We all know running is one of the most efficient ways to burn calories and build cardiovascular strength. It’s also not difficult to pick up — if you can walk, you can certainly learn to run — and it doesn’t require any fancy equipment. All you need is comfortable, lightweight workout clothes, and a good pair of running shoes — and you’re ready to go.
While running itself is easy, getting motivated to get outside and get moving can be a bit more difficult. Thankfully, a slew of running apps make it far easier to track your runs, receive coaching and post your workout updates on social media — thus providing motivation for even the most reluctant runner to get off the couch and onto the road.
1. Runkeeper – GPS Track Run Tracker
Free (iOS and Android)
This is one of the most popular running apps for Android users (more than 5 million downloads) and it’s easy to see why. While you can track pretty much any activity you can think of, it is primarily designed to be used by runners. You get the scoop on your pace, distance, time and calories burned, and get real time audio updates on the progress of your run.
Pros: Includes detailed plans to help you train for specific goals (complete a 10k, lose weight, etc)
Cons: Doesn’t track as many running stats as some other apps.
Best for: Beginner runners or those looking for a clean, simple app that does it all.
RM19.90 (iOS only)
This is one of a slightly pricier running apps but is worth every penny if you are a serious runner. With a built—in interval and workout editor, you can create and customize a training plan that’s perfect for your needs. Designed by runners for runners, it’s got every feature you need, including built-in auto-pause (great for traffic lights), a run/walk interval timer and more. It also tracks your running cadence using a built—in metronome, thus helping you improve your running style and avoid injury.
Pros: This app keeps your running data yours. Avoid getting "locked in" to any one app — iSmoothRun will export all your stats quickly and easily.
Cons: One of the pricier apps, and it is for iPhone users only.
Best for: Dedicated runners looking to improve.
3. Runtastic Running Tracker (iOS) / Runtastic Running App & Running Route Planner (Android)
Runtastic PRO: RM16.90
If you need a little social motivation to get going, Runtastic might be the app for you. Not only does it track your runs and stats, it also comes with lots of cool social media features that let you share and compare your workouts with your running buddies. A top favorite is the feature (available on the PRO version) that lets you post your run on social media while you are still running — this way, your online friends can cheer you on as you go by sending messages of support to your smartphone.
Pros: Feature rich, great interface and easy to use.
Cons: Ads can be annoying, but PRO version is ad-free.
Best for: Runners who want to share their runs.
4. Endomondo Sports Tracker (iOS) / Endomondo – Running & Walking (Android)
A long favorite among Android users, Endomondo is now available for all smartphones, no matter the operating system, resulting in a vibrant online running community. Get audio feedback as you run, share your route "live" and automatically back up all your data to your account at endomondo.com. If a little competition is what spurs you on, you’ll love the unique feature that lets you compete on specific routes with other community members.
Pros: One of best online running communities.
Cons: Certain features only available on the pro version.
Best for: Type-A competitive runners.
5. Nike Run Club
Free (iOS and Android)
See who can run the most miles every week with the Nike Run Club app or broadcast your runs live and get your friends to cheer you on. No matter what motivates you, this is an app that will definitely help you hit the road for your daily workout. One feature that will really help you push through the tough bits is the PowerSongs option — choose a catchy song that gets you going and play it during your run with just a tap of a button.
Pros: Works on both trails and treadmills.
Cons: Not as comprehensive as some of the paid apps.
Best for: Beginner runners, or those who love participating in Nike events (Nike+ app users get extra perks).
Some days, you might sometimes need a stronger incentive. To add some adventure to your routine, try one of the Zombie running apps from www.zombiesrungame.com. Plug in your headphones and listen to the narrative as you flee from flesh eating zombies while completing missions and helping others — what better reason do you need to pick up the pace?