The best running apps to try in 2021

    31 December 2020

    If you’re feeling like it’s time to shed that Christmas bloat, especially after such a long period for many of staying inside, with all the stresses and strains that entails, then running should be your go-to.

    Running doesn’t have to be about apps, technology and tracking your progress. It doesn’t even have to be about anything apart from the sheer joy of moving. But, if you want something or someone to keep you in-check, here are some go-to apps that could be your first port of call before heading out there on your 2021 running journey.

    Strava; Free (£6.99 a month for premium)

    One of the most well-known. No doubt that if you’re into running, you’ve come across Strava before and are aware of its features – competing on segments of runs or cycles, discovering new routes, getting analytical with a variety of performance metrics and a seamless, user-friendly training dashboard. Many people use the free version and for most it’ll do the job, but if you’re looking to take your experience to a slightly different level, Strava offer a £6.99 a month (currently on special offer at £4 a month) premium subscription that gives you access to a variety of different goal setting modes, personal performance training, heatmaps and advanced logs to help you keep an eye on your progress.

    Nike Training & Nike Run Club, Free

    Running specific workouts and yoga for runners are two elements of these apps that excel, but in general they’re fantastic all-rounders for those wanting to get fit with programmed, prescribed workouts that are dedicated to your way of working out. The programmes are led by ‘master trainers,’ meaning that there’s always that guidance, support and voice in your ear to keep you motivated. One neat little feature of the Nike Run Club is that it allows you to track how many miles you’ve run in each pair of shoes you own – whether they’re Nike or not.

    Komoot; One-time package purchase options from £3.99 to £29.99

    Komoot prides itself on being the app you need to explore more of the great outdoors, and this is the perfect companion for runners who want to step foot into the unknown and break free of their regular running routines. Komoot offers fantastic options for hikers and trail runners in particular, allowing you fantastic route planning and navigation facilities that mean you can keep on top of navigation when exercising. The planning tools make it a great tool for building your perfect running routes, logging them after each session to build a comprehensive picture of where you like to run, how far and for how long.

    Zombies, Run; free

    “Only a few have survived the zombie epidemic. You are a Runner en-route to one of humanity’s last remaining outposts. They need your help to gather supplies, rescue survivors, and defend their home. And you have another mission — one they don’t know about…”

    So goes the opening statement on the Zombies, Run website. This is a running app with a bit of a different mission – to motivate you by spawning zombies to run after you. Although it sounds glib, it works. Your heart races when zombies come running after you, pushing and spurring you on to run further, faster and with more dedication. It’s got a fully-fledged story, meaning you’ll wanting to head out running to get to the next chapter. Clever and addictive.

    Couch to 5k

    Couch to 5k is a very popular and well-known public health initiative that has turned even the most ardent settee-worshipers into running gurus. It works – Josh Clark, the brains behind the plan, developed it for his 50-something mum to get off the sofa and take up running as an absolute beginner. And here’s where this app really excels. If getting up and working out, let alone running any distance, seems like a daunting prospect, this app can guide you through the process. There’s more information on the NHS website –

    Auro;  14-day free trial, £4.99 a month afterwards or £59.99 annually

    Auro is a London-based startup, focussed on providing motivational audio workouts guided by expert trainers and tailored to individual requirements. Plug in a pair of headphones, and have a multitude of exercise regimes at your disposal, all linked up to different wearables with hyper-personalised fitness experiences and motivation to accompany your workout. We liked the audio element of this app – providing audio motivation is more suited to runners who don’t like looking at their screen whilst on the move – so we’d recommend this as a good option amongst the multi-discipline home workout apps that are on the market at the moment.