Health

8 Free Running Apps To Help You Train For A 5K Or 10K Race

Here's the motivation you need to get moving!

Running any distance can seem overwhelming, but pretty much anyone can do it. You can start by simply putting one foot in front of the other.

Don’t believe me? There are countless incredible success stories that prove it. For example, one woman went from running a single mile daily to doing ultramarathons. Another woman started her running habit when she turned 100. Meanwhile, one woman weighed more than 400 pounds when she began running.

It’s no surprise running is so popular. It’s is an excellent way to torch calories, improve cardio health, fight depression and it may even add years to your life.

In case that’s not enough motivation to make you lace up your sneakers, there are many running apps that will banish excuses and get you moving. Here are 10 apps — most of them free! — that will get anyone off the couch and ready to kick some asphalt.

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1. Human

This free activity tracker is an excellent motivating tool. It hums along in the background, tracking your activities, like running, walking and biking, and sends notifications to help you hit 30 minutes of activity each day. It also compares your stats to nearby users to show who’s leading the pack and how to catch up.

2. Nike+ Run Club

This highly rated free app includes a bundle of features to keep you motivated and help you meet your goals. It provides GPS tracking of your runs, audio guidance, weekly and monthly distance challenges and customized coaching plans.

3. Strava

Strava works well for beginners and veteran runners alike with features for athletes, made by athletes. The free version offers in-depth GPS tracking in real time and logs your personal bests. It also compares your performance to other runners. You’ll earn little in-app trophies for beating your own fastest times on your regular routes and friends can give “kudos” on your workouts. If you catch the running bug and want more training analysis, you can upgrade to Strava Summit starting at $2 per month.

4. Weav Run

Music is a great way to keep your feet moving. This app remixes songs to match your pace so you keep motivated with a well-timed beat. The motion-trigger technology means the app adjusts the song’s tempo when you slow down and speed up. So, even your favorite slow songs will get a pumped-up reboot to keep energy high. After a free trial month, the $0.99 monthly subscription provides access to music content.

5. Charity Miles

This free app allows you to feel good and do good during your workout, no extra effort required. It tracks your distance and donates 25 cents to your selected charity for every mile run. This way, every mile has more purpose, and the quarters will add up. So far, Charity Miles members have raised more than $2.5 million for charity.

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6. RockMyRun

This free app includes DJ-curated high-energy songs that match your running rhythm or your heart rate. You can look forward to selections by Zedd, Afrojack, Major Lazer and others to get moving. The right music can improve your running performance. The free trial month comes with unlimited access to music, and afterwards you can continue the ad-free subscription starting at $2.99 per month or listen for free with advertisements.

7. RunKeeper

This free app from Asics is made for training at any level. It tracks your runs, shares audio cues about your pace and distance, and offers personal challenges based on your progress to help get you ready for race day.

8. Endomodo

This pocket personal trainer works with a wide variety of activities, including running, biking and more than 40 other sports. Endomodo also allows users to connect to friends around the world for an added social boost. The best part is you get all the customized training for free, or you can upgrade to Premium for advanced features for $5.99 per month or $29.99 annually.

And here are a couple more great app options available for a low fee:

Couch To 5K

If you currently identify closer to a couch potato than a runner, the popular Couch-to-5K app is for you. It includes an easy 5K training plan with three 30-minute workouts per week. It also tracks time and distance via GPS and motivates in real time with a virtual coach and workout feedback. Nine weeks later, you’ll knock out a 5K and proudly call yourself a runner. That’s definitely worth the one-time $2.99 price tag.

iSmoothRun

For $4.99, this app tracks distance and time, as well as steps, weather and more. One noteworthy feature is built-in support for a run/walk method with set intervals and real-time coaching so you know when it’s time to walk and when you should pick up the pace. Additionally, it’s a standalone Apple Watch app, so you can leave your phone behind for a lighter run.