My favorite running apps and how I use them

For the last six months, I’ve been running  with a watch  (the Garmin 225) and an iPod shuffle. No phone. Phone-free running is the one time I’m not umbilically connected to email, to social media, and to the ability to google any question that crosses my brainwaves.

BUT,  my iPod shuffle is broken (it made an accidental trip through the washing machine as a stowaway in the pocket of my running shorts) so I’ve been running with my iPhone in order to listen to music. Running with a phone opens a whole avenue of apps I can use to improve my running experience.

Using my iPhone, last weekend I had a really successful app-powered run.  I wanted to share it with you as an example of how technology can improve  and inform your running experience. All of these apps are entirely free. (At least the way I’m using them, some offer add-ons for additional fees, but I’m more than satisfied with what I’m getting at no cost.)

Here we go!

Last Saturday, I was in Westhampton and wanted to squeeze in a short morning run. Westhampton is an area I don’t know very well. Before I set out, I used the Map My Run app to find a route. I didn’t want to end up on a main road, somewhere boring or industrial. I wanted to run to the beach!

Map My Run allows you to enter your starting point and then refine your search by a host of filters including length of run.

Map My Run
finding a route, or at least a direction, in Map My Run

While on the run, I used Strava to track my progress in real-time. You can choose to have audio cues interrupt your tunes and read out the mile markers and your pace. I also used Strava to modify my route mid-run, since Strava uses Google Maps and GPS I can see exactly where I am on a map and choose a direction based on real information.

Strava map from Sunday's run
Strava map from Sunday’s run

There are a number of apps that track your run, but a fun element of Strava is its social networking component. I follow my running friends on the app, and we can “like” and comment on each other’s runs. If you’d like to keep your runs more private, don’t accept any friend requests or use RunKeeper, another solid choice.

a little snark from my friend Steph
a little Strava comment snark from my friend Steph

Since my phone was with me during the run, I was able to count the miles I ran toward my Apple Health step count. This app comes with your iPhone, and its symbol is a pink heart on a white square. This app is likely already counting your steps, whether you know it or not. So go take a look! I’ve synced Apple Health to automatically share data with My Fitness Pal. I use MFP  often use to track my meals. The more you workout (and the more calories you burn), the more My Fitness Pal recommends you eat.

finding a route, or at least a direction, in Map My Run

When I increase my mileage, I’m never sure what exactly how to increase my food intake, and MFP helps de-mystify the that piece of nutrion.

So I am basically a robot now. Are you?  Do you use technology to provide data on your run? 


  1. eatinggreenforlife
    July 31, 2016 / 9:11 am

    It wasn’t snarky!!!! It was 100 degrees that day! I was simply impressed 😘

    • Nicole
      August 1, 2016 / 7:33 am

      Steph how did I not know you had a cooking blog?

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