of activity really looks like.
There’s the option to track runs with GPS functionality and even join group challenges, and for premium members, there are training plans and video workouts to take part in. The app keeps tabs on your weight and blood pressure, so for those looking to get an overall look of their health so they can build up their fitness, Pacer is a good starting point that’s easy to use. Its minimal interface and easy to use features make it perfect for simple tracking that’s just about mapping progress and analytics.
9. Running for Weight Loss
Weight loss is often cited as the motivation behind taking up running, so it comes as no surprise that this app helps users to achieve just that. The Running for Weight Loss app creates eight-week plans to help you shift the pounds and improve your fitness, providing you with diet and nutrition advice and interval running workouts. The workouts, guided by an audio coach, are there to help you maintain focus while the varied intensity of the workouts is based on your current fitness level, so you don’t over exert yourself too early.
This app connects with other fitness apps like Fitbit and MapMyRun, so if you’re working out via other apps you can sync your progress. It has an easy set-up and a simple interface that makes it really user-friendly. Running for Weight Loss alternates between walking, running and sprinting, with all the challenges feeling achievable even if they’re on the more difficult side.
As apps for running go, Endomondo is one for the serious fitness fanatics. This is more than just a running app, it’s also for virtually any kind of outdoor workout, from skiing to rowing. It’s also ideal for social runners who want to join challenges, take part in competitions and share their achievements. Endomondo can be integrated with a number of other apps, such as smartwatches, Garmin, Fitbit and many more, so it’s a perfect addition if you’re already a fan of using a fitness tracker.
Endomondo can double up as a treadmill running app, although indoor workouts have to be entered manually so it might not be ideal if these form the majority of your workouts. It also costs you on a monthly basis if you want to take advantage of running training plans. However, if you struggle to stay focused when it comes to achieving fitness targets, the personal coach aspect of this app will keep you accountable.
If you like to like to explore as part of your running sessions but don’t like having to stop to check your phone for directions, RunGo takes the worry out of the unknown with voice-navigation to keep you on a safe track. As part of its functionality, this app allows you to create and download routes to use when you don’t have data, as well as explore routes from all over the world that already exist in its library. RunGo will highlight the right turns you need to take when you’re out running as well as pointing out areas of interest that you might want to stop off at.
12. Charity Miles
Charity Miles is the missing link between altruism and fitness – this distance tracker for running allows you to log your miles and earn money for charity as you go. The way it works is this: money is donated by brands who sponsor the app, with large companies such as Johnson & Johnson making the list, which you can then donate to a charity of your choosing. In addition to the list of 40 charities, you can also join teams to run for a specific cause, such as Stand up to Cancer.
Charity Miles is a great tool for transforming your fitness goals into something that benefits others at the same time, and it also serves as an inspiration to get moving on those days when you perhaps would rather stay home. By adding purpose to an otherwise standard workout, you can watch the number of sessions you’ve used the app for or how far you’ve walked or cycled become something tangible and beneficial to more than just yourself.