Best Apps for Android and iOS to Run to Health with

Francesca Nicasio


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When it comes to matters too delicate to share with others, or taking too much attention, gadgets and apps can do even better than human advisors, either professionals or your family. Your health is a great example: you cannot have your trainer or your spouse, brother or sister, or anyone else watching you all day long for motivation. But a little combination of zeroes and ones on a device in your pocket suddenly can do the work.

Since I have bought my first smartwatch, I always find myself motivated to do more for my health. Following the circles on my watch, I don’t have to remind myself that it’s me who set them up. I just want them complete. The same is with nutrition, by the way: since I started tracking what I eat, it got me eating less and healthier. But let’s go back to the running track.

As modern fitness trackers and smartwatches can detect your movements and recognize them as walking, running, cycling, and so on, it became easier to set your goals and track your achievements. And there is a whole lot of apps to help you with that, assuming you aren’t a Luddite, so you have a smartphone and optionally a wearable connected to it. These apps cover various activities, but running is one of the most popular.

It’s easy both to practice running, since it requires no special equipment, and to track it, as the entire body is in motion, and movements are easy to detect and recognize. Gadgets can also use location services to build your track. So, let’s review the apps that are all helpful, but some of them can be preferable to you.

Basically free, most of them offer subscription plans with extra features and more control. Prices may vary, but most are affordable. Anyway, even if you are a free user, the developer will benefit from your connection by showing you ads or using your data as a part of its researches. It’s up to you which plan to select. Generally, the more you advance, the more you benefit from paid plans.

Nike Run Club

Nike Run Club app screenshots

The loudest name on our list, it’s designed by runners for runners, both pros and amateurs. This app tracks the time you spent running, and the distance you went. The word “club”, though, means more than it might seem. It provides motivation by both your personal and social challenges. It also cheers you up by voice messages by famous athletes.

The app is highly popular, partly because of the name, partly because of its free status. As you install it and register, you may find some of your friends (maybe those you least expected – so my friends were surprised to see me!) It also integrates with your Spotify account, so you can start making special playlists of your most energizing tracks.


Runtastic app screenshots

Here’s another one for those who prefer to run to the music. Unlike Nike Run Club, it lets you play your lists from both Spotify and Pandora. Its other exciting feature is integration with Google Earth, so you can see your route after running or select one before, especially when in a new place to run.

And these are side features; when it comes to basic ones, the app is even richer. It supports wearables, tracks your vitals while running, lets you set goals, master challenges, share your results, and so on.


Endomondo app screenshots

This one is probably the default running app for many beginners, and it makes sense. It gets you enchanted with its professional looks, so you feel just a step away from entering the world of records and magical transformations. In addition, it’s about more than just running: it keeps track of other activities you do, so it will be just as useful in a gym. With it you can track calories you burn (but it needs to be assisted with the input tracker).

The basic Endomondo is for free, but to use its advanced features, including social ones, you’ll have to register and subscribe.

Map My Run

Map My Run app screenshots

When you just start your running practice, you may feel confused about the best routes. Map My Run will offer you one of 70M+ routes it already has in its base. You just select the one you find the best and follow it. Along with running it’s capable of tracking 600+ activities, especially when you have an advanced wearable by Apple, Garmin, Samsung, Fitbit, and so on.

The free version saves your running stats, tracks calories burned, and lets you set goals. But if you need a more thorough approach, you’ll have to subscribe to get your live position tracking, your heartbeat controlled in real time, and do more. In addition, it combines greatly with other apps by Under Armour, like MyFitnessPal or the aforementioned Endomondo.


Runkeeper app screenshots

Well, this app has one running job! One job! And it doesn’t fail it. Along with time and distance, it measures your calories burned, records the track with your speed at every given moment, reports your progress day by day, and so on. It also lets you discover new routes in case you have recently moved or are traveling.

Wearable devices are supported too, so if you own something by Garmin or other vendors, your results will be more precise. Yet a wearable is just a part of the costs: Runkeeper saves the tastiest features for subscribers.

Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K app screenshots

When you’re only beginning your running career, you need a special guide through the process to explain to you the basics and motivate you to stay in. With this app, it will take you 9 weeks to master your 5K distance running. When you are through, there are further plans, like 5K to 10K, and others, up to a half-marathon.

Pros may consider it not serious enough, and that’s a mistake. Even in its pro mode it may offer less advanced functions than professional analogs. But there must be something to begin with to maintain later.

Zombies, Run!

Zombies, Run! app screenshots

And, finally, why not play some game in the street? It’s no Pokémon Go or Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, as it uses immersive audio technologies instead of the classical AR. Run the app and find yourself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse happening right now. To finish the level, you must run in real life. There are 300+ levels so far, and you’ll need a Pro version to unlock all of them. But if you like games like that, with your real body as the avatar, it’s definitely worth it.

Your Choice!

Which ones have you tried, and which are (to your mind) the best? Maybe we have missed some worthy app or service? Do you care about your and other people’s health? Leave us a comment because caring is sharing.