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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.