If you’re not particularly active but want to do something about your fitness, using a running app for beginners can make running simpler and more motivating for you. Key features these apps offer, such as distance, heart rate, and calorie tracking, make your workout more tangible and let you see how hard you’re working, while features like compiled playlists let you customize your run.
The apps on this list are also ideal for those looking for the best apps for couch to 5K, a workout designed to help beginners gradually build their strength and endurance over the weeks or even months until they complete a 5K run.
If you think you need a personal trainer to get you off the couch, we’ve put together this list of the best running apps for beginners.
We start our list of best running apps for beginners with the C25K, one of the best apps for couch to 5K. This app, developed by Zen Labs and used by millions of people worldwide, puts you on an 8-week program and allows you to finish your first 5K at the end of the program with a half-hour daily workout.
The popular running app which is ideal for first-time runners provides plenty of features for free, including audio coach and alerts, integration with MyFitnessPal, playlist listening, a runner community, and integrations with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
If you want to access more features like award winning music curated from top DJs, calorie and distance tracking, and access to all Zen Labs fitness apps, you can prefer to buy its paid subscription package that costs $4.99 per month.
Nike Run Club
As one of the best running apps for beginners and professionals, Nike Run Club is also one of the best apps for couch to 5K. It allows you to create your own custom plan thanks to its My Coach feature.
The widely popular running app provides advanced features such as GPS run tracking, audio guided runs, custom distance challenges, customized coaching plans based on goals, and badges to celebrate your achievements.
Nike Run Club is also one of the best running apps for Apple Watch.
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Couch to 5K
Couch to 5K is one of the best running apps for beginners with its training plan designed by Active.com trainers. It allows you to choose from four different virtual coaches and hear human audio cues to guide you through your workouts. The app puts you on a 9-week program where you spend around 20 to 30 minutes per day to finish your first 5K.
Couch to 5K provides a detailed analysis of each run with different tools including GPS run tracking, distance and average pace tracking, workout graphs, and best performance tracking.
Zombies, Run! 5k Training
What makes “Zombies, Run! 5k Training” one of the best apps for couch to 5k is its zombie theme featuring a scripted narrative to listen to while running. The app provides a 8-week, 25 workout training program that combines expert training with a gripping story.
“You’re Runner 5, a vital member of one of the last outposts of humanity at Abel Township. During 25 workouts, you’ll be trained to help find supplies and protect the town from the ever-encroaching horde of the shambling dead, in a story written by award-winning novelist Naomi Alderman. You’ll learn about the characters, and you’ll have a vital mission of your own to train for and complete. Once your training is complete, you’ll be in the perfect place to continue the story as the hero in “Zombies, Run!””
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Runkeeper is one of the best running apps for beginners with its over 50 million users and advanced features. The app, which allows you to set yourself a 5K goal and get a training plan for your goal, also lets you create running groups by inviting your friends to create a custom challenge.
It has integrations with most of the well known health apps such as Fitbit and MyFitnessPal, as well as Spotify. You can consider its Pro plan which costs $9.99 a month for more detailed insights and live tracking options.