The Best Apps and Gadgets for Runners

Technology seems to have seeped into every piece of our lives, and now it can help you with one of the most fundamental exercises known to man.  Below is a list of great apps and gizmos for runners of all kinds.  So pick an app that fits you best and then plug in and start running.  These are the running apps of the new age.

The Three Leading  Gadgets

Pedometer Watches. Most runners already wear a watch on their wrist (especially if they don’t listen to music while they run) so transitioning to a pedometer watch is a natural and effective way to track of your time, distance, calories burned and steps taken in each workout.  There are numerous watches on the market but important things to look for before making a purchase decision are how much data it can store, how recent the technology is (this is important because the newer technology is much more accurate), and how customizable the interface is for you specifically.

Nike+. Nike+ is a $30 sport kit that includes a sensor for your shoe and additional tool for your iPod (not needed for iPhone).  The device only works with some MP3 players so that’s a potential problem, but the online running community where you can upload your workouts is extremely strong.  You can track your speed, workout, calories burned, and how you felt during your runs (along with additional notes) and then upload them to a website to track how far you are in comparison to your goals, other runners, and much more.  It’s a great interface and there are some coaches that will verbally coach you in your training, but the iPod/iPhone limitation can be troubling for some.  If you already have the right device though, Nike+ creates a highly addictive running community online.

miCoach. The miCoach is Adidas’ follow up to the Nike+.  The MiCoach series is a bit more in depth than its Nike predecessor though, with three different pieces of gear.  There’s an iPhone app, a $69.99 miCoach Zone that visually reflects your heart rate, times your workout, and tracks calories via a wristband, and the $139.99 Pacer that includes all the gear above.  The Pacer package connects to any MP3 player in the world to provide real-time audible coaching and accurate measures of heart rate, speed, distance, and stride rate along the way.  You can sync your workouts to the miCoach website to track your progress and analyze your results.

iPhone Apps

RunKeeper Pro. This $9.99 iPhone app uses GPS to keep track of your routes, times, calories burned and mile time tracking.  The app also lets you play music on your iPhone as you run and tracks other sports like running, cycling, hiking, skiing and swimming. 

UltraTimer. When it comes to interval training timers, this $1.99 iPhone app is one of the best.  It lets you set up countdowns, intervals with distinct bells at the beginning and end, and share times with other people in the UltraTimer community.

Interval Run. Interval Run is another $1.99 interval runner’s app that keeps track of when you should be running and when you should be walking.  It allows you to listen to music (or turn it off) and directs you with spoken voice queues on whether it’s time to run or break it up with some walking.

iMapMyRun. This GPS tracking running app was one of the first running apps I started seeing spread around the running community.  The free app lets you join a community, tell friends about your runs, map your routes, and log workouts.  The GPS can be a little fuzzy, but it’s easy to use and fun to share your progress with others.

Run Coach. This iPhone app brings personalized training plans to your iPhone so you can properly prepare for 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, marathons, and 50K ultras.  For just a dollar you receive tons of feedback, data charts, and much more to help you achieve your goals.  One of my favorite aspects of this app is the visual progress bar, which lets you see just how far you’ve come and what’s left before you’ve achieved your goal.

Ghost Race. The concept behind this one dollar app is one of my favorite ideas in the world of running apps.  This app sets up time or distance races based on GPS tracking of how fast and how far you’ve gone, providing a kick of motivation for the most competitive runners out there.

Livestrong Calorie Tracker. The Livestrong Calorie Tracker is a great app for health conscious runners who are trying to lose weight.  This app version of The Daily Plate site online helps you track calories, monitor your daily caloric/protein/fat/carbohydrate intake, and automatically enter any of the 625,000 foods listed in their existing database.  The app costs $2.99 and will help even the most discerning calorie counters track their habits exactly.

Get Running.This couch to 5K trainer for beginner runners provides a specific nine week training regimen that will help runners achieve a consistent 30 minute running workout.  The $1.99 app is voice driven and provides some nice little graphics for gently introducing newbies into the sport.

Fitnio. This GPS tracking app monitors walking, running and cycling workouts with distance, pace, calories burned, and an ongoing log of workouts that syncs to the Fitnio website.  The app also has the added benefit of allowing you to add an emergency contact in case something happens to you on your run.  As a side note, this app used to be one of the best.  I’ve heard recent complaints about it though, so proceed with caution.

  1. Jay says:

    Wow, i need to check out Run Coach – personalized training plans?

    I think you forgot to mention strands. It’s free and offers very cool features with a strong web based training log.


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