The Best Running Apps

May 23, 2012

There are now over 1,000 running apps in the iTunes App Store. This proliferation of running apps, combined with the App Store’s weak search features, makes it tough to choose one that fits most runners’ needs. With 20 different features, app reviewers often turn to the route of least resistance and avoid the new apps in favor of older apps like Nike+ ($1.99), Log Your Run ($2.99), RunKeeper (Free), MapMyRun (Free), Jog Log ($.99), Runtastic (Free), and Runmeter ($4.99).

Most running apps share the same core feature set: GPS with route views and elevation, the free lite or fee versions, shuffled music, logging, and speed/dis- tance/voice cues. In the last year, two new features have become popular: The ability to insert a dongle for adding a heart rate display and storing the data The ability to upload to social sites auto- matically or email results to share your workout with friends.

For those of you interested in a well-re- searched comparison chart of the estab- lished GPS enabled running apps, check out this post, from Tim Adam’s blog at

I like to give newer apps a chance to gain some traction and buzz. One of the fea- tures that I love in a running app is the inclusion of some form of motivation or inspiration. That can come from a power song or a positive voice cue that isn’t corny. What I like the most is coached workouts during the run. One of the fea- tures that I like the least is the voice cue about pace—it usually tells me I am slow, so I just turn it off.

Now that you know my favorite features, here are a couple of running apps that I really like:


($4.99) Focused on providing runners with the best in its class, this new running app provides a new feature: it uses both GPS and the built-in accelerometer. This allows you to switch between the two automatically if you warm up indoors on a treadmill and then head outdoors for your workouts. Plus, the app tracks your running rhythm using the built-in metronome, which helps you become a better runner. The data is yours to easily export or store with RunKeeper (the on- line fitness community). Check out the Ghost Run feature; it’s fun to challenge yourself with it, or if you follow a training plan, add your interval workouts and let iSmoothRun guide you. According to sup- port team member Manolis, “iSmooth- Run offers a set of features that are very advanced, unique, and differentiate it from the average GPS tracker that can be found on the App store.”

Endomondo Sports Tracker

(Free) In October of 2009, Endomondo Sports Tracker launched. It’s a powerhouse app. If you like competition with your friends or against yourself, this might be the run- ning app for you. It has a pep talk feature to keep you motivated, and your work- outs, along with your friend’s workouts, get auto-saved to the site. The app has strong social features, and it isn’t limited only to running. You can use it for cycling, hiking, skating,
and more. According to Jakob Norden- hof Jønck from Endonomondo, “…when you couple fun and social in a meaningful way, you can really motivate people.”


($5.99) This app was first released in January 2010, and it has some cool new features. It is the first app to integrate all the interoperable protocols known as ANT+ and their sensors, which are supported by the WahooFitness API. It was also the first app with telemetry (now copied by others), so you can track a friend’s location during a run. The telem- etry feature also shows your location and performance to your coach or to anyone you want to share this information with. iMobileIntervals telemetry has a unique aspect: you can embed the telemetry widget anywhere you like. According to Ransom Weaver, the developer of iMo- bileIntervals, you can embed the widget “…on your team’s website or personal blog. It also can use Facebook to notify your friends when and how to see your telemetry, and when and how to see your workout results.”

Enjoy these fresh new features and in- novative iPhone apps; they’ll make your workouts more fun, and you’ll find it easier to stick to a running program for the rest of your life.

iPhone Life March-April 2012 53
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One Response to The Best Running Apps

  1. I really enjoy the article. Awesome.

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