5 great apps for new runners

If learning how to run is on your New Year’s resolution list, then you may need a little help. Here are the best apps to give your dreams of becoming a runner a boost. Do you need them all? Probably not, but each one has unique features that make it worth checking out.


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1. Strava

A good running app can help you keep track of your progress, connect you with a supportive running community and monitor your breathing, heart rate and more.

Strava is CNET’s number one pick for running apps for 2018.

Strava features a:

  • Running log
  • Large fitness community
  • Real-time performance tracker
  • Performance analyzer

A little competitiveness can get you out on the pavement. This app also connects you with friends so you can compare stats.

It works with devices and services like Fitbit, Garmin, Polar, Timex, TomTom, Suunto and more, so you don’t need to worry about compatibility issues.

Strava is available on iOS and Android (free, in-app products $7.99 to $60).

2. MapMyRun

Another great app is MapMyRun. It helps you find running trails or routes, which is super helpful for beginners.

You can also connect it with your Under Armour smart shoes, if you have them. The shoes have a chip that syncs with the app to record your GPS location as you run to save your route and real-time stats, such as how hard your foot is hitting the pavement, steps-per-minute, heart rate and more.

MapMyRun is available on iOS and Android (free, in-app products $5.99 to $30).

3. Runner’s World Go

Many new runners may pick up a copy of Runner’s World Magazine to learn tips and tricks, but don’t overlook their app, Runner’s World Go. It has tips and tricks for running better — like the magazine — but it also includes some goodies.

My favorite feature is the training plans. You decide a goal, like running a 5-mile, and the app helps you with a training plan to fit your needs and get you to your goal.

Another of my favorite features is the workout suggestions. It uses Accuweather to check the weather and then recommends the best time for you to run. This is so helpful if you hate getting caught in a downpour when you’re out running.

Runner’s World Go is available on iOS (free, in-app products $2.99).

4. Runkeeper

Runkeeper, like Runner’s World Go, can help you create a training plan. Both app’s training plans are in-app purchases. With Runkeeper, though, you can choose from workout plans or training plans, depending on your goals. That means if you’re not ready to plan for a marathon, you can get a fitness plan to build your distance or endurance goals, instead.

The app is very personalized. First, you take a fitness assessment quiz. Then, each plan is customized to fit your needs by analyzing your quiz answers.

Runkeeper is available on iOS and Android  (free, in-app products $0.99 to $40).


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5. MyFitnessPal

Nutrition is a big part of becoming a successful runner. So, though MyFitnessPal isn’t strictly a running app, I’m including it. The app helps you keep a digital food diary and tracks your calorie, water, carb, protein and fat intake by analyzing your food entries. You can also log workouts, steps and set goals.

I love that you can just scan the bar code on food and drink packaging to upload nutrition information, no need to search for it in the app, though that is an option.

I personally recommend this app if you’re wanting to lose some weight (it’s also one of CNET’s top fitness apps for 2018). Using it to track my meals helped me lose over 100 pounds.

MyFitnessPal is available on iOS and Android (free, in-app products $0.99 to $50).