Summer is finally here, filling our days with warm temperatures, hay fever (if you are unlucky) and a weird desire to lace up our long-forgotten running shoes and go for a run.
Running does not come easy nor natural to anyone, but, quite the opposite, it is such a controversial activity that it can be said with certainty that we all know people in the same friends’ group who absolutely love running and people who suffer from a real run-phobia.
But what if your aversion to running might be given to the fact that you just have not found the right running app? That you are lacking support and motivation to overcome the first painful runs and actually start enjoying that kind of physical activity? After all, the benefits running has on both our body and mind are now quite clear – being it a form of cardio exercise, running improves aerobic fitness and, subsequently, cardiovascular health; it burns calories and builds strength and resistance; it helps meditation and reduces stress.
In order to help you appreciate your running experience, we have created a short list of our favourite and tested running apps. There is one for everyone, whether you are a beginner or an experienced runner, one of the competitive kind or a lover of augmented reality and games.
One You Couch to 5K – For Absolute Beginners and Learners
One You Couch to 5K is the NHS easy-to-use app ideal for first-time runners and people who want to be more active.
It does what it says: it transforms you from a couch potato to a runner able to run 5 kilometres in one go. This is the best app for beginners and people who want to learn how to train for long distances scaling up rationally. In fact, the app organises your journey from couch to 5K splitting your running training over a 9-week period.
One You Couch to 5K is great if you are looking for an app which not only challenges you little by little, but also teaches you how to run and best utilise your energies. To achieve this, the app offers you a guiding voice which will not only guide you throughout your running session, but also motivate you and ensure you get the best from your running experience.
Runtastic – For the Precise Ones
Runtastic is a great, if not the best, tracking app on the market. It will provide you with an accurate report of your pace, distance traveled, heart rate and altitude. Moreover, at the end of each run, you will be able to see and save a map of your run.
Differently from other apps, Runtastic’s voice coach exists to communicate you your report during and at the end of your run. It does not, however, help and motivate you with tips and suggestions on how to run better or more efficiently.
The premium version of the app offers training plans for beginners, advanced runners or people looking for a training plan to run a marathon. If you are not a premium member, head to Runtastic’s blog to access amazing articles on nutrition, running tips, bonus training and much more – completely for free!
Runtastic is right for you if you are looking for an app able to track not only your runs, but also other kinds of exercise. From cycling to aerobics, yoga and other sports, the app will have your back.
Strava – For the Social Ones
At a first look, Strava looks like a simple tracking running app and it is often compared to Runtastic.wever, whilst the two apps present various similarities, Strava is unique in its genre. In fact, differently from not only Runtastic, but also any other running app on the market, Strava adds a social element to your run.
Firstly, let us talk about Strava’s famous segments. This feature allows you to track your improvements and compare your runs with your friends, adding a pinch of healthy competition to your exercise. Segments record a popular path or route, and create a leader board gathering all times set by the Strava users who have previously been there.
However, the social element of this app does not stop here. More than any other running app, Strava tries to put its athletes and runners at the centre of a network of likeminded people. They even define themselves as “the social network for athletes”. In fact, once an activity is recorded, it will automatically go to your Strava feed. A Strava feed is simply a feed where athletes, your friends and you can share pictures, races, performances and support each other.
Zombies, Run! – For the Adventurous Ones
Are you looking for a different running app? Maybe something that can allow you to live a story during your run and help you escape reality?
Then, Zombies, Run! might be right for you. This app casts you as “Runner 5”, one of the few survivors of a zombie epidemic. Every running session is a new mission you need to accomplish in order to save humanity, with each mission lasting from 35 minutes to an hour. Along the way, you will meet other survivors, collect items that help you and your survivor camp live, and avoid being caught by a herd of zombies.
The story is narrated by a voice/coach which highlights when you should run, speed up or walk, and it is fully integrated with your music in order to give you the right soundtrack.
The app, launched in 2012 with only 23 missions, now counts more than 200 – we promise you will not get bored with Zombies, Run!
Nike+ Run Club – Literally for Everyone
If you want to learn something new, it is a rule of thumb that you should look up to the best in that category. In this case, the Nike+ Run Club app is the perfect place to start.
This app suits amazingly any kind of athlete, from absolute beginners to experienced runners, and can be used to improve and maximise your running experience.
Nike+ Run Club goes far beyond the standard tracking features offered by other apps, but rather provides its users with a vast range of integrations which really aim at making your run something to look forward to. Some of these include: coaching features that motivate you to keep up the good work; motivational messages from athletes and runners; built-in photo sharing; the possibility to personalise your running experience by including your pair of running shoes and tracking their mileage; banners and achievements; the integration with Spotify to blend your favourite music to your coach’s training smoothly; free access to an amazing community and a lot of free resources.
Could you ask for anything else from your running app?
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