Favorite Running Apps
Smartphones and running tech has completely changed the running game. There are so many apps you can use to aid your workouts and connect with other runners now. With so many different apps out there I wanted to take some time to talk about my favorite apps I use while running or working out.
Strava is social media for endurance athletes. With a free Strava account you can connect with friends and join virtual running clubs. Not only is Strava a great way to connect with other runners, but it’s a great way to keep track of your own workouts as well. The free version of Strava allows you to track the basics of your workouts including the distance, pace, time, elevation gain, and average heart rate. Strava also offers a paid premium service call Strava Summit for 5 dollars a month for an annual subscription. The premium version gives you quite a few more perks including training plans, pace analysis, and much more. Other features included in the Strava Summit subscription can be found here.
Garmin Connect is an app used to connect with your Garmin device. Garmin connect allows to connect multiple Garmin devices. It neatly displays all the data your watch records. Depending on which model of watch you have you will have different data to display. I use the Garmin Forerunner 645, which shows activities, steps, heart rate, sleep, floors climbed, stress levels, and recovery time. You can customize what data you want displayed on your dashboard as well. You can create workouts on the app to send to your watch which is great for tempos, intervals, and other workouts. Garmin connect also syncs with 3rd party apps like MyFitnessPal and Strava for some additional features.
MapMyRun has some functionalities that are similar to Strava. Like Strava, it can record your run, you can interact with other friends on MMR, and you can connect some brands of devices (Under Armor brand devices, Garmin, Fitbit, Suunto, and Samsung). My favorite feature of MMR is that it allows you to easy create routes on its desktop app and send them to your phone. The route creation tools allow you to create routes anywhere and you can view the elevation change of the route you have created. This is great if you are running in a different area and are unfamiliar with the trails or if you want to map out a virtual race. I primarily use MMR for mapping routes when I need a to find a new trail or if I want to find an optimal virtual race course.
Nike Run Club (NRC) is the app I like to recommend for people who are new to running. NRC allows you to record your run, set goals, and have audio feedback to encourage you on your run. The best feature of the NRC app is that they have a great variety of guided runs. The guided runs are workouts that are guided by motivating coaches and athletes. They're great for people new to running or those who need a bit of motivation on the run. They have all sorts of workouts ranging from beginner workouts to fast intervals and tempos.
Nike Training Club (NTC) is my favorite apps for yoga flows and stretching routines. NTC offers more than just that though, they offer strength and aerobic workouts as well. The app is sleek and easy to navigate and you can sort by workout type, muscle group worked, and duration. Workouts range from 10 minutes to 1 hour and range from beginner to advance levels. Runners, including me, often neglect recovery and prehab, but NTC gives me easy access to stretching and recovery exercises. NTC normally offers a paid premium service, but since the beginning of the pandemic they have offered the premium service for free, so more people can have access to free at home workouts.
Peloton is another great app for strength training and cross training. Peloton offers both on-demand and live classes through their app and you don't need to have Peloton specific workout equipment to do the workouts. You can use pretty much any treadmill, indoor bike, or you could even run outside. Peloton's classes are upbeat and high intensity and the instructors do a great job keeping you motivated. Peloton had offered a 3 month free trial during the pandemic, but afterwards there is a subscription fee of $12.99 a month.
I think everyone knows Spotify by now, but Spotify is a music streaming service that allows you to stream any music anywhere. Spotify isn't all about music either, Spotify has podcasts as well. I'm one of those people that loves listening to music and podcasts while I run. I listen to music on my fast workouts and podcasts on easy runs, so Spotify is one of my most used apps. Spotify is normally free, but offers a premium service for $9.99 a month that allows to listen to music and podcasts ad-free and it also gives you the ability to download music for listening offline.
If you're interested in trying out some new podcasts, my favorites are:
Sometimes I don't feeling like listening to music on the run, that's when I turn to Audible. Audible is a subscription based service for audiobooks. I love audiobooks for long runs and mid length runs. They're long enough to carry you through a 20 mile run and don't require internet connection. Audible is $14.95 a month, which gets you 1 credit or book a month. You also have access to new Audible Originals each month as well. Audible's audiobooks are downloaded to your device, so they are available while you're offline as well, important if you're out on the trails where there is no cell reception. My favorite running books on Audible are:
Running with Sherman by Christopher McDougall
Anything written by Adharanand Finn:
- Running with the Kenyans
-Way of the Runner
-The Rise of the Ultra Runners