Best running apps 2020: ultimate tracking tech
Whatever your running pace or style, these are the best running apps.
It's cheap, it's cheerful and it's an easy way to get a hit of endorphins when you need them the most - yes, running really is one of the most accessible forms of exercise around. It's become so popular in fact, we thought it was time we did a round-up of the best running apps of 2020.
After all, they're a solid companion whatever the length of your run. Some are designed for longer runs, while others are simply great for those dipping their toe into the running water for the first time.
The app that's best for you will generally depend on the type of training you're looking to undertake.
UPDATE:We've added the Couch To 5K app - it's seen a huge uptick of downloads because of lockdown and is a great app for newcomers and those wanting to get back into running.
Long distance runners who regularly undertake marathon training might opt for an app with social capabilities in order to share splits with fellow runners, like Strava and Runkeeper. On the other hand, those who have recently taken up running for health reasons or as part of a 5km challenge might prefer an app with streamlined features, such as Nike Run Club or Pacer.
There are so many apps out there that we've tried to de-mystify the running app world and bring you our pick of the best running apps around, alongside the nifty features they have.
- Heading out on a run? Discover our pick of the best running shoes around.
Best running apps
1. MyZoneView now on Google Play or the App Store
MYZONE wants to be known as the Facebook for physical activity and it makes a good job of it, encouraging competition with other users through its app and online. It woks best paired with the Myzone MZ-3 Physical Activity Belt, but its heart-rate accuracy and ability to help you plan your runs, looking at how far you want to go and how hard.
2. StravaView on Strava
Undoubtedly one of the best known names in the running game, Strava is the gatekeeper of running apps. Ideal for those who enjoy interval training - there’s a detailed breakdown when it comes to timings and splits - you can really challenge yourself on certain legs of your run by competing against previously tracked times. The downside, like any social app really, is that it’s easy to find yourself getting a little overly competitive, comparing splits with friends and analysing what others are doing. Needless to say, it’s a solid app for running (also a favourite of cyclists FYI) and syncs effortlessly with all manner of devices and fitness trackers - both iOS and Android.
3. RunkeeperView now on Runkeeper
After receiving heavy investment from sports brand Asics, Runkeeper (now known as Asics Runkeeper) is ideal for keeping track of your runs without the need to share updates with the world. It syncs seamlessly with fitness trackers like Garmin and Fitbit - part of the reason behind its popularity. It’s the weapon of choice for many who don’t wish for the world to see their routes or splits - equally the ideal one for those wishing to share updates with its ever-growing community.
4. PacerView now on Pacer
With its slick dial-inspired interface, this app is as much a pedometer and general fitness tracking app as it is an app designed for tracking your running. It’s a solid all-rounder. Featuring a mixture of audio and visual guided-runs in addition to training plans, this is a great way to kick-start a more active lifestyle.
5. Couch to 5KDownload from the NHS now
The couch to 5K app has had a 90% increase in downloads since lockdown and we can see why - it's a free app from the NHS and it's a brilliant way to get your fitness up to a point where you can run for around 30 minutes non stop. It's for beginners but anyone who wants to get back into running will benefit from it.
6. iSmoothRunView now on iSmoothRun
The i in the app name is a bit of a giveaway when it comes to the devices it’s compatible with. Featuring cadence tracking (stride tracking) and a metronome to help you up your stride pace, the app is certainly advanced and is full of interesting little features - plus it’s easy to track splits and undertake accurate interval training.
7. EndomondoView now on Endomondo
A simple and clear way of tracking your runs and walks, Endomondo has received heavy investment from sportswear brand Under Armour in recent years. Available as a free download but with the option to subscribe to pro (£4.99 per month) for additional features, the personal training app tracks your workouts using GPS like many apps, alongside analysing your stats, the apps 686,000 subscribers use it for a reason.
8. Nike Run ClubView now on App Store
A big name in the fitness game, Nike’s dedicated running app allows you to run solo or track your activity against friends. It also comes equipped with a number of built-in options, including Guided Runs, My Coach and Quickstart options. Guided runs are a great motivator and feature audio guides from the likes of Paula Radcliffe and Joan Benoit Samuelson, alongside pre-set distance and speed programmes (a mixture of audio-guided and not). My Coach is the ideal planner for those aiming for a steady build up to longer distances, while Quickstart is ideal for a hassle-free run. Now, the app has had a hell of a lot of investment thanks to the brand’s partnership with Apple and it’s obvious the kinks are being well and truly ironed out.
9. RunGoView now on RunGo
LIke many of the top apps, RunGo has both a free and a premium option which comes in at £1.99 per month. The app contains 300,000+ on demand running routes, alongside built-in audio and visual guided runs. It’s easy to connect to devices such as Apple Watches or simply be used from your device - oh and it even works offline which is a handy feature.
10. Map My RunView now on Map My Run
Another offering that has gained funding from a major sportswear brand, Map My Run joined forces with Under Armour (yup, they’ve got their fingers in a fair few pies). The app syncs seamlessly with smart watches and fitness trackers and like the best apps has a large social community. Data from runs can either be broken down in-app or accessed online and there’s the added advantage of pairing the app with Under Armours smart trainer that can even analyse stride length. Spooky.
11. Adidas Running by RuntasticView now on Runtastic
Another app that has closely collaborated with a sportswear brand - yup, this time it’s Adidas - Runtastic is a widely recognisable name when it comes to run tracking. Challenges allow runners to stay motivated and strive towards goals, alongside the option to customize the app dashboard to your needs.With close to a million downloads, there’s a reason why many keep this handy little app on their phone.
12. Apple’s Workout AppView now on Apple
Unlike other running apps that can be downloaded, the Apple Workout App comes built in with, you guessed it, Apple watches. You begin by finding a workout that suits your goal and get a three second countdown ahead of the tracker kicking in. It goes without saying that this offering is definitely a lot more simplistic than a lot of dedicated running apps out there at the moment.