Fitness

10 Of The Best Running Apps To Get You Motivated

By Isabel Croker
18th Oct 2021

a person, wearing a purple hoodie and matching shorts, sits on the grass wearing runners.

When it comes to running, we often think of marathon runners clocking excruciatingly long distances, ridiculously early morning wakeups and sweat-drenched clothes. Let us assure you, that is not the case and thanks to COVID and increased gym closures, many of us have headed into the unknown world of running. Fear not, you’ve come to the right place. Trust us, after the post-run endorphin rush, you’ll be hooked.

No matter where you are in your running journey—just getting started, experienced runner, or every other level in between—there’s an amazing running app that can help track your progress and inspire you to keep going. Here are 10 of the best running apps on the market that will inspire you to hit the ground running, literally.

Runkeeper

FREE

We couldn’t write about the best running apps without including the tried-and-true Runkeeper app, created by ASICS. It’s one of the most popular running apps on the market; whether you’re just testing out your new runners or you’re an experienced pavement pounder, Runkeeper has got your sorted. You won’t need to worry about motivation—the app has a strong running community, gamified challenges, goals and progression trackers to help you stay on track and motivated. Bonus: you can sync Runkeeper with your Fitbit or Apple Watch and all your running deets like pace, calories, exercise time and loads more will be recorded on all your devices. If you feel like upgrading to the Runkeeper Pro, it’ll set you back just $9.99 per month.

Strava

FREE

If you’re into running, chances are you’ve heard of Strava. Or even if you’re not a runner, ‘cause your cycling and running friends are no doubt obsessed with it (and for good reason too). This community-focused app allows you to connect with fellow runners, follow your friends, be motivated by their achievements and even set up group challenges. Nothing says true friendship more like a competitive five-kilometre run, right? Of course, if you just want to run for yourself, Strava has got you covered with all the usual running tracking features, as well as some nifty extras like the Strava Beacon, which is designed to keep you safe by sharing your live running location with a loved one.

Map My Run

FREE

When a running app is developed by one of the best exercise brands around, you know it’s going to be a goodie. Developed by Under Armour, Map My Run is one of the most comprehensive running apps, with cool features like audio coaching, route finding and all your usual real-time stats, like running course, speed, time and total distance. Our favourite thing about Map My Run is that you can pair it with the Under Armour Smart Shoes, allowing your shoes to sync your running data to the app as soon as you step foot on the track. If you’re one of these people who never know when it’s time to say goodbye to a pair of shoes, Map My Run has got you sorted, with an inbuilt Gear Tracker that will notify you when it’s time for a new pair.

Running By Daily Burn

FREE

If you prefer an extra little kick of motivation or you’ll never make it out of bed in the morning (*raises hand*), do yourself a favour and download this app now. Running by Daily Burn is the ultimate motivational running app—it’s basically a personalised running coach in your ear. You’ll get access to customised running plans, guided runs, new weekly challenges and training plans and a personal running coach. Running by Daily Burn even takes it to the next level with guided warm-up stretches to reduce injuries, so you can really smash those running goals. Now that’s what we call ticking all the boxes. If you’re after the premium version, it’ll cost you just $4.99 per month. 

Charity Miles

FREE

Many people take up running with the intention of raising money for charity through running a certain distance or completing an event. Charity Miles takes all this exercise you’re doing more meaningful and motivational by donating money for every kilometre you run, to a charity of your choice. The app will sync with your phone’s built-in pedometer or can be synced with Strava, so that every time you hit the pavement, you’re raising money for those in need. Now that’s what we call a win-win. Android users, Charity Miles isn’t currently offered via Google Play, but may be making an appearance soon.

Zombies, Run!

FREE

Looking for a run with a difference? We’ve got you. Zombies, Run! will spice up your usual running circuit with its gamified design which simulates a zombie apocalypse. As you hit the pavement, you will have to gather supplies, rescue survivors and will be chased by zombies. Now that’s the ultimate motivation to keep the pace up and not slow down. Of course, if you’re not in the mood to be chased by zombies, you can simply link the Zombies, Run! app to your music and track your run, but where’s the fun in that?

Nike Run Club

FREE

Ahhhh, Nike, how we love you. In true Nike style, they’ve got one of the best running apps on the market with the Nike Run Club app. Designed for beginners and veteran runners alike, this app offers audio-guided workouts, weekly and monthly distance challenges and personalised coaching plans by Nike coaches. Connect to your music apps to curate the perfect adrenaline pumping playlist and connect with your friends via the app for extra motivation. Unfortunately, the Nike Run Club only connects to Apple Watch but is available on both Apple and Android devices. This is, hands down, one of the best running apps around.

NHS Couch to 5K

FREE

All first-time runners or runners returning from time off, listen up. NHS Couch to 5K is the running app you need to download right now. Developed by Public Health England, this app will take you from zero to running for thirty minutes in just nine weeks, by slowly getting you into a regular running routine. NHS Couch to 5K became extremely popular during the pandemic as many people took their first steps into the world of running and we love the verbal feedback and encouragement that this app dishes up. Did we mention it’s completely free too? NHS Couch to 5K ticks all the boxes.

Peloton

$12.99 per month

Peloton is for the runners who prefer to clock their kilometres on a treadmill and is one of the best indoor running apps on the market. You’ll be coached by experienced running trainers and can tailor your runs by time or distance. We can confirm the classes are extremely motivating (and get a sweat up too), with sessions ranging from ten-minute sprint training to endurance runs. Peloton offers a month’s free trial for you to explore the app, and after that, it’ll cost you $12.99 per month. Trust us, it’s worth it.

Runtastic

FREE

Runtastic by Adidas is designed to help you smash your goals in your next marathon, by saving all your running routes, training runs, stats and health info in one convenient app. Although we certainly are no marathon runners, we can see how motivating this app is (almost motivating enough to get us to go to the gym). Runtastic has a strong global community and you can post your stats to Facebook or Twitter directly from the app for some encouragement. Reminders and goal setting will keep you motivated to beat your personal records and Runtastic syncs with other apps such as MyFitnessPal. Get ready to smash your marathon goals. 

Now that you’re feeling motivated to clock up some kilometres, make sure you check out our guide to the best running shoes to help you hit your stride.

Image Credit: Anna Shvets/Pexels

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