8 Running Apps for Marathoners, Skeptics and Everyone in Between

The 8 Best Running Apps for Every Kind of Runner

Photo: Pond5

You’ve seen your friends bragging about their runs all over social media — from “I just crushed a 3.00 mi run” tweets to your pal’s #seenonmyrun selfie — and we don’t blame you for wanting to join the party. After all, if you didn’t post it, did it really happen? But you can’t get a cool share in unless you’re using one of those slick running apps. (Especially if you don’t want to shell out for a fancy watch just yet.) And let’s not forget these apps’ real function: making you a better runner. But with so many options available, it’s easy to end up using one that’s seriously subpar. So we downloaded ‘em all — so you don’t have to! — and found the eight best for lightning-fast sprinters, total beginners and everyone in between.

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The Best Running Apps for Every Type of Runner

iSmoothRun App

Photo: iSmoothRun

1. iSmoothRun
Best for:
Interval lovers
Have a need for speed? Then you’ll love iSmoothRun, which allows you to set custom intervals prior to lacing up. Preset your 400-meter repeats; it’ll also account for those much-needed rest breaks. Can’t remember why that one run last week didn’t go so well? iSmoothRun’s weather-logging feature adds in notes on temperature and humidity to jog your memory (sorry, we had to) so you’ll know that high humidity could be to blame. ($4.99; iOS)

Strava Running App

Photo: Strava

2. Strava
Best for: Weekend warriors
If teamwork is your thing (thrown in with a little healthy competition, of course), Strava is the app for you. Use one of over 50 compatible GPS devices — like your Garmin or your Timex — to upload your data, then compare it with your friends’ routes and paces. (You know, so you can identify which pals you’re going to pick off at your next half-marathon.) This app will even help you find local races, city running guides and running clubs. You’ll never have to run alone again! (Free; iOS, Android)

Map My Run App

Photo: MapMyRun

3. MapMyRun
Best for: Discovering new routes
The same site you know and love for, well, mapping your run, also has a reliable companion app for when you’re on the move. Every single route you’ve mapped will sync up to your smartphone, so you won’t forget the whereabouts of that hilly five-miler you ran on family vacation last year. Training for a race? You can also use their MapMyRun Trainer app to find training plans for races of distances between 5K and a 50K. (Free; iOS, Android)

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Runkeeper App

Photo: RunKeeper

4. RunKeeper
Best for:
Runners with rhythm
What’s a run without good tunes keeping you pumped up, right? And that’s the coolest feature of Runkeeper: its ability to seamlessly sync your pace up to your music. Specifically, the app’s “DJ” analyzes the music on your phone, detecting each song’s mood and tempo, then plays a track that matches up with your speed. If you tend to over-obsess about your pace, set RunKeeper to “stopwatch mode” and it’ll solely display time elapsed — but don’t worry, distance is still recorded, too. (Free; iOS, Android)

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Nike Plus Running App

Photo: Nike

5. Nike+ Running
Best for: Bragging rights
Consider this baby the OG of running apps. Released in 2006 and originally dubbed Nike+iPod, this DailyBurn staff-favorite has gone through four iterations, adding in cool features over the years like virtual coaching, an in-app camera for instant running pics and post-workout motivation from top Nike athletes like Alyson Felix. Was today the day you ran your #fastestmile, or logged your longest run? Earn some serious social media cred by sharing your feats (including a customized map of your route) instantly with your friends on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. (Free; iOS, Android)

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Endomondo Running App

Photo: Endomondo

6. Endomondo
Best for:
Helping you go the extra mile
If you’re looking for a push to help you meet your goals, download Endomondo, stat. Its commitment feature will serve as a virtual accountability partner, gently reminding you via push notification to get those runs in for the week. And for six extra bucks a month, the app’s premium version provides a specific training plan designed around how you’ve been pacing on recent runs. Oh, and it can also show you the amount of hamburgers you burn off from every run — certainly a metric we can get behind. (Free; iOS, Android)

7. Fuel My Run
Best for: Avoiding the dreaded wall
If running a half-marathon or full marathon is in your future, you’re going to need to learn how to start fueling on the run. Yes, that means ingesting those weird foil packets of gel. But if you’re unsure of when to start taking down your energy chews or gels, this app will remind you when exactly to eat, swallow and repeat. And just like that, you pushed right through the wall. Take that, mile 21. ($1.99; iOS)

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8. Couch to 5K
Best for:
Undiscovered athletes
It’s totally cool if running’s new to you, and Couch to 5K ensures you can tackle a 3.1-mile race in just nine weeks. Clear 30 minutes a day, three days a week and you’ll be toeing that start line ready, physically prepped and mentally stoked. Throughout each workout, the app cues your run and walk intervals while the virtual trainer will whisper sweet motivational tips into your earbuds. Optional social badges help you share your successes along the road to your first race. ($1.99; iOS, Android)

Did we miss an app you love? Sound off in the comments below!