Running in the time of apps

Tracking a run provides so much insight into one’s fitness levels and how it improves over time. These apps, available on Android and IOS, use GPS, so they’re best for the outdoors.

The Facebook for athletes! It’s got everything you need for all kinds of sporting activity and is free with most features. Segments and courses help you when you run in new places. When you’re running on a track, you’ll instantly be able to see how fast other runners crossed the segment and whether you beat their timing. Its live tracking feature, for people who need to let someone know where they are all the time, is a pro. There’s also a privacy mode. It also connects to other apps (Google Fit, Apple Health, Samsung Health) and to wearable devices. Plus, you can join clubs with like-minded runners.

Best for social interactions, live segments, run courses, challenges

Runtastic, and its suite of exercise-tracking mobile apps, is suitable for all fitness levels. It’s purely a tracker, not a coach (unless you pay ₹3,100 per year), so there are no lessons for beginners in the main app. It makes a host of useful mini-apps for tracking other types of workouts that creatively track your progress. Situps, pushups, pull ups, squats.

Best for run tracking and whole-body workouts, also daily-step tracking

MapMyRun is a little difficult to navigate (especially to use it while running) because it displays many ads. However, if you upgrade to a paid membership (₹2200 per year), you can enjoy it ad-free. The app supports jogging, walking, and just plain old working out. It can also help you keep track of how long you should be wearing your shoes and when it is time to start looking for a new pair. You can also get customisable voice feedback for precise stats like pace, route, distance, and more.

Running in the time of apps


Best for advanced data syncing with UA HOVR shoes for cadence info — run without the phone

One of Runkeeper’s unique features is that it offers training plans to help you achieve different running goals. For a small subscription fee, you can train for your first 5K or half marathon. It also has a relatively easy interface to use and integrates well with streaming music services such as Pandora and Spotify. It can track your running, cycling, hiking and other distance activities. Users can go free-form or download and follow popular running routes. The app also works with a variety of smartwatches and fitness devices such as the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices.

Best for tailored workouts and music integration with surprise workout rewards

The app’s main screen gives you your most basic options: Type of Workout, Music On/Off and the immediate Start or 10 Seconds Countdown options. Further settings options give you an Audio Coach, and even the option to allow your friends to send you Pep Talks. There is also a secondary screen you can flip over to with a map showing your current location.

Best for audio feedback and pep talks by your followers during activity

One of the oldest, it was released in 2006 and originally dubbed Nike+iPod. It has gone through four iterations, adding in cool features over the years, like virtual coaching, an in-app camera for instant running pics and post-workout motivation from top Nike athletes like Allyson Felix. Earn some serious social media cred by sharing your feats instantly with your friends on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Best for the training plans from 5k to full marathon with week-by-week workout lists

The author is a triathlete, and a periodontal surgeon and implantologist and works as an assistant professor in PSG Institute of Medical Sciences, Coimbatore


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