If you passed gym class in elementary school, chances are you know how to run (especially if a dodgeball is being hurled in your direction). But that doesn’t mean running is a cake walk. Apps can help you become a better runner (or just a runner in the first place). Here are the eight apps you should consider downloading, broken down for beginners and advanced runners.
This app used to be called Couch Potato to Running 5K. It's an apt name, considering C25K is designed for people who don’t run—and even those who don’t like to run. The app alternates between running and walking to help you build strength. The eight-week plan calls for three 30-minute workouts per week. You can fit that into your schedule, right?
Running the same route over and over again is a surefire way to get bored. But coming up with new runs on your own isn’t easy. RunGo has a library of more than 40,000 routes worldwide (perfect for when you're visiting a new city) with voice navigation when you approach every turn. The app also comes with the option to create your own route—just use your finger to outline your path and the app will create directions. You can save the routes you create, so you can run them again if you want.
Plenty of apps suggest you clock at least 10,000 steps per day, but it turns out that number was created by marketers, not scientists. So Human takes a different approach, encouraging you to get moving for at least 30 minutes per day. The app automatically tracks your physical activity, and it also includes Pulse, a feature where you can see how you stack up against other Human users nearby.
Like dozens of other fitness apps, Endomondo has all of the tracking capabilities you need while running (duration, distance, speed, and calories). But this running app really stands out for its social components. Connect with running buddies and send them an audio pep talk, race against their best time, or leave a comment congratulating them on their most recent feat.
Behind every great workout is a top-notch playlist. With Aaptiv, you don’t have to do any of the leg work (well, besides running). The app includes hundreds of audio-based fitness classes. Aaptiv's trainers give all the cues you need and pick the perfect playlist. The app has tons of workouts designed specifically for runners, including elliptical and treadmill routines, plus 5K, 10K, half-marathon, and marathon training programs.
Looking to take tracking to the next level? Strava Running and Cycling should be your next download. The app offers way more than the traditional activity tracking. You can zero in on specific segments (like a particularly gnarly hill) and see how your pacing changed. Plus if you opt for the premium plan, you get add-ons including a power meter and race analysis. Strava also includes monthly challenges to push you to run harder and faster.
This is the app for experienced runners looking to lose (or maintain) their weight. Fitso uses the data collected from your workouts (pace, distance, duration, and calories burned) to suggest a diet tailored to your needs. The app offers hundreds of healthy recipes, complete with calorie counts and a shopping list to make each meal.
If you have a running goal, Runtastic will help you get there with its built-in audio coach. The app goes above and beyond by integrating the local weather, plus the sunset and sunrise times, so you can easily plan your next run. You’ll never be caught in the middle of a downpour—unless you like running in the rain. The app also comes with a music player that pauses anytime you stop. And if you’re looking for an extra boost, the app can also add in virtual cheering.