It's not easy keeping tabs on all the new run tracking apps these days, so we asked Runner's World Gear Editor Jeff Dengate to weigh in on what he uses to measure, map, and share his mileage. Here are some of the standout features of his picks.
Social Star: Strava
Free; iOS, Android
In addition to a fully featured GPS tracking service, Strava shows you a feed of your friends' most recent activities and lets you compete against them in challenges—such as fastest half-marathon or most miles during a 30-day period. Strava's top feature is its segment rankings—a leaderboard of all performances over sections of road or trail.
Utility Player: Wahoo Fitness
Free (app only); iOS, Android
This app has two huge selling points: First, its black-and-white layout features enormous numbers that you can easily see at a glance. Second, you can save your tracked workouts to just about any third-party service out there—Strava, Garmin Connect, Training Peaks, Run Keeper, MapMyFitness, Nike+, Dailymile, and more.
For even more utility, pair the app with Wahoo's new Tickr Run chest strap ($80) to get a "smoothness" score—using cadence, vertical oscillation, ground contact time, and impact readings, the app gives you a measure of efficiency for your running form. This is much like the Garmin Forerunner 620's running dynamics, but at a considerably lower price point.
GPS Pro: Garmin Connect Mobile
Free; iOS, Android
Garmin is one of the best in the business when it comes to GPS tracking hardware. Software? Not so much; others do better. But the Garmin Connect Mobile app is a must-have if you own a bluetooth compatible device like the Forerunner 220/620 or Fenix 2. Through the app, you can enable a "LiveTrack" session, to share your activity (and location) in real time—limited to friends you send an invitation to. After a run, the workout details from your watch can be wirelessly uploaded to the Garmin Connect website, though the process is painfully slow—a 12-mile run took us about four minutes to transfer.