Best Running Apps For Beginners | 17 Helpful Tools to Make Runs Fun

If you’ve never thought of apps to help you start running, you’re about to be amazed. Not only is your mobile phone a calculator, alarm, and communication device – it can now be your running coach as well. There are apps to track your runs, make things fun, and even remind you when it’s time to change your shoes!

We hunted down all the best apps that can help your running, either by training you to run consistently and offering guidance, tracking your goals, or just by making it fun. In no particular order, here are the top apps that we found.

This list offers all the best free running apps for beginners (some have premium options, too).


Cost: Free (Elite membership $9.99/mo or $39.99/year)

Available on: Android & Apple

Best for: Tracking the distance of your runs, learning to run, losing weight

This app is ranked as the #1 app for running, so the developers must be doing something right.

The app tracks distance, time, pace, and calories burned while running, as well as your route. It can be used on your Andriod phones, iPhones, and Apple watches.


Cost: Free (MVP membership $6 per month or $30 per year)

Available on: Windows, Android & Apple

Best for: Tracking goals, routes, times, and splits when starting out.

This is another popular app out there, used by both novice and pro runners alike. While the MVP membership offers plenty of extra analytical features, the free version works perfectly for amateur runners.

MapMyRun is a loved member of the MapMyFitness family, and it offers perfect tracking for beginner runners. You can set yourself goals, and then keep track of your routes, your times, and other running stats.

Road ID

Cost: Free

Available on: Android & Apple

Best for: Anyone running on their own – but especially ladies during these times!

I’m sure I’m not the only lady who wants to start running desperately, but without a running buddy, and with all the news, it’s a scary challenge.

Developed by the company Road ID (who sell ID tags for kids, dogs, medical needs, and your average solo adventurer) this app allows runners to feel safe on any run. Your loved ones can track you and if you stop moving they’ll be notified, always better safe than sorry.


Cost: Free (paid subscriptions available)

Available on: Android & Apple

Best for: Those who enjoy sharing their achievements, and challenging friends.

The social network really sets Strava apart from other route-tracking running apps. You can share your completed runs, photos, and messages with other users.

Friends and strangers can motivate each other, join challenges, or just hold each other accountable. The app is also great for tracking your runs, even if it’s just for yourself.


Cost: Free (premium membership available)

Available on: Andriod & Apple

Best for: Runners who are beginning to train properly.

This app is owned by Adidas – and they know something about running. The app has many features that can help those who are training a bit more seriously.

Working with your phone’s GPS, the app tracks your running and keeps a history of your stats. You can enable live tracking as well, which notifies your network that you’re exercising and allows them to cheer you on in realtime – kind of like a virtual marathon.

Tip: Follow their Instagram to find excellent training inspiration.

Nike+ Run Club

Cost: Completely Free

Available on: Android & Apple

Best for: Anyone who does better with a little in-ear motivation during a run.

NikePlus Run Club app offers a ton of cool features for all levels of runners, for free. The app has run tracking, training plans, social sharing, and more.

One of the best things about the app is the audio motivation. You get access to a training guide, an inspirational playlist, and sounds of your friends cheering for you as you go.

My Fitness Pal

Cost: FREE (Premium available at a cost)

Available on: Android & Apple

Best for: Beginner runners who are ALSO on a weight loss and/or health journey – track your weight, health, and fitness goals in one place.

Myfitnesspal app is designed to help you track your calories and the food you eat. It offers goal tracking, habit-changing motivation, and help when choosing what foods to eat to get strong, fit, and healthy.

The app can sync with other apps, like Mapmyrun and Strava, as well as to a list of fitness trackers like Fitbit and Garmin.

We also love the exercise look-up feature on the website – it tells you how many calories you burn, based on your weight, the exercise type, and the amount of time you’ve worked out for.


Cost: Free (premium version $5.99 per month)

Available on: Android, IOS, and Windows

Best for: Anyone who enjoys tracking workouts and using stats and feedback to improve.

Endomondo is very similar to Strava. It tracks your workouts using GPS, so can be using for running, cycling, etc. The app also has social sharing, the ability to upload pics of your workouts, and join in on challenges or motivate your friends and network.

The app does, however, have really great stats and feedback screens, which makes it just a little more user-friendly for the more visually-inclined runners.

Couch to 5K

Cost: Free (Pro version is $4.99 – unclear if there is a monthly charge)

Available on: Apple

Best for: Very beginner runners – perhaps those looking to train for their first fun run.

There are quite a few Couch to 5K programs and apps out there. The idea is to slowly introduce running to a previously inactive lifestyle. By alternating walking/running and being consistent.

This app seems to be the original, offering an 8-week training program that slowly but surely turns you into a rockstar 5K runner. It’s only available on IOS though, so us Androiders will have to settle with a copy cat.

Zombies, Run!

Cost: Free (with optional premium version)

Available on: Android & Apple

Best for: Any and all Zombie lovers – or those who find it hard to run unless someone (or thing) is chasing them.

This app lets you take your run to an apocalyptic level. It puts you in an imaginary mission as a ‘runner’ for your town during a zombie apocalypse and you’re collecting essential items to take back. You hear prompts, bits of story, and some frantic zombie chases.

The app syncs to your phone’s music player, and interrupts songs at certain times to give you snippets of the story. You’ll complete certain missions on each run, and so the story continues each time you go out for a run. The only downside is that you have to keep earphones in to hear the story – which can be distracting and at times dangerous. So be cautious and stay alert.


Cost: Free

Available on: IOS and Android

Best for: Aspiring runners who are looking to introduce more activity into their daily lives.

Human is a very cool app for people like us Jumping Jayns – we really do want to get fit but sometimes finding the time, energy, and motivation is HARD. And Human understand that. The app simply asks for a minimum of 30 minutes’ activity each day.

The half-hour can be spent running, cycling, or hiking. On the app, you can track your activity along with the thousands of other users in your city – and aim to be one of the most active cities in the world!

Run Coach

Cost: Free (Gold membership $19.95 monthly)

Available on: IOS and Android

Best for: Very serious beginners who want to start running more regularly or even professionally.

This app syncs with fitness watches and offers users a training plan to increase their running times. It also tracks your runs, and offers voice cues as you run.

If you choose to buy a Gold membership, you also get one-on-one chatting with real coaches, and access to tailored advice for your goals training, and any injuries.

Weav Run

Cost: $0.99 per month

Available on: IOS and Android

Best for: Anyone who runs with music.

Weav is a pretty cool app – and unlike any before it on this list. The app basically provides adaptable music for you to run to. Each song can slow down or speed up according to your running tempo.

This is believed to help avoid fatigue and injuries from runners who overexert themselves when running to fixed-tempo music. It’s pretty technical, but it’s been studied quite a bit. The app works for those running indoors and outdoors, and comes with a long playlist of music for you to enjoy.


Cost: Free trial – then $9.99/month

Available on: IOS and Android

Best for: Runners who need a little more audio motivation, and who may enjoy a few other classes as well.

If you’re like me, and exercise classes get you going – then Aaptiv may just be the next best thing. This app has a library of training audio clips for running as well as other workouts.

You’ll have a ‘persoanl trainer’ in your ears the entire time, guiding your training and motivating you to push harder. Aaptiv is only free during a trial, but it’s cheaper than a gym membership – and it allows a lot more freedom and flexibility in your fitness times.


Cost: Free

Available on: IOS & Android

Best for: Complete beginners who need an easy-to-use app for running, walking and tracking weight & fitness goals.

Pacer is a really simple app, with just the basics that you would need to start your running journey. With it, you can count steps, track your weight and fitness goals, and join in on challenges and groups.

The Pacer app can pair with your Fitbit or MyFitnessPal. It’s one the better apps to start off with if you’re brand new to the running game.

iSmooth Run

Cost: $5.99 for Pro

Available on: iPhone only

Best for: Apple users

This iPhone app is chockablock full of fantastic features for beginner runners. It offers a really cool run-walk function, making it easier when you’re doing run/walking training.

The app is also able to track your shoe usage, telling you when to throw them out. And it tracks all of your runs with helpful stats – you can even choose to run AGAINST previous runs, for those wanting to achieve better personal bests.


Cost: Free trial ($14.99 monthly subscription)

Available on: IOS, Mac, Windows, Android, and Apple TV

Best for: Indoor runners who miss the outdoors.

This app is slightly different, in that it requires a screen and treadmill to help you. Rather than tracking your runs out on the road, Zwift brings the road to your indoor gym.

While this app is great, it can get pricey. But for anyone who already does a lot of running inside, or who will do most of their running indoors, it’s worth it. (check out a helpful video below.)

Download Your Own Running App for Beginners Now!

These run/walk apps are all downloadable in the Google Play Store or the IOS store. Most of them are free and don’t require much to start using them. Download your favourite now, or try a few of them out, and let us know how much they help in your running journey.

Do you use any of these running apps? Are there any others we should try out? Let us know in the comments below!

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