Have you ever heard of the saying “what gets measured gets improved”? It is a well proven fact that measuring your performance plays a very important role in your improvement. In other words to improve something you first need to know your current level of performance. This stands correct especially in all kinds of sports like running, basketball, football, badminton, tennis or even boxing.
Reminds me of those movie scenes where the coach has a stopwatch in his hands and keeps a track of the performance of the main action hero.
With the help of technology (artificial intelligence) we are now in a position where we can replace a physical coach with a mobile app.
A mobile app can measure your performance and train you to become better each day. As a runner if you ran 5K last week in 30 minutes then the mobile app will set you a goal to run 5K in 25 minutes or less this week.
These apps provide you with a lot of metrics that would help you in increasing your overall performance on a consistent basis, be it speed or endurance.
There are tons of mobile apps for runners available in the market, some old and some new ones. Few of these running apps are paid and some of them are free.
If you are a beginner runner I would suggest you to first use a free app and later once you are in need of advanced metrics you can upgrade to a paid app depending upon your fitness goals. For example, I started with Strava as a free user but later on switched to a paid user which helped me in getting advanced stats, coaching etc.
I’ve done hours of research on this subject because I wanted to find and use the best app for my runs.
These apps makes the activities like training and running a lot exciting. The running apps track your heart rate, calorie-burning, distance, blood pressure, GPS mapping, time, and speed. This makes it easier to keep your log and see your daily workout record.
As mentioned above, to get a personal trainer or someone who can motivate you and push you physically is a hard task. Some of these apps have audio and video coaches who motivate and guides a user during their run.
The exciting part of it, some of these apps gives you a perfect nutrition plan suitable for runner’s consumption. These are the best coaches you can get just by downloading the app and install it to your smartphone.
Isn’t that great? Of course, it is!
In this article, you will know about the best apps for beginner runners. Do not be stressed anymore on where to get someone to coach or motivate you..
Eight Best Running Apps for Beginners
1. Couch To 5K
This is a fun running app for 5K training plan. I would term this as probably one of the best running app for beginners.
The app was developed by a runner known as Josh Clark to help his 50s mum get into running. It helps a beginner to slowly transition from walking than slow jogging and eventually increase the endurance to run a 5K.
Josh has claimed that he has received appreciation from hundreds of people who have used C25K and has changed their lives.
Featured on The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Men’s Fitness, Forbes and many more well known sites.
Daily programs to help runners by alternating between short bursts of walking and running until they’re ready to run longer distances.
Eight week program, 3 days a week and just 30 minutes a day (That certainly sounds doable for a beginner)
Audio coaching and alerts
Curated music playback from various top class DJs while you run to keep yourself motivated
You will be ready for a 5K race after using the eight weeks couch to 5K running guidelines. Some audio coaches guide you during the workout. You can share your workouts via social media. The app allows you to listen to your favorite music playlist.
Lots of ads on the screen (if you want to remove ads you’ve to buy a paid version)
This is one of the latest and well known running app in the market. It is the perfect app for beginner runners, especially those with a Nike+ GPS watch.
This app has a GPS run tracker, audio guides, and custom running challenges. There is motivation from your friends and coaching plans set to make you reach your goals.
You can quickly check your stats while running because the app displays large and bright numbers. This app has audio workout guides and cheering from fellow runners to motivate you as you run. You can compete with other runners and earn milestones, prizes, trophies, and badges once you meet your set goals.
This one is one of my favorite app that I use for my runs. Many of the competent runners and cyclists use the Strava app. It works perfectly for the beginner runners. Strava app has both a smartphone app and website.
This app offers free service and a monthly subscription plan known as Strava Summit. Strava app uses GPS data to track your distance, pace, time, heart rate, and power. But for a beginner runner the free version is sufficient to start with.
This app has a trophy system challenge that requires you to complete a run within a given time and distance. Each competition has its trophy or a badge rewarded after completing the activity.
Strava syncs excellently with Garmin GPS watch. This is a free app. You can join running clubs, follow the training of your fellow runners, and compete with them. It has a Beacon feature in its premium version (Strava Summit). You can upload and share your stats with your friends.
Strava app does not sync to your favorite playlist. If you need some music while running, then you’ll need to open the music app. The premium version is a bit expensive.
Download on AndroidDownload on iOS
This is an audio cue fitness app. The audio cues have fitness classes and guidance from a professional coach. The app costs $14.99 per month or $99 yearly. There are tailored programs to train you from 5K race to a full marathon. There are at least 30 sessions in a week which targets multiple areas of your body. The professional trainers do a great job in explaining the workouts and personal moves.
The app has a 30 days free trial. There is a 45% discount on subscription. You are provided with a perfect playlist to make the workout enjoyable. Over 2,500 workouts are available.
The app may look complicated if you don’t have a clue on how to use it. This will lead you to seek assistance from a person to show you how it works.
Download on AndroidDownload on iOS
Runtastic app is a great fitness app that provides guidelines for running, body weight, and nutrition plan. This app tracks your distance, speed, time, calorie consumption, and elevation, compare you with other users to help you improve your overall fitness. You can track your progress and set goals.
This app is available in 18 different languages. It has a free and a paid version.
Runtastic was bought by Adidas in August 2015 for $240M.
This app monitors your speed, distance, and time. It uses GPS to track your running routes in a Google map which is in earth-style anyway. You can share your workouts via social media. Runtastic app provides the perfect nutrition plan for a runner.
The premium version is said to be expensive. Many users have complained about a lot of ads that complicate checking the workout record during the run. The audios have a robotic voice.
Download on AndroidDownload on iOS
6. Map My Run
This is one of the widely downloaded fitness apps. It uses a GPS to track your pace, physical route, and distance then gives you audio feedback. Map My Run app has two membership plans which include Free and MVP. The free version allows you to set your stats and goals and track your mapped routes and pieces of training.
If you are looking to study anything in-depth, MVP version will work for that. The MVP version costs $5.99 monthly or $29.99 yearly. Free and MVP version allows you to listen to your favorite songs from your music app.
You can track your route via GPS. It gives audio feedback for the distance, active time, pace, burnt calorie, and more. You can complete with other runners and win running gear prizes. It syncs with devices such as Apple Watch, Garmin, Jawbone, Fitbit, and more.
Runkeeper is an easy to use fitness app suitable for beginner runners. This app has a goal coach who motivates you and helps you set goals that perfectly fits your workout. Runkeeper app gives you a tailored weekly workout for your fitness and progress. You can compare your stats with other runners and participate in fun challenges that motivate you to put more efforts.
Runkeeper app has audio cues that give feedback about your pace, time, and distance. It syncs with playlists such as Spotify and iTunes. This app also tracks your treadmill run. It syncs with Apple Watch and My Fitness Pal app.
Endomondo app allows you to track your health and fitness statistics. This software helps you track your running routes, duration, calories, speed, and distance. It analyzes your performance and suggests improvements. Endomondo app has both paid and free version.
The free version has a lot of advertisements, but the paid version has no ads. Endomondo has various types of challenges but also allows you to set your own goals.
You can access all the tracking features with the free version. It tracks all your workouts with GPS. Endomondo app has audio cues, motivation from fellow runners, and it follows your indoor workout such weightlifting and treadmill run as well.
Using fitness apps is the best way to motivate yourself in the running as a beginner. Getting a person to person coach is a challenge.
My personal favorite is Strava which is quite simple and user friendly. But that’s just me because I like to keep things simple and organized.
So you can choose one of the best apps mentioned above. Make your running dream come true by using the best running apps. The apps can be installed in your Android, iPhone, or Windows smartphone.
Have you used any of these above apps? Did we miss any other App that you think would be useful for other runners? Let us know in the comments section below.
Varun Sharma is the creator of this blog. He is a fitness freak, reader, foodie and an Avid Traveller. The aim of this blog is to educate and share valuable information with the running and fitness community.