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Motivate and Celebrate: Best Running Apps

Fitday Editor
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With GPS tracking and social sharing becoming the new norm, your smartphone provides a great platform for a variety of running apps to track your speed, distance, route, calories and much much more. Whether you're just rolling off the couch or you are a seasoned pro, there is an app for that.

Runkeeper

RunKeeper has been a longtime favorite for runners, walkers and cylists alike. A free app, it includes features for tracking your pace, measuring your workout distance and charting calorie burn and weight loss. RunKeeper is great for the stats-minded runners, providing ways to track your improvement and performance over time. Its Facebook feature allows you to share accomplishments that you are particularly proud of, and if you're not fond of tracking all of that data on your phone, it also offers an online website. Whether you are just leaving the couch to train for a 5K, biking every day, or deep into your marathon training, this app is a great resource to turn to.

Endomondo

"The only personal trainer you will ever need fits right into your pocket." This is the tagline for Endomondo, a more social running app. Like RunKeeper, it's easy to track your duration, distance and speed, but you can also create your own routes, challenge your times and even challenge friends in your neighborhood. What makes this app unique is the audio coach and the friendly pep talks that you can give or receive within your friend group. For those who enjoy socializing over their runs, Endomondo provides all of the great features that you will need.

MapMyRun

As suggested in the name, MapMyRun is all about tracking your route. On top of that, MapMyRun also tracks your distance, elevation, calories and daily nutrition. The nutritional info is really what makes MapMyRun unique. It provides you with an estimate on how much you should eat, as well as how many glasses of water you should aim for to stay hydrated. If you are having an off-day, or your time is lagging behind your regular pace, you can check in to see what you ate that day compared to other days, and try to improve your overall health.

Zombies, Run!

For those who may need an extra kick to get their run going, Zombies, Run! gives everyone the opportunity to run for their lives. What started out as a morning jog suddenly can turn into a story of survival. Co-created by award-winning novelist Naomi Alderman, this app is a running game and audio adventure all in one. Not only do you track your run with stats and numbers, you are also dodging zombies and following orders from the voice recordings. While clearly not an app for the stat-obsessed, this is a great experience for anyone looking to add a little excitement to their run.

Couch to 5K

For the novice runners, or those looking to start a running routine, the Couch to 5K Running App is the perfect tool to get you off the couch and over the finish line. The app provides all of the support and inspiration you need through virtual coaches, sharing options and the ability to record and track your workout progress. Often, when launching into a running routine, people tend to try too much too soon. This app provides you with a routine to gradually build up your pace and duration - helping you finish your 5K journey.

Charity Miles

Charity Miles is a free iPhone and Android app that believes that "a small group of people can change the world." Charity Miles enables you to earn corporate sponsorships for a given charity whenever you walk, run or bike. Simply turn on the app, choose a charity and press start. Bikers earn $0.10 per mile while walkers and runners earn $0.25 per mile. As you exercise, the app tracks your distance and the money earned. A few participating charities include Feeding America, Habitat for Humanity, the Wounded Warrior Project and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. While this is again not the app for the stat-obsessed runners, it provides a great platform to turn your routine run into something much bigger.

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Sarah Dreifke is a freelance writer based in DeKalb, IL with a passion for nutrition education and the prevention of chronic disease. She holds a Bachelor of Science in both Dietetics and Life Sciences Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently, she is working towards a combined Master's Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics as well as a dietetic internship at Northern Illinois University.


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