Even though we all know that combining a balanced diet with physical activity can lead to weight loss, finding the motivation to hit the pavement or treadmill is sometime hard to come by. We buy a brand new pair of Nikes, put together an energizing playlist, and map out the perfect running route, but when it actually comes time for a little exercise we balk. Don’t worry, even experienced runners sometimes have trouble getting motivated for a light jog. The answer to your inspiration trouble could be waiting on your Smartphone. There are scores of running apps available for the iPhone and Android, so many that it could be hard to choose from. Here are five Smartphone apps that are not only great for getting you out of the house and running, but also cost effective:
Pretty self-explanatory, MapMyRun is a great tool for mapping out your route and even gives you the option of choosing from over 70 million predetermined routes. You can also track your activity including the amount of calories you have burned, your pace throughout the run, and how many miles you have completed. If you’re looking for a challenge in the current city you’re in, the app offers popular routes all over the world. Standard MapMyRun is free to download, but for $4.99 you can upgrade to MapMyRun+ that includes features like an Integrated GPS Camera and iPod compatibility. Winner of the Best Running App 2012 Reader’s Choice at About.com.
RunKeeper is the quintessential app for runners (and cyclers) who strive to reach and beat their goals. This popular running app has already garnered over 30 million downloads and for good reason. Whether you’re looking to set weight loss or distance goals, RunKeeper helps track personal bests so you know when you’re meeting your expectations or falling just short. Feel free to pick from a number of pre-planned routes or make up your own. For that little boost of energy at the end of a long run, an audio update will tell you how many miles you’ve ran, how many calories you’ve burned, and how fast you’ve ran. Show all of your friends the amazing progress you’ve made by posting your results to Facebook. While the standard RunKeeper app is free to download, you can upgrade to RunKeeper Pro for $9.99.
If a personal trainer is what you need for motivation, but don’t feel like spending a whole bunch of money, consider Endomondo. On top of running, this app can track data for a range of different physical activities including cycling, dancing, hiking, golfing, gymnastics, etc. Choose your target goal for an exercise and Endomondo will do the rest by updating you on your progress and telling you when to pick it up. If you’re sick of working out by yourself, this app can also connect you with close friends, family, or one of its millions of fellow users. Send or receive motivational pep talks or challenges to keep each other active. After your workout, look back at all your personal stats like how many calories you burned, how many miles you completed, and how this workout session compared to your last. Download Endomondo for free.
4. Zombies, Run!
If running as if your life depended on it doesn’t get you motivated, nothing will. Zombies, Run! let’s you turn your afternoon jog into an apocalyptic video game where your only chance at survival are your own two feet. Although this may not be the best running app for tracking your speed, distance, and calories, it will provide you with enough inspiration to keep running and “stay alive.” It’s also not just about running away from zombies. Your given tasks to complete that help ensure the safety of you and other survivors such as retrieving supplies. Download Zombies, Run! 5K Training for $1.99 or upgrade to Zombies! Run 3 for $3.99.
5. Ghost Race
If competition is something that drives you to run, Ghost Race is perfect for you. Whether you’re looking to compete against your friend, a fellow runner in your area, or your time from yesterday, this app gives you a virtual opponent anytime, anywhere. Audio function will even update you on your progress compared to your opponent’s. You can also map out your own course and test it out before challenging a “Ghost.” Don’t feel like running for your workout session today? Ghost Race also tracks road and mountain bike distance. You would be hard-pressed to find a better competitive race to run in for $0.99.