We are in the home stretch of our marathon training- only 2 weeks left to go! We won’t have any new surprises in our training until race day so the next 14 days are the perfect time to relax and have some fun with our workouts. Recently, I have been shaking things up during long runs by testing out new running apps for smart phones. Whether or not you like to listen to music or podcasts while you run, most of us have our smart phone on us whenever we hit the streets. While I personally like to run headphones-free, I still have my iPhone on my arm to help me keep track of mileage, pace and my route. With so many fitness apps out there available for Apple or Android devices, it is hard to find just one that is right for your routine. However, with the number of free or inexpensive ones available, it’s easy to grab a few to rotate between, depending on your mood!
Basic Running Apps– These apps were designed to be tools for runners and can keep track of distance, pace, lap time, etc. but many offer fun challenges and progress trackers to keep things interesting:
Endomondo (free) – This app is great for runners who like to be social. Sign-up with Facebook and the app instantly finds friends for you to challenge and compete against. Interested in a larger competition? Sign up for one of the many global challenges offered each week and train alongside athletes around the world. Fun overall mileage trackers can also tell you how many times you have run around the world or to the moon and calorie counters let you know how many “burgers burned” on each run (veggie burgers, of course!)
RunKeeper (free) – If you have ever wanted the personal trainer experience without the personal trainer price, look no further than RunKeeper. While it does an excellent job of tracking your fitness and workout progress like other apps, it offers personalized or pre-installed workouts with audio cues and motivation that mimic a little running coach in your ear. Ask any longtime runner which apps they use regularly use and you’ll surely hear RunKeeper mentioned at the top.
Map My Run (free) – While all running apps have GPS tracking capabilities, Map My Run actually allows you to create and save routes to follow on your runs. It is great when you just want to hit the road and explore new terrain on a run or while on a trip to an unfamiliar city. This app allows you the freedom to break away from your everyday route while still keeping perfect track of your mileage.
Fun, Innovative Running Apps– If you ever get bored with putting one foot in front of the other, get a little motivation by running in the Grand Canyon (on your treadmill), raising money for charities around the country or outsmarting and outrunning a pack of hungry zombies!
Virtual Runner (free) – One of the coolest apps I have found is Virtual Runner. This app allows you to run routes all over the world, right from your smartphone or tablet. Especially good for rainy-day treadmill running, Virtual Runner can take you through the Boston Marathon, The Australian Outback or the Grand Canyon. While additional fees apply to gain access to each run, it is a fun way to shake up a long, indoor workout.
Charity Miles (free) – This app, which lets you “donate without opening your wallet” partners with various charities to raise money based off of your workouts. By becoming a sponsored athlete (which is as simple as signing up and pressing start) runners can earn 25¢ every mile. Distance trackers within the app calculate the charitable impact and give you a translated real-world impact report after each run. Just think about how much of an impact you could make on marathon day!
Zombies, Run! ($3.99) – If you are just looking for a little fun motivation during your runs, try carrying the weight of the entire human race on your shoulders. Zombies, Run! makes you part of a post-apocalyptic base that needs your help rebuilding to survive, all while being attached by hordes of zombies. Keep track of the story through radio messages and voice recordings which play throughout your workout to keep you motivated and help you outrun zombie attacks.
Cross Training Apps– There are even loads of apps for cross-training and fitness which are not specifically for running, which would be great for Sunday cross-training. For cycling workouts and motivation, check out Strava Running and Cycling (free), for beautifully outlined yoga workouts check out Yoga Studio ($2.99) and shake things up (literally) with a Zumba workout from Zumba Dance ($4.99). Also, check out other great articles on Peaceful Dumpling to find even more of the best fitness apps.
Only 2 weeks left! Here is your fourteenth week of recommended workouts:
Monday: 10 minute warm up, 20 minute easy run, 5 minute cool down
Tuesday: 10 minute warm up, 60 minute run at race pace, 5 minute cool down
Wednesday: 10 minute warm up, 30 minute easy run, 5 minute cool down
Thursday: 10 minute warm up, 30 minute easy run, 5 minute cool down
Saturday: 1 mile warm up, 10 mile easy run, 10 minute cool down
Sunday: Cross train 30-60 minutes
Keep up with your weekly marathon training and find running tips every Monday on Peaceful Dumpling!
Photo: Claire Harris