Maybe you’re new to running, or perhaps you are a more seasoned runner looking for a better alternative to tracking your runs. Regardless of your running experience and fitness level, the increasing popularity of running apps has proved that technology can be put to really good use when it comes to achieving fitness goals and staying motivated.
These apps have become the modern equivalent of a fitness diary; they help you stay on track, keep record of detailed metrics of your run, and personalize your running routine up to finding new routes for you and giving cues specified to your goals. We have listed below some of the best running apps that runners swear by:
1. Nike Run Club
The Nike Run Club app is one of the best run tracking apps for all levels of runners. The app’s specialty is its guided audios, through which you are guided by Nike coaches and athletes. Moreover, each of the audios is tailored to a specific purpose or pace (e.g. A Rainy Run, Not Motivated Run, How Fartlek Can You Go?.)
Over 100 million members use the app to log their miles, see the split times and average mile pace. The app also tracks routes and stores completed workouts so you can view your progress over time. At the end of a run, it offers a cheering sounds option, which can be quite motivational at times (we’re talking Not Motivated Run.) Another convenient feature is the app’s shoe tracker, where you can pick the ones you are running in and track the miles in them, so you know when it’s time to buy a new pair of shoes.
The app is free and also pairs with the Nike Training app, in which you can add running to a varied training plan and schedule. If you want to find your running rhythm to the sounds of music, Nike Run Club also links with Apple Music and Spotify Premium.
Strava is a fitness and sports tracking platform for athletes, which found popular use among runners, similarly as among other athletes. This app is considered the social media of fitness, with features that center around building a network of fellow runners who will keep you motivated and with whom you can share your achievements. To add to the motivation factor, Strava users can give ‘kudos,’ the app’s version of the typical ‘like’ button, as a way of showing appreciation for hard work among friends. It also offers the opportunity to join clubs nearby, so that you interact with other runners.
As of now the app has around 55 million users, joined together by their love of sport and, of course, the app’s great features. Strava’s metrics include keeping track of the routes you take, your pace, and the run’s mileage. You can record your run directly via the app, or link it with third-party GPS devices and upload it to the platform later. Users have even started creating Strava performance art by running on a route that is pre-mapped to look like an image or text.
The app is free, but offers a paid Summit membership for more detailed breakdowns of your runs, a training plan, and access to Strava Beacon, a feature that offers to share your real-time location with friends and family as safety contacts.
Strava is available for Android & iOS.
3. MapMyRun by Under Armour
The MapMyRun app is great for runners who prefer scheduling and planning their running time, distance, and location ahead of time. The app tracks your run via the phone or a connected GPS device and offers metrics such as distance, duration, splits, and calories burned.
MapMyRun’s feature, Route Genius, is very convenient if you are bored of running on the same route over and over again. The Route Genius allows you to browse new routes nearby and get suggestions for routes close to you, so you can switch up your routine .
For music lovers, this app links with Apple Music. If you like to keep track of your nutrition, the app also links with another app by Under Armour called MyFitnessPal. This app helps to log in your meals and track calories, which is perfect if you are looking to lose weight or increase your calorie intake for gaining weight.
The app is free of charge but offers a premium subscription in which you can get detailed data of your runs, a designated training plan, unlimited mapped routes, and more.
4. Adidas Runtastic Running
This app is a multifunctional fitness tracker; it allows you to track running, among other forms of exercise such as yoga, cycling, walking, bodyweight exercise, and more. Adidas Runtastic has a built-in GPS that lets you track time, speed, distance, and other workout statistics such as the approximate calories burned.
You can pair Adidas Runtastic with Adidas Training to get a rounded fitness routine by combining running with strength training. The app also connects with other fitness apps and third-party devices if you prefer a combined approach. It additionally links with Apple Music, so you can accompany your run with your favorite tunes. For the ambitious runner, the app encourages healthy competition through targeted challenges and global virtual races.
Adidas Runtastic is free to download but offers a premium subscription for users who want to get more detailed training plans, route planning, and access to interval training.
5. RunKeeper by Asics
RunKeeper is a well-liked app by both beginner and experienced runners, with 50 million users to prove it. Its built-in GPS tracks your running distance, pace, and the overall time you spend running. If your running routine is getting a bit repetitive, you can create interval workouts within the app such as a run/walk combination, short running bursts, etc.
If you have a specific goal for your runs, you can log it into the app, and get coaching and advice on how to reach it. For the busy athlete, RunKeeper offers personalized routines to fit into your schedule. The app offers a Spotify integration for music, and it syncs with partner apps and third-party devices to help you track your runs.
Additionally to running, RunKeeper tracks up to 30 other activities, cycling, swimming, and strength training to name a few. This app is free of charge and offers a premium subscription for additional features such as progress insights and sharing your live location with family and friends.
6. Couch to 5K
Couch to 5K’s name needs no explanation; its intention is set right off the bat. This is one of the best running apps for beginners, as it trains even the proverbial couch potato into running their first 5K. The famous app offers an exercise plan and podcast, with a nine-week program intended to transform each sedentary user into an active runner.
The app lets you choose from four different virtual coaches, who will motivate you and give you audio instructions as you work your way towards the 5K goal. Its GPS tracking system lets you calculate the run’s distance, pace and map your routes.
Couch to 5K is perfect for tracking progress and gradually building up to a better fitness level. It also has a within-app music player so you don’t get bored during your runs. The app is easy to use and customize, and after the initial payment of $2.99, it is yours to use for however long you like.
7. Garmin Connect
Garmin is one of the dominating brands for GPS watches that are widely used by runners, so naturally, we had to include its Garmin Connect app that is compatible with each watch. The app lets you build and/or find new workouts, explore new routes, and compete with your friends through running challenges.
Garmin Connect offers specialized health data that appear on a personalized My Day page. There you can track each activity and receive statistics for each of your runs. If your watch has a heart monitor, the app is ideal for finding data and detailed information on your heart rate.
The app syncs with other fitness apps such as MyFitnessPal and Strava, so you can get the best feedback and information from various sources. Garmin Connect is free of charge and most appropriate for its watches.
8. Zombies, Run!
Last but not least, we have Zombies, Run!, a fun and adventurous alternative to the traditional ‘running for fitness’ approach. Perfect for adding some imagination to your running routine, this is the best app for runs immersed with an adrenaline rush from chasing virtual zombies. Instead of the usual goals and challenges, here you get a variety of 200 missions and stories to motivate you into running.
The app offers distance, pace, and time features from its GPS tracker, which you can take anywhere to join the adventure, be it a park, a challenging trail, and even a treadmill. It also offers detailed statistics and graphs of your running and game progress, so you can stay motivated and have fun throughout the apocalyptic zombie-chase. Zombies, Run! is free for all users, and offers a paid subscription for unlimited access to the entire game modes and features.
One thing is for sure: you don’t need the fanciest equipment to start running, but if you are a smartphone user, running apps are the perfect companion to help you keep track of your running activity. These were some of the best running apps to try out and take on your next run, for detailed statistics and features, so you can become your own running coach and motivator.