When I started running, I tried a lot of smart phone apps. Apps to map my runs, track my training and more. While I tried a lot in the first couple weeks, I quickly settled on four I found most useful and ran with them. If you are just getting into running, you may be in the same position. There are tons of apps out there, here are just a few suggestions to get you started in finding the apps that are right for you. Maybe they would be a good match for you, maybe not, but they may be a starting point in your search for your perfect match.
1) Music App
For most people, music while running is a must. But honestly, when I started running, I didn’t listen to music. However, I did quickly learn that music does makes the run more “tolerable”. But I don’t have a big digital library (nor the time) to compile great play lists. And I just like a variety, I don’t like to have to pick and choose specific songs, I just want music similar to a few of my favorite artists. That’s why I started relying on Pandora to get me through my runs. I just set a station based on some of my favorite songs and go. If I don’t like a song, oh well…I bear through it and wait till the next. I simply stick with the free version. The ads don’t bother me much. It works for me.
Perhaps, you are happy compiling your own playlists from your music library. If that works for you, great! And if you have the songs to support it, there are actually apps that will play music from your library to match your running pace. Now, that sounds pretty cool, but I have yet to try it.
2) Run Tracking App
Of course when you are running, you want to know how far you’ve gone at the very least. Better yet, you want to know your progress, distance and pace during your run, and then you want to save that information for future comparisons and tracking. This is one area in which I downloaded and tried several apps and finally narrowed it down to Runkeeper as my primary app. Maybe some day I will invest in a real running GPS, but for now, my phone tracks all my runs and running history.
3) Cross Training App
I’ve learned the hard way, through recurring knee problems, just how important it is to build and strengthen your entire body, legs especially, in order to promote healthy muscles and joints to support your running. I found the Nike Training Club app early on in my running and love it so much! It includes so many workouts that I can do right in my bedroom with little or no equipment. Many are just 15 minutes long and target specific areas like butt, leg, arms, abs, etc. This is especially useful on those days when you don’t have time in your schedule for a run, but it’s hard not to justify a 15 minute workout to tone and strengthen, especially just before you plan on jumping in the shower anyway.
4) Charity App
This app is hard to pass up on because, you are going to run anyway (or even if you walk), and as long as you hit start before you head out, it tracks your distance and then makes a donation to a charity that you choose from the ones that participate with them. The app is Charity Miles and some of their current charities include Autism Speaks, Stand Up To Cancer, The Michael J. Fox Foundation, The Wounded Warrior Project and so many more. I was actually surprised at the payout, which on my longer training runs was a couple of dollars each. I see it as free money to some great organizations for something I’m going to do anyway. And honestly, once I hit start on the app and head out, I can’t help but to think of the people in my life that I am personally running in honor to support an orgainization and it actually pushes me to run a little farther.
There you have it, my four, go-to running apps.
What are your favorite running apps? I would love to check out any that you think are awesome or could not run without!