5 Best Running Apps of 2024 (#4 Is the Way We Run)

Running apps have transformed the running experience, offering a wealth of features that help us set goals, track progress, and stay motivated. With so many options available for both Android and iOS users, the convenience of having a virtual coach and tracking system in our pocket has never been greater.

In our quest for personal bests and healthier lifestyles, we often turn to technology to give us an edge. The best running apps are the perfect companion, providing us with detailed analytics on our performance, personalized training plans, and even the camaraderie of a global community of runners right at our fingertips.

Choosing the Best Running Apps

When we’re picking the best running apps, it’s crucial to consider not just what features it offers but also how it fits into our budget and tech ecosystem.

📱 Features to Consider

To get the most out of a running app, we need to look at key features like GPS tracking, which allows us to accurately measure the distance we’ve run, and pace monitoring to keep track of our speed. These features are essential for tracking progress and setting goals. Apps such as MapMyRun provide us with detailed maps of our running route, which is great for discovering new paths and keeping the routine exciting.

💰 Free vs Paid Subscription

Most free running apps offer basic functionalities, which may suffice for casual runners. However, paid subscriptions generally unlock advanced features like personalized training plans, detailed analytics, and ad-free experiences. For instance, specialized apps like Peloton offer classes that might be worth the investment for those of us looking to combine running with guided workouts.

Dennis Heinrich Mallorca Marathon 24.10.2023

“With the best running apps I can optimally control my training and motivate myself to give it my all.”

🤖 Compatibility with Devices

The best running apps should work seamlessly with our devices. Whether we’re on Android or iOS, compatibility is key. It’s a bonus if the app syncs with wearable devices like the Apple Watch or Fitbit. This means we can leave our phone at home and still track our runs. For iPhone users, applications that are optimized for iOS, such as Nike+ Run Club, would provide a smoother user experience.

Top 5 Best Running Apps Overview

best running apps Man is doing his run around the block
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With a variety of features and capabilities, we’ve curated a list of the best running apps that meet different needs, from tracking your runs to providing motivational coaching. Discover which app aligns with your running goals.

1. 🏃 Nike Run Club

Nike Run Club (NRC) offers personalized coaching plans and motivational guidance. It’s perfect for tracking our runs and staying motivated through the Apple Watch integration.

2. 🏃 Runkeeper

Runkeeper is versatile, satisfying a range of runners with its intuitive interface and detailed tracking. It’s designed to meet our goals, whether we’re beginners or seasoned marathon runners.

3. 🏃 MapMyRun by Under Armour

MapMyRun provides us with detailed route planning and tracking. By using this app, we can discover the best routes and keep a log of all our runs, which is especially useful for those who prioritize route discovery.

4. 🏃 Strava

Strava is celebrated for its social features and comprehensive tracking. We can compete with friends, track our performance, and even discover new routes, making it the best overall running app.

5. 🏃 Garmin Connect

Lastly, Garmin Connect is the go-to app for those of us with Garmin devices. It offers in-depth analytics and a strong community for device users, making it simple to sync and analyze our running data.

Training Features and Plans

best running apps Woman is running around the block
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When we look for the best running apps, we focus on those offering robust training features and comprehensive training plans. These features can greatly enhance our running experience by providing structured guidance and tracking our progress.

🏃‍♂️ Structured Training Plans

Many running apps offer a variety of structured training plans tailored to our goals, whether we’re beginners or seasoned marathoners. For instance, the Nike running app provides plans for different distances and skill levels, ensuring there’s something for each of us. These plans often include detailed schedules with prescribed distances and workouts, helping us stay on track and improve our fitness over time.

🎧 Coaching and Audio Feedback

Coaching and audio feedback can be game-changers, especially when we’re pushing through a tough workout. Audio coaching gives us real-time feedback and instruction, just like having a personal coach. For those of us who love data, some apps, including Strava, let us review our mile splits and adjust our efforts mid-run. This immediate input helps us train smarter.

👥 Social Training Options

The social aspect of running can be a strong motivator, and many apps recognize this by incorporating social training options. Apps like Runkeeper, which is recommended for all fitness levels, often introduce features like group challenges or coached runs that we can share with friends. These social features not only make running more enjoyable but also encourage accountability and competition, which can lead to improved performance.

Tracking and Analytics

best running apps Two men run on the street with orange shoes and pink socks
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When we hit the pavement or the trails, tracking our runs is crucial for understanding not just how far and fast we’ve run, but also for getting detailed insights into our health and performance. The best running apps come equipped with a variety of features that help us monitor progress and analyze our runs in-depth.

🏃 Progress Tracking

We all know that seeing improvement over time is incredibly motivating. That’s why the best running apps offer progress tracking features. They allow us to log every run and see our progress on a timeline or calendar.

  • 🏃 Logged Runs & Totals: Keep a record of each run, its duration, distance, and date.
  • 🏃 Visual Progress: Charts and graphs that depict changes and trends in our running journey.

❤️ Health & Fitness Metrics

It’s not just about how many miles we’ve clocked. Apps with health and fitness metrics take our running to a healthier level. For example, Strava captures heart rate data to help us understand our cardiovascular health while running. Plus, calorie tracking features are great for those of us with weight loss goals.

  • ❤️ Heart Rate: Measure our exertion levels and overall cardiovascular health.
  • ❤️ Calories Burned: Estimate how much energy we’ve expended to help with weight management.

🔍 Advanced Running Metrics

Beyond just the basics, advanced metrics provide insights into our running dynamics. We can monitor our running speed and see how it fluctuates throughout a run or during a race. Other performance analytics can include cadence, stride length, and elevation gain, which are key for fine-tuning our running form and training.

  • 🔍 Running Speed: Track our pace per mile or kilometer to assess our speed consistency and performance.
  • 🔍 Elevation and Cadence: Understand the terrain we’ve tackled and our step rate, which can affect our overall run performance.

Community and Social Features

best running apps Woman is doing some stretching exercises on the street
by Pinterest

In our search for the best running apps, we consider how they can connect us with others.

🏃 Running with Friends

Running doesn’t have to be a solo activity. We can find apps that offer features to connect us with friends for joint runs or compare progress. For instance, Strava is well-known for its ability to link runners and cyclists, fostering a robust social network within the fitness community.

🏆 Challenges and Achievements

We all love that feeling of accomplishment. The best running apps will provide us with challenges to push our limits and achievements to celebrate our success. Many apps highlight our accomplishments, with badges or awards for various milestones, adding an element of gamification to our runs.

🔒 Privacy and Sharing

Privacy is paramount when we share our location or running routes. Hence, we seek the best running apps that offer customizable privacy settings. This way, we can choose what to share and with whom. Features like private segments or group-only location sharing ensure that we maintain control over our personal data.

Integration with Other Platforms

When we look at the best running apps, we often focus on how they track our runs, but an equally important feature is how well they integrate with other platforms. Whether it’s to keep us entertained with music, stay on top of our nutrition, or diversify our training, these integrations significantly enhance our fitness experience.

🎵 Music and Entertainment

Most of us love to listen to music while running, and luckily, many running apps understand this need. For instance, Map My Run by Under Armour seamlessly integrates with streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, allowing us to access our favorite playlists and pump up tunes without missing a beat.

  • 🎵 Music Services Integrated:
    • Spotify
    • Apple Music

🍎 Diet and Nutrition Apps

Keeping track of what we eat is just as crucial as logging miles. That’s where integrations with MyFitnessPal come in handy, creating a holistic view of our health. These apps work together to synchronize workout data and calorie intake, thus making sure our nutrition aligns with our training goals.

  • 🍎 Compatible Nutrition Apps:
    • MyFitnessPal

🏋️‍♀️ Cross-Training Compatibility

Cross-training is key for a well-rounded fitness regimen, and apps like Zwift help to bring cycling into our running routine. Plus, with platforms such as Peloton and iFit being compatible with NordicTrack exercise equipment, we can easily switch between different forms of workouts to maintain variety and prevent overuse injuries.

  • 🏋️‍♀️ Cross-Training Platforms:
    • Zwift – Primarily for cycling
    • Peloton – Offers running and cycling
    • iFit – Compatible with NordicTrack equipment

Accessibility and Usability

best running apps man with big muscles is running through the forrest
by Pinterest

When we explore the world of the best running apps, we look for two crucial factors: how easy they are to use and how well they cater to a diverse range of fitness activities and experience levels. We’ve found options that are perfect for those just starting their journey and others that can serve an array of fitness routines from walking to cycling.

🏃 Running Apps for Beginners

For our novice runners or anyone embarking on a couch to 5k program, we value apps that prioritize a user-friendly interface with clear navigation. Nike Run Club stands out with features ideal for beginners, offering guided runs that inspire and motivate. The app’s ability to track progress is straightforward, making it satisfying to watch your growth from a treadmill run to your first 5k.

🔄 Adaptability for Different Activities

We also appreciate apps that offer adaptability for various activities. The Pacer app, for instance, goes beyond just running; it’s a robust tool for tracking multiple types of exercise, including walkingcycling, and even hiking. Such versatility ensures that you can monitor all your fitness endeavors in one place, whether you’re enjoying a brisk walk in the park or a challenging hike up a mountain trail.

Special Features of Running Apps

In searching for the best running apps, we must consider what sets each one apart in terms of enhancing our running experiences. Some apps come packed with special features designed to motivate and reward us in unique ways.

🏆 Unique Incentives and Rewards

Running isn’t just about tracking our distance or pace; it’s about feeling accomplished. Some apps integrate charity miles, where our daily jogs can benefit charitable causes. It’s incredibly motivating to know that with every step, we’re making a difference.

🎮 Gamified Experience

To keep the excitement alive in our fitness routines, certain apps introduce a gamified experience. Imagine outrunning virtual zombies with Zombies, Run!—an interactive storytelling element that puts us in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. This not only makes our run thrilling but also pushes us to run a little faster, all in the spirit of fun and survival.

🔒 Focus on Privacy and Ads

We place a high value on our privacy, and so do the best running apps. Features like Strava’s Beacon allow us to share our live location with trusted contacts for safety without compromising our privacy. Additionally, we appreciate apps that limit exposure to ads, ensuring a clean and uninterrupted experience that keeps us focused on our goals.

Our Opinion on the Best Running Apps

When searching for the best running apps, we prioritize a mixture of functionality, user experience, and the value they bring to our training regime. There are plenty of options out there, each with its own set of features, but we’ve found a few that stand out from the pack.

Here’s a quick summary of our top picks:

AppKey FeaturesValue to Us
StravaCommunity & TrackingSocial connection & comprehensive analytics
RunkeeperCustom Plans & AnalyticsPersonalized training & progress tracking
RuntasticStory Running FeatureEntertainment & motivation while running
RunnaAward-Winning PlansStructured programs & usability
Top Picks of the Best Running Apps

We believe the best running apps should encourage you to lace up and get moving, providing ample motivation and insights into your performance. These apps check those boxes for us, each offering their own flavor to help improve our runs.

FAQ

What are the best running apps?

The top three running apps are Nike Run Club, Strava, and Runkeeper, offering features such as GPS tracking, 
personalized training plans, and social sharing. 

Are running apps free?

Most running apps offer free versions with limited features, while premium subscriptions unlock advanced training programs and additional tracking metrics. 

Can running apps track distance and pace?

Yes, running apps use GPS to accurately track distance and pace, providing real-time feedback to help users monitor and improve their performance.

What is your option on the Best Running Apps? I would love to hear it in the comments. I’m sure you also like reading about Best Running Songs or Best Running Shoes for Beginner.

Sebastian Gradl 26.09.2023
Sebastian Gradl

Nice to meet you, I´m Sebastian Gradl!

I write the articles on runfitjourney.com.

I hope I can awaken your passion for running too and would be happy to take you on the runfitjourney!

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