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The beginner’s guide to run tracking apps

Find the fitness app that's best for your needs as a runner

If you’re new to running, you might be looking for a way to track your workouts. Sure, there’s always the option to get in your car and drive your route before or after your run to measure the distance, but if you have a smartphone or smartwatch, downloading a running app makes tracking your workouts way easier. With so many fitness trackers out there, it might be tough to decide on one, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are five apps and reasons to pick each one to monitor your next run. 

Real-time coaching with MapMyRun

MapMyRun, Under Armour’s fitness tracker, is equipped with all of the classic bells and whistles that come with other running apps. It can measure how far you’ve run, tell you your pace and give you a breakdown of splits at the end of each workout. If you have Under Armour shoes, that’s where the app goes from traditional to exceptional. Under Armour‘s HOVR suite of smart shoes can connect to your watch and phone, which allows for live coaching during your runs. With MapMyRun’s tips on form, cadence and so much more, you’ll improve as a runner with every workout. 

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Guided routes with RunGo

RunGo is a Canadian company based out of Vancouver. This app is perfect for runners who travel a lot and like to explore running routes wherever they go. While it monitors regular stats like distance and pace, RunGo will also tell you where and when to turn, like the GPS system in a car. If you’re in a new city, you can forget the classic out-and-back route that you would normally take to avoid getting lost and use an established route instead. RunGo is the navigation system that every runner has needed at some point in their running career. 

Photo: Instagram/rungoapp

Strava’s running community 

Of all the tracking apps, Strava has the biggest community. Strava users follow one another, like each other’s workouts and push their fellow runners to go harder every run. The app’s Course Records (CRs) make for fun rivalries between athletes in the same town, and even if you can’t grab a win one day, you’ll be told where you rank all-time, and you can see what you need to do to climb the leaderboard. Unfortunately, leaderboard rankings are reserved for Strava Premium users, but if you’re a competitive person, it might be worth it. 

RELATED: Follow planned and guided workout routes with the RunGo app

Training plans with Nike Run Club

Like MapMyRun, the Nike Run Cub app has guided coaching, although instead of critiquing your form, it will tell you when to speed up, slow down and rest. Before a run, you can select from a series of workouts and the the app will then guide you through whichever plan you pick. This is perfect for runners who want some structure in their training but don’t know how to build their own schedule. If you follow along and listen to your Nike Run Club coach, this app can help you finish your first 5K or PB at your next marathon. 

Indoor tracking on Zwift 

Zwift won’t track your runs outdoors, but if you occasionally work out on the treadmill, this is the app for you. It’s basically a video game that you play while running on the treadmill. Run with other Zwifters, track your pace and distance in the app’s virtual world and hammer through those treadmill workouts in no time.  

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