Which Running App is best for you?


My choice of exercise is usually running. I would not say I'm a "runner" because "runners" are typically crazy human-beings that go out in any type of weather! You will only see me outside if it's nice and warm.


I've tested out a few running and walking apps that my friends and colleagues suggested to see what works best for me and I figured I would share my findings! I'm not a huge fan on paying extra for the added features of these apps, so I just used the free versions. I also didn't dive into a lot of the "community" or "coaching" aspects but I did play around with it for those interested. Enjoy!

1. Nike Run Club

This app when I first downloaded it to my phone DID NOT work. I made an account which was simple, and when I wanted to run, I would hit "Start" and the app would glitch. I proceeded to uninstall it and download it again - still the same outcome. I restarted my phone - still didn't work. So I uninstalled it and was about to give it a horrible rating.

The next day I downloaded it again to my phone and voila! it worked!


Pros:

-The main page when you open the app is set to a "Quickstart" tab and you can just hit "start" right away or set you distance/time/speed goals.

-To stop a run, you have to press and hold the stop button. I liked it because you wouldn't by accident stop your run and close out of that workout.

-There's a "My Coach" option that allows you to add your goals, personal information and it will spit out a workout plan for you. Links up to the other Nike app called "Nike Training - NTC". It will separate a weekly plan for you and could be nice for some people.

-A quick look at Nike Training app and it seemed pretty cool for those interested.

-The "Guided Runs" tab also seemed pretty interesting if you like encouragement while you run, but I do not like listening to music or having ear buds in when I run so all of this is pretty irrelevant to me.


Cons:

-I had technical issues with this app at first and I'm all about first impressions.

-Not as user friendly when you want to look at your previous runs or your history. You have to go down to the "Activity" page to see what you've done.

-some of the "community" aspects are heavily based in the USA and you won't find as many clubs in Canada.

-If you want a detailed map/tracking of your route, it isn't as specific as the other apps (see more at the next comparison).


2. Strava

This app was recommended by a lot of my friends (and I have never even heard of it!). At first glance it's pretty user friendly. It was the easiest process to set up my Garmin watch to (the other apps were relatively easy as well but this had the quickest and easiest connection). It's kind of set up like a typical social media app - has your news feed (because, yes you can follow people and others can follow you), an 'explore' tab, 'record', 'profile', and 'training'.


Pros:

-Easy to use if you're used to this kind of set up already through social apps like Instagram.

-Has many different "sports". You can choose to track your run, bike ride, walk, canoe, hike, ice skate, rock climb, snowboard, surf, swim etc.. So if you're into a bunch of other things, this is awesome.

-Has the option to create your own route. I tried this on my computer and it was pretty simple to map out a route that I think I would enjoy and don't want to get lost.

-Has very detailed tracking of your routes (compared to Nike). See below.


Above: This is Strava. You can tell you ran back and forth down a street, or did hills, or various other things within your route.

Above: This is Nike. Just doesn't show as much detail as the snapshots above.


Cons:

-If you don't like people following you or getting in your business.. too bad. You have the option to only allow followers to see your activity, but you can't really control who follows you. I mean, there is an option to block followers and set your activity to private, but that's a lot of work if you don't want people to know.

-The 'extras' aren't as cool as the Nike app. The "training" tab isn't free and there aren't a lot of free options if you want a workout plan.


3. Map My Run / Map My Walk

This was also a pretty good app! It also has the ability to add your smart watch (in my case, my Garmin watch) but it was the most difficult to do so. It kept kicking me off the app and took me several times to actually sync it together. The interface is a bit trickier than the others but once you get used to it, you it's not too bad. The app has several versions (Map My Walk/ride/fitness etc) and they're all pretty much the same - they just cater their 'extras' to what you probably are looking for.


Pros:

-Not the obvious social media app with followers.

-Has a bunch of great "activities" including run, walk, group run, race, sprints, dog walk, trail run, mountain biking, swim, etc. But the best was it had options like indoor swim, treadmill, or connect to a particular fitness app or challenge which are unique.

-Does have the "extra" features like Nike Run Club

-Also had a pretty detailed route of your activity (similar to Strava). See below:


Above: Snapshots of the app and you can tell the detail - very similar to Strava.


Cons:

-Free version has a lot of ads compared to the other apps

-The free 'extras' aren't as great as the ones on Nike and a bit confusing to add to your program.

-Hopefully you are able to add your fitness tracker/watch to the app, because I was struggling to do so!

Overall impressions

Nike Run Club:

-Use it if you predominantly run/walk and really like the encouragement that the app provides. It does a good job at showing you your achievements and a weekly plan to stay on track. Not as confusing because it just shows how far your run/walk and nothing else.


Strava:

-Use if also do other things apart from running/walking and enjoy the camaraderie it provides with your friends. Recommend if you don't really need the 'extras' and the coaching because it's not free.


Map My Run:

-Similar to Strava with less of the "friend following" even though there is an option to see what your friends do (and you can still invite friends to the app). It's a bit more confusing to navigate but you can add routines like the Nike app, but they aren't as good/easy to navigate. Weigh the pros and cons with that this one - it's kind of in between and mix of those above.


Others that I've searched but haven't tried:

-Fitbit app (worthwhile if you have a fitbit watch)

-World walking

-Adidas Running

-RunKeeper


Personally, I'm a toss up with Map My Run and Strava so I'm just using both until I can find something that tips me over the edge. I will update this blog when I find that out!

I hope this helps! Enjoy!



Melody Lee, DC

drmelodylee@gmail.com

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