For the former, the act of running is practically a spiritual experience—it’s the thing they always look forward to, no matter what. But if you fall into the latter group, you’re probably just thinking, “What’s the big deal? Running sucks.”
OK, listen. As a former hater-turned-lover, I get it. The reason running sucks is because it’s hard, it hurts, and it makes you feel lame—but as soon as you begin practicing and get a little better, it all becomes easier. And, I might add, far more enjoyable.
We’ve rounded up six apps that’ll help you fall in love with running, no matter your skill level or aversion to the sport. Keep scrolling to see what you should download before you lace up your sneaks!
If you’re looking for a sleek, easy-to-use app for all of your running needs, the Nike Run Club app is a must-download. At it’s most basic level, you can track the speed, distance, time, and splits of your run workout. But there’s so much more wrapped up in the app itself—part social media platform that makes it easy to connect with friends and track their running progress, part Nike Running Club bulletin board, part personalized running coach, this piece of tech is perfect for beginning and experienced runners alike.
It’s also clutch for music lovers—Nike teamed up with Spotify for in-app music that includes pace playlists, unique Nike-curated tunes, and of course, access to your own favorite running music. Bonus: It pairs with the Apple Watch perfectly, practically eliminating the need for a GPS or running-specific watch.
Need a little more motivation to run than just “fitness”? What if you were the star of an action adventure movie—would that change things for you? That’s essentially what happens in the BattleSuit Runner Fitness. Plug your headphones in, fire up the app, and suddenly you’re immersed in an interactive adventure story that unfolds based on how fast you’re running. As different challenges come up, you’ll hear cues to speed up or slow down to complete your mission.
It might not be ideal for those following a specific training plan for a race or event, but for the casual runner who just wants to work up a sweat it’s a genius idea.
OK, it might not make running more fun, but Charity Miles definitely makes you feel more accomplished when your workout is over. The premise is really simple—for every mile your log with the app, Charity Miles donates 25 cents to a participating charity. Altruism and endorphins go hand in hand, and you’ll be left feeling pretty amazing.
There’s nothing like running to a killer playlist—when your favorite pump-up jam comes on, it’s like all the pain and fatigue fades from your body and suddenly, you can run forever. PaceDJ is the perfect app for people who are moved by music; the app matches the beats per minute (BPM) to your running speed to inspire you to keep moving. The coolest thing about the app is that you can upload your workout into the system—for example, if you’re doing a speed workout that requires you to run a fast, one-minute interval every three minutes—and PaceDJ will automatically cue your run and switch the tunes to the right speed when you need it.
Sure, Spotify is our go-to music app (sorry, TIDAL), but it’s also handy to have on your phone if you’re a runner. When you browse through the Genres and Moods tab on the app, you’ll find the Running Mood. Click in and you’ll get something a bit similar to PaceDJ—the app prompts you to start running in order to “detect your tempo.” You can choose from about twenty different playlist genres to run to, and music that matches your running speed with shuffle through your playlist.
Last, but certainly not least, Zombies! Run! is probably the only app that’ll
force inspire couch potatoes to hit the pavement. If you enjoy being terrorized by the thought of brain-eating zombies chasing you, this one’s for you.