This guide will teach you how to get the most out of your interval running by making the smart use of apps. Ideal for targeting interval training, improving your muscular endurance or boosting your cardiovascular health. Show you how to employ them to advance your overall health and fitness
Table of Contents
Best Apps For Interval Running
Best for: Interval lovers
Have a need for speed? Then you’ll love iSmoothRun, which allows you to set custom intervals prior to lacing up. Preset your 400-meter repeats; it’ll also account for those much-needed rest breaks. Can’t remember why that one run last week didn’t go so well? iSmoothRun’s weather-logging feature adds in notes on temperature and humidity to jog your memory (sorry, we had to) so you’ll know that high humidity could be to blame. ($4.99; iOS)
Strava Running App
Best for: Weekend warriors
If teamwork is your thing (thrown in with a little healthy competition, of course), Strava is the app for you. Use one of over 50 compatible GPS devices — like your Garmin or your Timex — to upload your data, then compare it with your friends’ routes and paces. (You know, so you can identify which pals you’re going to pick off at your next half-marathon.) This app will even help you find local races, city running guides and running clubs. You’ll never have to run alone again! (Free; iOS, Android)
Map My Run App
Best for: Discovering new routes
The same site you know and love for, well, mapping your run, also has a reliable companion app for when you’re on the move. Every single route you’ve mapped will sync up to your smartphone, so you won’t forget the whereabouts of that hilly five-miler you ran on family vacation last year. Training for a race? You can also use their MapMyRun Trainer app to find training plans for races of distances between 5K and a 50K. (Free; iOS, Android)
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Best for: Runners with rhythm
What’s a run without good tunes keeping you pumped up, right? And that’s the coolest feature of Runkeeper: its ability to seamlessly sync your pace up to your music. Specifically, the app’s “DJ” analyzes the music on your phone, detecting each song’s mood and tempo, then plays a track that matches up with your speed. If you tend to over-obsess about your pace, set RunKeeper to “stopwatch mode” and it’ll solely display time elapsed — but don’t worry, distance is still recorded, too. (Free; iOS, Android)
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Nike Plus Running App
- Nike+ Running
Best for: Bragging rights
Consider this baby the OG of running apps. Released in 2006 and originally dubbed Nike+iPod, this DailyBurn staff-favorite has gone through four iterations, adding in cool features over the years like virtual coaching, an in-app camera for instant running pics and post-workout motivation from top Nike athletes like Alyson Felix. Was today the day you ran your #fastestmile, or logged your longest run? Earn some serious social media cred by sharing your feats (including a customized map of your route) instantly with your friends on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. (Free; iOS, Android)
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Endomondo Running App
Best for: Helping you go the extra mile
If you’re looking for a push to help you meet your goals, download Endomondo, stat. Its commitment feature will serve as a virtual accountability partner, gently reminding you via push notification to get those runs in for the week. And for six extra bucks a month, the app’s premium version provides a specific training plan designed around how you’ve been pacing on recent runs. Oh, and it can also show you the amount of hamburgers you burn off from every run — certainly a metric we can get behind. (Free; iOS, Android)
Fuel My Run
Photo: Fuel My Run
- Fuel My Run
Best for: Avoiding the dreaded wall
If running a half-marathon or full marathon is in your future, you’re going to need to learn how to start fueling on the run. Yes, that means ingesting those weird foil packets of gel. But if you’re unsure of when to start taking down your energy chews or gels, this app will remind you when exactly to eat, swallow and repeat. And just like that, you pushed right through the wall. Take that, mile 21. ($1.99; iOS)
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Couch to 5K Active App
Photo: Couch to 5K
- Couch to 5K
Best for: Undiscovered athletes
It’s totally cool if running’s new to you, and Couch to 5K ensures you can tackle a 3.1-mile race in just nine weeks. Clear 30 minutes a day, three days a week and you’ll be toeing that start line ready, physically prepped and mentally stoked. Throughout each workout, the app cues your run and walk intervals while the virtual trainer will whisper sweet motivational tips into your earbuds. Optional social badges help you share your successes along the road to your first race. ($1.99; iOS, Android)
Best free interval running app
- ASICS Runkeeper
One of the first running apps on the scene, ASICS Runkeeper™ is an easy-to-use app that tracks your pace, distance, calories burned, time, and more. Look back on past runs to track your progress and discover new routes near you. It’s one of the best running apps for beginners, providing basic run data to help you get into your new routine, but has straightforward info runners at every skill level will appreciate.
- Map My Run
The Map My Run™ by Under Armor® app offers all the basic functionality of a running app: pace, distance, calories burned, and time, with the added benefit of linking to compatible fitness trackers and heart rate monitors. You can also input more robust data like food consumption and track the distance logged on your running shoes—the app will even alert you when it’s time for a new pair. A cool function of this app is the ability to specify the type of run (treadmill, trail, neighborhood stroll, etc.), which can be helpful when analyzing your performance.
- Adidas Running App by Runtastic
Another popular app, adidas Running App by Runtastic™, is your basic running app that links to Google Earth for easy route-mapping. The analytics in this app are great, with graphs and charts depicting your progress and easy social sharing. It comes with built-in training schedules and even syncs up with Spotify™ and Pandora™ for easy music streaming. This app is great for travelers constantly running in new cities and those looking for more robust reporting of your run data.
PUMATRAC™ offers a sleek interface with all the perks of a basic running app, but with several bonus features to give a holistic view of your workouts. The app pulls in additional information that may impact your run like weather, time of day or day of the month, and synthesizes to determine personal insights. For example, you may find you run best on Friday mornings before 10, or that you run faster when listening to rock music.
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- Nike Run Club
You don’t have to have Nike products to enjoy the benefits of the Nike Run Club™ app. Set your running terrain (treadmill, trails, sidewalk) and the app tracks your pace, distance, calories burned, and time. The thing that sets this app apart are the gamified options that let you share your personal goals, challenge friends and beat your personal record. You can also upload a “Power Song” to play when you need an extra boost on your run.
- Strava: Run, Ride, Swim
If you split your fitness routine between multiple activities, the Strava™ app is a great choice. The unique dashboards track more detailed aspects of your workout like elevation gained, plus more traditional metrics like pace, distance, and time. Other unique features are the leaderboards, achievement badges, and challenges to push you to reach your goals. This app is great for those who like to run off the beaten path and thrive with a little friendly competition.
- Couch to 5K
The Couch to 5K® app is perfect for novice runners looking to get in shape and build up their running regimen in just a few short weeks. Set a goal date for your first 5K and the app will provide training schedules with 20–30 min routes three times a week until your race. The built-in pacing tells you when to walk, when to run, and coaches you through your route while gradually building stamina and strength. Choose 1 of 4 virtual coaches to keep you motivated.
- Pacer Pedometer & Step Tracker
With some pedometer apps, they won’t track steps if your phone isn’t in your hand. That’s not the case with the Pacer Pedometer & Step Tracker™ app. As long as your phone is with you while you walk, jog or just while running errands (hand, pocket, or even purse), it’ll track your steps. If you’re looking for a guided workout, Pacer offers free options like Intro to Interval Walking, Full Body Strength and Daily Stretch. Pacer is also compatible with other fitness monitoring apps like Fitbit™ and MyFitnessPal™.
- Zombies, Run!
With the Zombies, Run!® app, you’ll find yourself immersed in the midst of a zombie apocalypse and running to escape the lifeless monsters chasing you. The more miles you log, the more supplies you win to help your village survive. Run too slow, and the zombies catch you! This is a fun app for those looking for an exciting way to spice up their runs.
- Charity Miles
Charity Miles® is a basic running app that lets you help others while taking care of yourself. Before you start your run, choose the charity you want to donate to that day—there are many to choose from, like the Wounded Warrior Project, Stand Up to Cancer, the ASPCA and more. Then, for each mile you run, walk or bike, corporate sponsors will donate to the cause of your choice. The more you run, the more they donate. Typical donations are $0.10 per mile biked and $0.25 per mile run or walked. Get the kids involved and see how much you can earn for the charity of their choice on your next family walK.
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