Running is one of the easiest sports to get into. While there are running-specific products you can buy, such as bespoke running shoes and specially designed clothing, you already have everything you need to start running – a pair of legs.
Of course, you can head to a gym and go jogging on a treadmill, but the simplicity of this popular form of exercise is that you can do it anywhere you like. You can run around the streets near your house, you can run through a city, or you can run through the countryside.
On top of that, there are no time commitments required to run. So while a soccer game might last 90 minutes and a basketball match will run for 48 minutes, you can make your run as long or as short as you like.
But in recent years, mobile apps have come onto the market, promising to make running even easier and more engaging. Whether you enjoy running yourself or you prefer to watch other athletes compete in events, there are apps that will appeal to you.
If you’re a fan of athletics and enjoy watching in person on TV, then apps can help you follow your favorite competitors more closely.
Your best options are for either dedicated athletics news apps or those from companies that have the broadcasting rights to major events like the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, and major marathons.
Even some major sports sites and apps like Bleacher Report provide very limited coverage of running and other athletics, often focusing only on the Olympic games.
The BBC, on the other hand, has very comprehensive coverage of most international competitions. Including the World Athletics Indoor Championships, the Indoor Grand Prix, and the Diamond League. Eurosport also offers results and reports on many of these competitions.
In addition to catching up on all the latest news, many running fans like to place wagers on major athletics competitions like the Olympics. If you are one of them, then one of the easiest ways to do it is by downloading a sportsbook app. Depending on where you live, there can be dozens or even hundreds to choose from, so it can be a bit tricky to find which one to download.
Sites like OddsChecker can make this easier by compiling all of the free bets that are available and providing impartial reviews about the quality of their apps. This is important for running fans as odds for athletics aren’t offered by every brand, so you’ll need to do some work to find one that does. Often, these apps also provide live scores and video streaming of sporting events, so they can also be great ways of keeping up to date with events.
While it’s simple, running can be quite difficult if you’ve not done it before (or for a long time). It can be hard to pace yourself or stay motivated, especially if you hit the wall quite early on.
This difficulty can put many people off and discourage them from continuing, even if they still like the idea of running.
Training apps can help you overcome this by helping you pace yourself and providing encouragement for when you’re finding it difficult.
One of the most popular training apps for beginners is Couch to 5K. It’s a free app created by the UK’s National Health Service that, as its name suggests, is designed for people with no running experience at all that want to get off the couch and start working their way towards being able to run 5 kilometres by starting off with intermittent running and walking. It provides audio to help you, giving you instructions and encouragement.
For more experienced runners that want to take it to the next level, there are plenty of other apps available. This includes New York Road Runner’s Virtual Trainer and Training Peaks which help you plan your training regime.
Alternatively, Final Surge is a tool for connecting with a human run coach remotely that connects to tracking apps (more on those later) and lets them track your performance, leave comments, and set new targets.
A more novel approach to this is the Zombies, Run game, an app that gives you a mission through your headphones as you run. If you get chased by zombies then you’ll need to speed up to outrun them. It’s a clever way to make interval training more fun and may help people that are struggling to find the motivation for running to get over the boredom of a long jog by adding different objectives to it.
For many people, a run doesn’t really happen if they can’t upload it to social media. In recent years, we’ve seen posts that show what routes people have run and how long it took them.
Of course, bragging to your friends, acquaintances, and strangers about your speed and stamina isn’t the only reason you’d want to track your runs.
They’re useful for recording your performance and monitoring how it changes over time. This is helpful if you’re training for a marathon or other race as you can compare your actual times against what you had planned to achieve.
There are plenty of great apps for run tracking, many of which can integrate into wearable tech. Of these, ASICS Runkeeper is one of the most popular options, especially among beginners as it offers you all the basic tools you need. In addition to time and distance, it can also tell you how many calories you burned, something that’s helpful if you’re trying to manage your weight.
Athletics brands like Under Armour, Adidas, Puma, and Nike all have their own apps too. In some instances, they can connect to smart trackers built into your shoes or other clothes, a smartwatch, or just use the sensors in your phone to track your speed, distance, heart rate, and other stats.