Oprah once said, “Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.” Yet for beginning runners, it can hard to feel as though you’re getting anything out of it other than shortness of breath, fatigue, and leg cramps.
While beginning any new workout regimen can be overwhelming, with commitment and consistency, there are tons of benefits to reap—including improved health, increased confidence and a calmer mind.
If you’re ready to hit the ground running (literally) here are some of our favorite apps to help along the way.
Couch to 5K
If the name alone doesn’t get you to sign up, the benefits of this app will. Intended for those with little to no prior running experience, it allows you to pick a 3D trainer who will serve as your coach throughout your training and workouts. Geared towards motivating new runners to “move from the couch to the finish line” in just 20-30 minutes 3 times per week, the app will prepare you to be able to run a 5K race in about nine weeks. (Note – it says run, not win...yet.)
This app works for runners, riders and swimmers alike, making exercise fun and rewarding. With built-in tracking so that you can analyze your performance over time, it can help you to monitor your progress and set goals for the future. You’ll be provided with challenges and competitions, opportunities to place on the leaderboards, and even be awarded with achievements. Strava is a great option for anyone who is a little (or a lot) competitive by nature.
If you’re new to running and opt for after-work runs instead of getting up with the sun, this is certainly an service to consider. (And, it’s free!) You simply sign up online, and it will text your phone to check in. If all is well, simply reply (or extend your ETA/check in early.) If you don’t reply, it will alert pre-selected emergency contacts via SMS. Aside from running, you can also use this service for a night out with friends, before heading out on a blind date, or any other situation you might want a bit of extra safety measures in place.
This oldie but goodie tracks and records your running route while also connecting you to a running community. Over 50 million users use MapMyRun to log distance, duration, calories burned, your average pace, and more. It’s compatible with most wearable tech as well as UA Record Equipped shoes, providing you with an at-a-glance info graphics to encourage and motivate you along your routes.
Everyone can use a little pep talk sometimes, and Endomodo lets you link up with friends to send and receive audio encouragements in real time. Aside from the feel-good social offerings, it also provides a full training log, can work with Bluetooth and BTLE monitors to track heart rate, and will give you audio feedback on your distance and pace for every mile ran.
Gymboss Interval Timer
When you first embark on your running hobby, you’ll spend a lot of time alternating between running, sprinting, finding your pace (and breathe) and yes, even walking. With the Gymboss 2 Interval Timer, you can easily preprogram your workout to alternate between running and waking, and it will alert you when it’s time to switch between the two. This is a great way to avoid over-doing it in the early stages, while still staying motivated and pushing yourself, too.