Eight running apps to enhance your performance

With gyms closed, swimming pools shut, and team sports cancelled, running has seen a surge in popularity as a way to get our exercise during lockdown.

Strava has dominated running tech discussions of late, but there are now a wealth of companies offering innovative ways to enhance your running experience. As such, we looked at eight great apps that can help you adjust to the ‘new normal’ by getting you out pounding the pavements with the best of them.

Apps to help you track your run and work out your route are key if you like to keep tabs on the miles you’ve clocked. Pacer’s simple and accurate app offers fitness tracking, personalised fitness plans, and access to a global health and wellness community. You can join group challenges, and track runs with GPS.

For the competitive, Human is a simple activity tracker that also works well as a motivator. It monitors your daily exercise and reminds you to hit certain daily targets . Its key differentiator is that it compares your data to that of other nearby users, and creates a leader board so you can see how you measure up against those around you.

Many of us will relate to the experience of taking a wrong turn mid-run and getting a bit lost. Canadian company RunGo lets users discover the best running and walking routes in their area. Powered by voice navigation you can also plan and customise routes. The app is now present in 17 cities across Europe, the US and Canada.

Many runners laud the benefits of having coaches to help them hit goals or to advise on personalised training plans. However, there are apps that can achieve this virtually; Runcoach helps you to create a workout schedule and set running goals. The algorithm will track your progress and provide customised guidance on training and development, and you can also upgrade to access personalised coaching.

Meanwhile, Running by Daily Burn provides running plans tailored to you and your fitness goals. It has new runs, challenges and training plans every week, and functions as ‘your personal running app coach’, guiding you through your exercise and letting you know when it’s time to take it easy or to pick up your pace.

For those looking to inject more motivation into their runs, Zombies, Run!, launched by London-based developer Six to Start, is an immersive running game created with novelist Naomi Alderman. The app combines heart-pumping audio drama and pulse-raising songs, offering thrillers, adventures, and missions to spice up your run. You might find the thought of zombies pursuing you through the park helps to improve your split times like nothing else.

If you need more motivation to get running, New York-based Charity Miles is for you. This app allows you to donate a small amount to a charity of your choice for every mile you run. The money comes from Charity Miles’ corporate sponsorship pool, and you can also get sponsored by your friends.

Finally, for some, the music that accompanies exercise is a crucial part of the running experience. RockMyRun adjusts music to match your steps or heart rate, and you can manually adjust it, so it matches your beats per minute, or to inspire you to increase your pace. There are curated playlists on the app, created to maximise workouts, and it integrates easily with running apps to let you record your running data.

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