10 Best Running Apps For Beginners
- Best Starting Point: Couch to 5k
- Best Overall: Strava
- Best Pace: Gymboss Interval Timer
- Best Community: Map My Run
- Best Headspace: Nike Run Club
- Best Incentive: Charity Miles
- Best Beats: Weav Run
- Best Personalized Training: Runcoach
- Best Versatility: Peloton Digital
- Best Safety Features: Road ID
Oprah once said, “Running is the greatest metaphor for life because you get out of it what you put into it.” Yet for beginner runners, it can be 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 mindset.
If you’re ready to hit the ground running (literally), here are 10 of the best running apps for beginners to help you to achieve your pre- and post-wedding fitness goals.
Best Starting Point: 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, Couch to 5K ($4.99) 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 three 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.)
Best Overall: Strava
This app works for runners, riders, and swimmers alike, making exercise fun and rewarding. With built-in tracking to analyze your performance over time, Strava (free) 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 achievements. Strava is a great option for anyone who is a little (or a lot) competitive by nature.
Best Pace: 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—stopping to breathe—and yes, even walking. With the Gymboss Interval Timer (free), you can easily preprogram your workout intervals to alternate between running and walking, and it will alert you when it’s time to switch between the two. This is a great way to avoid burnout in the early stages, while still staying motivated enough to push yourself to reach the next milestone.
Best Community: MapMyRun
This oldie but goodie tracks and records your running route while also connecting you to a running community. Over 40 million users use MapMyRun (free) to log statistics like distance, duration, calories burned, and average pace. Developed by Under Armour, the app is compatible with most wearable tech as well as UA Record Equipped shoes, providing you with at-a-glance infographics to encourage and motivate you along your routes.
Best Headspace: Nike Run Club
If you're looking for an all-in-one running app that's not only great for beginners but also keeping you present, then be sure to give Nike Run Club (free) a download. Get motivated and hit your stride with this community-driven app (also compatible with an Apple watch) that will help you keep up your pace while enjoying a fist-pumping playlist from your Apple Music library. Set goals, challenge friends, and become a better runner one race at a time. With the mindset that everyone has to start somewhere, this app provides you with all the tools you'll need to succeed including meditation-based practices to get the most out of your run. From wellness tips to stats pertaining to your pace, heart rate, and mile splits, get everything delivered right at your fingertips.
Best Incentive: Charity Miles
If personal health and fitness goals aren't enough to get you up and running, Charity Miles (free) doubles down on the incentive with charitable contributions. Simply choose the organizations that pull at your heartstrings and the app will donate to those specific philanthropies for every mile you move. You can even create teams to raise the stakes and have friends sponsor your pledges. Bonus: Charity Miles can also be connected to a Strava account.
Best Beats: Weav Run
There's nothing quite like hitting your stride and that unbeatable runner's high usually comes with a soundtrack to match. Don't leave those tunes up to chance, Weav Run (free) adapts songs from your own music library to create a playlist that syncs with your pace. Weav Run can also be connected to other apps to fully optimize your performance.
Best Personalized Training: Runcoach
If you're the type of person that thrives on structure, look no further. Runcoach (free) sets you up for success with personalized training regiments and schedules that adapt to your unique goals in order to maximize results. If you've got a marathon you need to be ready for, a race to get up to speed on, or a new level of fitness to unlock, this program is for you. Plus, USATF-certified coaches are always available for any fitness, nutrition, or wellness questions.
Best Versatility: Peloton Digital
While you're probably already familiar with Peloton's spin reputation, the brand also offers fitness programs sans wheels. With a $12.99 monthly membership fee, Peloton Digital ranks amongst the most expensive on this list but the price also includes the most extensive range of classes from yoga and boxing to strength training. The running component offers audio-guided classes for runners of all preferences from indoor treadmill enthusiasts to outdoor trailblazers.
Best Safety Features: Road ID
What this can't offer in flashy running metrics and incentives, it makes up for with peace of mind. It can be a scary world out there and Road ID (free) gives you back the freedom to go out for a solo sprint. Its location-sharing and accident-sensing features keep loved ones in the know of your whereabouts and sends an emergency alert if you've fallen to injury. The app also keeps a log of basic stats like speed and distance. Stay safe, folks!