Gearing up for a run these days includes much more than just throwing on your running shoes and heading out the door. Our essential gear now includes a slew of gadgets, dry-fit fabrics and most importantly, apps. Hitting the trails without our smartphone is almost unthinkable—what about our carefully curated running playlist, fitness-tracking apps or GPS?
Having the best running apps can make your workouts more productive and analyzing even the most basic performance data post-workout can help you reach your fitness goals fast. Here are 2015’s best running apps to enhance your workout, and all are available for both iOS and Android.
One of the first running apps on the scene, Runkeeper is a straight-forward easy to use app that tracks your pace, distance, calories burned, time and more. Look back on past runs to track your progress and use set route within the app to discover new routes near you. This app is great for beginners looking for basic run data.
2. Map My Run
This app offers all the basic functionality of a running app: pace, distance, calories burned and time, with the added benefit of linking to fitness trackers and heart rate monitors. You can also input more robust data like food consumption and track the distance logged on your running shoes. The app will alert you when it’s time for a new pair. A cool function of this app is the ability to specify the type of run—are you on a treadmill, on the trails, in your neighborhood or walking the dog, which can be helpful when analyzing your performance.
Another popular app, Runtastic is your basic running app that links to Google Earth for easy route-mapping, especially if you’re in a new city. The analytics in this app are great with graphs and charts depicting your progress and easy social sharing. It comes with built-in training schedules and even syncs up with Spotify and Pandora for easy music streaming. This app is great for travelers constantly running in new cities and those looking for more robust reporting of your run data.
Pumatrac offers a sleek interface with all the perks of a basic running app, but with several bonus features to give a holistic view of your workouts. The app pulls in additional information that may impact your run like weather, time of day or day of the month and synthesizes to determine personal insights. For example, you may find you run best on Friday mornings before 10, or that you run faster when listening to rock music.
5. Nike+ Running
You don’t have to have Nike products to enjoy the benefits of this app. Set your running terrain (treadmill, trails, sidewalk) and the app tracks your pace, distance, calories burned and time. The thing that set this app apart are the gamified options to share your personal goals, challenge friends and beat your personal record. You can also upload a “Power Song” to play when you need an extra boost on your run.
6. Strava Running and Cycling
If you split your fitness routine between running and cycling, the Strava app is a great choice. The unique dashboards track more detailed aspects of your workout like elevation gained plus more traditional metrics like pace, distance and time. Another unique feature are the leaderboards, achievement badges and challenges to push you to reach your goals. This app is great for those who like to run off the beaten path and thrive with a little friendly competition.
7. Couch- to- 5K
Perfect for the novice runner looking to get in shape and build up their running regimen, this app gets you off your couch and able to run a 5K in just 9 short weeks. It provides built-in training schedules with 20 – 30 min routes three times a week until your race. The built in pacing tells you when to walk, when to run, and coaches you through your route while gradually building stamina and strength. Chose 1 of 4 virtual coaches to keep you motivated.
Arguably the most social fitness app on the market, Endomondo lets users easily share pictures and video from their run and tout progress on their social media pages. You can also connect with other friends to congratulate them on a goal they met or challenge them to an even longer run. You can also give them a shout out mid-workout to cheer them on and swap running selfies. This app makes is easy to connect with a tight knit running community.
9. Zombies, Run!
This app is in its third season and continues to grow in popularity. For $3.99 you become part of a zombie apocalypse and have to run to escape the lifeless-monsters chasing you. The more miles you log, the more supplies you win to help your village survive. Run too slow, and the zombies catch you! This is a fun app for those looking for an exciting way to spice up their runs.
10. Charity Miles
This basic running app lets you help others while taking care of yourself. Before you start your run, choose the charity you want to donate to that day. There are multiple charities to choose from like the Wounded Warrior Project, Stand Up to Cancer, the ASPCA and more. For each mile you run, walk or bike brands like Timex and others will donate to the cause of your choice. The more you run, the more they donate. Typical donations are $0.10 per mile biked and $0.25 per mile run or walked. Get the kids involved and see how much you can earn for the charity of their choice on your next family walk.
Download your favorite app and hit the road. But before you do, make sure your phone is protected. Nothing ruins a good workout like dropping your phone while taking a running selfie and busting the screen. Visit Asurion.com or check with your wireless provider for more information on comprehensive protection plans.