SOMETIMES IT TAKES a little extra motivation to get up and go. And as it turns out, all it takes is a little technology to boost your fitness ambitions. According to a study from the Journal of Medical Internet Research, participants who used fitness apps were more active and had a lower body mass index compared to nonusers and past users. If that’s not reason enough to log into the app store and make a quick download, this should be: it’s race season. That means you should take all the help you can get when it comes to clocking in a new PR. Here are some of the best free running and fitness apps to get you across the finish line faster than ever.
Nike+ Run Club
The newly revamped Nike+ comes complete with personalized coaching plans and the new Nike community feed where you can publish (and customize) pictures of your running experience, compete with friends on leaderboards, and run without your phone on the Apple Watch update. Download here on iTunes or hereon Google Play. Oh, and just like the old version, it records your pace, location, distance, elevation, heart rate, and kilometer splits so you always know your numbers.
Perfect for the purist, Runkeeper is dedicated to keeping the details of your runs at your hands. The app records your pace, distance, total exercise time, calories burned, and other useful metrics. Runkeeper also allows you to take and tag pictures on the go to use as route inspiration and sharing for the future. Additionally, the app syncs with other apps to create detailed reports of your activity that you can share with your social network. Download here on iTunes or here on Google Play.
Adidas Train and Run
Not only does the Adidas Train and Run app track all of your progress, but it makes progression possible. The interactive app and GPS tracker includes training tips from expert coaches, personal training plans to help you achieve specific goals, and real-time voice feedback from the pros. Pair it with the Fit Smart watch for GPS tracking and heart-rate monitoring on your wrist. Download here on iTunes or here on Google Play.
“Strava or it didn’t happen.” This app tracks distance, pace, speed, elevation, and calories burned—and has sparked countless competitions between runners and cyclists alike. With the “Challenges” and “King/Queen of the Mountain” features, average Joes can claim the title of fastest known time on a route or ascent—and win bragging rights over everyone else who has run that specific route. Download here on iTunes or here on Google Play.
Map My Run
The OG route tracker, Map My Run was given a major interface upgrade after Under Armour bought the platform last year. It’s free, and can guide you on a route no matter where you are. Perfect from runners who travel often, Map My Run offers thousands of routes in cities across the world—often logged and rated by runners local to the area. Additionally, the app will store up to 600 of your favorite personal routes, so you can easily cue one up when motivation is low. Download here on iTunes or here on Google Play.
For those who are a little more geographically challenged, Runtastic allows you to view all of your routes in a Google Earth map. That, along with real-time route plotting, speed and distance tracking, and metric monitoring (along with the option to share your runs over other social platforms—like Facebook and Twitter) make this app a simple addition to your training plan. Download here on iTunes or here on Google Play.
What better way to get in the mood for charity runs by than training with charitable runs, too? This tracking app allows you to choose from a list of charities such as Wounded Warrior Project, Autism Speaks, and the ASPCA before heading out on your run. Charity Miles then logs your total distance and your mileage is converted into a donation by one of Charity Miles’ corporate sponsors. Sweating never felt so good. Download here on iTunes or here on Google Play.
By Lauren Steele