With proper training and carefully planned workouts, finishing a race can be easy.
Smartphone users are in luck. With the accurate tracking and real-time statistics that dozens of apps provide, you’ll receive performance-enhancing advice that will not only get you through today’s run, but help improve your time for the next one – reducing the chance of injury that can occur through incorrect preparation
For people who enjoy running, there’s nothing like lacing up the Nikes, heading out the door and hitting that stride. But every runner hits a wall at one point or another and day after day, run after run can soon become monotonous. Sometimes a little jolt to the routine is welcomed.
Whether you want to try out new routes, strive to be that little bit more speedy, have better endurance or even prepare for that fun-run, runners (and want-to-be runners) can turn to the following 10 iPhone apps for a little more variety in their training regimens:
1. RunKeeper Pro
RunKeeper Pro is probably the most well-known of the running apps on this list. This is a feature-rich app that enables GPS tracking, distance, speed monitoring, caloric output and activity history for any number of activities you partake in including sports such as running, cycling, hiking, skiing and swimming. You can also sync all the data to RunKeeper’s website to monitor progress and share publicly. RunKeeper also offers a simplified version of the app for free.
2. Ghost Race
Sometimes, the best motivation is competition and who better to compete with than yourself? Ghost Race enables you to track your times on various routes and compare your performance from day to day. The app’s audio function also keeps you updated on your progress against your ‘Ghost’ in real-time.
This app turns your smartphone into a trainer. By tracking your workouts, it gives you feedback as you run and analyzes your performance based on time or calorie-related goals set by you before the run. Extra perks include heart rate tracking, split times and speed. Its social aspect allows you to share your runs online with its personal online community and via Facebook and Twitter.
4. Get Running (Couch to 5K)
Targeted more for beginner runners, Get Running provides users with a specific training regimen over the course of nine weeks, with the end goal of being able to run for 30 minutes. Audio prompts guide users through each workout and even provide encouragement along the way.
iRace is a comprehensive app for locating road races near you or in any city that you choose to search. The app also enables you to preview the race route (if available) and send “challenges” to contacts, inviting them to run the race with you.
Fitnio is another GPS-based tracking and monitoring app for walking, running and cycling. The app records your activity and then displays distance, pace, caloric burn and also keeps an ongoing log of all workouts and also syncs with its website. Fitnio also provides an emergency contact option in the event that immediate help is needed during a workout.
7. Run Coach
Run Coach is a good app for both seasoned and novice runners who desire a little more motivation for running success. With a variety of training plans to choose from, a 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon, etc., Run Coach provides personalized plans and enables you to track your progress along the way. Running and nutritional tips are also offered for quick reference.
If you want a GPS-based route tracker and activity log, but don’t want to pay for one, iMapMyRun is a good alternative. Similar to some of the other tracking apps, this also enables you to save your data to the app’s website where you can monitor progress and share publicly, even via Twitter. For more features like iPod integration and photo geo-tagging, there’s a more comprehensive version available called iMapMyRun+ that costs $4.99.
Cost: FREE (woohoo)
9. Interval Run
For runners who like to mix it up with interval training, this app is a good way to integrate a little variety into your workout. With training plans including Tabata, Couch to 5K, Gateway to 8K and a One Hour Program, the recorded voice tells you what to do and when to do it.
UltraTimer is a great app to have on hand for use as a precise timer, whether it is for circuit training, sprints or just for general use. The app comes with a couple example training plans, but any desired timing schedule can be inputted and multiple timers can be run simultaneously as well.
but wait, I found more!
Couch to 5K (C25K) was designed for the couch potato or beginning runner. It features a step-by-step program that allows users to build strength and stamina during an eight-week time period. The app only requires you to dedicate three days per week to pounding the pavement, giving you alerts when to walk, run and cool down.
As an alternative, use the 5K101 podcast training program (also eight weeks) to download weekly workouts and get tips and advice, mixed with upbeat music while you run, to help you pace yourself and run with ease.
MiCoach is the closest form to a virtual personal trainer you can get. By inputting your height, weight and average speed, the app gives you a customized training plan — complete with exercises and videos — that helps you gain speed and endurance. Plus, access input on distance, pace and the burned calories, as well as at least 400 strength and flexibility exercises. Seasoned runners may enjoy the shoe tracker, which monitors your shoe-wear usage, so you’ll know when it’s time to retire your current pair.
Whether you prefer to run by yourself or with motivational friends, try Running Club, a virtual experience to schedule live runs or races with friends, family or even strangers from across the county. All you need to do is join a live race and wait for the start. You can track your location with its real-time map feature and compare your times with others you run against.
Once you’re done practicing, Race Finder will help you find more than 40,000 races — from marathons to 10Ks, 5Ks and fun runs across the nation.
Because who doesn’t want that free race t-shirt?
For Long Distance
When running long distances, it’s important to use GPS tracking. That way, you can map exactly where you ran and how long (or short!) it took you to get there. Nike+ Running does just that. In addition to recording your distance, pace and time, it gives audio feedback on your time per mile and offers a motivational cheer function that you can set at certain times and goals. Plus, share the GPS map of your route with friends so they can see where you ran.
Alternatively, RunKeeper notifies you when you hit PRs and helps manage your goals and target times. Best of all, it allows you to view your split times per mile and lets your supporters watch live maps of your runs.
Many times we stumble across a song we love while running, but it’s just too darn slow. The Upbeat Workouts for Runners app takes your current running pace and matches it with a song in your library of a similar tempo. The faster you run, the quicker the song; and if you start to walk, the music slows down. It also includes free workout plans to guide you while you run.
In order to build stamina, it’s important to stay injury-free and safe before, during and after races. With RunInjuryFree, you can pinpoint areas on your body that hurt or that you want to work on, and diagnose certain symptoms. It offers preventative measures and stretches to cure your ailing pains (music to a physio’s ears!)
Happy running! (and don’t ignore any niggles)