Top 4 Benefits of A Running App

Jul 1, 2021 | Activity, Consistency

As a tech nerd, I will always be in favor of a technology that helps change behavior for the better… specifically in this case, running apps.

Whether you want to simply know how far/fast you go, or if you have specific goals in mind and are training for something, a running app can be the agent of change/progress for you.

Deciding what you want the app to do is where we begin:

The Rundown

(get it – the RUN-down?? I got jokes for dayzzzz)

Running apps can do a few different things: serve as a coach of sorts; provide community (likes, comments, etc); track your run stats; or get you started.

Nike Run Club is great for tracking and for serving as your coach. Even on the free version of the app you have the option of doing a few different running programs (beginner, half marathon, etc.). You can even track your running shoes in this app so you know how many miles you’ve racked up and when it’s time to get a new pair.

C25K is similar in that it will both track and be your coach but is more suited for beginners. It stands for Couch To 5k, as in, a program to go from sitting on the couch doing nothing to running a 5k race.

Strava is my run tracking app of choice because of the features of the free version. There is a premium version, but since I’ve gotten so much use out of the free version, I’ve never bothered to explore the paid options/features.

It’s my app of choice for a few reasons, the first of which is the way it tracks my own individual progress. I’m including snapshots of inside the app below, but it tracks my monthly and yearly stats; I’m able to see averages, best times, and participate in challenges (all in the FREE version).

Plus there’s a semblance of community as well – you and your friends can follow each other, like and comment on each others’ activities as a way to cheer each other on. The only feature I don’t think is included on Strava (free version anyways) is the coaching aspect. However, I’ve found that the gamification of challenges and getting a little “shoe” on the calendar as many days as I can is more motivation than a pre-recorded coach in my ear would be.

Why You Want to Track

Because we’re talking running apps here, the whole reason you want to track is to see your progression!

There are few people in this world who will consistently go for a run and pay no attention to ANY of the stats related to it.

Even without a fancy tech app, we’re able to judge if we went the same route (aka distance) in a shorter or longer time just by seeing what time we left the house and what time we got back.

But with an app, we can gamify it and keep ourselves involved even more. We’re playing right into the hands of our squirrely brain that likes shiny stuff!

On days where you aren’t motivated AT ALL to get moving, having a month-long calendar view that will have a gaping hole where you didn’t go for at least a walk may drive your OCD brain bananas (talking to myself here, too!).

Or maybe it’s a day where you run feels more like you’re slogging through pudding, except when you get to the end and check your pace, it turns out you were right at your usual pace – talk about a good feeling!? It felt like molasses, but that feeling was deceiving and you still had a good run! (it might be time for a recovery day though)

Perhaps on a day where you aren’t feeling it, you log in to see that your friend got in her run first thing in the morning, so it motivates you to go ahead and get your run in too. So you click “like” on her run as an ‘atta girl, and then you go get changed into your running gear.

Maybe it’s getting to be the end of the month and you’re this close to your mileage goal for the month, and knowing that causes your body to send some extra energy to those legs so they can run an extra half mile today.

Aside from connecting with your friends, there’s a whole social aspect to Strava as well – challenges and clubs are both available in the free version of the app. Join several challenges, or just one to get you to a goal. Or check out the Clubs to see if there’s a group of people in your area that you may be able to meet up with every once in a while.

Sometimes it’s easier to show up for others than it is to show up for ourselves.

However you go about tracking, and with whatever app you choose, I can’t stress enough how much it helps just to have a system in place. It can be as old school as a calendar printout and you check off the days you go for a run/walk. We’re terrible at keeping track in our mind, so having a visual can be the difference between staying consistent in our healthy living or falling off the wagon.

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