Running. All you need is a good pair of shoes and the open road. And, of course, an app to track it. Jared Beckstrand of Tone and Tighten has rounded up the 4 best running apps so no step will go unmapped!
There really is in app for that.
With all the advancements in technology we’re experiencing these days it’s astounding what our cell phones capable of. From social media to internet browsing and just about everything in between, they’ve made many facets of life convenient, easy, lightning-fast, and accessible. But did you know your smart phone can actually make you a better runner?! Think about it – with a built-in GPS they can track your route, distance, and speed; with the motion sensors they can serve as pedometers and track cadence; with bluetooth they can sink seamlessly with wireless headphones and heart rate monitors; and with a built-in music player they can keep your energy level as high as the tempo. With all this tech available, how do you know which apps will make you a better runner? What are the “must-have” apps for runners? Well we’ve sifted through dozens of popular running apps to bring you the top 4 we feel should be on every runner’s phone/device. Let the countdown commence…
4. Couch-to-5K (Android, iOS, $2.99)
Always dreamed of being a “runner” but never quite sure where to start? Couch-to-5K is designed to gently ease couch potatoes and casual runners and joggers into running 5K courses in no time! As a physical therapist I’m a big fan of this program; the aim is to not only turn sedentary people into reasonably fit joggers but also to help new runners avoid injury from doing too much, too soon. Users are provided a training course of 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week over nine weeks to help build up a runner’s strength and stamina up to 3.1 miles. Users can choose from four virtual coaches, complete with accompanying audio cues to help motivate them on the run, with automatic or manual logging to easily keep track of your progress. If you’re a beginner in need of structure, or if you’re getting back to exercise after some time away, this is the app for you.
3. RockMyRun (Android, IOS, Free)
Okay everyone- raise your hand if you hate skipping through tracks while you’re running and/or listening to slow, uninspiring music? Okay – 100% of us; you can now put your hands down. RockMyRun is an app that gives you the best workout music so that you can consistently maintain your energy and tempo while running. You select a tempo (beats per minute) and the app mixes a playlist for you that matches it. Research has shown that upbeat and lively music could significantly improve the performance and have a powerful impact on your exercise time. I personally recommend this one regularly to patients/runners whose slow cadence and high ground reaction force causes them knee pain. Increasing cadence is a great way to minimize impact when you’re running and promote a more-natural running style. The app also works seamlessly with many of the other popular fitness apps we’ll be discussing so that you can conveniently track your run and forget about changing tracks.
2. Strava Running and Cycling – GPS Run and Ride Tracker (Android, iOS, Free)
Looking to take your running to another level in speed and distance? Strava is the app for you! Originally built for cyclists, Strava has recently upgraded to include some amazing running features as well (a small shoe or bike icon differentiates the running and cycling options so there’s no need to download multiple apps depending on your activity). In addition to being a top-notch running tracker, Strava Running and Cycling adds some pretty neat competition features to the usual run-tracking recipe. The app records your running speed, distance traveled, time and course taken, but also combines it with leaderboards, achievements and challenges. Starve shows you a feed of your friends’ most recent activities and lets you compete against them in challenges such as “fastest half marathon” and “most miles in a 30-day period”. It’s top feature has to be its segment rankings – a leaderboard of all performances over sections of specific roads, trails, and hills, See how you stack against the best that have tackled the course before you! It provides you not only with the information/metrics you’re interested in as a runner, but adds a competitive and social element as you race against your friends. Strava supports a variety of running trackers, in addition to Android Wear and Apple Watch. Strava is perfect for runners who love competing, taking on new challenges, and setting new personal records.
1.Runkeeper (Android, iOS, Free)
If you have any experience with running apps at all, you probably have Runkeeper. This app uses your phone’s GPS to track your running, cycling, hiking and other distance activities with a great deal of accuracy.. It not only records your pace, distance, total exercise time, but also counts your calories burned. It tracks all of these in real time and even gives you audio updates as you go. You can even take pictures and tag them while on the go. Users can choose their own running path or download and follow popular running routes. You can track and measure your progress and workout history and share these activities with your social networks (competition can be a powerful motivator! See how you stack up against running buddies on monthly leaderboards!). Runkeeper even lets you to play your favorite tracks from your iTunes library or Spotify and matches the rhythm of the songs with your run, so that you don’t have to skip the tracks. Combine all this with easy syncing with a wide array of fitness devices, including Pebble, Fitbit, and Apple Watch, and there’s a reason why Runkeeper is one of the highest-rated and most-popular running apps!
There they are! Our list of 4 apps that should be on every runner’s device to help you go longer distances and and stronger miles. Don’t go on your next run without them!
Now we would love to hear from you? Do you have a favorite running app we left off the list? Tell us what it is and why you love it in a comment below!