The Very Best Running & Cycling apps

11 July

Technology is everywhere… amateur or professional, cyclist or runner, everyone is using their smart phone or watch to its full potential. And nowhere is this more evident than in our love of fitness apps – whether it is to find a route, monitor progress or motivate, there are hundreds of exercise-related apps on the market that can help you achieve your goal, no matter what that is. If you’re an app novice or looking for something a bit different, there’s – as the advert goes – an app for that. Here are a few of our favourites…

Cyclist checks his smart phone app for details of his cycle ride

RUNNING

Running outside is very different from running on the treadmill and one of the main reasons for that is because without a treadmill it’s not that easy to monitor your training programme, distance, progress etc.  That’s where running apps come into their own. They can track every footfall, every route, leaving you to simply appreciate the great outdoors.Strava cycling and running tracker app

Strava

Strava is for anyone striving for better, whether it’s improving their own PB or racing against others and many marathon runners and triathletes use it, often in conjunction with other apps.

Through Strava you can map, plan, compete, analyse and challenge yourself in every part of your training.  You can ask coaches questions via its message board, take part in Strava community challenges, or compare other members’ achievements to your own. It is particularly good for triathletes because it applies to cycling, running and swimming. It is dubbed the social media network for athletes, for good reason.

Strava mobile app screenshotsOne of its coolest features is the Beacon which shares your location with whomever you decide – meaning it is safer to go for a long run or out for a ride alone.  As the app claims to have the world’s largest route and trail resource, this Beacon could be handy. The one downside is that Strava doesn’t link directly to your music, hence why a lot of people use other running apps as well.

How much? Strava is free to sign up to for the basic membership.

Map My Run

This app does what it says on the tin and is probably the best route planner of all the running apps. If you have run five kilometres and want to go a little further, or even a lot further, you can easily see routes that other runners have taken to do this.  It is very easy to use, but has quite a few ads popping up on it, which can be a bit irritating. It has also teamed up with MyFitnessPal to help you keep track of your nutrition during training.

How much? Map my run is a free to sign up to and also has a Map my Ride or Map my Hike link.

Nike+ Run Club

Nike Run Club App

Nike Run AppThis app is for the ‘It Runner’. Often something uber-cool isn’t always that functional, but that is definitely not the case with Nike+ Run Club. It maps routes, has easy to use training plans, syncs your music, or shares running playlists from other Nike generation runners, using Spotify or Apple Music. It also very is interactive, allowing you to use social media so that you can let everyone know where and how far you have run, plus it has a fab running community.

How much? It's free to join.

RockMyRun – the running music app

This app features thousands of playlists designed by professional DJs specifically to run to that automatically adjust the beats per minute (BPM) of the music to match your cadence, or heart rate.  It also has GPS tracking and route planning, but, ultimately, it is all about the music – it would be a great app to combine with Strava and does link to it. 

How much? It's free for basic membership.

Charity Miles

If you are the type of person that likes to make a difference, then Charity Miles might be for you. Every mile that you run, you raise money for charity. Free to sign up and easy to use... surely it’s a must?

Female runner checks her PB using a mobile app

CYCLING

The basis behind most cycling apps is GPS, so you need to work out if you want one that has all the extras, such as recording your pace, monitoring progress, or even filling in pot holes, or if you simply just want to know how to get from A to B.  Here’s our top five:

Strava

This has to appear on both our cycling and running app lists as it is so popular. And with good reason. Like its runners, Strava users are striving for their best. It tracks routes, times, segment times, and its leaderboard is really popular for cyclists – you can even compare yourself to some of the pros. Its route finding technology is the best you can get and, as with running, the Beacon is a brilliant added bonus.

How much? Free membership (premium service available at a cost)

Close up of cyclist using tracking app

CycleMaps

This app strips back all of the extras and is most useful for anyone that cycles for transport as well as exercise – It is all about the route.  All routes are mapped out for you and you can get detailed information about any journey, such as elevation, surface, distance and speed. It is also big on bike sharing, with more than 390 bike share cities around the globe, CycleMap can help you locate the nearest bike share station and provide you with real-time information. CycleMap is also a font of all knowledge on things that help you along your way, such as rest areas, scenic views, water stations, bike shops etc, so leave the planning to the app.

How much? Membership is free (premium service is available at a cost).

ViewRangerapp

Viewranger augmented reality appThis is s an excellent GPS route-finding app, particularly for anyone wanting to go off the beaten track.  It provides routes published by popular outdoor brands, official tourism bodies, national parks, travel writers and millions of outdoor experts around the world. ViewRanger focuses, as the name suggests, on the great outdoors.  It provides free digital maps that cover the whole world, and partners with official mapping agencies to offer premium topographic maps for 23 countries, including the UK, most of Europe, US, Canada and New Zealand.

How much? Membership is free.

BikeDoctorApp

Firstly, you are unlikely to carry a manual around with you whilst cycling, secondly, we are yet to find a good one, so BikeDoctor could be the answer to all of our bike’s maintenance needs when we actually need it – on the go! It has detailed instructions and pictures of each part of the bike and how you fix it – even if you are a complete beginner.

How much? We think it is well worth the £4.99 fee.

Bike Doctor AppScreenshot from Bike Doctor App

Fillthathole

Unlike any other app, this one doesn’t show you where you’ve been or compare your results to other riders. Instead, it tells you where the worst pot holes are.  It is highly functional and should lead to action from local councils.  A quirky one, but it works. Pot holes are being filled as a result of this app!

How much? Free

Image Copyright: Cyclist looking down at his app during a bicycle ride: avemario / 123RF Stock Photo Close up of hand with iphone on handlebar: nito500 / 123RF Stock Photo Female runner with app: avemario / 123RF Stock Photo

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