Best For: Beginners
If the idea of running fills you with dread, then Couch to 5K is here to help. How? By doing exactly what its name suggests – gradually taking you from “can’t even run to the end of the street” to achieving a non-stop 5K in 9 weeks. It does this by plotting out three weekly workouts that start with tiny bursts of running mixed with walking and it also then tracks your speed and distance. There’s even a coach who pipes up to up the ante when your desire to return to the couch surfaces, making it a great way to build stamina and avoid the pesky injuries so many over-enthusiastic runners come up against in their early days.
Best For: Planning
If you fancy mixing up your usual route or want to run a certain distance but aren’t sure where to actually run, then Map My Run is for you. You can select a starting point and it will help create a loop, which you can then store and reuse. Whilst you’re on said loop, the app tracks your speed, distance, average pace, elevation and calories burned.
Best For: Motivation
Trust Nike to come up with the world’s best motivational running app. Sync this with Spotify and you’ll get live running updates over your favourite song, shout outs of encouragement whenever you’re flagging, access to a host of professional running coaches to help improve your technique and stamina and even a cheering squad at the end of your run.
Best For: Some Healthy Competition
Strava’s booming popularity is based on two things: firstly, it’s a great little tracker that works on a variety of tech, from android and iphones to GPS watches. It measures the usual variety of distance/pace etc and can also help you plot your running routes, making it a great choice for both seasoned runners and complete novices who want an app that does it all. Secondly, if you’re missing running with friends or fancy a dose of healthy competition, you can see how you compare to other runners on the same route or run with people you know (without having to *actually be with them, key in isolation times). Plus if you opt for membership, you get a whole host of extra metrics measured and the ability to use Beacon, their inbuilt safety tool that allows up to three contacts to access your location while you’re out running.
Best For: Virtual Running
Originally (and still) beloved by spinners and cycling enthusiasts, if you’re one of the lucky few with a treadmill, then Zwift have now added running to the mix to revolutionise your whole experience. With a phone or iPad in place, you enter a virtual world where your avatar is in the great outdoors or on a far flung mountain trail. You can see how you’re running compared to other users on the same track, adding an element of racing to the mix if you so choose and all from the comfort of your own home.