Home Sport 6 Best Running Apps for Beginners: Which One Should You Try?

6 Best Running Apps for Beginners: Which One Should You Try?

Written By
Kinjal Kanani
|
medically-reviewed-symbol
Fact checked by the medical team
|
Sport
Sep 16
0 comments
4690 Views
Reading time: 8 min
woman doing shoe laces and a phone
shutterstock.com

We may earn a small commission when you purchase through links on this page. Learn More

When you start running, it might seem difficult to motivate yourself. Learning to enjoy running takes time. You need to build muscle, endurance, and stamina with regularly scheduled runs.

Not all of us can afford a personal trainer to drag you out of bed on cold, rainy mornings to put your trainers on.

But that’s no excuse to skip a run. With so many running apps available, your phone will push you to run further, faster, and better. Basic features like tracking distance, heart rate, and calories burned will help you see the value of your runs. Many apps allow you to create local running routes and offer tips for beginner runners.

If you’re ready to start running, here are 6 of the best running apps for beginners to help you achieve your fitness goals.

Running Apps: Comparison Table

hand-indicating-scroll-ability
nike run logo
Runkeeper App logo
CardioCast
aidlab logo
pacer app logo
4.5 / 5
stars
4.2 / 5
stars
3.7 / 5
stars
3.9 / 5
stars
4.1 / 5
stars
3.9 / 5
stars

Like a personal trainer in your pocket, Joggo will create custom running and meal plans that adjust according to your performance.

Looking for a sociable running app? The Nike+ Run Club app lets you share your runs with friends and motivate each other’s fitness journeys.

Best for simplicity – the Runkeeper app tracks walking, running, and biking. It offers training plans when you upgrade to a subscription.

With a range of audio-guided workouts (including strength training and activities), CardioCast lets you create an adaptable fitness plan for your level.

Aidlab provides you with a wealth of facts and figures about your body’s condition to help you improve your performance.

A general fitness app that counts your steps throughout the day, whether your phone is in your hand or not.

Personalized running plan based on your age, gender, BMI, fitness levels, and goals.
Added meal plans to support your performance.
Share photos of your route alongside running stats and sign up for motivational challenges to meet your fitness goals.
An easy-to-use app perfect for beginners.
It has all the basic features, from GPS tracking to pace and calories burned.
When you achieve your goals, CardioCast rewards you with an Amazon gift voucher – you can earn back up to 50% of the subscription cost.
Aidlab’s data gives you an overall picture of your health and fitness levels.
Sets fun challenges and tracks key data to improve your fitness levels and monitor your performance over time.
No free version available.
Cannot transfer running data to other platforms.
Relatively basic features compared to other running apps.
You need to subscribe to access all the features.
For more accurate details, you’ll need to purchase the Aidlab Heart Monitor.
Not specifically for running; you might outgrow Pacer’s basic features.
Brand
nike run logo
Runkeeper App logo
CardioCast
aidlab logo
pacer app logo
Rating
4.5 / 5
stars
4.2 / 5
stars
3.7 / 5
stars
3.9 / 5
stars
4.1 / 5
stars
3.9 / 5
stars
Product info

Like a personal trainer in your pocket, Joggo will create custom running and meal plans that adjust according to your performance.

Looking for a sociable running app? The Nike+ Run Club app lets you share your runs with friends and motivate each other’s fitness journeys.

Best for simplicity – the Runkeeper app tracks walking, running, and biking. It offers training plans when you upgrade to a subscription.

With a range of audio-guided workouts (including strength training and activities), CardioCast lets you create an adaptable fitness plan for your level.

Aidlab provides you with a wealth of facts and figures about your body’s condition to help you improve your performance.

A general fitness app that counts your steps throughout the day, whether your phone is in your hand or not.

Pros
Personalized running plan based on your age, gender, BMI, fitness levels, and goals.
Added meal plans to support your performance.
Share photos of your route alongside running stats and sign up for motivational challenges to meet your fitness goals.
An easy-to-use app perfect for beginners.
It has all the basic features, from GPS tracking to pace and calories burned.
When you achieve your goals, CardioCast rewards you with an Amazon gift voucher – you can earn back up to 50% of the subscription cost.
Aidlab’s data gives you an overall picture of your health and fitness levels.
Sets fun challenges and tracks key data to improve your fitness levels and monitor your performance over time.
Cons
No free version available.
Cannot transfer running data to other platforms.
Relatively basic features compared to other running apps.
You need to subscribe to access all the features.
For more accurate details, you’ll need to purchase the Aidlab Heart Monitor.
Not specifically for running; you might outgrow Pacer’s basic features.

The 6 Best Running Apps for Beginners

Running is addictive, but getting to the stage where you enjoy each workout takes time and patience. In the beginning, you might feel out of breath and sweaty, suffering from stitches and leg cramps, and wonder what on earth you got yourself into. However, enduring beyond the first few runs is worth the effort.

Your chosen running app is like a personal trainer in your pocket. Each of us runs for different reasons. Whether you want to track performance with running data, learn running techniques, or start a training plan, there’s something for everyone.

So, get your running gear on and head to the app store. Here are the most popular running apps for beginners. Almost 60 million people in the US participate in running; could you be one of them?

#1 Joggo – Best overall running app for beginners

Joggo is a running app to help people reach their running goals. It’s ideal for beginners, whether you want to run a specific distance or pace target, get in shape and manage your weight, or release emotional tension.

Joggo styles itself as an overall health app. It provides users with a customized meal plan that boosts energy levels to get the most out of their fitness journey.

With personalized training, education, and motivation at its core, Joggo strives to help people achieve even the most ambitious goals. The running app offers:

  • Customized training plans with continuous adjustments based on your running performance
  • Warm-up, stretching, cool-down exercises, and treadmill workouts
  • Education and beginner advice about running
  • Rewarding points to motivate runners to stick to their plans
  • Running specialists to help with questions and injuries

Forget the old excuse of “I don’t have time to run” – Joggo will help you find time in your busy schedule to create a running routine. Joggo is our favorite choice of all the best running apps for beginners. Its personalized training programs, running workouts, and premium features will help you fall in love with running.

checkmark
Personalized running plan based on age, BMI, gender, and fitness goals
checkmark
Educational articles and smart running tips
checkmark
Customized meal plan and selection of popular diets to improve your overall health
checkmark
Beginner-friendly
checkmark
In-house running specialist to help with questions and injuries
checkmark
Motivational reward system to push you to stick to the training plan
cross
No free version

#2 Nike+ Run Club – Best social running app

Do you feel more motivated when you have a support group? Running clubs are an excellent way to start your fitness journey. Often, we are more likely to finish a training plan when we tell others we are doing it. However, local running clubs sometimes seem like a thing of the past.

Worry not – Nike+ Run Club will recreate the social aspect of running on your phone. Share your runs with friends and family across the world. Give each other supportive encouragement and advice; challenge each other to improve your personal bests. Share pictures of the beautiful scenery you run past each day.

The Nike+ Run Club app also has all the basic features, like tracking your pace, elevation, and distance. The app stores your runs to reflect on your history and see how you’ve improved over time. Plus, it has audio coaches to help beginner runners get started.

checkmark
Coaching plans to help you stay on track
checkmark
Social media sharing options
checkmark
Connects with Spotify
checkmark
Audio coaching during runs
checkmark
Create custom running plans
cross
Cannot transfer running data to other apps
cross
It might seem unintuitive for beginner runners
a man running and checking his watch
shutterstock.com

#3 Runkeeper – Best app for simplicity

All the tools and running stats advanced runners love may seem overwhelming when you start. Do you need to know your cadence, heart rate, and estimated sweat lost to survive a 5K? Some apps stick to the basics and nothing more.

Runkeeper is the product of the running shoe brand Asics. As experts on running shoes, their app offers specialist advice to improve your running technique and efficiency.

Runkeeper tracks all the basics like distance, time, calories burned, pace, and virtual challenges. Plus, you can find other runners – either virtual or in-person running buddies – through Runkeeper and motivate each other with healthy competition. Set custom goals and plan running routes with GPS tracking. You can also track biking or walking.

As you progress, you can upgrade to access training plans and push yourself to run a 10K or even a marathon. The premium membership provides further details about your running performance that expert runners love.

checkmark
Free app with a paid upgrade option to access premium features
checkmark
Easy-to-use interface
checkmark
Excellent for beginners
checkmark
An audio coach provides motivational verbal updates about your time, distance, and pace as you run
checkmark
Treadmill mode
cross
Relatively basic platform with few features
cross
Custom race-training plans only available with a subscription
cross
GPS tracking drains phone battery

#4 CardioCast – Best app for audio coaching

Are you tired of looking at your phone screen? CardioCast offers down-to-earth running coaching and the option to listen to your own playlists as you run.

Moreover, CardioCast lets you track indoor cycling, elliptical workouts, running, jogging, walking, strength training, yoga, rowing, and even dog walking.

Stay on track of all your activities to see how your fitness adds up over time. The app offers a range of at-home, no-equipment audio-guided workouts, so you have no excuse to skip a trip to the gym.

CardioCast records heart rate, steps, distance, and calories burned. Like most other running apps, you can set goals and customize workout routines.

Perhaps the best element of CardioCast is the reward scheme. If you stick to your workout schedule, the running app rewards you with Amazon gift cards. What better way to force yourself out of bed for a run before work than getting paid for it?

With so many running apps charging subscriptions, it’s good to know CardioCast will give you your money back when you run. With 20 workouts in a month, you can earn back up to 50% of the annual subscription cost.

checkmark
Reward scheme
checkmark
Integrates with various devices
checkmark
Free trial
checkmark
Tailor workouts to your fitness level
cross
You need to subscribe to use all the tools
cross
No built-in GPS function

#5 Aidlab – Best app for motivation

If you need strong motivation to get your running gear on and begin your workouts, Aidlab is one of the best incentivizing apps for beginners. Aidlab provides valuable data that gives you something to work toward. Use your running stats to set reasonable and achievable goals.

Furthermore, Aidlab tracks your activities throughout the day. You don’t need to feel bad about skipping a run, as Aidlab will add all your steps as a workout. Don’t worry about pressing “start” on an exercise – Aidlab counts everything you do toward your goals. Putting the bins out? Running to catch a bus? Aidlab will track your steps, heart rate, and calories burned 24/7.

With such a range of data, you can truly understand your body’s condition. Learn how many breaths you take per minute, your heart rate variability, and more. Competitive runners find information about their bodies valuable to target weaknesses and overcome challenging goals.

checkmark
Tracks all your activities, including daily steps
checkmark
Detailed stats, including fat burned and floors climbed
checkmark
Share data with your doctor to receive more personalized medical care
cross
Need external equipment to track heart rate and other details accurately
cross
It may be too overwhelming for a beginner runner

#6 Pacer – Best running app for complete beginners

If the thought of lacing up your trainers and starting with a 1k or even a gentle jog sends shivers down your spine, you might want to consider Pacer. Many beginner runners never start with walking running routes to get their general fitness levels up. If you’re not sure you are ready for more advanced running apps, the Pacer app will ease you into working out.

Pacer is very basic. It tracks your steps throughout the day, whether your phone is in your hand or not. If you struggle to reach a 10,000 or 20,000-step goal, this popular running app will encourage you to meet your mileage. Pacer sets fun challenges and tracks critical data.

However, Pacer is not specifically for runners. While it’s excellent for new runners, you might find you quickly outgrow the fitness app and look for other apps as you progress.

checkmark
Easy-to-use interface
checkmark
Integrates with MyFitnessPal, Apple Watch, and the Apple Health app
checkmark
Tracks blood pressure
checkmark
Tracks your steps throughout the day
checkmark
Aimed at beginners
cross
Monthly or annual subscription to use premium features
cross
Not specifically for runners
cross
Basic fitness and running goals
legs of a running man
shutterstock.com

How to Choose

How did we choose the best running apps for beginners?

  • Beginner-friendly: Many running apps are available, but not all are intuitive or easy for beginners. We chose running apps with features and workouts that specifically support new runners to stick with their training plans.
  • Meet health goals: Unlike other apps, our choices support your overall health journey. From the meal plans with Joggo and CardioCast’s additional workouts, our best running apps support all your health goals.
  • Fun and motivational: Running is a chore for newbies. Our choices add fun to the game with challenges, motivational audio coaches, and social aspects.
  • Popularity: Joggo has more than 50,000 downloads. All our options are loved by runners worldwide, proving that they work.

A Word From Our MD

Beginning your running journey requires motivation and determination. Learning to enjoy working out is very rewarding for your physical and mental health. 

From basic data, such as step counting, to advanced features, like healthy meal planning, running apps help people get fit. Consider your biggest challenges when sticking with a training plan to find an app that suits you. Do you find that you struggle to find the time? Or do you need a support group around you?

Every running app offers different features designed to ease you into the sport. When you start slowly with beginner-friendly technology in your pocket, your body will surprise you with what it can do in no time.

FAQ

How much should I run to lose weight?

Running 1 mile burns about 100 calories. It’s an excellent form of cardio. If you regularly run a few miles weekly, you’ll soon find your fitness levels improving, and you may lose weight. For instance, to lose 1 pound of fat, you should run 35 miles per week.

Will I lose belly fat by running?

Regular moderate and high-intensity aerobic exercise can reduce belly fat without changing your diet. However, you should adopt healthier eating habits while completing a running training plan to lose belly fat quickly.

Does running give abs?

Effective and efficient running requires core strength. Complementing your running training plan with core strength training will improve your abdominal muscle definition and running technique (preventing injuries). Moreover, running reduces overall body fat, which can help you achieve better definition.

Conclusion

Starting a fitness journey is often intimidating. It’s easy to give up. However, with motivational support from the best running apps for beginners, you’ll find your determination doesn’t waiver. Before you know it, you’ll be a top runner. 

Our top pick, Joggo, will help you meet all your health goals.

Written by
Kinjal Kanani

Kinjal Kanani is a medical doctor who graduated in 2015 from the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences and has been working in her profession since then. Kinjal’s goal is to increase health awareness and help people improve their health through nutrition and lifestyle changes.

medically-reviewed-symbol
Fact checked by the medical team
woman doing shoe laces and a phone

Comments (0)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

arrow-facing-top

More Articles About SPORT

Newsletter

Newsletter

Subscribe to our health and wellness newsletter where we share healthy living tips, news, and wellness ideas.