Running has always been one of the most popular fitness activities across the nation as it’s extremely easy to get into. There’s no need for an expensive gym membership or to have the expense of a fancy new bike – you can just get put on your running trainers and head out, rain or shine. The good news is that it’s never been easier to track your routes or see how you’ve fared compared to your last run. There’s an abundance of iPhone and Android apps that do all of these things and more, all at the touch of a button. We’ve put together the handy guide below to save you having to work out which is best when you hit the app store.
Nike+ Running App
We previously covered the Nike+ app
in our guide to the top healthy living apps
as it’s brilliant for both novices and professionals alike. It’s one of the best running aps available on both Android and Apple iOS, offering the ability to track your route, time taken and calories burnt. All of the info is then automatically synced to the website as well to make it easy to keep a track of your runs wherever you are. If you’re needing some motivation you can also share your progress on Facebook so your friends can comment and give you a boost.
It’s a perfect app to get started with and the in-built music player makes it easier to have your tunes blaring through the headphones while you’re on your stride. Best of all it’s completely free to download.
The RunKeeper App
is slightly more advanced than the Nike+ App, allowing you to set up fitness goals as well as tracking your route and progress. The goal function means you can see in real-time how far you are away from hitting your target weight and you can get coaching tips along the way in your headphones. For the keener runners it has extremely detailed stats around your pace and the distance covered, with all historical runs held so you can see performance over time. There’s also the option to measure your heart rate and a host of in-app purchases to add more features.
It’s great for anyone looking specifically to use running to lose weight or for runners who want the option to upgrade in order to unlock more functionality. Integration is available with other apps like Garmin and Fitbit to help you get a greater overall picture of your progress.
claims to be the most advanced iPhone App for running and it is certainly more for the keen runner than novice jogger. It focuses much more on data than many other apps which offer additional options like music players. The Runmeter app itself allows you to track your distance, elevation and speed – vital if you’re training for an event and speed really does matter. While you’re running you’ll hear announcements based on these aspects so you know instantly how you’re progressing rather than having to look at the screen.
For anyone with a competitive nature the ‘race’ mode enables you to compete against your own previous runs or other peoples’ so you can check out how you compare. All data can then be exported into a variety of formats such as CSV for excel documents and visual graphs. This really is an app for the serious runner who wants detailed information that some of the other apps may be lacking in some aspects.
Garmin Fit App
The Garmin Fit app
is one of only two iPhone apps included within the list that isn’t free, but the download cost is minimal at just 69p. Like the others featured it allows you to track your current speed, total distance of your run, the route plus the calories burnt. However, it’s really beauty likes in the options you can get with the Garmin ANT+ adapter for your iPhone, which enables you to connect wirelessly to Garmin fitness sensors such as heart rate monitors. Keen runners will love this as it opens up a whole world of possibilities and makes keeping a track across all devices an absolute doddle.
You will need to buy other devices to get the most out of the Garmin Fit app but these are likely to be equipment that you’d want anyway if you’re looking to take your running to the next level.
Zombies, Run! App
The Zombies, Run! App
is a little more expensive than Garmin Fit at £5.49 but it’s completely unique. It’s in no way an essential app for serious runners, but it is great for anyone who finds the idea of running boring. If this is you and you only want to run to lose weight or tone up, then the Zombies, Run! App may just be for you.
Essentially you’re immersed in a running game over your headphones, running away from zombies and helping to re-build civilization as we know it. This enables you to turn exercise into fun and can be done anywhere – whether it’s on a treadmill or a jog around your local park. It works by making you the hero in a survival story, with the story unfolding as you run so make sure you pick up the pace if you hear a zombie hot on your trail! When you get back to the safety of your home you can then continue the game by building out your base with the items you’ve collected within the app during your run.
This really is way out there when it comes to running apps, but may just be the perfect way to start if you love a good horror movie and the thought of exercise feels you with dread.