With that springtime sunshine peeking through your window, it’s a better time than ever to get outside and start learning to run.
When you’re new to running, it can be difficult to keep up your motivation and stay on track — especially as the days get hotter and the sweat starts to pile up. But a good running app can help you keep track of your progress, connect you with a supportive community and monitor your breathing, heart rate and more.
Do you need all of these apps? Probably not, but each one has unique features that make them worth checking out.
Strava is CNET’s No. 1 pick for running apps for 2022.
- Running log
- Large fitness community
- Real-time performance tracker
- Performance analyzer
A little competitiveness can get you out on the pavement. This app can also connect you with friends so you can compare stats.
Strava is available on iOS and Android (free, with in-app purchases from $8 to $60).
Another great app is MapMyRun. It helps you find running trails or routes, which is super helpful for beginners.
You can also connect it with your Under Armour smart shoes, if you have them. The shoes have a chip that syncs with the app to provide real-time form coaching and stats, such as cadence, stride length, foot strike angle and more.
MapMyRun is available on iOS and Android (free, in-app purchases from $6 to $30).
My Run Plan
The main feature of Runcoach’s My Run Plan is its training plans. You decide a goal, like running a 5-miler, and the app helps you with a training plan to fit your needs and get you to your goal.
Another of my favorite features is the help feature. You can send questions to any of Runcoach’s USATF-certified coaches and they will respond within 24 hours.
My Run Plan is available on iOS and Android ($10 per month or $65 annually after a two-week free trial).
Runkeeper, like My Run Plan, can also help you create a training plan tailored to your goals and keep track of your progress. Your goals can range from mastering a specific race to hitting a performance benchmark like speed or distance.
In addition to Apple Watch and fitness tracker integrations, Runkeeper also works with Apple Health and MyFitnessPal.
Runkeeper is available on iOS and Android (free, in-app purchases up to $40).
Nutrition is a big part of becoming a successful runner. So although MyFitnessPal isn’t strictly a running app, I’m including it. The app helps you keep a digital food diary and tracks your calorie, water, carb, protein and fat intake by analyzing your food entries. You can also log workouts, steps and set goals.
I love that you can just scan the bar codes on food and drink packaging to upload nutrition information — no need to search for it in the app, though that is an option.
I personally recommend this app if you’re wanting to lose some weight. Using it to track my meals helped me lose over 100 pounds.
MyFitnessPal is available on iOS and Android (free, in-app purchases up to $50).
While you’re here, check out our guide to picking out the perfect pair of running shoes, plus how to figure out when you need to replace them. Also, it’s never too late to run your first 5K — here’s how to get started.