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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 August 20, 2019

                      How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                      How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                      Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                      Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

                      I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                      You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                      Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                      When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                      I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                      Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                      Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                      Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                      1. The Inner Critic

                      This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

                      • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                      • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                      • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                      • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                      The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                      Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                      2. The Worrier

                      This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                      The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

                      3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                      This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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                      This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                      The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                      4. The Sleep Depriver

                      This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                      The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

                      • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                      • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                      • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                      • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                      How can you control these squatters?

                      How to Master Your Mind

                      You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                      Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                      There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                      • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                      • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                      This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                      The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                      Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                      For the Inner Critic

                      When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                      You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                      For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

                      You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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                      “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                      If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                      • They rile up the Worrier.
                      • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                      • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                      • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                      • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

                      Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                      Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                      For the Worrier

                      Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                      Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                      You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                      • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                      • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                      • Muscles tense

                      Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                      If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                      Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                      “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                      Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                      If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                      Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

                      Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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                      For example:

                      If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                      “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                      Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                      “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                      Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                      For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                      Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                      The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                      • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                      • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                      • Muscles tension

                      I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                      Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                      Breathe in through your nose:

                      • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                      • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                      • Focus on your belly rising.

                      Breathe out through your nose:

                      • Feel your lungs emptying.
                      • Focus on your belly falling.
                      • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                      Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                      Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

                      One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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                      Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                      For the Sleep Depriver

                      (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                      I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                      Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                      1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                      2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                      When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                      From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                      For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                      If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                      You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                      • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                      • Shut down your thinking.
                      • Calm your feelings.
                      • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                      The Bottom Line

                      Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                      You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                      Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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                      Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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