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10 Running Apps for All Your Training Needs
Whether you're new to running, need some extra motivation, or want to find different routes, we have an app for you.
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Running can be physically and mentally demanding, but it becomes a little bit easier with the help of a smartphone. Your phone’s built-in sensors allow for trouble-free distance tracking and route creating. Plus, its tech capabilities give you a portable boombox and a supportive community right in the palms of your hands. No matter what kind of runner you are, your phone’s operating system has every kind of app to make your leisurely jog, evening run, or marathon training feel like a walk—err, run—in the park. To help you find what’s best for your running style, we’ve rounded up 10 apps that’ll totally transform your training.
C25K 5K Trainer
Good for: Beginners
Cost: Free (basic); $4.99 (pro)
Great for those who have minimal running experience, this app will get you from being a couch potato to running a 5K in about eight weeks. C25K’s training sequence begins with a mix of walking and light jogging and progressively builds to intervals and sustained distance running. Within the app, you can track your distance, route, and calories after each run. As an additional feature, you can listen to your own playlist while using the standard C25K or tap into their DJ-curated playlists with a paid subscription.
Good for: Giving back
Make your miles more meaningful with Charity Miles, an app that turns your jog, hike, or race into a kind of philanthropic fundraiser. For every mile you track while running or walking, Charity Miles will donate 25 cents to one of its 42 charity partners, including the Alzheimer’s Association, Wounded Warrior Project, and ASPCA. Using the app costs you nothing, as the money you raise comes from Charity Miles’s pool of corporate sponsors that have repurposed portions of their budgets for social good.
Map My Run
Good for: Doing it all
Cost: Free (basic); two MVP options available for purchase
Map My Run has all the bells and whistles for every kind of runner. Originally conceived as a tracking app, Map My Run helps you log more than 600 activities, including running, hiking, yoga, kayaking, and dancing. Once you begin a new activity, the app’s bar graph feature allows for easy viewing of your distance, pace, burned calories, elevation, and other stats. Plus, you’ll get audio feedback on every GPS-tracked run. The app also offers pre-made and personalized training plans, depending on your running needs, as well as a community activity feed so you can stay connected with runners around the globe. A true bonus of Map My Run is its Gear Tracker, which will let you know when it’s time to buy a new pair of running shoes.
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Good for: No-frills tracking
Cost: Free (basic); premium memberships range from $3.99 to $29.99
If you’re looking for a simple, easy-to-use tracking app, download Pacer. The app’s interface is extremely accessible for users of all levels, meaning you can focus on your run, rather than on the techy stuff. As a pedometer, Pacer records your total number of steps, along with your distance, duration, pace, and calories. As an added feature, Pacer will track your weight and BMI over time so you can correlate changes between your activity and vitals. Pacer works well with other apps like MyFitnessPal, Apple Health, and Fitbit, so you can sync your data across platforms.
Rock My Run
Good for: Music lovers
Cost: Free (basic); “Rockstar” memberships range from $4.99 to $35.99
For many runners, the one thing that keeps their feet moving is music. Going through the same playlist over and over, though, can get boring. To keep you on your toes, Rock My Run offers curated playlists specifically geared toward running. You can search by genre, BPM, type of run, and more. Plus, if you become one of the “Rockstar” users (aka if you purchase the premium membership), you’ll run with Rock My Run’s signature “Body Driven Music,” which matches the music to your steps, BPM, and heart rate in real time.
Good for: Navigating new territory
Cost: Free; membership available for $2.79 per month
Whether you’ve been in need of a new route or you’ve moved to a new place, make RunGo your running BFF. The app includes more than 100,000 routes for you to safely explore, complete with voice navigation to guide you through the unfamiliar. All the routes, which work offline, have been curated and verified by RunGo and certified local running groups for added safety Additionally, the Route Creator 2.0 allows you to create your own route or save the route you just ran as well as share within the RunGo Community.
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Good for: Goal setting
Cost: Free; premium memberships range from $9.99 to $39.99
Much like Map My Run, RunKeeper has a variety of features, including GPS tracking, in-app challenges, pre-made training routines, and an online community. What sets RunKeeper apart is their emphasis on setting and achieving your goals. The “My Plan” tab is basically your personal coach as it helps you establish measurable goals, tracks your progress, and even gives you a gentle nudge (through visual reminders and audio coaching) if you fall behind. If you’re training for a race or marathon, the premium subscription offers personalized training plans that provides side-by-side workout comparisons and weather data so you can succeed.
Running For Weight Loss
Good for: Interval training
Cost: Free; premium memberships range from $4.99 to $49.99
Whether or not you’re running to lose weight, this app is actually great for any runner seeking to implement interval training. First, you’ll choose from three levels based on your current running ability. Based off your answer, the app provides you a personalized program full of interval workouts, alternating between walking, jogging, running, and sprinting. You can also choose what kind of coach you want to have in your corner, whether they’re sweet and encouraging or tough and military-style. Plus, Running For Weight Loss offers a nutrition catalog full of healthy recipes as well as a water intake tracker.
Strava Running and Cycling
Good for: The community
Cost: Free; premium memberships range from $5.99 to $59.99
In the running world, being social can give us that extra boost of motivation and support to lace up and hit the trail. Strava offers that healthy balance of community and competition. The app features a “Segment Leaderboard” for you to see how you fare against others on popular routes, roads, and trails. Strava also offers monthly challenges for you to join in on and compete with other users as well as the option to post statuses and photos of your recent runs and accomplishments. That way, you and your Strava friends can continue to cheer each other on through healthy competition.
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Good for: Runners who need extra motivation
Cost: Free; pro memberships range from $1.99 to $34.99
If you’re looking for something to really shake up your routine, try running from a horde of zombies. Okay, virtual zombies. Zombies, Run! gamifies your runs with a mission- and story-style zombie chase. In other words, every run becomes a mission in which you need to collect supplies, sprint from the undead, and save the world. The heart-pumping playlists and the sound of zombies breathing down your neck will get you to keep running longer than you ever thought possible.