Best Beginner Running Apps
Best for: Getting motivated for being more active
Human isn’t the most advanced activity tracker on this list, but it wins points as a strong motivator. The app works in the background, tracks the time you spend being active (running, walking, and cycling), and nudges you to hit your “Daily 30,” or 30 minutes of exercise per day. But the real motivation comes from other people. Human compares your data to other nearby users to create a leaderboard of who’s exercising nearby, so you can see how you rank against your neighbors.
Best for: Building your confidence by working toward a goal
The popular Couch-to-5K app does exactly what it says: Turns you from sedentary couch potato into a runner. It guides you through three 30-minute workouts per week to get you ready for a 3.1-mile race in only nine weeks. Along the way, it tracks your time and distance via GPS, and a virtual coach gives you verbal cues about your workout. After each run, you can log your data to active.com, and you can share your achievements with friends in the app’s newsfeed.
Best for: Starting a regular running routine
This app is centered on step-counting, but it’s a great launching point into developing a running habit, too. Like Human, Pacer works in the background, logging your steps as you move around during the day to give you a picture of your activity level. Unlike Human, you can also track runs with GPS and join group challenges, and if you opt for
Best Advanced Running Apps
Best for: Tracking runs and rides with a strong social element
Wildly popular among cyclists and runners, Strava is a great choice for casual milers and pros alike. It offers in-depth GPS tracking, works with a variety of GPS devices, and tracks all kinds of metrics (especially if you opt for a Summit membership). It’s also known for its popular segments feature, which shows how you stack up against other runners on the same route. Premium users also get access to Beacon, a safety option that allows three designated contacts to monitor your location while you’re out running.
Best for: Run tracking, photo sharing, and audio coaching
Engineered specifically for runners, the Nike+ Run Club app goes beyond basic tracking with several motivation and coaching features, such as end-of-run cheers from top athletes, built-in photo sharing that overlays your run stats with a photo from your route, and audio-based workouts from top Nike coaches to help guide you along the way. Plus, the audio-coached runs feature a Spotify integration so you can lay the coach’s cues over your favorite playlist—the best of both worlds.
Best for: Feeling like you are running outside when on the treadmill.
Zwift is an online training ground inhabited up until recently by cyclists. Users log in, sync their avatar to their iPad/computer/devices and then ride or run around courses, surrounded by other virtual athletes from all over the globe doing the same thing. Download Zwift to your supported device—like your phone, iPad, or cast it to your TV—then pair up your Bluetooth enabled footpod or supported treadmill and get going.
Best Apps to Find a Route
Best for: Finding a new route to run
Not sure where to run? Choose from one of more than 70 million routes on MapMyRun, Under Armour’s comprehensive tracker that records distance, pace, elevation, calories burned, and more. It integrates with a variety of major wearable trackers, as well as the My Fitness Pal app, so you can sync your diet and exercise info together for a clearer picture of your health.
Best Apps to Keep You Motivated While Running
Best for: Keeping track of your favorite podcasts
There are literally thousands of podcasts out there for you to discover and listen to, and the one place most of them can be found is on Apple Podcasts. Its home feed will always keep you updated on the latest show trends, the top selections in your favorite categories, and biggest names to launch their own podcast. Just subscribe to your favorite shows, and they will be waiting for you the next time you plug in for a run.
Best for: Keeping your mind occupied while running
Runtastic is a full-fledged run tracker, but it also stands out for its unique “Story Running” feature. Download stories ($1 a piece) in the app to listen to podcast-style tracks as you run. Each story is roughly 35 to 40 minutes long—just about the same duration as your typical daily workout.
Best for: Running for a cause
Charity Miles is a great way to add some altruism to your workout. It tracks your distance and donates 25 cents to a preselected participating charity for every mile you cover. Your runner’s high just got even better: Not only does your registration fee for the Wildflower Run go 100% to programs supporting equity for women and girls but, with Charity Miles, you can support one of many additional great causes while training for our run!
Best Apps To Ensure Your Safety While Running
Best for: Enabling others to track your location
bSafe has ground-breaking technology that prevents and documents violence and threats. Enable the SOS alarm by touch or voice even if your cell phone is inside you jacket, pocket or purse. When the SOS is activated, your guardians will get your location and can track you. They will also be able to see and hear everything that is happening in real-time and can track your location.at the same time.
Best for: Automatically getting help in case of an accident
Road ID is better known for its bracelets that identify you to first responders after an accident (if it unfortunately happens). But the company also has a handy app that lets you share your location with friends and family, and it sends them an SOS message with your location if you stop moving for five minutes and don’t respond to the app’s alert. Better yet, your contacts don’t even need the RoadID app to use it—they get alerts via text or email