Five Best Smartphone Running Apps

Smartphones have made it possible for us to replace single-purpose tracking devices with apps that do so much more. There are plenty of choices for both iPhone and Android users — some are feature-rich with lots of stat-tracking, while others are fun games to distract you while you exercise. Let's have a look at the five best smartphone running apps.

RunKeeper

RunKeeper has long been one of our favourite apps to track our running habits, and it's still one of the most popular. Its long list of features includes ways to track runs, jogs, and even cycling. You can also share your progress with your Facebook friends and check your progress with detailed stats. If keeping all that data on your phone doesn't sound appealing, you can see your stats on RunKeeper's website instead.

Endomondo

Endomondo is a more social running app. Like RunKeeper, it's easy to track your duration, distance and speed. You can also create routes, compete against your own times, and you can even challenge friends who live in your neighbourhood. It's about as feature-rich as running apps come. You can get an audio coach, track hydration, send friends pep talks and much more. One of the cooler features is the ability to see other people's times on routes and test it against your own. For those who like to socialise over their runs, Endomondo is the only app you need.

Nike+ Running

Much like Endomondo and RunKeeper, the Nike+ Running App gives you stats, history and sharing capabilities. But it has its own share of tricks; you can get cheered on by a real-time crowd, activate a powersong to help you finish off your run, and keep track of your performance in different weather. Nike+ works with or without Nike accessories as well, so it's not a problem if you just want to run with your phone.

Zombies, Run!

We really liked Zombies, Run! when it was first released on iOS. Now the app is out on Android and Windows Phone as well, giving more people the opportunity to run from zombies as fast as they can. Zombies, Run! is different from the others because it turns your morning jog into a story about survival. You're not just tracking your run with stats and numbers — you're building a base full of supplies and using zombie chases as interval training. It's clearly not the app for the stat-obsessed, but it's a fantastic experience for those who need a different kind of motivation.

MapMyRun

As the name suggests, MapMyRun is all about tracking your route, but it also tracks your distance, calories, elevation and your nutrition for the day. The nutritional info is what makes MapMyRun stand out the most. If you're having a bad day and lagging behind your regular times, you can check in to see what you ate on other days and try to improve your overall health. It also gives you an estimate on how much you should eat and how many glasses of water you need.

This week's honourable mention goes out to iSmoothRun, an iOS-only running app that uses both the accelerometer and GPS to track your distance. You can also keep all of your data and output to any other service you like, improve your running style with a metronome, and even create your own intervals.

Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your favourite running app? Discuss in the comments below.


Comments

    Does the Google MyTracks not deserve a mention? I only ask because I expected to see it mentioned.

    No mention of Addidas micoach?

    I changed to Sports Tracker when they released Android and iOS versions a while back and have never looked back, personally I think it has better features than RunKeeper and has lots of social features; and completely free. Only catch is the website requires flash.

      I quite like Sports Tracker too.
      It's the only one that I found that worked well for skiing.

      I have been using Sports Tracker since my Nokia S60 days and now on Android. I am still waiting for the step counter feature to come to Android though, how difficult can it be?

      +1 for sports tracker. Would like for the b/t heart monitor to be non specific to Sports Tracker but that is the only very minor issue

    One thing that I've found I really need in a running app, is the ability to edit the run afterwards. The route I usually take has a lot of trees, so GPS reception cuts out quite a lot.
    Yesterday I ran a loop that was 4.6km - GPS picked up only two points - it told me I'd gone 400m :(
    Runkeeper website gives you a google map, and you can edit your run to match what you did - SO handy.
    I can't seem to find a way to do that on the nike+ website.

    Haven't used any of the other apps, but interested to see if they let you do this too.
    & yes, I probably need to invest in a footpod or dedicated fitness watch. Oneday.

      You can't edit the actual track if you haven't collected GPS points but you CAN edit the total distance on the Sports Tracker app/website.

    I tend to use the Couch to 5k app by active.com, it does good interval timings and allows music and all that. The only problem is that the GPS can cut out I find, last few runs I've done have been calculated at around 100metres when I know I've run more than that.

    I only run because I have to, but I use the same app as for cycling: Sports Tracker (http://www.sports-tracker.com/).
    The phone side of the app is better than most, but the website uses flash :(

    If Strava's not the best and fastest growing running/cycling app out there at the moment, then I'll eat my disgusting, sweat absorbent hat. I've diverted many a hack athlete across to Strava from all of the apps mentioned in your review an none have returned. The "Segments" component is the killer feature and is what motivates me to get out and about more often than i would otherwise.

    Strava definitely deserves a mention. It's awesome.

    I started using Strava after Endomondo became a little flaky with satellites in my area. We had a training run of a new race at the weekend and measured the course with Garmin, Endomondo and Strava. Suffice to say whilst by no means perfect, Endomondo is far more accurate than Strava. Garmin for those with a few hundred pounds to spare though.

    I am very happy with MapMyRun as it tracks really well, shows elevation, pace v elevation, heart rate v elevation and heart rate zone distribution. You can also log food but I actually connect it to the MyFitnessPal app which has a much better food diary and comprehensive list of foods. The calories I use during my workouts which are recorded on MapMyRun are pushed to MyFitnessPal to update calories for the day on the food app. I would be completely happy if they would replace the food log on MapMyRun with the MyFitnessPal food log.

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