The Best Running Apps
Iffley Road ambassador, Tom Wheatley guides us through the myriad of running apps to uncover some real gems.
Technology is becoming increasingly synonymous with running these days. Whether that’s using the latest wearable tech to check your heart rate or pace during a run, ploughing through hours of data to spot trends and improvements over time or simply to remind you that you need to actually get moving. Tech, for pretty much every runner, plays a big part these days.
Sitting at the centre of largely any tech solution for runners is an app. Sometimes to manage another product but more often than not as a standalone tool that works with the processors in your mobile phone. There are thousands of the things, many of them echoes of a time when apps were the future; companies left right and centre all trying to use the same concepts and innovations to be the dominant app in the market. Trust me, there are only a few good ones though.
I’m not going to babble on about the likes of Strava, MapMyRun and fitbit though. The chances are you know enough about those apps by now and for the most part most people have made their choices where those are concerned. I’m a Strava man all the way, I love data and I’ve got six years of the stuff held in that beast of an app.
Instead I’m going to pick the apps that do something a bit more interesting. The ones that you may not already have heard of amongst the myriad of lesser apps that sit dormant in the app stores. I’ve only picked apps that exist for both iPhone and Android. The majority are also free.
I came across this app when I was testing trainers. The concept is relatively simple and can be used for pretty much any sort of sport or fitness. Use the app to record a specific movement, in this case running, then use the slow-motion video playback along with the drawing tools available to scrutinise it.
Ever looked at yourself running in slow motion? It’s an interesting and often enlightening scenario that helps to understand possible things that you can do to run better. That may be noticing issues like pronation, poor balance and even long-term effects of injuries. Well worth having a play with as it’s much easier to correct an issue when you have visible evidence of it.
Unlike the majority of the apps featured here, Relive is tailored more towards the aesthetic side of things. It’s also a web app that connects to the majority of running apps out there. Link up whichever one you’re using to the tool and it’ll generate ridiculously impressive 3d replays of the activity for you, sent conveniently to your email address.
Sure, it won’t help you run any faster, but it’ll give you a great memory of your run, especially if it’s something you want to keep for posterity.
Price: £7.99 a month (cheaper if you pay annually)
Personal trainers are expensive, really expensive. They’re also a bit daunting for people just starting to get fit. Auro is an app that speaks to you whilst you’re exercising, offering guidance, motivation and general chit chat to help make sure you get fit.
Not only does it work for running, but a host of other training types as well, from yoga to fitness workouts. So, if you don’t fancy heading out into the cold. Just stick a workout on in the front room guided by a selection of UK personal trainers.
For some people, the key to training is having other people to do it with. Yes, you could join a running club, but they’re not for everyone. They have strict times you have to be there, some a pretty competitive and depending on where you live, it may actually be a major hassle just to get there.
myCrew is a free app designed to let people build their own running communities. Sign up, set a time and a date, specify what kind of run it is and build your gang of like-minded running pals.
Price: Free (some in-app purchases)
Alright, this is a bit of a daft one, but people seem to love it. The concept is simple, stick your headphones in, turn on the app and head out for a run. The only difference from your normal trot is that every now and then you’ll be aurally chased by zombies, meaning you have to speed up to get away. You also pick up items along the way to take back to base.
Probably not the kind of thing Mo Farah uses to train, but if you’re struggling for motivation or just fancy having a bit of fun, give it a go.
A less ridiculous alternative to Zombie, Run is Racerunner. An app designed to allow you to virtually run in a selection of user generated races. The voice over will let you know whereabouts in the race you are, if people are overtaking you, to add a sense of urgency to your training.
The upshot of using the app is that you can spruce up the same route you run normally without having to find somewhere completely new to make your way around. It’ll also give you analysis and stats on you training, so you don’t need to use multiple running apps.
We hope you've discovered some great new apps here. If you like any particular running apps that you think are really brilliant, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to hear from you!