This year you’ve resolved to start running (for real this time). You’re committed and motivated — 2020 is about you, a good pair of running shoes and the pavement. When motivation falters, however, discipline needs to kick in.
Tracking your runs, using guided runs and in-ear coaching, visualizing your progress and partaking in challenges all stand as ways to stay disciplined: You don’t want to miss your mileage goal for the week or drop out of your first 10K, do you?
You’re in luck if you’re looking for a running companion to help you stick to those goals and more. This year, enlist the help of a great running app to keep you on track and extend your resolutions past their usual expiration date of mid-January.
Running by Daily Burn
Running by Daily Burn on the App Store
Daily Burn might be best known for its high-intensity interval training (HIIT) subscription app, but the new running app (released in October 2019) has been picking up some steam. Running by Daily Burn is an extension of Daily Burn’s membership platform that has the same distinct coaching style as the HIIT, yoga and core memberships.
When you download the app, it’ll prompt you with a few questions related to your goals. Based on what goal you enter — run your first 5K, get faster, build endurance and so on — Running by Daily Burn curates a collection of guided runs for you. You can also select guided runs based on a variety of criteria, including tempo, distance, interval, outdoor, beginner and fun runs. You can even opt for a guided treadmill run if you’re stuck indoors.
Running by Daily Burn keeps track of all your run data and connects to both Apple Music and Spotify. You can stream your own playlist or allow the app to play a curated one. One other great feature about this app is the collection of warm-up and cool-down videos designed just for runners, so you’ll know that you’re doing the right stretches and movements to keep your joints strong and muscles supple.
Nike Run Club
Nike Run Club on the App Store
I have a personal love story with Nike Run Club. This app has pushed me through so many runs with its collection of recorded guided running workouts. I especially love the ones with apt names, such as “Don’t want to run run” and “Running on empty.” These recordings help you through runs that you really, really don’t want to do by making you mentally dig deep while you push the pace.
The coaches ask you to think hard about why you’re running and why you didn’t feel like running that day, as well as how proud of yourself you’ll be after the run — you’ll be surprised at how quickly that dreaded run is over.
Nike Run Club does everything else a running app should: It logs your miles (and milestones), mile split times and average mile pace, tracks your route, and stores all your workouts in-app. There’s also a social sharing platform where you can post your runs, and the Nike Run Club coaches give you shouts of recognition after each run, which is a nice motivational touch.
Couch to 5K
Couch to 5K on the App Store
Couch to 5K is the perfect app for true beginners. If you’ve never gone running before or just let it slip for more years than you’d like to count, download Couch to 5K for a comprehensive running plan that takes you from nothing to crushing your first 5K. You’ll get three workouts per week over a nine-week span.
You can choose from four virtual coaches and enable audio cues to help guide you through your workout (for example, telling you when to run and when to walk) and give you motivational quips throughout. All of your workouts get logged in the app so you’ll be able to look back on your process over time.
Strava’s new features, Perceived Exertion and Fitness, allow you to see long-term trends across your workouts.
Strava has long held a beloved place in the running community. Its simple and easily navigable interface makes it easy to track, log, store and share runs. It’s compatible with more than 20 different fitness brands and, depending on what you connect to your Strava account, the app tracks a variety of metrics that can help you improve your running performance. The premium version, Strava Summit, adds even more features for enhanced runs.
If you aren’t all that into metrics, the new Perceived Exertion and Fitness features allow you to track your runs based on one thing only: how hard they were. This method of tracking is great for beginners who want to track the intensity of their workouts to ensure they’re moving toward their goals, but don’t want to fumble over cadence, heart rate, and other numbers.
Adidas Running (formerly Runtastic)
Adidas Running on the App Store
Runtastic became Adidas Running when the sportswear company acquired it in 2015 — it was a big deal in Adidas’ foray into fitness tech. The Adidas Running app tracks all the major running metrics, including distance, time, speed, elevation and calories burned. If you connect the app to a compatible fitness tracker, such as the Apple Watch or a Garmin tracker, it’ll also monitor your heart rate.
One feature I love about Adidas Running is the shoe mileage tracker. You can track the total number of miles you’ve run in your shoes and the app will let you know when it’s time to get a new pair. The customizable dashboard lets you track only the information you care about — push unnecessary metrics out of the way and focus on what’s important to your running goals.
Read more: How to choose the right pair of running shoes
Runkeeper on the App Store
RunKeeper is a super simple yet multifunctional run-tracking app that can log runs, walks, hikes or really any distance-based activity. You can go on a free run or download guided runs and mapped routes. Goal-specific challenges and gamified fun runs help you stick to your goals, while performance graphs let you visualize your progress over time. You can view side-by-sides of stats by week, month, or year, so RunKeeper is a great option for those who are super progress-oriented.
You might not initially think of a music streaming app when thinking of running apps. But Fit Radio might become your favorite running companion thanks to its tempo-based playlists that can help you keep pace. Fit Radio curates playlists based on both mile pace and heart rate (beats per minute), and you can choose from more genres than you might’ve even thought to exist. You’ll eventually become familiar with the different DJs, too, and can select playlists that way.
Read more: Science explains why good music makes you work out harder
RunGo on the App Store
RunGo is a helpful app for finding running routes and mapping new ones — and getting turn-by-turn directions through your headphones as you run. This app would have saved me many a wrong turn if I’d had it when running in unfamiliar places.
RunGo will come in handy if you plan to travel and are worried about skipping your runs for fear of running in a place you don’t know. Just browse the map of over 100,000 running routes and download it — that way you won’t get lost even if your internet access sputters.
Premium subscribers can access guided tours created by local runners, which route you through safe and scenic locations, as well as let you know about attractions and points of interest. RunGo is also a great app for those who get bored easily and want to find new routes close to home.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.
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