BEST FOR GOAL SETTING: Adidas Running
You may know this app by its previous name, Runtastic, but it remains one of the most popular running apps, especially if you’re looking for an all-in-one service that tracks your sessions and keeps tabs on a variety of running metrics. Ideal for intermediate runners, this app measures your times, speed and distance while also offering voice coaching as you pound the pavements. It also features built-in GPS tracking and keeps all your workout stats in one place – ideal for tracking progress – and once you’re feeling confident, take part in virtual races with other runners across the globe. For those intent on smashing a particular goal, set yourself a daily, weekly or monthly goal, whether it’s running a certain distance, duration or weight loss.
THE DETAILS: Free, but a premium subscription, which costs £9.99 per month, includes training plans, route planning, interval training and more.Visit Runtastic.com
BEST FOR RUN JUNKIES: MapMyRun
If you take your running seriously, MapMyRun, headed up by Under Armour, is the app for you. With an easy-to-navigate interface, the app enables you to plan out routes in advance, ideal if you’re finding your usual 5K monotonous – and you can also use routes created by other users, which is handy if you’re running in a new area. If you want to get seriously savvy, the app also syncs with certain Under Armour trainers, tracking pace, stride length and cadence with impressive precision as you run. Once you’ve synced your trainers, you’ll also get personalised coaching tips along the way, and it’ll even tell you when you’re in the market for a new pair of trainers – run in your trainers for more than 400 miles and you’re at an increased risk of injury.
THE DETAILS: A basic version is free, but a premium subscription (£4 per month) provides voice coaching and location sharing and removes ads.Visit MapMyRun.com
BEST FOR BUILDING CONFIDENCE: NHS Couch To 5K
If you’ve never run for more than the bus, the NHS’ official Couch to 5K app is the one to download. Promising to take you from total beginner to running for 30 minutes in just nine weeks, the tried-and-tested method sees you run three times a week for around half an hour per session. The schedule starts gently, beginning with a brisk five-minute walk, then alternating one minute of running with 90-seconds of walking. The schedule builds up over the weeks, and you can choose to be coached by the likes of Jo Whiley, Sarah Millican or Michael Johnson. Just be sure to download the official NHS app for the best results – countless rival C25K apps have since launched, many of which are subpar and don’t offer the same experience.
THE DETAILS: Free to download.Visit NHS.uk
BEST ALL-ROUNDER: Nike+ Run Club
Whether you’re lacing up for the first time or constantly on a mission to reach that coveted runner’s high, the Nike+ Run Club is an industry favourite ideal for all fitness levels. The app measures a variety of metrics such as your pace, distance run and mile splits, and includes a variety of coaching plans that adapt to your goals and progress. There’s also the option to tune into guided runs by the likes of Mo Farah and Eliud Kipchoge, while sessions led my mindfulness experts Headspace are designed to beat stress while you workout. Nike+ Run Club is also perfect for runners with Apple Watches who want stats and feedback during their runs, but don’t want to carry a smartphone when out and about.
THE DETAILS: The app is free to download and use.Visit Nike.com
BEST FOR LONG-DISTANCE RUNNERS: Runkeeper
If you’ve taken the plunge and are training for a half or full marathon, Runkeeper offers personalised training programmes, complete with handy reminders to keep you on track. Use the GPS function to track your distance, pace and overall time, and keep your training fresh by using one of Runkeeper’s pre-created routes. Unlike other apps, Runkeeper is also highly rated for its ability to sync with other apps and devices, such as Fitbit, as well as Apple Watch, which is useful if you’re tracking other health metrics too.
THE DETAILS: Free to download and use, but £7.99 per month will provide you with personalised training, tailored motivation and in-depth insights. It also offers live tracking, which means you can share your runs and location with friends and family on race day.Visit Runkeeper.com
BEST FOR IMPROVING FITNESS: Running By Daily Burn
It’s no secret that running is one of the best ways to improve fitness levels and burn calories, but if you’re not sure where to start, Running By Daily Burn will get you on your way. Suitable for all, the app will start by asking you your running goals – whether it’s getting faster, building endurance or losing weight – and how many sessions per week you can commit to. The clever algorithm will then curate runs for you and offer in-ear coaching. It also provides guided warm-ups and cool-downs to bookend your workout, helping improve your performance and prevent injury. And when the British summer isn’t on your side, the app also offers guided treadmill runs.
THE DETAILS: Your first seven days are free; £3.52 per month thereafter.Visit DailyBurn.com
BEST FOR COMPETITIVE TYPES: Strava
Strava has been leading the way in the running app stakes for years, largely due to its impressive GPS tracking features. The free app provides basic stats like pace, elevation and distance, but its main draw is its ‘segments’ feature, which allows you to name loops of your local park or other popular routes and put it on a local leader board, ideal for competitive types. For example, in Battersea Park, there are ten sprints – all less than 1k – and keen local runners constantly strive to break the records.
THE DETAILS: Most of Strava’s features are free to use but the paid version allows you to build custom training plans and enables friends and family to track you in real time – ideal if you’re running in the evening.Visit Strava.com
BEST FOR TRACKING PROGRESS: Vi Trainer
Rated the best running app of 2019, Vi bills itself as the first artificial intelligence running coach. You’ll need a small amount of kit to get going – the VI Sense Headphones come with a built-in heart rate monitor on the left earbud, which is a science-backed way to monitor fitness and intensity levels. As you run, the app will use this data to further personalise your runs, whether you’re looking to tackle your first 10k, are looking to get faster or are training for something longer like a half marathon. The app gets to know what your optimal effort looks like and will push you when it thinks you’re slacking and can also recommend Spotify playlists. If you’re struggling with motivation, Vi is worth a try.
THE DETAILS: From £8.99 per month; the Vi Wireless Headphones cost £16.99 and are available from Amazon.Visit Vi-Labs.com