Five years ago this article would have been irrelevant and a mystery to readers, but now smartphones and the countless apps they contain have modernized every aspect of daily life, including the simple joy of running. After research and recommendations from the manufacturers, I dug through the labyrinthine collection of running apps and discovered the best from BlackBerry®, Android and the iPhone for athletes today.

BlackBerry

Runtastic GPS Sports Assistant for Running and Biking Designed to help you get the most out of your daily routines, the app includes GPS (automatically records times, distance, calories burned and speed), altitude, a history of your previous exercises, current position on map, and you can share your activities on Facebook. (FREE)

Footnotes Developed by a dedicated group of runners, Footnotes is the ultimate app for runners. Includes past run log, sound notification to alert you of time intervals, access to your music files and dashboard display including time, distance, pace and GPS connectivity. ($9.99)

Runner’s Calculator for BlackBerry Playbook Calculates BMI, maximum HR, body fat loss, along with calories burned, speed, pace and intensity. ($0.99)

Android

Cardio trainer Weight loss trainer, includes a blank schedule with reminders, voice and music sound notifications, plus the first mobile Google Health partner. (FREE)

Endomondo Sports Tracker Challenge and receive support from friends. With this app you can receive pep talks from friends following you on your routes, along with challenge them on a race. The app declares the winner through its real-time GPS and audio feedback every mile or km. Includes Heart Rate support: Polar Wearlink® + transmitter with Bluetooth® and Zephyr heart rate monitor. (FREE)

RunKeeper

A typical app in the sense that it tracks, measures and improves your fitness by relaying your distance traveled, speed, distance, time, pace, heart rate, and audio cues. However, you can enter manual workouts for treadmills along with other cardio equipment. (FREE)

iPhone

Ghost Race

What better competitor is there than yourself? This app allows you to race yourself on your routes you have run before. Includes audio that relays your pace compared to your ‘ghost’ in real-time. ($0.99)

Get Running

This app sets a beginner runner up on a nine-week plan to ultimately achieve the goal of running for 30 minutes straight. It tracks your progress each day and gives you specifics for what needs to be done to accomplish that goal. Includes audio encouragement and guidance. ($1.99)

iRace Me This app doesn’t improve training or record speed but it tells you where you can go to show off your hard work. Search races in any city, preview the race route and send challenges to your friends inviting them to compete in the race with you. ($0.99)