Getting Started: The best running apps for beginners

One of the hardest things about running is making the decision to lace up your trainers and hit the road. Once you’ve found the motivation to get started, you’ll quickly find yourself looking forward to your next run and wanting to become faster, run longer, and tracking your process so you can see how quickly you jump on board the road to success. You just need to get started: and the wonder of modern technology has given us a few tools to make the process much easier.

Running technology doesn’t have to be expensive: there’s no need to buy a fancy fitness tracker with all the bells and whistles, particularly if you’re new to running. Simply download one of the following apps to your iPhone or tablet, ensure that it’s protected with a sturdy cover in case you drop it whilst you’re running, and hit the road. Here are the best running apps for beginners:

RunKeeper (Free)

RunKeeper is one of the most popular, most frequently downloaded apps currently available for the running market, and it doesn’t cost a penny. This clever little app is able to track all of your most vital running stats, including your distance, your speed, and your caloric output.   It also includes GPS tracking so you can look at your route and ensure you always know how to get home. The app works in conjunction with the website,, so that you can keep track of your stats over time, and monitor your progress. Want to keep your friends and family informed of your progress? The app can also be used to post your results to Facebook or Twitter, ideal for creating a little healthy competition amongst your running companions.

Endomondo (Free)

In a very similar way to RunKeeper, Endomondo tracks your distance, speed and caloric output in real time, giving you instant access to your progress as you run. However this app also offers audio services which enable you to listen to audio coaching or feedback as you run and, if you need a little extra motivation, you can even programme it so that your friends or loved ones can give you an audio pep talk when you need it. As both apps are free, you could choose to download both RunKeeper and Endomondo and see which app is best suited to your running needs and your personality.

Zombies, Run! (£2.29 per month)

Have you tried running before but find it a little boring? Have you ever said the only way you’ll run is if someone’s chasing you? Then this fun app is the perfect motivational app for you! Zombies, Run! Is an app that simulates an exciting (zombie filled) adventure. You are the hero of the piece, and you have to get from place to place, finding supplies and completing missions: all by running, of course! Just put on your trainers, put on your headphones, and hit the road for a drama more exciting than any Saturday night TV special. With a great storyline that is read by talented voice actors, you’ll quickly find yourself immersed in a world of adventure so gripping that you won’t even realise you’re running. This app is entertaining, fully immersive, and will push you to go the distance, whether you want to or not!

Couch to 5k (£1.49)

This is the ideal app for complete running novices who need some guidance and advice to get them off the sofa and on the road in a way that is both slow and safe. The couch to 5k programme sets out a nine week running programme that means if you run for just 30 minutes, three times a week for nine weeks, you’ll finish the course ready to run your first 5k race. The app is ideal because it goes at a pace that will best suit you: you begin the course running, walking and resting at intervals, until the resting and walking time is decreased as your energy and fitness levels increase. This app has been created with helping thousands of people get off their sofas and develop a passion for running, making it the ideal place for any novice to start.  

runbritain handicap scoring system (Free)

And when you're ready to race or do your first parkrun, the runbritain handicap scoring system will keep track of your race result and will also rate your performance on the day, using a vSSS score that then calculates your handicap score. This system has been created get runners racing and benefit from having a target to work towards. Not only does it reward good performances but also regular racing so that you are constantly looking forward to that next racing opportunity!