A smartphone's built-in sensors make it a great platform for a variety of running apps that can track your speed, distance traveled, calories burned, and even map your route. From high-end exercise apps with dedicated training plans to fun, gamified tools, check out our 10 favorite running apps below.
1. Runkeeper (Android, iOS, Free)
A perennial favorite among runners, Runkeeper (Android, iOS) uses your phone's GPS to track your running, cycling, hiking and other distance activities. The app records your pace, distance, total exercise time, calories burned and other useful metrics, while also allowing you to take and tag pictures on the go. Users can go freeform, or download and follow popular running routes. You can measure your progress and workout history, as well as sync with numerous other apps and services and receive detailed reports of your tracked activity.
2. Run with Map My Run (Android, iOS, Free)
Run with Map My Run (Android, iOS) is Map My Fitness's own take on the run tracking app, taking advantage of your phone's GPS and other sensors in order to track and map your running course, time, speed and total distance traveled. The app displays displaying both your real-time stats and your end-of-run totals. Useful extras include support for a variety of fitness trackers and heart rate sensors, Android Wear support and nutrition tracking. A premium subscription provides voice coaching and location sharing, and removes ads.
3. Runtastic (Android, iOS, Free)
Runtastic (Android, iOS) uses GPS to track and map your distance exercises, monitoring time, speed and distance, and plots your route in real-time. A personal exercise diary keeps track of your running metrics, and your routes can also be viewed in a Google Earth-style view. A configurable dashboard, detailed graphs of your exercise information, progress sharing over social networks and numerous training plans round out this neat exercise app.
4. Endomondo (Android, iOS, Free)
Endomondo Sports Tracker (Android, iOS) is a fitness app that allows you to record and track progress with just about any distance-based sporting activity, such as running and cycling. Endomondo Sports Tracker tracks duration, distance and calories burned, and diplays your route on a map. You can schedule exercises and goals, complete with feedback from an audio coach. An added social dimension allows you to post workouts, compare progress, and send and receive pep talks.
5. Nike+ Running (Android, iOS, Free)
Nike may have stopped developing the FuelBand, but the company still makes a mean running app in Nike+ Running (Android, iOS). Whether on a treadmill, trail or track, the app accurately records your pace, distance traveled and time, complete with audio feedback and a route map. The app also comes with a host of gamified social elements such as sharing runs, achievements and the option to challenge your friends to beat your time or distance run. A neat feature is the ability to load a "Power Song" of your choice, for when you need some extra mid-run oomph.
6. Strava Running and Cycling (Android, iOS, Free)
In addition to being a top-notch running tracker, Strava Running and Cycling (Android, iOS) adds some pretty neat competitive and gamified features to the usual run-tracking recipe. The app records your running speed, distance traveled, time and course taken, but also combines it with leaderboards, achievements, and challenges. Strava supports a variety of running trackers, in addition to Android Wear.
7. Couch-to-5K (Android, iOS, Free)
Active.com's Couch-to-5K (Android, iOS) is designed to gently ease couch potatoes and casual runners and joggers into running 5K courses over time. Users are provided a training course of 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week over nine weeks, to build up a runner's stamina from wheezing wreck to race-winner. Users can choose from four virtual coaches, complete with accompanying audio cues to help motivate them on the run, with automatic or manual logging for easily keep track of your progress.
8. iSmoothRun Pro (iOS, $5.99)
iSmoothRun Pro is a popular premium third-party run tracker app that can connect and sync with a variety of devices and run tracking services such as Runkeeper and Nike+. Designed and optimized for the iPhone 5 and iOS 7, the app takes advantage of the iPhone's built-in sensors and pedometer to accurately record time, distance, location, pace, altitude and a wealth of other variables. The app has support for running and walking, interval training and even "ghost running" against your previously recorded runs.
9. Zombies, Run! (Android, iOS, $3.99)
Now in its third season, Zombies, Run! (Android, iOS) is a run tracker app that gamifies your exercise routine by adding a zombie apocalypse narrative to your workouts. You are a Runner, evading zombies (ever present in the ambient sound that plays in your headphones) while trying to fulfill your mission goals. The story unfolds over a series of 30-minute-long episodes, with users accompanied by a narrative story track and spurred to sprint by the sound of approaching zombies. As you complete runs, you gather items and achievements that can be used to develop a home base. Purchasing the app unlocks the whole first season, with additional seasons available as in-app purchases.
10. Charity Miles (Android, iOS, Free)
Running for fitness is in many ways its own reward, but those looking for more reasons to push themselves harder and faster can check out Charity Miles (Android, iOS), a running tracker that lets you turn your miles into donations for your favorite charities. Users simply select a charity they want to run or bike for, and then off you go. Every mile earns your chosen charity 25 cents for running or walking, or 10 cents for biking, with the money pledged by various corporate sponsors.