In a 2013 survey by Timex, running was the most popular form of exercise. In 2015 there were nearly 17,000,000 running event finishers in a runningusa.org poll. Running is a very popular form of exercise in America and more and more people are getting involved. I’m sure that for as many people that love racing there are as many that hate it for many different reasons. If you are one of those people that hate running, you might want to try a running app. They not only keep track of pace, speed, distance, time and calories, but they also have different features that are super motivating and even addictive. In this article we will be telling you about 3 different running apps for Android and IOS that are free. They might just be the motivation to keep you running or start running and not break your pocket book.
This is not your normal running app. Not only does it keep track of distance, pace, time and map, it also is an audio story to listen to while you run. Did I mention that you are part of the story and you are being chased by zombies?! The premise is that you are in a zombie apocalypse and you are a new resident in a fenced in community. You have been enlisted to be a runner for them. There are around 200 different missions that you carry out in order so you follow the story line. The mission and talking is not constant. You can listen to your own music (your own library, Pandora, Spotify, etc) and when someone talks to you over your walkie-talkie you music turns off and on again automatically. When they speak to you they tell you about your mission, location of zombies and more back story into the strange and fishy goings on of your community.
These missions range from going to rescue a little girl spotted in the distance, to going to warn other colonies about a hoard of zombies shuffling their way or to go on a supply run. You have a walkie-talkie and are given instructions by a spotter telling you when to speed up when zombies are near. You don’t follow turn by turn directions, just when to speed up, so safety is not a concern. You also pick up objects like water, gas, guns and ammo and packages of underwear along the way. If you are chased by zombies and caught, you have to drop all of your items to distract them. After each mission you can use these objects to help grow your town, much like Sim City.
In the free version you have to unlock additional missions by waiting a day or two in between sessions and also listen to ads for Zombies, Run! upgrades and races before you start a mission. The waiting time to unlock the next mission is a slightly disappointing. It is very doable to use the free version but don’t expect to be able to run daily. They have a free 5k training program included in the free version.
Upgraded Pro Version
For $20 you can upgrade for one full year. With this pro version you get all the missions unlocked as well as other cool missions and features. They have 5k to marathon training plans with corresponding missions. Also, they have a neat feature that allows you to pick a real place on a map that you want to run to that they create a custom mission that gets you to this point and back. If you actually enjoy the free version it is well worth the $20 for a year of the Pro version
All in all this is the “most popular fitness app” in the world, according to their website. It is really fun and motivating. For those of you who are looking for something to keep you motivated to run and even to start running, this free version would be perfect to you, especially if you like zombies and the Walking Dead. If you are already a runner and want to lift the monotony of running you would do well with the free or the paid version. I feel like there is something about having the storyline, missions and motivational instructions that makes running more fun than just going out for a run and listening to music. It is also a little creepy when you run at night in the dark, so be warned!
Runtastic is one of the most popular running apps out there today. Turn your GPS on and it will track your activity. It also has focus on its community option that lets you share and give kudos to and from friends and strangers that use the app.
Free Version Features (Via fitnesselectronicsblog.com)
- Map your workouts in real-time with built-in GPS and monitor your progress (time, distance, speed, pace, calories, altitude, etc.)
- Personal workout diary and metrics
- Weekly, monthly and yearly statistics
- Mapping: Detailed live mapping and historical mapping of previous sessions (Google maps)
- Dashboard configuration: Display preferred statistics
- Graphs: Get charts with altitude, pace, speed and heart rate information
- Performance analysis with lap times
- Enjoy your workouts with the integrated iPod function player
- Set goals for time and distance
- Accurate calculation of elevation gain and loss
- Manual entry of workouts: Add treadmill, spinning and weightlifting workouts
- Share your success on Facebook and Twitter
- Don’t train alone! Voices will give you feedback about different statistics (distance, speed, pace …) and our cheering feature will help motivate you.
- You can save all your workouts at www.runtastic.com.
- Using the online community you’ll get further analysis, metrics and comparisons to your friends. Additionally, you can choose a training plan and track your body statistics. Share all your workouts easily with the facebook and twitter connect.
Upgraded Pro Version
For anywhere from $36 – $60, depending on a sale, you can upgrade for one year to their pro version. Here are a list of the additional pro features
- Voice feedback during a workout: Get audio feedback for each mile or kilometer
- Live tracking: Show your friends and family where you are
- iPod integration: Listen to your music while you are training
- Power song: Activate your power song to give your workout a boost
- Cheering: Hear cheers and receive messages live from your friends and be motivated to go even further
- Interval training and coaching: Improve your performance by gradually increasing your training
- Heart rate support
- Competitions: Challenge yourself or your friends. The voice coach supports you and tell you how you´re doing.
- Split table for each mile or kilometer
- Calorie goal: Set a specific calorie goal and use the voice feedback to reach your workout goal
- Pace goal: Define your favorite pace
- Geotagging: Take pictures during a workout and see these pictures online at your map trace
- Weather and Temperature: Receive live weather information and save weather data automatically after a workout
- Prediction of sunrise and sunset
- Landscape mode
- Remote control for pause and resume a session
- Heart rate zones
- Weather integration
- Ad free
There are lots of running apps out there and GPS watches you can purchase for hundreds of dollars. Runtastic offers one of the best free options for use with your smart phone. I feel it provides every metric that you would need to go out and track your run as well as be able to share it with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. To pay $60 for one year to upgrade you would either have to be the type of person that is really into online community sharing, real time monitoring and motivation, want to use their training programs or like to have your split times for each mile and kilometer. Personally, the free version is excellent and there is no need to upgrade. Try it out for free and see if you agree!
Runkeeper is the down and dirty just track my activity running app, and it does it very well. There is some social aspects of the app but not to the degree of Runtastic.
The free version allows you slightly more usable features than with Runtastic. Mainly being able to see splits. You can input custom workouts like intervals and specific distances and get notified when to rest/ sprint or when you have reached your distance. It has an excellent interface that shows basic stats like time, speed/pace and calories as well as your map.
Upgraded Pro Version
For $40 per year you can upgrade to Runkeeper GO. You get a few more stats and insights into your runs, plus you are able to compare previous runs and see how you are progressing. You are also given access to premium training plans and coaching and weather insights.
Just like Runtastic, you probably won’t have a need to upgrade unless you really like feedback and additional stats. If you are a casual runner or even a big time marathoner you would do fine with the free version purely for tracking basic stats and workouts. If you want additional stats and are a very motivated runner you would probably do better with purchasing a Garmin GPS running watch. I think they are more convenient because if you are actually tracking your pace, distance and intervals you want to be able to look down at your wrist quickly without thinking or breaking form too much. If you are using your phone to track your activity and want to look at the screen, it is a big hassle to unlock your screen hold it in your hand so you can see it and continue with your pace without having to significantly break your form.
What other apps do you use for running and exercise? Do you normally use the free version or have you ever upgraded?