2014's top 10 running apps we can't live without
If you've recently taken up running; or maybe you've been doing it for a while – whatever the case, the chances are you have your own fitness goals to meet. Whether you're running in training for a marathon or just for a workout at your local park, running is a great way to get your endorphins pumping, work up a sweat and get some fresh air – unless you're on the treadmill of course. Sometimes, we all need a bit more motivation; first thing on a Monday morning and even the Expertrain team are struggling to push themselves out of bed for a workout. Running apps can help you to establish your fitness goals, work towards them and, most importantly, stay motivated. They're great if you're training alone or if you just need an extra kick to get going now and then. We've come up with our list of the top 10 running apps that will help you, whether you're new to running or a die-hard addict. So here we go, in no particular order.
#1. Nike+ Running
We love the Nike+ app – buy the special running shoes with in-built sensor and sync it with your iPhone to get the lowdown on your runs. It's easy to use, logs the stats you need, such as your distance, time and friends' statistics, so you can add a competitive edge to your run. Best of all, it's free!
#2. Run with Map My Run
This free app is a fairly simple tool to track your morning, afternoon or evening run. Using your phone's GPS, it records how far you've run, the route you took and your speed. A great app for those new to running, which will soon become an essential tool.
#3. Zombies, Run!
This app hit the headlines recently after a surge in popularity – if you're a fan of TV shows such as The Walking Dead, this is a great way to spice up your run! The idea is simple; as you run, the app creates a zombie-based story around your workout. You'll complete missions, collect ammo and supplies and escape zombies. Sounds fun? It's great if you're struggling to motivate yourself on a cold morning, and with extra in-app missions available to download, you won't tire of it quickly – just don't let the zombies get you! This cool app will set you back £2.49 in the app store, and there's now a special 5k training app available for £1.49.
#4. Strava Run
You can try out this handy app for free, then upgrade to premium for £3.99 a month or £39.99 a year. Designed for competitive types, Strava tracks your time, pace and distance using your phone's GPS and lets you map your own routes. But its real goal is to encourage you to compete against other users' times. Choose a route, then set off, beating everyone else's time to top the leaderboard – it's inspiring and yes, a little bit addictive.
Runkeeper is a great little free app (you can subscribe for additional features) that is available on iPhone and Android. It supports heart-rate monitors and tracks when you reach your goals – it also provides you with audio cues which can help you stay motivated and pace yourself whilst running.
#6. Runmeter Pro
Solely available in iOS, this user-friendly app has a clean interface and a whole host of cool features. The app itself is free – you can pay £2.99 to upgrade to the pro version. It turns your running stats into colourful diagrams, charts and graphs, so you can understand and compare your stats. It also offers functionality to design your own training plans and audio cues for your run.
#7. Footpath Route Planner
For an easy-to-use app without the frills, this is the one to choose! Costing just 69p, it's great for route mapping. It can automatically calculate routes between two points, save your frequent routes and even show you your route's elevation, allowing you to gauge difficulty before you set off.
This nifty little app is great for training for a 5k and it won the 2012 Appy Award for Best Healthcare and Fitness App – those aren't the only reasons why we love it though. At £1.50, it's a middle-of-the-range priced app and it's super-easy to use. It provides you with a training plan with a choice of four virtual coaches to motivate you. GPS support lets you map your routes and calculate your distance – you can even use it for your treadmill workout. One of the best bits though is that every aspect of the app is customisable, for a great, personalised experience.
Download this training app for free or sign up for the premium service for a couple of pounds a month. It's more of a personal training app than an app designed solely for running, and you can use it for walking, cycling, kayaking, and a whole host of other activities. Track your distance, speed, duration and calories whilst you use it in conjunction with your BTLE heart-rate monitor. The audio feedback helps keep you motivated and on track, and you can share your results directly on Facebook, or race against a friend's personal best for an additional challenge.
#10. Beat Burn Treadmill/Outdoor Trainer
There are a few apps out there that sync the beat of your music to your workout pace – we love this one. You'll get personal trainer audio guidance and your favourite tracks synced to your running pace. Great for the treadmill or outdoor runs, this is a fantastic little app.