8 Running Apps to Help You Train for Your Next Race
1. Couch to 5K
Best for: Beginning runners
Cool features: This app from Active.com will make finishing 3.1 miles a breeze after you complete the nine-week training plan, running just three days a week. You'll pick from one of five different "virtual coaches" to guide you through each workout, plus the app tracks your distance, pace, and routes, and it even shares your progress on Facebook (if you so desire).
Best for: Runners who like a little friendly competition
Cool features: Hold yourself accountable for every mile with Proof, which lets users "compete" with Facebook friends or contacts in your smartphone to achieve fitness goals—or anything, really. Anyone can post a status that they just finished an 18-miler, but this app requires "proof" of completion—i.e. a photo or video. To keep things interesting, the app has a real-time leader board where users make bets, offer words of encouragement, or talk smack to fuel the competition.
Best for: Runners who prefer outdoor training
Cool features: With a database of more than 1.7 million user-contributed routes, filtered by distance and time, the WalkJogRun app takes the monotony out of race training. Choose a "training diary" from the app's pre-set plans or create your own for any distance goal. It's a bit pricier than many running apps, but the incredibly accurate GPS tracking system eliminates any chance for surprises on race day (Are you really running an eight-minute mile?).
4. Upbeat Workouts for Runners
Best for: Any runner in need of musical motivation
Cool features: We've all been there: You're logging miles like a pro with up-tempo tunes to help you keep the pace, when all of a sudden that 90s ballad comes on and totally ruins your stride. The Upbeat Workouts for Runners app uses beats per minute, BPM, to match your cadence with songs from your music library. So your run will never be interrupted by Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" again!