words // Adam Arthur
Running apps offer technical features that help you manage your run. But, with so many different apps available, it’s difficult to know which are worth your time or money. If you want to track your running statistics or need extra encouragement, we’ve handpicked five running apps that can help push your performance to the next level.
Zombies, Run! or 5k Training
Device: Android & iOS
Top Feature: Gripping story and zombie attacks accelerate your performance.
Escape zombies as you find your top fitness. Whether you’re training for the upcoming season or want a more engaging running experience, Zombies, Run! may be the app for you. This premium running app, which is available in two versions – Zombies, Run! or 5k Training – allows you to experience a zombie invasion during your exercise. How cool is that?
As the more expensive but more engaging version, Zombies, Run! brings your run to life with an audio story mode that develops with each completed run. During your “mission,” you collect virtual items while avoiding sporadic zombie attacks. Run with your music, get audio instructions and zombie alerts, and build your virtual base using the items you collected.
Offering 8 weeks of structured training, 5k Training is designed by running experts to quickly help you get back in top shape. This app lets you work out to your own music, mixes in a gripping story that requires you to run to survive zombie attacks, and guides your workout with specific audio instructions throughout your warm up, exercise, and cool down.
Both app versions offer free syncing to Zombielink, which allows you to track your progress from run to run, review your running statistics, and share your running log with friends through Facebook and Twitter.
Device: Android, iOS, BlackBerry, & Windows Phone.
Top Feature: Connect your run to social media.
Make your run social. As you run, you can tag photos or share videos and performance data with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. You can also view your friends’ athletic activity and compare your personal bests to theirs.
In addition to social media options, Endomondo also allows you to listen to music, track your performance and your friends’ in real time, and analyze your performance afterwards. If you want an extra push, you can upgrade to the premium version and receive customized audio coaching.
Device: Android & iOS
Top Feature: Free, in-depth running statistics.
Track your running time, distance, and more with RunKeeper. Offering an array of technical features, this free running app records all essential running statistics, freeing your mind so you can focus solely on your run. The online repository maintains all of your running history so you can compare runs or track progress. To encourage a commitment to fitness, you can create goals based on distance, speed, total miles, or weight loss and track your progress toward accomplishing them. In addition, the free version offers basic fitness reports.
For more in-depth fitness reports and real-time run tracking, you can upgrade to RunKeeper Elite, which costs $4.99/month or $19.99/year.
Device: Android & iOS
Top Feature: The “Powersong” propels you through the toughest stretch.
Do you love hitting the open road in Nike running shoes and clothing? Make the experience even better by adding the Nike+ Running app to your training regimen. With its high-performance features, you can map and track your route, run with or without music, and receive encouragement from your friends by connecting the app to social media. To help you get the most from your exercise, choose a “powersong” to play when your workout gets the toughest. Goal setting allows you to set athletic benchmarks and track your progress, giving you an additional mental boost. After your run, you can research your performance with in-depth, informative statistics.
Device: iOS only
Top Feature: Music adjusts for your perfect pace, influencing you to run properly.
Ever get sick of searching for the right song to help you get through your run? Let Cruise Control do it for you. Without altering the song’s pitch, Cruise Control uses a special algorithm to adjust the tempo of your music and keep you moving at the perfect pace. If you are running too slowly, the song speeds up, without sounding like the Chipmunks. If you are running too fast, the music slows down, without sounding too deep. Four running modes target different running styles and goals.
One drawback is that the app can only currently play songs that are between 70-90, or 140-180 beats per minute. For most users, only 10 to 20 percent of their iTunes library will be compatible.
Team Up With Technology
Many factors influence your running performance. Running apps can help you manage your performance and allow you to focus more on the run.