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10 Running Apps for Every Type of Runner

10 Running Apps for Every Type of Runner

Whether you’re a long-time runner or a fitness newbie, it’s never been easier to tech out your workout. At this point, options like GPS tracking and social sharing are pretty much par for the course, so here’s a look at some of the best running apps that bring a little something extra to keep you on the move.

1. Running for Weight Loss

weight-loss-1

    Best for: Interval training
    If losing weight is your motivation for hitting the road (or the treadmill), Running for Weight Loss bills itself as the only running app specifically designed to help you lose unwanted pounds. Even if you’re not interested in shedding flab, it’s a great app for interval training. You choose from three levels based on your current running ability, then the app provides you with a program of interval workouts. Alternating between walking, running, and different levels of sprinting, the training sessions are challenging but totally conquerable.
    Love: The interface is extremely easy to use, and the app doesn’t burden you with extensive setup. Press one button and you’re ready to start your warm up. Also, you can link it up with other apps — FitBit, RunKeeper, or MapMyRun — to integrate these workouts into your regular training logs.
    Loathe: The intervals can get a bit predictable — once you figure out the “pattern” for the workout, you may find yourself backing off as you anticipate the sprints. You can play any music you like, but you need to have it running before you open the app; there’s no ability to alter music in the app.
    iOS ($2.99)

    2. Nike+ Running

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    nike-1

      Best for: Serious Nike fans
      Nike+ Running has been around for a while, and it’s continuously improving — Nike is, if nothing else, quite responsive to user feedback. They’ve recently added more extensive training plans, and finally made it so you don’t have to manually pause your workout every time you hit a red light, making it ideal for city running.
      Love: If you’re serious about Nike, this is the app for you. You can integrate it with Nike products (like the Fuelband), tag and retire your Nike running shoes, load up on NikeFuel, and link it with non-running Nike apps (like Nike Training Club). Though all runners complain about apps not being accurate with distance, Nike+ Running is not too shabby when it comes to tracking your treadmill stats.
      Loathe: There’s a huge amount of functionality here, but that also means a tremendous number of settings. It can take several runs to get Nike+ set up in a way that works for you. The defaults settings make it a fairly “talky” app, so it can turn into data overload. You can control music from your device (e.g., iTunes), but Nike+ doesn’t play well with other music apps (like Spotify).
      iOS (Free), Android (Free)

      3. Couch to 5K

      couchto5k-2

        Best for: Non-runners
        If you’ve considered running but couldn’t figure out how to get started, this is the app for you. Couch to 5K makes starting a training program as painless as possible, with a sequence of workouts that begins with ultra-gentle walk-run interval training sessions. Use it three times a week, and in nine weeks you’ll be ready to finish a 5K.
        Love: The app is easy to use, and simple audio cues take you through your workout. Need some extra motivation? You can use the app to search for a 5K near you and get registered.
        Loathe: This app is great for outdoor running, but if you use a treadmill, you have to enter your workouts on your own.
        iOS ($1.99), Android ($1.99)

        4. Runtastic Pro

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        runtastic

          Best for: Multisport athletes
          The free version of this app gives you a surprisingly fully functional running app; the Pro version adds more bells and whistles (many of which aren’t available for the Blackberry and Windows Phone versions). The key difference makers between the free and Pro versions for most users will be the voice coaching and training plans, which you can only get by ponying up for Pro.
          Love: There’s an ever-widening number of apps in the “-tastic” family, so you can track not only your runs but also your bicycling, walking, skiing, and more. This is also one of the only running apps that’s available for the full gamut of smartphones, though the Pro version is only on iOS and Android.
          Loathe: The interface isn’t especially attractive or easy to use, and the app seems to be a little more crash prone than some of the other major running apps.
          iOS (Free/$4.99), Android (Free/$4.99), Windows (Free), Blackberry (Free)

          5. RunCracker

          runcracker-pro

            Best for: Distance runners
            You can use RunCracker as a basic running app, but it’s most useful for the array of training programs (it’s actually a combination of several separate training apps, including Running for Weight Loss). If you want an easy-to-use training plan for a full or half marathon, this app is definitely worth the price tag. You can also move back and forth from one plan to another — or just go for a plain old run — so if your plans change, you aren’t locked into a routine.
            Love: Choose your goal, pick your ability level, and get running! This app helps you track your progress, but doesn’t overwhelm you with data.
            Loathe: No music integration within the app — you’ve got to pick your playlist before you open RunCracker and be prepared to stick with it, especially if you’ve got a long workout ahead of you.
            iOS ($7.99)

            6. Zombies, Run!

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            zombies-run

              Best for: Bored runners
              Even experienced runners can find treadmill running dull, but if road or trail running is a snooze for you, this app is a wake-up call. Yes, it’s a running app with the basic features you’d expect (you can play music, there’s GPS tracking, and so on) — but it’s also a multi-player game. You choose your playlist, then in between tracks the app unspools more of the story. You’re never just running. You’re running to collect supplies, or you’re sprinting from the undead.
              Love: The “Zombie Chases” mode is going to make you put in that interval training. You can hear the zombies’ breath right behind you! If that doesn’t make you run faster, we’re not sure what will. Just starting out? There’s also a zombie 5k app.
              Loathe: You need to be pretty committed to the game to make this worth your while — you’re meant to use the app to continue your mission after your run (e.g., you picked up supplies, now you need to use them). Also, the cost is more or less the base price. If you’re into it and use up your missions, you either need to run/play them again, or purchase more.
              iOS ($3.99), Android ($3.99)

              7.TempoRun

              temporun

                Best for:

                Music lovers
                Practically everybody runs with music, but with TempoRun, you really run with your music. This app sorts all of the songs in your iTunes library based on their tempo, then scores them from 1 to 10. Pick your pace, and it picks perfect tunes that are just the right speed for a walk (1) to a sprint (10).
                Love: The interface is really easy to see (and tap) mid-run, so it’s easy to speed up or slow down, with the music adjusting accordingly. Rainy or cold outside? This app is totally perfect for keeping you grooving through a treadmill workout.
                Loathe: If you mainly listen to music via a streaming service, this won’t work for you. You’ve got to have a decent variety of music stored on your phone to really make the most of this app.
                iOS ($2.99)

                8. Kitestring

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                kitestring

                  Best for: Night owls and trail runners
                  If you love to run solo but worry about safety, Kitestring has your back. It’s not even an app — you don’t have to download a thing (or even have a smartphone). Once you sign up, you text Kitestring to let it know you’re headed out and how long you’ll be gone. It sends you a text checking in on you after that amount of time has passed. If you don’t text back or check in online within a certain time interval (the default is 5 minutes), it will send an automated alert to your emergency contact.
                  Love: Though you still have to stay within cell coverage, you can feel much better about avoiding a 127 Hours scenario on that backcountry trail run.
                  Loathe: Unless you pay a subscription fee, you’re limited to 8 trips per month. Still, better safe than sorry.
                  Web (Free)

                  9. Strong Runner

                  strong-runner

                    Best for:

                    Injury-prone runners
                    This app is built as a standard training app, but it’s the extras that make a difference. Feeling a twinge? It’s no doctor, but the app can give you an overview and some tips for dealing with common running injuries. Even better, you can avoid injuries with the warm-up, stretching, and strength training exercises that were designed by an ultramarathoner and his physician just for runners.
                    Love: The clean, uncluttered design makes this app a snap to use. The exercises are easy to follow, and you get to watch real people do them (no creepy avatars here).
                    Loathe: To really make the most of this app, you’re going to need to make some in-app purchases. Without the workouts, it’s pretty much your basic tracking app.
                    iOS (Free), Android (Free)

                    10. Endomondo

                    endomondo

                      Best for: Fitness fiends
                      Endomondo isn’t just a running app — you can track almost any kind of outdoor workout, from kayaking to skiing. It’s got the standard social media integration you’d find in any app, but Endomondo really encourages you to get social. You can join challenges to compete against friends and other users in all sports, and sharing your victories is highly encouraged.
                      Love: This app offers integration with practically everything, including Fitbit, Garmin, Jabra, smartwatches, and much more, so if you’re already committed to a fitness tracker you don’t need to jump ship. It’s also available for most smartphones.
                      Loathe: You have to purchase a subscription ($2.50/month) to get rid of ads and to get running training plans, which seems a little steep compared to other running apps. You also have to enter indoor workouts (i.e. treadmill time) manually.
                      iOS (Free), Android (Free), Windows (Free)

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                      Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                      Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                      your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                        Why You Need a Vision

                        Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                        How to Create Your Life Vision

                        Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                        What Do You Want?

                        The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                        It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                        Some tips to guide you:

                        • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                        • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                        • Give yourself permission to dream.
                        • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                        • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                        Some questions to start your exploration:

                        • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                        • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                        • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                        • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                        • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                        • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                        • What qualities would you like to develop?
                        • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                        • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                        • What would you most like to accomplish?
                        • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                        It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                        What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                        Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                        A few prompts to get you started:

                        • What will you have accomplished already?
                        • How will you feel about yourself?
                        • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                        • What does your ideal day look like?
                        • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                        • What would you be doing?
                        • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                        • How are you dressed?
                        • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                        • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                        • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                        It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                        Plan Backwards

                        It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                        • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                        • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                        • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                        • What important actions would you have had to take?
                        • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                        • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                        • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                        • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                        • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                        Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                        It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                        Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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