Ever wonder how to track your runs, measure performance, maybe even run fast enough to survive a zombie apocalypse? Use these free running apps to make it happen.
Sounds a little crazy, right?
OK, so maybe a zombie apocalypse isn’t imminent.
But if you want to tap into the power of tech to be a better runner, there’s a handful of free running apps designed to help you go the distance from 5K and beyond.
Let’s face it. The old-school way of tracking your runs just doesn’t cut it anymore.
You know...marking it off on your wall calendar, logging it in a paper journal, or making tick-marks on the wall.
Fortunately, smartphone tech and mobile apps revolutionized running for us.
Free running apps can track all sorts of data like:
Plus, many free running apps also include:
So what are some free running apps out there?
Check out this list of 9 free running apps (some have paid options, too) to help you be a better runner and enjoy the process.
Strava is one of the most popular free running apps out there and is an excellent choice for beginner and novice runners alike. It’s free to use (but there’s also a paid version).
The app features top-tier tracking software through your phone’s GPS to record:
Activate the app before you run, and it’s ready to go. If you don’t want to bring your phone on the run, the Strava app can link up with most smartwatches and will import all your data.
One of Strava's most significant features is its social network, very similar to what we have here on our own WeeViews site.
If competition is your game, Strava has segments that mark popular stretches of road or trail. The app creates a leaderboard of everyone who’s ever run that segment to give you some extra motivation to run faster.
Since Strava represents the most extensive route and trail network in the world, you'll find these segments all over the place.
Runkeeper is a slick, straightforward app developed by the ASICS brand that makes it easy for new or seasoned runners to log a run.
The app uses GPS and keeps track of all the information a runner desires to know:
NOTE: I personally prefer Runkeeper to other apps for its simplicity + the run-audio cues that tell you your distance as you run.
The free version of the app lets you set and track goals for things like: distance, time, and weight. It includes a section of fun (but not easy) challenges that you can crush. It’s also a great place to track your non-running activities.
Paid version. While everything so far is part of the free app, upgrading to the premium membership for $40 a year adds in some personalized training regimens to help you knock out those goals you set earlier.
Here’s another tool that deserves to be on this list of best running apps: Map My Run.
This one is powered by the Under Armour brand and is another great app to pick up and go, whether it's your first run or your thousandth.
This app collects all your essential running stats and is friendly enough to sync with hundreds of different fitness trackers.
It's effortless to start up the app and mash the "Start Workout" button if that's all you need, but it has some other cool tools as well.
You can link the app with My Fitness Pal app if you want improve your running performance and your diet.
One of our favorite features is the ability to create a run to the exact distance I want using the Map My Run website and then pulling that map up on my phone.
Note: If creating routes isn’t your thing, Map My Run has over 70 million routes already built in.
Going premium costs $30 a year and unlocks a ton more analytics, mobile coaching, and eliminates the ads.
While other apps tend to focus on more than just running, the Nike Run Club app is engineered specifically for it.
The app certainly provides you with all the data you’ll be looking for including your:
It stands out because it’s also packed with guided audio runs from top Nike coaches to keep you focused and motivated.
The app will award you trophies and badges for runs whenever you break through a milestone or achieve a new goal.
👉What makes Nike Run Club special is that an athlete or celebrity will congratulate you at the end of your run if you complete a milestone.
All these features are completely free to use, so it won’t cost you anything to get that virtual slap on the back from Mo Farah.
The Adidas Running App, also known as Runtastic, connects to Google Earth to create running maps as you hit the streets and beyond.
It works especially well for running in areas you may not be familiar with, as the Adidas app paints a clear picture of where you’ve started and where you’ve ended up.
Like most apps, Runtastic measures and records the information you want to know, like distance, speed, and time.
The configurable screen lets you view only what interests you the most, and the Adidas Running App puts that data into charts and graphs so you can compare how you did versus last week's run.
The premium option has several training plans, workouts, and exercise videos to help get you to the next level, but this plan will set you back $49.99 per year.
iSmoothRun is an iOS-only app that stands out among serious runners for its high-grade GPS tracking. It's unlikely you'll fool this app, no matter where your run takes you.
Since iSmoothRun is only available on the iPhone, it can take advantage of many of its unique features.
The app uses GPS and the iPhone's motion sensors in unison to accurately measure speed, distance, cadence, and more as you run.
As a bonus, your data is not confined to iSmoothRun’s app. You can export your information effortlessly and use it with any of your other running apps.
This app is not free but has only a one-time fee of $4.99 to unlock all the app's features forever.
The Pacer app is all about step counting, and it does it very well.
While most pedometers require you to have your phone in your hand, Pacer works in the background and can count your steps as long as your phone is somewhere on your person.
It jumps beyond the realm of just running and can be used throughout the day to help you stay active and reach a certain step goal.
The app can certainly be used for running and will track your steps along with calories and distance using GPS.
Pacer will let you sync your data over to Fitbit or My Fitness Pal to combine diet and exercise information. It even includes some free guided workouts if you’re not sure where to start.
You’ll need to sign up for Pacer Premium to get all of the training plans and video workouts. The monthly fee for this service is $5.
Couch to 5K is an app designed to help new runners take their literal first steps towards running an entire 5K (3.1 mile) race.
This app takes a budding runner through three 30-minute workouts per week to get you race-ready in just nine weeks.
As you work out, the app tracks your time and distance through GPS. The virtual coach will provide audio cues and guidance along the way to keep you motivated and moving towards that goal.
The entire program costs just $2.99 to have forever.
Possibly the most unique app on this list, Zombies, Run!
This app puts you into the middle of a zombie apocalypse. You’re the last hope for humanity, running out into the world to collect supplies, all while avoiding being caught.
The app is entirely free to use and is great for those who want to take running to a fun new level.
FYI...there are a lot more free running apps than the 9 on this list.
And there's not even a need to settle on just one.
Connect with your favorite runners on the WeeViews site and get plugged in to the apps they use to share running data and stories!
Dan Burk I loved Zombies, Run! when it came out. Maybe one day I will pick up the story again. I have been using Train As One as a way to track analytics but also a way to coach me and suggest running programs depending on my goals and where I am at in my fitness journey.
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