Born to run? There’s an app for that.

Oh phones. Our shiny little mini computers that pretty much do anything we want whether its ordering a pizza, watching movies on a tiny screen or getting in to arguments on Twitter.

But can a phone make you run? And run better? Let’s talk about that…

So you want to improve your runs or just generally nail down how to run better. Your phone can be the best running partner in the world (and not just because you can turn it off). Running apps are helping people quickly gain confidence and some idea of what it takes to get better at cardio and find a route that won’t see you getting all puffed out within 5 minutes.

I’ve been experimenting the last two weeks with a few different apps that are popular on the iTunes app store. All the apps I used are also available on the Google play store when I checked, but I’m not familiar with android so don’y know if it plays a difference from phone to phone.

Easiest App To Use: MapMyRun

You know those really tight gym clothes you see people wear that look like they’re clinging on for dear life? Well those are made by Under Armour, and while they might not always be a good fit, they have an app that is. MapMyRun is as Ronseal as it gets. You turn it on and go. The app won’t just measure your distance and time but will keep tabs on the exact route you take and your pace, which can be a great indicator of hos your fitness is improving. It can sync up with some smartwatches too so you can quickly glance at your performance rather than clunkily pulling your phone out of your pocket or trying to look at it on your arm.

Most Competitive App: Runtastic

 

Originally the Adidas miCoach app (btw if you’re looking for some cheap running gear, I have a handy Adidas promo code you can use) Runtastic help turn your jog in a bit of competition. If you have a bunch of mates who run too, get them to download it. You can share how you’re doing with your running and it does make a solo activity feel like more of a communal activity. Their website also has a nice feature where you can search for routes nearby (you can see that here) that the app will direct you on as you go. They grade runs by difficulty and length so you can find local runs that work to your fitness level.

Least Fuss App: Endomondo

On the hunt for an app that doesn’t come with hundreds of bells and whistles and just does what you want it do to i.e. track a run? Endomondo is the one for you. It has a bright and clean interface that will clearly show your figures for any of the 40-ish exercises it helps track.

It pairs with the likes of Apple Watch and Fitbit which is nice, but it does seem to have a little problem when you’re running through areas where your phone signal might be weak. I found myself on a country run and it misjudged the distance when my phone went “dark” for a few minutes. Still though, it;s a great little app.

Bonus App (Sort of): Reddit

I love using Reddit. It’s been better than YouTube for helping me learn how to perfect making pizza and has forums (called subreddits) that can give you better news on almost topic. I would recommend having a browse through the r/Running. It’s the forum for all things to do with running and everyone gives honest and unbiased answers to questions.