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Four killer iPhone apps for runners

Whether you've just bought your first pair of running shoes or you're a seasoned marathoner, you'll find at least one must-have app for your iPhone.

The Get Running app lives up to its name, gradually guiding you from couch to 5K.

I used to run without music. Then I started bringing along an MP3 player. And finally I caved in to strapping my iPhone to my arm.

Sure, it's a little unwieldy, but it's comforting to have a phone with you just in case you need a sag wagon.

And don't forget the apps. Your iPhone can double not only as an iPod, but also a GPS watch, a route map, and a personal trainer. Here's my list of must-have apps for new and seasoned runners alike.

  • FlickTunes If your iPhone is coming along solely for iPod duty, check out FlickTunes. This 99-cent app turns the entire screen into a playback control: flick left for the next song, right for the previous one, up to pause, and so on. Sure beats trying to futz with the standard controls while you're running.
  • Get Running New to running? This 99-cent app guides you from couch to 5K over the course of nine weeks. It's a complete training program, with audio prompts that let you know when to run, when to walk, and so on.
  • RunKeeper Pro As I discussed last month, I think RunKeeper's a better system than Nike + iPod. The latest update, released yesterday, can automatically start a selected playlist when you start your run--very handy. It also adds real-time route tracking and support for geo-tagged status updates/photos. Worth every penny of the $9.99 price tag. (But the free version's still awesome, too.)
  • WalkJogRun Routes Looking for a good route to run while on vacation? Or a new one near home? This $2.99 app taps a library of over 400,000 user-created routes. A newly added city-search feature lets you plan ahead, and you can create your own routes on the WalkJogRun site. Read more about it in my original writeup.

OK, race fans: your turn. What apps do you take on the run? And what's your preferred method of carrying your iPhone? Armband case? If so, which one? Hit the comments to talk apps, gear, and, if you want, running in general!