Almost everyone has a phone that they use to play games or watch movies on the go.
Phones are usually a distraction, but they can also be a useful running tool. How can phones help you become a better runner, you may ask? Runners are lucky to live in a time with some many technological options that can help encourage, motivate, challenge and help track your trainings. Many apps are designed to help keep runners moving towards a goal and provides suggested trainings to help them reach their full potential.
Here are Youth Runner’s top six apps for runners.
The Fitbit app is a one-stop spot for runners to track activity, analyze sleep patterns, log food, and compete with other runners. Using the Fitbit app you can automatically sync your information to select smartphones, tablets, and computers. The Fitbit app is available to download from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and Microsoft Store free of charge.
Pros: The Fitbit app is easy to use and very effective. Fitbit watches can be easily synced, so you can track your mileage and all your data. It is also a great way to compete against other runners or your teammates. I really enjoy using my Fitbit and would highly recommend this.
Cons: To use it you must have a Fitbit. Fitbits can be expensive, but they are a very useful resource and a great investment, especially if you are seeking a new running watch.
Map My Run
The Map My Run app by Under Armour helps runners track every mile, connect devices, and encourages them to reach their next PR. This app offers a mobile run tracking experience, and keeps data such as distance, pace, calorie burn, and elevation. It also connects runners socially with each other. The Map My Run app is available at the Apple App Store and Google Play Store free of charge.
Pros: With Map My Run, runner can run with your phone and track your mileage, pace and calories burned. This can be useful if you do not own a specialized running watch. This app also lets runners map out how many miles they want to do and the path that they want to take before you run. Runners that use a Garmin or Apple Watch can also log in to workouts using those devices. After the run, Map My Run provides data that can help analyze what you did and how to improve next time.
Cons: If you don’t own a running watch, to use this app, you would have to run with your phone. This is a con for us young runners as coaches don’t typically encourage us to run with our phones and they are prohibited in cross country or track meets.
Garmin Connect is a one-stop source for health and fitness data. Runners can pair with a compatible Garmin device, and track their activity. Garmin Connect is available at the Apple App Store and Google Play Store free of charge.
Pros: This app is much like the Fitbit app, but it is used with Garmin watches/devices. This app gives an overview of your entire run, and it also lets you compete against friends and family. Runners can create new workouts, and even build courses all within the app.
Cons: To truly benefit from this app, the runner must own a Garmin device. The other con with the Garmin Connect app is that all of your connected friends on the app can see your entire run, anytime they want. For young runners, this might feel intimidating.
Calm is a top app for meditation and sleep. It provides more than 100 guided meditations to help users manage anxiety, lower stress and sleep better. Calm can be purchased for an annual subscription of $59.99 at the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Pros: Calm is an app to help soothe anxiety and stress. It gives you different techniques to help get ready mentally before stressful events, such as a race. With the various settings and meditation guides, it keeps you “calm” and feeling ready, mentally, to accomplish anything. For runners that get stressed out before a race; this can provide that much-needed relaxation support.
Cons: There are only certain parts of the app that are free to access. If you want to access to everything, you would need to pay for an annual subscription.
The Strava app is a social fitness network that runners can use to track their running, using GPS data, and can help them compete and follow others. Runners can join challenges and share photos from their activities. Strava is available at the Apple App Store and Google Play Store free of charge.
Pros: With Strava, it’s easy to track your run and set goals to help train for races. Runners can also talk to other friends and compete against them as you run. It can get very competitive.
Cons: Strava is like social media for runners, so as a young runner if you aren’t allowed to have social media apps then Strava isn’t for you. Also, other runners can closely follow and track your trainings.
Nike Run Club
The Nike Run Club app is used to track training runs both indoors (on a treadmill or indoor track) and outdoors (on roads, trails, and the track). The app also features Audio Guided Runs, weekly and monthly challenges and training programs. The Nike Run Club is available at the Apple App Store and Google Play Store free of charge.
Pros: Nike Run Club makes you want to get up off your feet and run. It gives you goals to accomplish, so you can become a better runner. There is also a feature called “Guided Run” that helps you build speed and provides motivation to conquer your runs. It’s a great option no matter where you run, on or off the road.
Cons: You would have to use your phone as you run or buy a pair of Nike’s shoes that are compatible with the app.
Young runners should take advantage of their phone’s capabilities and use it to help them become a better runner. Try each app and find which one is the best for you.