Spring season has approached, so you can finally do your runs outside instead of pounding away on a dreaded treadmill. Whether you are getting ready to run your first 5k, preparing for a marathon, or simply want to get back in shape after a long winter, running apps can help you to set goals, track your progress, keep records of your miles, and much more. But, with so many fitness apps available, how do you know which one will fit your needs?
Here are 5 awesome – and free! – running apps that I’ve found to be the lifesavers.
1. Nike+ Running
Cool features: Along with tracking the basics like distance, routes and pace, Nike+ offers training programs and the ability to share your runs. You can also set up Nike+ Challenges against friends and add photos during your most scenic routes. The app also lets you pick a power song when you needa boost. On top of all that, there is a built-in guidance and training to help you meet all of your goals.
2. Couch to 5k
Cool features: Great app to help absolute beginners to get into running. It provides a nine week running plan that involves three runs per week, with a day of rest in-between, with a different schedule for each of the nine weeks. You can pick from one of five different “virtual coaches” to guide you through each workout, plus the app tracks your distance, pace, and routes, and it even shares your progress on Facebook (if you desire).
Cool features: With Endomondo you can track any outdoor sport, from running and cycling, to just plain old walking. The app keeps an eye on duration, distance and speed, as well as informs you about the calories you’ve worked off. It can also sync up with a number of wearable fitness trackers and heart-rate monitors to give you a closer look at what’s going on.
Cool features: MapMyRun does exactly what it says and does it brilliantly. It tracks where you’ve run, how far, how fast and stores it all up and presents it to you in an easy-to-understand way. The app features support for 600 different types of workouts and uses GPS to accurately track the important data from your run. Everything from your pace, route, distance, distance and elevation are all monitored.The app can also tie in with services such as My Fitness Pal in order to sync nutrition and exercise data back and forth.
Cool features: One of the most user friendly running apps out there. RunKeeper tracks a host of sports outside of jogging. Latest additions include integrated Spotify support, Run keeper DJ that allows users to build custom playlists, and a native Apple Watch app where you can view heart rate and use Force Touch to pause your running session. The app has a useful trainer feature that sends you audio cues to pace yourself during a run.