Today marks National Running Day in the US and while you certainly don’t need technology to get the blood pumping, there are a huge number of fitness apps out there that can help encourage and focus your exercise regime.
If you do need some help getting your running shoes on, then we’ve listed five of the best apps for motivation, technique and fitness monitoring currently available.
Runkeeper (Android, iOS)
Runkeeper is perfect for budding athletes who want a no-frills running app that provides all the essential information they need. Using your smartphone’s GPS to track your exercise, Runkeeper monitors your speed, distance run, exercise time, calories burnt and a number of other fitness metrics.
Users can also download popular running routes in the local area or upload ones of their own. They can also view their previous activity to check if their making progress and how often they’ve run. As a nice bonus, the app also enables runners to take and tag pictures and upload them to their route.
PUMATRAC (Android, iOS)
Runners who are looking for a more detailed analysis of their activity may want to try out PUMATRAC. The app includes the usual running metrics, but also analyses the weather and times of your run to see if this has an effect on your performance. PUMATRAC can also gather insights from your Spotify playlists to see if the music you listen to has an impact.
Social features are also a major part of PUMATRAC allowing users to interact with other runners and see where they stand on a virtual leaderboard. And, for those days when the weather outside is just too bad to face, the app includes a treadmill toggle, enabling users to track their indoor runs.
Run with Map My Run (Android, iOS)
Map My Fitness has been in the exercise business for nearly a decade now, so it knows what it’s doing when it comes to running apps. Run with Map My Run may not be the catchiest name, but don’t let that put you off.
The app measures your distance travelled, time taken and average speed and gives runners access to real-time measurements as well as completed totals. The paid version also comes with a few additional features such as voice coaching and locations sharing.
For those of you out there that use a smartwatch, Run with Map My Run also comes with Android Wear and Apple Watch support.
Zombies, Run! (Android, iOS)
Zombies, Run! takes a slightly more unusual approach to motivation, using the threat of being eaten alive by hordes of the undead to give you a little extra push.
The app essentially turns your workout into a game by adding a zombie apocalypse narrative to your run via headphone audio. Runners are given a number of missions that when completed grant them access to items that can be used to develop your base. The app is currently in its third season, with more than 200 missions currently available.
You can also share your progress online, with over one million other players of Zombies, Run!
UP by Jawbone (Android, iOS)
Jawbone may be best known for its wearable fitness trackers, but the California-based firm also makes an excellent running app for Android and iOS handsets. UP uses your smartphone’s built-in sensors to monitor important fitness metrics, but it also allows users to input nutritional information and details about their sleeping patterns manually.
The app also comes with its own intelligent fitness guide, called Smart Coach, which will give you advice on how to improve your workout and ultimately turn running data into valuable insights.