The 7 Best Fitness Apps for Runners

Back in the old days, you had to bring a stopwatch or a wristwatch with you on every single run. To figure out how far you ran, you’d have to map out your route in your car or on a handheld map. Today, all you need is a smartphone and a quality running app. 

Downloading the best running app can really help your workouts. Most of these apps will track your distance, time, and calories burned. Some will create fitness plans based on your own running goals. The more popular running apps include Strava, Nike Run Club, and MapMyRun.

While many of these apps have similar features that are ideal for runners, they all have their own unique benefits as well. So, let’s spend a little time going over what makes each of these running apps so great.

Strava

Available on: Android & Apple devices

Strava is a great running app that provides feedback on just about anything run-related. What’s even better is that it works for biking too!

During a run, you’ll be able to keep track of your elevation, distance, and pace.

If you integrate your Strava app with your GPS-enabled smartwatch (i.e. Garmin, FitBit, Timex), you can also keep track of your heart rate mid-run.

With Strava, you can choose to upload your own route, at which point the app will calculate how long it might take you to complete it. The GPS feature will then give you directions to guide you along your new route.

If you come upon beautiful scenery while on your run, you can take photos and post them to the Strava app. You can also find out where the locals tend to enjoy running by discovering popular routes and competing for a position at the top of the leaderboard.

When you sign up for the paid version of the Strava app (Summit), you’ll be given a personalized training plan and be allowed to participate in real-time competitions against other Strava users.

You’ll also have access to leaderboards, which you can sort by weight and age to see where you stand among runners just like you.

Nike Run Club

Available on: Android & Apple devices

The Nike Run Club is one of the best running apps when it comes to motivational factors. This app actually has a guided run feature with the assistance of the Headspace app, which will have professional athletes like Mo Farah talk you through your run.

You can keep track of your pace, mile splits, elevation, and distance for each run you complete.

Your Nike Run Club app will keep all of your run data in one place and let you know when you beat one of your personal records (i.e. Fastest mile, longest run, etc.).

The Nike Coach feature will help you to develop your own training plan that’ll change as you begin making progress. So, you can download an 8-week 5K training plan, an 18-week marathon training plan, and just about everything in between.

If you’re the competitive type, you can set a weekly distance challenge among your friends to see who runs the most over the course of the week.

And, you can keep track of how many miles you’ve run on each pair of Nike running shoes.

MapMyRun

Available on: Android & Apple devices

The MapMyRun app by Under Armour also comes in several other versions, including MapMyRide and MapMyWalk. Each of these apps will keep track of your distance covered, elevation, and average pace.

With so many users, you can catch a glimpse of the more popular routes in the area. You can also compete with others in challenges and work to earn unique prizes.

During your run, you’ll get voice feedback on how far you’ve run and your current pace, so motivation is key!

The app is capable of integrating with popular fitness technology, including FitBit and Google Fit.

Even more unique is the compatibility with the MyFitnessPal app. This can give you a better gauge of how many calories you’re really burning during the day through exercise.

When you invest in the paid version of the MapMyRun app, you’ll get immediate access to personalized training plans and professional coaching tips. You can use these features to better reach your intensity, heart rate, and fitness goals.

Zombies, Run!

Available on: Android & Apple devices

The Zombies, Run! app is a unique take on the more popular running apps, but it’ll definitely be useful if you have an imagination. That’s because you’ll be running away from zombies while you’re on your nightly run.

You’ll be able to listen to your own music, but you’ll occasionally hear the sounds of zombies as they begin to chase you.

If you enable the “Active Chases” feature, the zombies will sporadically chase you on your run, at which point you’ll have to ramp up your running intensity.

Your goal during your run is to avoid being attacked by the zombies while also building up your base. To do so, you’ll work to collect supplies along your route.

If you like a little more variety, you can buy into Abel’s Running Club, which gives you access to over 200 story missions to make your runs even more interesting.

Keep track of your stats and see how you would hold up during a zombie apocalypse.

Adidas Runtastic

Available on: Android & Apple devices

The Adidas Runtastic app is another all-inclusive running app that has plenty of useful features. For one, you’ll be able to integrate the Runtastic app with your Garmin Connect, Android Wear 2.0, or Polar Flow.

What’s great about this app is that you can keep track of your distance, calories, and pace on a live map.

You’ll also get consistent feedback during your runs to help motivate you to run further and quicker.

If long-term motivation seems to be an issue, you can set your own daily, weekly, or monthly goals to keep your training routine consistent. Plus, there’s no shortage of competition when it comes to the challenges feature, where you can compete for the top position on a leaderboard.

When you purchase the Premium version of this app, you’ll be able to access a specific training plan based on your fitness goals.

This version comes with guided interval training for even greater endurance and fat burning as well as your own chosen Powersong to motivate you a little more during a run.

5K Runner: 0 to 5K in 8 Weeks

Available on: Android & Apple devices

When your goal is to specifically run a 5K race, the 5K Runner app is exactly what you might be looking for. Rather than getting right into running 3+ miles off the bat, you’ll work on run-walk intervals to build up your endurance over a period of 8 weeks.

During your runs, you’ll be guided through your run and walk intervals. You’ll also be able to see on the screen how much longer you have left until your next interval actually begins.

The average training plan for the app is 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week for 8 total weeks. Keep in mind, each training session also includes a warm-up and a cool-down period.

By your last session, you should be able to run a 5K without taking any breaks or slowing down.

Unlike some other running apps, you can use this app while on a treadmill.

You’ll most likely appreciate the achievements and badges that you earn along the way on your journey to completing your first 5K!

Runkeeper

Available on: Android & Apple devices

Runkeeper by ASICS is rather useful when it comes to recording data from nearly any type of physical activity.

It also provides access to your favorite smartphone apps, including Spotify for music as well as FitBit and MyFitnessPal for all of your health information. 

If you have wearable technology like a Garmin, Pebble, or Android Wear device, you can fully integrate it with the Runkeeper app.

What’s even better is the Stopwatch mode, which you can use to record your indoor training that can’t be tracked via a GPS.

The app will provide you with a suggested training plan based on your ideal running race, weight, or pace goals. Runkeeper will also supply you with smartphone notifications that’ll remind you what’s on the schedule for today.

When you sign up for the paid version (Runkeeper Go), you’ll be given a personalized running plan that’ll allow you to keep track of your running progress thus far.

Join a running group and see how well you do against other competitive runners.

Final Thoughts

There’s an endless supply of running apps on Android and Apple devices. But, you want to make sure that you’re using one that keeps track of the information you really need.

The apps we went over above are superior in providing motivation, recording data, and providing valuable insight.