There have been plenty of changes since we chose our favorite running apps just a couple of years ago. These days there are an endless number of apps that let you share with your Facebook friends, and save stats in the cloud, and the list goes on, but each one is still different enough that you could have a difficult time choosing which ones right for you. So how do you choose? It can be a hard time picking the right one for you. Here’s how you choose.
1. Nike+ Running
Nike+ Running is the most-downloaded app of its kind and we are reviewing it for both Android and iOS use, and it is very clear why. It tracks your time and distance, doesn’t bug you with ads or asking you to upgrade, or the way it looks. For free it provides tons of features like training plans, auto-pause, etc. that other apps only give you in their paid versions.
When you open the app, you will see a leaderboard that shows how your monthly miles stack up compared to what your friends are doing. You can create a challenge that is distance-based for a group of friends using Nike+. For example, who could record 50 miles before the end of the summer.
If you would like to connect to other gadgets, Nike+ only works with a couple like Wahoo, TomTom, Netpulse, and Garmin. It does not give you any way to find new routes or to analyze details and statistics. Nike+ is about making those mileage numbers climb and climb.Get it on App Store | Free Get it on Google Play | Free
Before running apps were so popular, the MapMyRun website was a real blessing —it was easy to create a route and it was an easy way to find out the distance of your run without actually having to drive it out to check your odometer. Now the MapMyRun app can track your run on the go, but MapMyRun has never forgotten where their roots are from—its signature features are the result of the wide-ranging database of maps on the website. Download it for Android and iOS.
MapMyRun offers charts that show how your speed changed over the course of your run, and even where you went up and down hill. With subscription, you can also have heart rate data available.
To share your activities, you can add other MapMyRun users as friends. With the paid version, your friends can watch you on a map using the live tracking feature.Get it on App Store | Free Get it on Google Play | Free
Runkeeper is one of the long term favorites on Android and iOS. It has many new features, though some are only available as a paid membership. One of those features is a workout plan that will adjust that is based on your performance, and analysis that allows you to compare similar workouts to see how you are improving.
The begin-your-run interface is different on Android than on iOS, but it appears to contain mostly the same features. On iOS, you are able to choose a time, distance, or pace-based run just like on Nike+. On Android you don’t have these options, but you can create your own interval workout, and then the voice coach will tell you whether you need to speed up and/or slow down. On both platforms, you can choose to follow a route or to just start running.
You can share your workout to Twitter and/or Facebook, say a few words about your run. You can even attach a photo. You can view your average pace for each mile.Get it on App Store | Free Get it on Google Play | Free
This apps app is available on iOS and Android. On the surface, Runtastic looks like Runkeeper—plenty of features, lots of training plans and advanced features by subscription, and it has some unique extras that include things like Story Runs that you can buy à la carte.
Pick your route, your music, and begin running. You can even connect a Bluetooth heart rate monitor. Runtastic connects with a number of gadgets, includes their own brand of activity trackers.
Music mixes nicely with Runtastic, and it is able to use other music playing apps such as Spotify or you can just play the music in your phone library. The screen that is visible during the run has placed the music controls in a convenient place. Like with Nike+ there is a powersong button too.
On the leaderboard you can see how your friends are doing. If you have a premium subscription, your friends can send you audio cheers while you run. You can even record your own cheers to send yourself when you are running.Get it on App Store | Free Get it on Google Play | Free
Strava is available for iOS and Android. Strava is best known among cyclists rather than runners, but its features are available to use whether you are biking or running. The Strava segments are a bit like informal race courses, that let measure yourself against others as well as against your own performance.
The only part that is complicated is finding where you start your run. You will find it tucked away in a menu at the top left. Once you have found it, load a route, hit the big red record button and go.
Across the roads and the trails around the world are Strava “segments.” There are different ones for cyclists and runners. If your run goes over a segment, your time will be automatically recorded, and added to a leaderboard. You may want to search for segments before you start your run, and then check out their location so you can sprint your hardest. Some of them are long stretches, while others are just short stretches. Some are hill climbs. You can also compare your performance.Get it on App Store | Free Get it on Google Play | Free