In 2002, I grabbed my trusty digital Timex to time the length of my new running habit, strapped a big yellow radio to my arm and headed out without a specific route. Once home, I listened to the beep of my dial up as I logged in to MapMyRun to plot out the path I’d just taken and figure out my distance.
Luckily I’m a very consistent pace, so I generally knew how far I’d gone, but if not…man running took a lot more work back in the old days (ha!).
Now one gizmo, our smartphone, can do it all on the run: music, podcasts, tracking your pace, your location, ensuring that running in new cities you don’t get lost, really whatever you fancy.
So if you’re going to bring it, might as well make the most of it with the best running apps, plus find out below why I’m toting mine in the Armpocket! Hands free, meaning I’m not inadvertently swinging my arms across my body or dropping it as I sweat.
Best Running Apps
You’ve got to snap a photo for Instagram, track it to MapMyRun, log it for calories burned in MyFitnessPal, sync it to your favorite speed workout playlist and of course there’s the whole safety factor. These are the best fitness apps that I’ve found testing out a variety of things on my workouts from roads to trails to the gym.
Yup that whole log on and figure out my route thing is history. Now I can open an app on my phone and it automatically finds my location via GPS (no wifi needed), then plots out my route as I run. I’ve seen some pretty hilarious images made from runners who get creative with their path.
The bonus here is you don’t need to sync a watch to your computer. All the details of your run are automatically saved, giving you a great log of your speed, elevation, distance and more.
If running for weight loss is one of your goals, then tracking your food is often just as important as putting in the miles. It’s not about obsessing over good and bad, but instead becoming aware of habits, portion sizes, need for more veggies and tuning in to your hunger. By tracking, we often find we’re actually eating more than we thought or in my case, realizing just how low I was on protein!
If you’re like me and never bother to make an actual playlist, a streaming solution is a great option for keeping you on the go with tunes. I recently switched us over Amazon Streaming with my Prime membership and like it even better. As David discovered during the Colorado Half Marathon the downside is you need cell service for this to work…so maybe have a couple songs on your phone just in case!
If you want to do some sprints at the track, this is a great free timer to set for both running and rest periods. It’s most well known for setting timers to do HIIT workouts, but for runners it’s a great way to stop looking at your watch during sprints! Just run until the beep, then recover and get at it again.Smart Metronome
You want to get faster? You want better running form? One of the first things you can work on is your foot turn over and a metronome app is extremely helpful for a lot of runners to get used to the rhythm. The aim is 90 RPM, which reduces the amount of time your foot is on the ground and allows for speed without overstriding.
Are you motivated by someone giving you feedback? How about a built in coach thanks to Endomodo! Much like MapMyRun it’s going to log everything about your workout, but with the added bonus of a coach who can provide motivation and an easy way to connect to others for support or competition, whichever keeps you moving!
We know that runners aren’t afraid of the sweltering heat or the freezing rain, in fact we might just relish our moments of badassery. But we still need to be safe and dress for the weather! I love this particular app for showing more details on things like lightning strikes or the movement direction of rain.
Wait, what?! I know it’s not a running app, but how often have we all said that running is a mental sport. While running might feel like meditation for many of us, there is something extra special about taking just a few short minutes to breathe and calm our minds each day. The free meditations are great.
Trail Run Project
For trail runners, it’s extremely helpful to have an app that’s showing all the trails so you can hopefully prevent getting lost. I like the way the trails are rated on here and often have pictures. I know this one is for trail running, but the Mountain Bike Run Project actually shows more trails and most are open to runners as well. Again this runs on GPS, so no WiFi needed.
Ready to be an awesome spectator and not have your hands feel like they’re stinging from hours of clapping?! Just pull up your cowbell!!! Seriously, I’m totally angry at myself for forgetting this during Ragnar!
Did your run happen if it wasn’t posted to social media? I’m not sure it did, so let’s be honest we all love Instagram now for showcasing our beautiful locations or sharing the highs and lows. Here are some hashtags to find other runners or grow your following.
Want your sweat to count for even more than fun and good health? This free app lets you earn money towards the charity of your choice, just open it up during your run and using GPS it will track mileage, adding up to .25cents per mile walk/run!
Carrying Your Phone on a Run
One of the big questions that I long had and now often receive is, but how do you carry your phone? Does it work for when you get sweaty? Does it feel good or throw you off?
Of course I’ve got a solution for you! It’s one that surprised me to love it so much.You’ll see all the details in the video, but just know it’s comfy, high quality, ventilated, easy to use and convenient. Plus even cooler it’s made from recycled plastic bottles and natural bamboo rayon, all sustainable materials!!
Here’s a review of my new favorite tool, the Armpocket! Seriously watch to see how the Flash version includes blinking lights for your dark morning runs!! And of course it’s totally sweatproof and even weather proof to protect your phone no matter the workout.
Flash and Reflective models are featured in my video review. The Flash has the LED’s and the Ultra i-35, in Pink is fully reflective, but without lights.
There you have it what I carry and what I think is worth taking up space on your phone!
What’s your favorite running app?
How do you carry a phone?
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This post is sponsored by Armpocket. All thoughts and opinions are my own.