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Healthline only shows you brands and products that we stand behind.Our team thoroughly researches and evaluates the recommendations we make on our site. To establish that the product manufacturers addressed safety and efficacy standards, we:
- Evaluate ingredients and composition: Do they have the potential to cause harm?
- Fact-check all health claims: Do they align with the current body of scientific evidence?
- Assess the brand: Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices?
- Best overall: Nike Run Club
- Best for route tracking: MapMyRun
- Best for community: Strava
- Best for the Apple Watch: RunKeeper
- Best for turning runs into a game: Zombies, Run!
- Best for jamming out: RockMyRun
- Best for beginners: 10K Runner
- Best for tracking stats: iSmoothRun
- Best for giving back: Charity Miles
- Best encouragement: Runtastic
The right running app can make reaching your fitness goals a little easier. Whether you’re looking to improve your cardiovascular health or start seriously training for an upcoming race, a good running app is probably one of the most inexpensive and effective tools out there.
Plus, there’s no shortage of them. But we searched high and low for some of the best.
When choosing the best running apps, we considered the special features that set each app apart. With so many running apps out there, we wanted to make sure that the ones we picked had features that stood out from the rest of the pack.
We also spent a lot of time looking at user reviews. We not only looked for apps that were highly rated, but we also paid attention to what runners liked and didn’t like about them. (No one likes an app that glitches a lot!)
Finally, we tried to include many free or budget-friendly options, since we know that one of the draws to running is that it’s low cost.
Some of the apps on our list have both free and paid options available. For paid options, we’ve indicated price using this key:
- $ = under $5 per month
- $$ = over $5 per month
Nike Run Club
If you’re looking for a running app that includes training plans, motivational challenges, and the option for social connection, the Nike Run Club app offers all of this for free.
With useful extras, this app handles all the basics. You can use it to track:
- elevation gain
- average heart rate
- estimated calories burned
Leaderboards make it easy to compare and compete with fellow runners, sharing is completely customizable, and music controls are simple with run status updates overlaid on your tunes.
The app lets you keep notes, track and store your runs and records, and input your goals and fitness levels for customized coaching plans. It also automatically syncs with Apple Health or Google Fit for easy fitness tracking.
- even the premium content is free
- lots of guided runs to choose from
- compatible with Apple Watch
- some users complain that it takes up a lot of space on their phone
- users report that the GPS can be spotty at times
Best for route tracking
Under Armour’s MapMyRun does just what it promises. Using your phone’s GPS, it tracks your route. However, it will also keep track of your distance, time, calories burned, elevation, and more.
The app offers feedback and stats after each mile for a motivating way to help you dial in your performance. The app also makes it easy to find new routes, save and share your favorites, and work toward new running goals.
If you’re interested in training plans, additional coaching, or the ability to export your running data to .xml format, you’ll want to upgrade to the subscription version of this app.
- many desirable features require a paid subscription
- GPS can be spotty in some locations
Best for community
If you’re looking for a way to feel less isolated while you run, Strava is designed to help you share your running journey with friends and see the runs that others are enjoying.
Designed for runners, cyclists, and active outdoorsy types, Strava makes it easy to track stats like speed, distance, pace, elevation gained, and calories burned during and after an activity. The segments feature lets you analyze specific sections of your run, like that brutal vertical or long straightaway.
The app has monthly challenges for extra motivation. You can connect with friends and join activity clubs for social training, too.
Strava also pairs well with most devices, like your favorite GPS running watch or activity tracker.
If you’re a serious runner looking for extra analytics, paying for the subscription version may be worth it, as this includes analysis features and advanced metrics.
- encourages a social side of running
- subscription version offers performance analytics
- pairs well with many devices
- requires a paid subscription for access to many of the features
- there have been some privacy concerns about sharing routes
Best for the Apple Watch
RunKeeper’s audio cues in real time help you adjust your pace and improve your distance and time. This multifaceted app also helps you create a routine that fits your schedule and lifestyle and offers helpful reminders when you need them.
You can find, save, and build new routes, join running groups, participate in challenges, integrate with Spotify or iTunes to keep you moving, and track your indoor cardio with stopwatch mode. Premium training plans and advanced running reports are available with the subscription.
For people with an Apple Watch, you can see your current heart rate data while you run. You can also change your activity type right on your watch.
When you’re done, you can see your run’s distance, duration, average pace, and average heart rate right on your watch. Note that it’s recommended that you run with your phone and watch a few times to calibrate before going out with just your watch, though.
- appropriate for all running levels
- can track other activities like biking and hiking
- offers in-app challenges and virtual running groups
- subscription required for tailored race-training plans
- community is stronger with other apps, like Strava
Best for turning runs into a game
- Price: free (options for additional features with Abel Runner’s Club membership $$ and VIP membership $$)
- iPhone rating: 4.8 stars
- Android rating: 4.6 stars
If you’re the type who dreads running, this terrifying twist may be a game changer. You’re a hero on a mission with zombies hot on your tail, and the immersive audio drama will keep the adrenaline high as you rebuild your base and collect critical supplies along the way.
This fitness app has all the highlights and fun of a great zombie game, with hundreds of story missions to keep things fresh. It doesn’t matter how fast you go — walk, jog, or run, and the story unfolds between your favorite tracks.
If you’re interested in even more zombie stories, want to take part in virtual zombie races, or want special 5K training zombie-style, you can pay for the Abel Runner’s Club or VIP membership.
- works for beginners or advanced runners, since it doesn’t matter how fast you go
- includes hundreds of story missions with more constantly being created
- doesn’t provide as much information about your running stats as some other apps
- the missions may start to blur together and seem the same after awhile
Best for jamming out
The right tempo can make all the difference on a run, and this app features DJ-curated tunes to keep you moving. The app’s technology syncs music to your steps or heart rate and lets you manually adjust the beat to your preferred cadence.
RockMyRun also tracks your distance and pace, offers personalized music suggestions, builds the tempo to match your workout, and syncs with many favorite fitness apps.
- functions with Apple Health, Strava, Nike, RunKeeper, MapMyFitness, and Runtastic
- includes a wide range of music genres
- syncs with a variety of heart rate monitors
- requires monthly fee
- needs a mobile data connection or wi-fi access
Best for beginners
Over 1.2 million people have used 10K Runner to conquer their first 10K race, and you can, too.
Its features are designed to help you prepare and do a 10K in 14 weeks. It guides you through alternating walk/run intervals that gradually increase running segments.
It also offers built-in audio coaching that blends seamlessly with your music. Inspirational messages are even included with the app to keep you motivated.
10K Runner is easy to use and optimized for weight loss, with running tips and best practices. You can share your progress with friends on Facebook and earn badges for extra motivation along the way.
- can help prepare non-runners for a 10K in 14 weeks
- works with other music apps, so you can listen while you run
- offers regular motivational quotes
- not ideal for immediate or advanced runners
- app includes lots of pop-ups and audio notifications
Best for tracking stats
- Price: $
- iPhone rating: 4.5 stars
Between its GPS and pedometer, iSmoothRun tracks every step of your training. Accurately track your:
- heart rate
Plus, get audio updates when you want them at time or distance intervals. Review your workout statistics with customizable graphs. You can even track your shoe mileage so you know when it’s time for a new pair of running shoes.
The built-in metronome helps you track and improve your running cadence, and an auto pause feature means no fumbling at stoplights. iSmoothRun also syncs with Smashrun and Strava so you can share your data.
Those who like indoor running will appreciate the iSmoothRun is also accurate for treadmill runs.
- has customizable graphs of workout statistics
- offers audio updates for time or distance intervals
- includes an auto pause feature and built-in metronome
- not available for Android users
- more complicated user interface than some of the other apps
Best for giving back
If running for a good cause is the motivation you need to get moving, Charity Miles may be the right app for you. This app donates money to one of 40+ charities for every mile you move with the help of corporate sponsors.
All you need to do is open up the free app, choose your preferred charity, and run, bike, or dance. While this isn’t the most accurate app for fitness tracking, it can be linked to Strava and your phone’s Health Kit.
If you’re feeling social, you can join forces with other runners to combine fundraising efforts. You can also create a fundraising page in the app even if you’re not running an official marathon. If your friends donate, they’re entered to win cool prizes and you earn even more for charity.
- money is donated to charities when you run
- can track several activities in addition to running, like dancing and biking
- links to Strava and your phone’s Health Kit
- not ideal for tracking
- has limited features compared with many of the other apps
Track your walks, jogs, or runs with Runtastic and see exactly how far and fast you’re going. Set a yearly running goal and the app will keep you on track to reach it.
Other features include a voice coach for audio feedback on your first mile, a leaderboard for friendly competition, integrated music, and shoe tracking so you know when it’s time for a new pair.
Runtastic integrates with both Apple Health and MyFitnessPal and includes a live cheering section for encouragement from your friends on your next run.
If you’re just looking to track basic stats about your run and for some social motivation, the free version is probably sufficient. If you’re training for a marathon or other specific goal, it may be worth it to splurge on the subscription membership.
- subscription option can create a personal plan tailored to your current fitness level and future goals
- integrates with Apple Health and MyFitnessPal
- real-time tracking with GPS shows your average pace, speed, calories burned, duration, and distance is included with the free version
- premium subscription is required for targeted training programs
- some runners say the app voice is annoying
|Price||Best for||Key features|
|Nike Run Club||free||guided workouts for runners||• tracks your distance, route, pace, elevation gain, average heart rate, and estimated calories|
• can connect to Apple Music or Spotify
• offers distance challenges and personalized coaching plans
|MapMyRun||free ($$ for the subscription version)||tracking routes||• allows you to view time, distance, speed, and pace while running|
• syncs with several devices (Apple Watch, Garmin, Fitbit, and more)
• location sharing options for safety
|Strava||free ($$ for the subscription version)||people wanting community||• can track stats like speed, distance, pace, elevation gained, and calories burned during and after an activity|
• offers the chance to share your route with others
• includes monthly challenges
|RunKeeper||free ($$ for the subscription version)||Apple Watch users||• appropriate for all running levels|
• can track other activities, like biking and hiking
• offers in-app challenges and virtual running groups
|Zombies, Run!||free (additional features with Abel’s Runner Club membership $$ and VIP membership $$)||making running a game||• includes hundreds of storylines|
• works for beginning and advanced runners
• virtual races included with Runner Club or VIP membership
|RockMyRun||$$||jamming out on runs||• functions with Apple Health, Strava, Nike, RunKeeper, MapMyFitness, Runtastic, and more|
• wide range of music genres included
• syncs with a variety of heart rate monitors
|10K Runner||free ($ for the premium subscription)||beginners||• can take non-runners to 10K status in 14 weeks|
• works with other music apps
• offers regular motivational messages
|iSmoothRun||$||tracking stats||• customizable graphs of workout statistics|
• audio updates for time or distance intervals
• includes an auto pause feature and built-in metronome
|Charity Miles||free||giving back||• money gets donated to charities when you run|
• can track several activities besides running including dancing and biking
• links to Strava and your phone’s Health Kit
|Runtastic||free ($$ for the subscription version)||encouragement||• real-time tracking with GPS that shows your average pace, speed, calories burned, duration, and distance|
• Integrates with Apple Health and MyFitnessPal
• subscription option can create a personal plan tailored to your current fitness level and future goals
Are running apps good for beginners?
Although not every running app is designed for beginners, there are many great running apps for new runners. Whether helping you train for your first race or track your progress, running apps can offer motivation and training plans for new runners.
What’s the best free running app?
The Nike Run Club is free and is our pick for best overall running app. However, there are many great free running apps on our list depending on your goals.
The best running app for you will depend on your needs — like if you want training plans, the ability to track stats, and need some extra motivation — and the technology you prefer to use with it.
Exercise has a lot of benefits, but people find motivation in different places. Some people find the motivation to exercise in workout apps.
Running apps are one way to track your pace and routes so you can see how far you’ve come. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to use a running app either. With plenty of free and low priced options to choose from, there’s no reason to miss out.