Strava, Nike+ Running, Endomondo, Runtastic, these running apps are all great for logging your pace, distance and performance but there’s more running gold to be mined in the app stores if you know where to look. Luckily we do, so we’ve rounded up a fistful of the best running apps you need to download now.
Best running app for… on-demand personal training
When you’re thinking about how to improve your running, it’s easy to reach for the classic run trackers and coaching apps but being a better runner isn’t just about what you do when you lace up. It’s smart to spend time in the gym too. That’s where TruBe comes in. This app makes booking a personal training session super simple.
You could say it’s a bit like Uber but instead of a taxi turning up to ferry you off somewhere you get a personal trainer sent to your location, primed and ready to bring you the pain (and the glory). You can train in one-on-one lessons without planning the class and choose from experts in boxing, pilates, crossfit and specific task-focused training. Sessions start at under £35 and the service is currently London only but expect it to expand into other areas soon.
Best running app for… kicking ass on Strava
Piggybacking runs captured on Strava, this app lets you race against a virtual, or ghost, partner. Quite a few watches let you do this whereby you pit your legs against past runs on familiar courses or distances but the brilliant thing about Ghostrace is that you get to choose to beat your own previous personal best, or take on another runner from the Strava leaderboard, racing them as if you’re there live.
All the data can be synced to your Android Wear smartwatch (sorry Apple fans it’s Android only) where you can see in real-time if you’re getting your ass kicked by your virtual rival. To make it even more motivating there’s audio coaching pep talks to apply a firm boot to your buttocks when needed. As you’d expect, all the stats then upload to Strava. If there’s a better way to bag that leaderboard top spot we’re yet to find it.
3. Running Heroes
Best running app for… turning miles into rewards
The idea behind Running Heroes is simple. The more you run, the more points you accumulate, the more rewards you unlock. While it’s not the only app to offer this kind of run-reward service, it has one big advantage, it works with 13 different existing running applications, watches and GPS trackers so you can carry on using the tools you love to track you runs and still benefit from all the goodies the Running Heroes team serve up on a weekly basis. The list includes all the familiar faces: Strava, Runtastic, Polar, Suunto, TomTom and Garmin.
The rewards come from over 350 big brand partners such as Adidas, Brooks, Garmin, Spotify, Asics and Under Armour, who offer everything from discounts to money-can’t-buy experiences. Along the way there are group challenges for some added motivation and a growing running community there to support your efforts.
Best running app for… improving your form
One of the fastest ways to increase pace, improve form, reduce impact and prevent potential injuries is to work on your cadence aka the rate at which your feet strike the ground. That’s what the Runzi app is all about. The app combines regular cadence readouts with an audio metronome that pulses at 180BPM to help you hit an optimum foot strike rate. As you work on your cadence over time, the goal is to also improve your form, efficiency and reduce impact on your joints. The app also comes with an impact tracker, so you can monitor your improvements over time.
5. My Money Time
Best running app for… converting miles to cash
Another spin on the rewards for running idea, My Money My Time lets you turn miles into money. That’s too good to be true right? Wrong, this app is real. So what’s the catch? How do they get you? What’s the trade off? Well the only caveat is that you have to spend what you earn in certain partner stores, you don’t get real dollars in your bank account. However, when those partner stores include most of your favourite running brands likes Asics, Polar and Under Armour, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Ten miles can earn you vouchers worth up to £50 to splash on your rundrobe (aka that pile of running gear in your cupboard). If that’s not motivation to train more, we don’t know what is.