The 10 Best Running Apps to Try in 2023

man using fitness app on phone


Running apps have become as necessary as a solid pair of running shoes—especially when training for a particular race or event. By collecting tons of data about your performance, running apps can help you monitor your progress, to ensure you’re hitting your goals. The best running apps offer helpful features like virtual training, customized training plans, audio coaching, route mapping, and more.

Whether you’re hitting the pavement or a treadmill, the right running app can serve as a loyal companion or even a personal coach. So, how do you choose the right one for you? Don't sweat it. We've done all the research for you and compiled a list of the best running apps on the market.

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The Best Running Apps - Our Top Picks

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Feature Pick - Future

future

SPECS

  • Platform: Apple iOS
  • Features: Personalized coaching, progress checking, biometric statistics, daily communication
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Future offers an incredibly personalized virtual training experience. Staffed with elite personal trainers, Future provides one-on-one support through custom-made training plans designed to fit your schedule, goals, available equipment, and day-to-day obligations. By asking you a series of questions about your fitness regimen, Future matches you with the best coach. We also like that there’s an option to override Future's suggested coach and choose your own from any of the highly-qualified experts.

Coaches track your biometrics to monitor progress and make adjustments to your plan. Each week you receive a new weekly training plan based on the information you have provided. During each workout, you’re guided with audio cues and provided with on-screen demos. Need some help with your running form? Record yourself and simply send it over to your coach for feedback. For Apple Watch users, the best part is being able to control a workout from your watch (no need to run over to your phone throughout the workout).

What We Like

  • Personalized training
  • Flexibility
  • Ongoing communication with coach
  • Expert coaches keep you accountable

What We Don't Like

  • On the expensive side (about $150 a month)
  • Not Android-compatible

Download: Future

Best Running App Overall - Nike Run Club

Nike Run Club

SPECS

  • Platform: Apple Health, iOS, Android
  • Features: Integration with Apple Health, detailed metrics including running speed, distance, GPS route, elevation, heart rate, and mile splits, training plans, personalized coaching

The Nike Run Club app brings together professional coaches, a running community, training plans, and music into one free app that seamlessly integrates with Apple Health Although free, this running app does not cut any corners when it comes to function which is why it's our pick for best overall. The Nike Run Club app allows users to monitor detailed fitness metrics including running speed, distance, GPS route, elevation, heart rate, and mile splits to help guide your training.

You also get access to expert coaching with personalized training programs. The guidance from these experts is specific to your goals and can help keep you on track. Stay motivated with in-run audio cheers from other Nike Run Club members. We also like that Nike Run Club features run workouts with warm-ups and cool-downs in each as well as running challenges accessed through the Nike Run Club social media network.

What We Like

  • Free
  • Solid community of runners
  • Personalized coaching
  • Integration with Apple Health and Music
  • Run workouts

What We Don't Like

  • May be glitchy at times

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Best Running App for Weight Loss - MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal

SPECS

  • Platform: Windows smartphone; Android smartphone or tablet using Android OS 2.1 or higher; iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad using iOS 7.0 or later
  • Features: Nutritional tracking for food intake, exercise calorie settings, daily goal setting, customized health settings, integration with VeSync, Strava, MapMyRun, RunKeeper, Garmin Connect, Renpho Health, and FitBit
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You’ve likely heard before that you can't outrun a poor diet. Nutritional intake is as fundamental as exercise is to anyone on a weight loss journey. MyFitnessPal offers a way to track both your food intake and your workouts all in one app. To be clear, MyFitnessPal in and of itself is not a running app as its main function is to record your daily food intake. But, it offers some integration so you can assess your nutritional goals and intake in conjunction with your running.

MyFitnessPal connects with outside fitness apps including VeSync, Strava, MapMyRun, RunKeeper, Garmin Connect, Renpho Health, and FitBit. You can also manually input your run or search through their database of workouts to match your activity and an associated calorie burn estimate. This allows you to record your physical activity and then calculate this into your daily caloric intake. In fact, MyFitnessPal updates your nutritional balance for the day which is based on your specific health goals.

What We Like

  • Integrates with a lot of popular running apps
  • Record food and fitness in one place
  • Will keep you on track toward goals
  • Large social network through the app
  • Affordable

What We Don't Like

  • Caloric estimations may be off
  • Free version only allows basic features

Download: MyFitnessPal

Best Running App for iPhone - Strava

Strava

SPECS

  • Platform: Download on Apple or Android phones; Apple Watch, Android Wear, Motorola 360, Samsung Gear; Upload Instantly upload from the Strava iPhone or Android app, a GPS device, or computer; Sync data from other fitness sites to Strava; add an activity manually
  • Features: Distance, pace, moving time, elevation gain, calories, heart rate, run splits (free version) plus advanced heart rate data and power (paid version), Beacon location sharing, social sharing network

Strava is one of the most popular, well-established run trackers on the market today, widely used by both serious runners and multi-sport athletes alike. In a nutshell, it is one of the largest social networks that connect people from all over the world into one cohesive athlete community. There is both a free and paid version of Strava, and both provide you with an abundance of run tracker features like distance, location sharing, and run splits.

For those on a budget, the free membership enables users to record and analyze basic workout metrics, access clubs, challenges, and the ever-popular kudos wall where you can post your own workouts and comment on friends' walls. While all of this is well and good for many runners, the premium version unlocks a slew of really awesome features. The paid version of Strava houses thousands of routes and trails from around the world. Create your own routes or gear up for one of the suggested routes for your next run. Perhaps the most popular aspect of Strava is its Segments, which are popular portions of the road traversed by other athletes so you can compare and analyze your efforts against others (some fun and friendly competition).

What We Like

  • Virtual community
  • Library of maps and trails
  • Detailed metrics
  • Connects to most devices
  • Multi-sport capabilities

What We Don't Like

  • Lack of privacy; personal information is made public including your geolocation
  • Need a paid subscription to access premium features

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Best Running App for Apple Watch - Nike Run Club

Nike Run Club

SPECS

  • Platform: Apple Health, iOS, Android
  • Features: Integration with Apple Health, detailed metrics including running speed, distance, GPS route, elevation, heart rate, and mile splits, training plans, personalized coaching

The Nike Run Club app makes our list twice because it combines a full community experience and integrates with Apple Health—a feature any Apple Watch lover will appreciate. The Nike Run Club app allows users to monitor detailed fitness metrics including running speed, distance, GPS route, elevation, heart rate, and mile splits to help guide your training.

You also get access to expert coaching with personalized training programs. The guidance from these experts is specific to your goals and can help keep you on track. Stay motivated with in-run audio cheers from other Nike Run Club members. We also like that Nike Run Club features run workouts with warm-ups and cool-downs in each as well as running challenges accessed through the Nike Run Club social media network. And since this run tracker integrates with Apple, you can also stream your favorite tunes directly through Apple Music.

What We Like

  • Free
  • Solid community of runners
  • Personalized coaching
  • Integration with Apple Health and Music
  • Run workouts

What We Don't Like

  • May be glitchy at times

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Best Running Interval Running App - iSmooth Run

iSmooth Run

SPECS

  • Platform: iOS (apple watch and iPhones)
  • Features: Customizable workouts, audio coaching, GPS or footpod, heartbeat reading, autopause, built-in metronome to improve cadence/stride and in-depth running metrics 

Interval running is one of the most effective ways to improve your speed and aerobic capacity. And we recommend iSmoothRun for those interested in interval running because it allows you to identify session goals and stay on track. You can create your own library of interval workouts defined by heart rate zones or pace and receive in-workout audio coaching. For example, if you define a specific heart rate zone for each interval, your coach will tell you if you are below-zone, in-zone, or above-zone. This level of customization is impressive.

iSmoothRun also features its own GPS or footpod, heartbeat reading, autopause, built-in metronome to improve cadence/stride, and in-depth running metrics which can be graphed and analyzed to monitor progress. This data can be downloaded and exported to share on various social networks for runners. One of the best parts? iSmoothRun only has a one-time cost of $4.99 so you don’t have to worry about a recurring membership fee.

What We Like

  • Customized workouts
  • Audio guidance
  • Extensive statistics
  • Can integrate music
  • Use on Apple Watch
  • Affordable
  • Accurate GPS

What We Don't Like

  • Training peaks may not import
  • Only works on iOS platforms 

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Best Running App for Beginners - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

SPECS

  • Platform: iPhone and iPod touch 11.0 or later
  • Features: In-app music, progressive 9-week training plan, personal goal setting, coaching, tracks pace and distance

Sometimes getting started is the hardest part of training, especially for beginners who may be overwhelmed. Couch to 5K was designed to help with these very obstacles. Created by expert trainers, the Couch to 5k running app offers a gradual training plan with progressive workouts specifically tailored to newbies.

The program includes three runs a week for 9-weeks which begins with a walk/run combination but eventually builds towards just running. You can set your own goals, take breaks when necessary, and choose your own coach. Mid-workout encouragement and guidance come not only from expert trainers but also some celebrities (a pretty neat feature). Prefer to run with music? Couch to 5K has an in-app music player so you can listen to your own playlist. But because this app is intended for novice runners, the fitness metrics offered are more basic. Still, we think it boasts everything you would need to train for a race.

What We Like

  • Gradual approach
  • Create your own goals
  • Easy-to-use
  • Choose your coach

What We Don't Like

  • Only offers basic running stats
  • Lacks a community feel 

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Best Running App for Treadmill - Garmin Connect+

Garmin Connect+

SPECS

  • Platform: Apple iOS 14.0 or higher, iPhone and iPod touch, 7.0 Android Operating System or higher
  • Features: Customizable running stats to chart and analyze, coaching, large community of athletes

Working out on a treadmill doesn't mean you can't reap the benefits of a solid running app. If you own a Garmin watch, Garmin Connect+ may be the app for you as it displays all the fitness data you could want on both the app and its website. In fact, you can customize what stats you want to see and the order in which you want to see them. Detailed analysis of your treadmill workout stats are then available to view weekly, monthly, and even yearly to help you stay on track.

With Garmin Connect, you also have access to a Garmin Coach who customizes workouts and offers personalized guidance throughout. This opens up a lot of options for many who own basic treadmills that lack a variety of pre-programmed workouts. We also like that you can connect with other users and compete in challenges as well as comment on one another's performance for motivation (or to spice up your competitive edge).

What We Like

  • Import and export data and workouts
  • Coaching
  • Tons of stats
  • Historical data
  • Social network

What We Don't Like

  • Requires network connection to sync devices
  • Chromebook users report problems with the app 

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Best Free Running App - Runkeeper

Runkeeper

SPECS

  • Platform: Apple and Android
  • Features: Customizable goals, motivational cues, tracks time, distance, pace, average pace, calories 

Who doesn't love something that’s free and good? The Runkeeper app is a free running app and training tool that offers mid-workout encouragement, easy-to-follow routines, motivational information, goal-setting, and a strong running community. While there is a paid version, the free one offers more than enough features for most runners.

We like that the app’s running tracker feature provides insights into your progress throughout the workout with audio cues to help you monitor your pace and distance. Though RunKeeper is good for any level of runner, it’s a particularly good choice for beginners as it helps users commit and stay consistent with their workout goals. Aside from it being free, one of our favorite things about Runkeeper is the level of customization available—even down to customizing the audio cues and the voice who delivers these prompts throughout your run. You can also connect with Spotify to listen to your favorite tunes.

What We Like

  • Easy to use
  • Highly customizable
  • Motivational
  • Good for all fitness levels

What We Don't Like

  • Have to pay for detailed stats
  • Smaller social community 

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Best Running App for Android - MapMyRun by Under Armour

MapMyRun by Under Armour

SPECS

  • Platform: Apple Watch/iOS, Android (GoogleFit and Android Wear). Partner apps - MyFitnessPal, S Health Integration, Importing TCX, GPX, HRM, and FIT files, Garmin Connect, Polar, Suunto
  • Features: Create your own maps, library of routes/trails, detailed fitness metrics, coaching, and live tracking available with a premium membership.
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If you’re an Android user and like to run on a variety of routes, we think you’ll enjoy the MapMyRun app by Under Armour. This run tracker app uses a built-in GPS so you can create your own run route, calculate that distance, send it to your mobile device, and get moving. This is an especially great feature If you are in a new place or simply looking for different scenery for your next run. Or, sift through the thousands of routes already housed in the app.

There is a free and paid version of MapMyRun. The free version records duration, distance, pace, speed, elevation, calories burned, and route traveled in addition to the mapping features. These metrics are analyzed with charts and graphs to help monitor progress over time. In addition to these stats, the paid subscription tracks custom splits and heart rate zones. The paid subscription also unlocks access to training plans, audio coaching, form coaching, weather, and live tracking which allows you to share your exact location and route with other MapMyRun members.

What We Like

  • Mapping capabilities
  • Connect with others
  • Lots of fitness metrics available
  • Affordable

What We Don't Like

  • GPS may be inaccurate at times
  • Have to pay for the more detailed metrics

Download: MapMyRun

Best Running App for Marathon Runners - Zwift

zwift

SPECS

  • Platform: Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, and Android
  • Features: Interactive training world, training plans, multi-sport features, detailed fitness metrics 

Zwift is a phenomenal app specifically for anyone training for a marathon or multi-sport race. In short, Zwift is an interactive training platform where runners can train, compete, and connect with others in a virtual world. You can literally train with thousands of people. How? Zwift allows you to virtually complete the same run with other users.

The library of workouts is also extensive ranging by type, length, intensity, power averages, heart rate zones, and more. Zwift has both live and on-demand features which include races, nine Zwift worlds with their own routes, meetups, and connections with local clubs. When using a supported treadmill or Zwift device, this app can also track a plethora of workout stats in addition to its virtual gaming world so you can enjoy your marathon training.

What We Like

  • Really cool interactive world
  • Huge community
  • In-depth training options
  • Great for endurance sport training

What We Don't Like

  • Requires a compatible device
  • Costly

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How to Choose the Best Running App


Platform Compatibility

Unfortunately, most running apps do not work universally with every platform. In fact, it can be downright confusing with all the updates and changes in technology. You have to narrow down your search based on the device or platform on which you plan to use it.

Community

Most running apps have an associated running community where you can connect with others, stay motivated, and feel like you are part of something more. Some apps have very active social networks whereas some may lack this level of community. If being part of a community is important to you, make sure to choose a running app that offers a large network.

Features

The range of features offered by running apps varies greatly. From virtual training worlds to metric tracking and coaching, running apps provide runners with a ton of tools. We suggest making a list of what the most important features are to you (i.e. training plans or statistical analysis) and evaluating running apps against this list of must-have features.

FAQs About Running Apps


Which running app is most accurate?

The best running apps have become more and more accurate as technology and GPS capabilities evolve. Many times, their accuracy depends on connection to a network. Which one is most accurate, though, depends on the platform you are using and the location where you’re running.

Can running apps help with weight loss?

Yes! Running apps can help with weight loss. In addition to all fitness metrics tracked via running apps, many offer a community that helps with both accountability and motivation. The information you receive on your running metrics (i.e. calories burned and power) can be used to appropriately plan nutrition.

How far should I run?

How far you should run depends on your goal. Are you training for a 5K? Marathon? 400-meter sprint? Just to stay fit? Your goal will dictate mileage. If you are searching for a more customized fit, consider a personal training app.

Is it OK to run every day?

Most experts recommend at least one full rest day a week to allow your muscles to properly recover from previous runs. Additionally, because running is a high-impact sport, daily runs may increase your risk for associated injury.

About the Author

Kristine Golden

Kristine has been immersed in the fitness world for nearly 20 years. She has competed in marathons and Ironman races and earned a spot to compete in the 2012 Age Group National Championship Olympic Triathlon.

See More from Kristine

Kristine has been immersed in the fitness world for nearly 20 years. She has competed in marathons and Ironman races and earned a spot to compete in the 2012 Age Group National Championship Olympic Triathlon.

See More from Kristine

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