If you’re like us, your smartphone is your go-to for just about everything. Capturing memories, getting directions, keeping up with loved ones – the list goes on and on. It goes everywhere with us, and that includes our workouts. Whether you’re someone who prefers an at-home workout session or you’re a gym rat, there are countless apps out there to help you exercise more effectively.
Apps make it easier than ever to stay motivated and stick to your routine. When it comes to running, they can track your pace, distance, calories, running routes and more, all to help you reach your fitness goals.
Here’s 2019’s best running apps, available for both iOS and Android. The best part? They’re all much cheaper than hiring a personal trainer. In fact, these nine smartphone apps we’re about to mention are free.
Great for: Beginners looking for basic run data in an easy-to-use platform
One of the first running apps on the scene, Runkeeper is a straightforward app that tracks your pace, distance, calories burned, time and more for multiple activities. It also keeps track of your progress over time to help keep you motivated, and offers training plans. Runkeeper offers seamless Apple Watch integration, as well as integration with other fitness trackers such as Garmin and Fitbit.
Great for: Those who like to run off the beaten path and thrive with a little friendly competition.
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 is Beacon, which allows you to share your location in real-time with a trusted person in your life in case of an emergency. Strava is compatible with Apple Watch and Wear OS.
Map My Run by Under Armor
Great for: Logging many different types of activities beyond just running
Map My Run 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, as well as track the mileage on your running shoes (you’ll be alerted when it’s time for a new pair). A cool function of this app is the ability to log over 600 different activity types — running, yoga, cycling, walking, etc. Map My Run syncs with many different wearables, from Fitbit to the Samsung Galaxy Watch.
Great for: Those who enjoy gamification to keep them motivated
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. A really cool feature of the app is its ability to turn your exercise into a game with what they call “Story Runs.” It also offers built-in training schedules and even syncs up with Spotify and Pandora for easy streaming of your favorite running playlist. Runtastic integrates with most popular wearable fitness trackers.
Great for: Going social with your workouts
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. It tracks distance, calories burned and your route on the map. Endomondo syncs with a more limited selection of wearables than some of the other apps on our list, but still offers several options.
Nike Run Club
Great for: Beginners and veterans who benefit from audio guidance and inspiration
You don’t have to have Nike products to enjoy the benefits of Nike Run Club. Set your running terrain (treadmill, trails, sidewalk) and the app tracks your pace, distance, calories burned and time. The things that set this app apart are its gamified challenges, as well as its Guided Runs, which offer inspirational coaching to keep you focused on your goal. NRC also has custom Apple Music playlists and audio encouragement from elite athletes, as well as the ability to play your “Power Song” with the touch of one button – that one song that gives you an extra boost right when you need it most. Syncs with Android WearOS supported devices, as well as Apple Watch.
Great for: Getting customized insight into what exercise patterns work best for you
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. Pumatrac integrates with both Apple Health and Google Fit and syncs with most popular wearables.
Great for: Those looking for a fun way to spice up their runs
Run to escape the lifeless-monsters chasing you! This motivational app basically makes you a character on The Walking Dead, putting you into an immersive audio adventure where you’re racing to save your life. The more miles you log, the more supplies you win to help your village survive. Run too slow, and the zombies catch you! Unlock new episodes once a week or with a subscription.
Great for: Helping others while taking care of yourself
Charity Miles is a basic running app that allows you to make a difference just by exercising. 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. Get the kids involved and see how much you can earn for the charity of their choice on your next family walk.
Great for: Novice runners looking to get in shape and build their running regimen
C25K gets you from your couch and to being 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.