The Best Running Apps For Beginners: A 2024 Guide

Running is an excellent way to achieve your fitness objectives, whether for weight loss, stress relief, personal goals or improving overall fitness. However, beginners may find getting started overwhelming. Fortunately, numerous running apps provide guidance, motivation and progress tracking.

Using Fitness Apps As A Beginner

Running apps offer structured training plans tailored to your fitness level, helping you progress safely and effectively. They feature GPS tracking, regular feedback and customizable workouts, empowering beginners to track their progress effectively and set achievable goals. While you may be hesitant to share personal health info with an app, rest assured that the Federal Trade Commission Act prohibits businesses from making false claims about their products’ effectiveness and regulates things like privacy concerns. This is a fantastic way to visibly see your improvement over time, giving you confidence in your journey. Here are some of the best running apps for newbies.

Couch to 5K (C25K): If You Want To Start

Couch to 5K is a great place for anyone to start their running journey. C25K is a popular fitness app designed to take absolute beginners from a sedentary lifestyle to completing a 5K run in just nine weeks. The program gradually increases the intensity of workouts, alternating between walking and running intervals.

Many running plans only include running, but C25K gives you enough time to catch your breath. It has customizable features, audio cues and progress tracking, making it ideal for those new to running and needing a structured plan.

Strava: If You Want A Community

As most runners say, “If it’s not on Strava, it didn’t happen.” Strava is a social media platform exclusive to fitness enthusiasts that athletes use to upload their runs, cycles, swims and other workouts. While it may seem intimidating at first glance, Strava offers valuable features for beginners, such as GPS tracking, route planning and social interaction with fellow runners. Additionally, the app provides detailed insights into your performance, including pace, cadence, distance and elevation gain, allowing you to track your progress over time.

Runna: If You Want A Personalized Plan

Runna is all the rage in the running community and has thousands of users worldwide. It stands out as a beginner-friendly app designed to simplify the experience for newcomers. With its straightforward interface and easy-to-use features, Runna makes it effortless for beginners to track their runs and progress toward their fitness goals.

The app boasts GPS tracking to accurately monitor distance, pace and route, providing users with real-time performance feedback. Additionally, Runna offers customizable training plans suitable for newbies, helping them build endurance, improve their abilities and work toward an upcoming race. Whether you’re aiming to complete your first mile or tackle longer distances, Runna equips novices with the tools and motivation needed to succeed in their running journey.

Nike Run Club: If You Want Motivation

Nike Run Club is another top-rated app that caters to beginners and experienced runners alike. It offers personalized coaching plans, guided runs led by professional athletes and coaches, and detailed tracking of your runs. The app provides audio feedback when running, keeping you motivated and accountable to achieve your goals. The user-friendly interface and extensive features make Nike Run Club a great choice for beginners looking to up their running game.

Map My Run: If You Want To Track Your Routes

Under Armour’s Map My Run is a versatile app that caters to runners of all levels, including newbies. One of its standout features is its solid mapping capabilities, allowing users to plan, track and analyze their runs with precision. Map My Run uses GPS tracking to accurately record distance, pace and elevation, providing detailed insights into your performance.

The app also offers personalized training plans tailored to your goals and fitness level to help you progress effectively. It integrates with Under Armour’s suite of fitness apps and devices — including its shoes — enabling seamless data syncing and access to a supportive community of fellow runners. Whether you’re exploring new routes, training for your first race or just beginning your running journey, Map My Run is a reliable companion to guide you every step of the way.

Zombies, Run!: If You Want Adventure

Zombies, Run! is the perfect app for those who enjoy something a little more adventurous, adding a fun twist to traditional fitness apps. This app combines storytelling with fitness, immersing you in an apocalyptic world where you must outrun zombies to survive. There are over 200 missions to complete. Zombies, Run! offers an engaging way for beginners to stay motivated and committed to their running routine.

Calm: If You Need To Clear Your Mind

While not technically a running app, Calm is a meditation and mindfulness platform that can complement your running routine. Running — especially for beginners — can be physically demanding and mentally challenging. Calm offers guided meditation sessions designed to soothe the mind, reduce stress and enhance focus during workouts.

Incorporating mindfulness practices into your running routine with Calm can improve your overall wellbeing and enjoyment of the activity, making it an excellent addition for those seeking a holistic approach to fitness.

Your Journey To Becoming A Runner Starts Now

Starting a running routine can be challenging if you don’t know where to start, but with the help of these running apps, you can start your fitness journey with confidence and support. Whether you prefer a structured training plan, personalized coaching, or a fun and interactive experience, there’s an app to suit your needs. Lace up your shoes, download your chosen app and hit the pavement — your journey to becoming a runner starts now.

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