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5 great apps for new runners

These running apps will get you up to speed and on the way to completing your fitness goals.

If learning how to run is on your list of New Year's resolutions, you may need a little help. Here are the best apps to give your dreams of becoming a runner a real boost. 

Do you need them all? Probably not, but each one has unique features that make them worth checking out.



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A good running app can help you keep track of your progress, connect you with a supportive running community and monitor your breathing, heart rate and more.

Strava is CNET's number one pick for running apps for 2018.  

 Strava features:

  • Running log
  • Large fitness community 
  • Real-time performance tracker
  • Performance analyzer

A little competitiveness can get you out on the pavement. This app also connects you with friends so you can compare stats. 

It works with devices and services such as Fitbit, Garmin, Polar, Timex, TomTom, Suunto and more, so you don't need to worry about compatibility issues.

Strava is available on iOS and Android (free, with in-app purchases from $7.99 to $60).


Another great app is MapMyRun. It helps you find running trails or routes, which is super helpful for beginners. 

You can also connect it with your Under Armour smart shoes, if you have them. The shoes have a chip that syncs with the app to record your GPS location as you run to save your route and real-time stats, such as how hard your foot is hitting the pavement, steps per minute, heart rate and more.

MapMyRun is available on iOS and Android (free, in-app purchases from $5.99 to $30).

My Run Plan

Many new runners pick up a copy of Runner's World Magazine to learn tips and tricks, but don't overlook its app, My Run Plan. Its main feature is its training plans. You decide a goal, like running a 5-miler, and the app helps you with a training plan to fit your needs and get you to your goal.

Another of my favorite features is the help feature. You can email questions to any of Runcoach's USATF-certified coaches and they will respond within 24 hours.

My Run Plan is available on iOS and Android ($9.95 per month or $64.95 annually after a two-week free trial). 


Runkeeper, like My Run Plan, can also help you create a training plan. With Runkeeper you can choose from workout plans or training plans, depending on your goals. That means if you're not ready to plan for a marathon, you can get a fitness plan to build your distance or endurance goals instead. 

The app is very personalized. First you take a fitness assessment quiz. Then each plan is customized to fit your needs by analyzing your quiz answers. 

Runkeeper is available on iOS and Android  (free, in-app purchases from $0.99 to $40).



Sarah Tew/CNET


Nutrition is a big part of becoming a successful runner. So although MyFitnessPal isn't strictly a running app, I'm including it. The app helps you keep a digital food diary and tracks your calorie, water, carb, protein and fat intake by analyzing your food entries. You can also log workouts, steps and set goals.  

I love that you can just scan the bar codes on food and drink packaging to upload nutrition information -- no need to search for it in the app, though that is an option.

I personally recommend this app if you're wanting to lose some weight (it's also one of CNET's top fitness apps for 2018). Using it to track my meals helped me lose over 100 pounds.

MyFitnessPal is available on iOS and Android (free, in-app purchases from $0.99 to $50).

Update, Jan. 5: This article has been updated with new information on some of the apps.

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