By Adam Drake
There was a time when we ran without knowledge. We picked a distance and we ran to that point. When we grew tired, we’d stop. We’d guess at the time, at the calories burned, and would judge the jog based on the pain in our legs. This is no longer the case.
Now that we’ve started running with our smartphones, we can monitor our heart rate, see a detailed map of our course, study our elevation, chart our pace, all while listening to a pre-selected mix of tunes created purely to make you run faster. The running app market is flooded with products that promise different things and experiences, but we’ve found a few that are worthy of accompanying you on your next run.
Perhaps the gold-standard of running apps, Nike+ does most – if not all – of what we want in a monitoring app. Easy to use and goal-oriented, the app makes jogging (dare I say it) fun, and helps push you in the right direction. Not only will it draw a map of your route, but it’ll also color code the sections where you went faster or slower, while giving you a chart of your elevation. Nike+ gives you motivation when you need it, and allows you to play a power song to get you through the tough miles. Once you’re done, you’re able to share your route online, see your calorie burn, and check how much Nike Fuel you’ve earned.
(Seriously, I have no idea what Nike Fuel is. If someone does, and can tell me what to do with it, let me know in the comments section below.)
A lot like Nike+, the difference with Strava is that it’s competitive. You’re able to see other users’ routes and try to beat them on their home turf. Additionally, achievements and leaderboards help keep you motivated, while recording the standard set of data points from your run. As a plus, Strava also lets you record cycling workouts too.
If we have to run, why not put it to good use? Charity Miles donates 25 cents of each mile you run to a charity of your choosing, including choices like The Nature Conservancy, the ASPCA, Habitat for Humanity, Stand Up 2 Cancer, (RED), and more. Not a bad way to burn calories while gaining karma.
It’s running while being in an episode of The Walking Dead. Zombies, Run! brings gaming into the running app world. Each run has you unlocking achievements and goals, all while being pursued by the sounds of zombies in your headphones. Each 30-minute episode will keep you engrossed in the workout, and new seasons come online each year.
This is the perfect running app for those looking to get into jogging. Couch to 5K has curated programs ease the user into running, providing them with a regimen of three weekly jogs over the course of nine weeks. After a few months, you’ll be running a 5k with little effort, while wondering why you have a couch at all.
Adam Drake is Creative Director for the Sweat Life, a former four-year varsity rower for the University of Miami, and currently rows for the Maritime Rowing Club. He is the co-founder of Kayak for a Cause, a charity event based in Connecticut. As a writer, Adam has developed television shows for Comedy Central, Bad Boy Worldwide, and Sky, written ad campaigns for clients such as Bacardi, Starbucks, Dove Men+Care, and HBO, and was a contributor to the pop culture site YesButNoButYes. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, boating, and working on his tremendous collection of unfinished novels.