Buvette Masthead

Five running apps you should download now

Ashleigh Went

Ashleigh RunWith the weather warming up, the city looking gorgeous and no sign of the bare midriff trend fading, now is a good a time as any to take up running. I can practically hear the protests – “I’m not a runner”, “I don’t know where to start”, and my personal favourite, “I can’t run” (serious injuries excepted). Luckily, there is a whole suite of apps to help you on your journey into running.

In fact, there are so many options on offer that it’s a little bit overwhelming. Lucky for you, I did the legwork (see what I did there) and trialled a few of the big ones. Just note that I’ve used an iPhone, but I believe most of these are available for Android as well.

So without further adieu, here is a run down of 5 running apps, as well as a snap shot of what a bridge-to-bridge run will look like on each interface:

Strava

Strava

The run down? This is like the Facebook of the running world. You can see what your friends have been doing, give them “kudos” on their runs and comment with your congratulations and encouragement. It even links up to your Facebook so it’s really easy to find your friends.

Features? It’s also got all the basics – GPS tracking, it tracks your splits (how far your ran for each individual km), your calories burned, and your average pace.

Strava also ranks you against yourself and against others so you can keep track of how you’re progressing.

My thoughts? I don’t really have a bad word to say about this one – it’s the app that I use for my runs and I love it.

Best for? Social butterflies and the uber competitive.

Lorna Jane

Lorna JaneThe run down? This app has so much to offer. The big, obvious perk is that it’s a really beautifully designed app. It’s pink, it’s girly, it’s awesome.

Features? It allows you to log a huge range of activities; it’s got recipes and pretty motivational quotes too. But for the purposes of this post I’m going to focus on the run tracking feature. It also gives you verbal updates of how many km’s you’ve logged and your average pace—all in the voice of the legendary Ms Lorna Jane herself.

My thoughts? Unfortunately from my experience, it loses points for reliability. While it’s user friendly, it is extremely prone to crashing and takes forever to load. It also doesn’t have the greatest GPS – this run was fine but in the past when I’ve used it, the map said that I ran out into the middle of Lake Ginninderra (I’m good, but not that good).

Best for? Instagramming your runs #fitspo #runforrestrun

MapMyRun

MapMyRunThe run down? The good news is, this app does exactly what it says it will—it maps your runs. It’s really easy to use and very simple.

Features? If you’re willing to upgrade to the paid version you can get some great features like audio coaching, but the free version is pretty plain. It does keep track of how many kilometres you’ve logged in your runners and gives you a reminder for when you need a new pair. Handy!

It also gives you audio alerts with your time and distance. It’s compatible with social media so you can brag about your efforts, and like Strava, you can sync it up to your Garmin.

Best for? Those seeking no frills run tracking.

Nike+ Running

Nike RunningThe run down? This is a great little app. I used to use this app a lot, and it was especially helpful in training for my first half marathon. Whether you’re aiming for a PB on your marathon or just looking to finish 5km, it will give you a great, detailed and easy to follow program. Best of all when you use the app during those programmed runs it starts counting down distance which is a good motivational tool.

Features? There are so many cool features. My favourite is the Coach feature, which allows you to enter a distance-based goal and a date, and then gives you a program to follow. It too has verbal updates about how your run is progressing and at the end you get a ‘Congratulations!’ from a celebrity or athlete! My favourite is Ellie Goulding’s ‘Keep going, you’re nearly there!’.

My thoughts? It hasn’t got the best rating in the app store with users complaining about not being able to control their music. I blast my tunes though and have never had an issue.

Best for? Beginners and those who need a little help or motivation.

RunKeeper

RunKeeperThe rundown?  It covers all the bases – audio feedback, coaching, personal records, challenges… You name it, it’s got it.

Features?  You’ll see I (foolishly) tracked my run in miles. This is the default but it’s very easy to change it over to kilometres. You can even hook it up to your heart rate monitor for greater accuracy. One really cool thing about this app is the motivational feature where you can add an image to inspire you. Whether that’s a sculpted bikini bod or a marathon medal, having a visual cue can be a powerful motivational tool.

My thoughts? Not bad at all! This one is really popular and I know quite a few people that use it.

Best for? Everyone—it’s an all rounder.

As always I’m here to answer your questions in the comments below.  Best of luck in your running adventures, I’d love to hear how you go!

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Ashleigh Went

HerCanberra ACTIVE Editor Ashleigh Went has a passion for all things health and wellness. As someone who loves champagne and cheese almost as she loves a sweaty workout, she's all about living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. She can usually be found with her nose in a book, planning her next adventure, in the gym or updating her Instagram @wentworthavenue. More about the Author

  • Brooke

    These are all good apps and it’s great to see how far you’ve run and speed etc and I love seeing the map of where you’ve run – I use another good running app (which was developed and made here in Canberra by a running coach) which helps runners in a different way…it shows you different skills and stretches to help/improve your running (i.e building speed, strength and avoiding injury) it’s called Running Technique Basics

    • Ashleigh

      Hi Brooke,
      That sounds fantastic! It’s so easy to get yourself injured due to poor/incorrect technique… I know I could definitely use some help with mine so I’ll be sure to check it out.
      Thanks 🙂

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