6 Best Running Apps for Beginners in 2023

6 Best Running Apps for Beginners in 2023

Looking for the perfect running app as a beginner? Our roundup has you covered. Begin your running adventure now

Looking for the perfect running app as a beginner? Our roundup has you covered. Begin your running adventure now

Best running app for beginners 1
Best running app for beginners 1



here are approximately a bazillion apps on the App Store and Google Play for everything you can imagine: working out, tracking habits, meditating, and, yes, even running

The sheer number of apps is a good thing because it creates a competitive environment where developers from different companies push themselves to innovate and refine their products. It also means there are more app options, allowing you to get the exact app you need based on your needs. 

That said, the sheer number of options can also make it overwhelming for users, especially beginners looking for the best running app to start with.

We’ve put together this guide to break down the top six running apps on the market and help you determine which might be best for your needs.

Ready? Let’s discuss.

A Look At The Top 6 Running Apps (And What Makes Each Great)

Best running app for beginners 2
Best running app for beginners 2
  1. Strava

Strava is perhaps the most popular running app (or at least in the top three for most people), and for good reasons. The paid and free versions are fantastic and provide neat features for running and cycling enthusiasts.

Launched in 2009, Strava has slowly added features to its arsenal. The company also made significant changes in 2020 and placed a few of the best features behind a paywall.

Nevertheless, even the free version is good, and plenty of people use it to track their running stats (sometimes to the point of obsession).

More than anything, Strava sets itself apart with the ability for runners to record various stats and track them on a neat graph from week to week. Users also have the option to review other runners’ stats and see how they stack up. 

Some cool stats users can track, even on the paid version, include total distance, average speed, elevation gait, and calories burned.

Best running app for beginners 3
Best running app for beginners 3
  1. Nike Run Club

Nike Run Club, also known as NRC, is a free app to track your running and enjoy some guided workouts. The app has some training plans, including a half-marathon one for the more dedicated runners out there.

They also offer guided training, which can motivate users and keep them on track. The cold thing about their guided sessions is they are led by some of Nike’s best coaches and athletes. 

Here’s something unique about NRC:

You can ‘tag’ your shoes to track their mileage before each run. How cool is that? Plus, you can enjoy the neat features of the app completely for free.

Now, with that said, there are some drawbacks. First, the app is sometimes known to be glitchy on Android and iOS, which can be a real bummer and ruin your running experience. 

For example, the app can sometimes log users out, forcing them to use their login credentials every time they want to use the app.

Second, the app offers a limited number of programs, which means it doesn’t work that well for all kinds of runners. It can be helpful for beginners and those looking to conquer a half-marathon, but that’s about it.

Best running app for beginners 4
Best running app for beginners 4
  1. Supersonic 

Despite being newer among running enthusiasts, Supersonic leaves a good impression on many users because of its simplicity and great interface. 

First, the app is easy to use and takes just a few minutes for people to figure it out and start their first run. The setup period is brief, and there is no need to fill or track advanced metrics.

Second, the app is ideal for beginners because it deconstructs the intimidating activity and makes it more accessible than ever. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by big goals or the idea of running for many minutes without a break, the app intelligently breaks up your sessions into walking and running phases that feel far easier.

As a result, newbies can get started and make steady progress without dreading each upcoming session or feeling anxious because it feels too challenging.

Additionally, Supersonic sets itself apart from many apps by encouraging users to be more active outside their running sessions. It does so by having users set step count goals ranging from 7,500 to 15,000. That way, folks feel more accountable to stay active and become more aware of their behaviors.

Beyond these things, Supersonic is better for beginners because it comes with ongoing guidance and emphasizes the importance of gradual progression and small weekly wins, and this makes getting into running enjoyable. A new runner’s first big goal might be to run for 30-35 minutes non-stop, but that doesn’t happen overnight.

Supersonic Running

Get running, keep running and love it with Supersonic’s voice guided plans, game-like streaks, progress widgets and more

Supersonic Running

Get running, keep running and love it with Supersonic’s voice guided plans, game-like streaks, progress widgets and more

Best running app for beginners 5
Best running app for beginners 5
  1. Map My Run by Under Armour

Map My Run is quite accurate when it comes to tracking distance, which makes it a fantastic option for gathering specific data and reviewing performance over time. 

The app is also great at mapping out good running routes. Users can visit the website, log in to their profile, and map out various engaging routes for their upcoming sessions. From there, save it to your phone, and you’re ready.

You can also explore routes created by others if you’re bored with your current ones and can’t think of a good one. The app allows you to filter based on your location, running preferences, and other details. 

This feature is particularly beneficial for when you’re traveling to new places and have no idea where to run. Log in to the app, explore local running routes, pick one that suits your needs, and get started.

Also, since Under Armour owns Map My Run, there are some cool pairing options. For example, the company offers special running shoes with a high-fidelity sensor in the midsole of the right-footed shoe. It seamlessly pairs with the app through Bluetooth, tracking your cadence, distance passed, and other metrics.

All the data gets sent to your app, and you can track your training over time to monitor your performance.

Best running app for beginners 6
Best running app for beginners 6
  1. Peloton

Peloton sets itself apart from other apps on our list because it offers top-notch cardio equipment alongside its great software. The app isn’t just designed for runners. Instead, it provides users with the freedom to enjoy various workout styles, including running and cycling. 

Back in the company's earlier days, users had to get their Peloton cardio equipment to participate in their classes, but they’ve slowly moved away from that model. These days, you can join in their fun and engaging running classes with whatever treadmill you own.

What’s fantastic about Peloton is that the app offers various workouts for trainees with different goals. There are leisurely workouts lasting up to 60 minutes, as well as HIIT sessions designed to pump you up in 15-30 minutes.

Their workouts come with featured songs to keep you motivated to keep pushing forward even as your muscles start to burn.

Best running app for beginners 7
Best running app for beginners 7
  1. Runna

Runna, sometimes described as your personal running coach, is an app designed for people looking to step up their training––for example, if they are training to compete in a race. 

The premise behind Runna is simple. It creates a personalized running plan based on your unique needs: experience, running preferences, goals, etc. The app is available for smartphones and smartwatches, providing great versatility and making it easy to switch between devices if needed.

At $17.99 per month, it certainly isn’t the cheapest app on the market, but many people consider it a good deal because of the personalized running experience. 

Other benefits of the app are that it comes with playlists for your runs and is compatible with Apple and Garmin watches. 

A disadvantage of the app is that it isn’t designed for casual runners who simply want to track their running with the occasional suggestion here and there. Runna is meant for people who want to follow a training plan.

The Best Option For Every Type of Runner

differences between these apps make them more suited to one situation over another

differences between these apps make them more suited to one situation over another

The following section will further explore some of the above options and teach you which might be best for your situation. So, let’s take a look:

1. For Everyday Running

While the above apps could work for everyday casual running, we firmly believe Supersonic is the best option in this category. Here are four solid reasons why:

  1. The app is straightforward to set up and use. Once you install it, the setup process takes a couple of minutes, and you’re ready to start your first run.

  2. The app does a fantastic job of breaking down the intimidating task of running into simple, manageable run-walk cycles. That way, beginners can gain momentum and build better habits without feeling overwhelmed.

  3. The app emphasizes gradual progression, allowing everyday runners to build endurance and reach milestones each month.

  4. Despite the simplicity, Supersonic never feels like it lacks essential features. It has everything a runner might need to start, including an effective running plan and ongoing guidance.

So, if you’re interested in making running a habit but aren’t sure where to start and don’t have the endurance to run for 10, 20, or even 30+ minutes without a break, consider Supersonic. The app will simplify the process and help you turn running into a habit.

2. For Athletes

The primary candidates in this category are Runna, Strava, and Peloton. Despite the tough choice, we will go with Runna, and here is why:

Strava is incredibly popular and undoubtedly a fantastic app for running and cycling, but many of its features might not be necessary for an athlete who does multiple types of training: endurance, power, agility drills, resistance exercise, skill training, etc. 

Peloton is also a great app, but it’s mostly suitable for using cardio equipment, such as a treadmill or stationary bike. (Don’t worry––we’ve covered that category below.)

This means Runna is likely the best option for athletes who enjoy running and need to do it to reap the benefits without solely focusing on this exercise modality. The app simplifies the running experience and offers guidance for those who don’t want to think about progression and other details.

3. For Professional Runners

This section might seem similar to the previous one, but there is an important distinction, as athletes aren’t necessarily professional runners. As briefly discussed above, running might only be part of an athlete’s training. 

In contrast, professional runners generally focus on this type of exercise, given the specific adaptations to imposed demands (SAID) principle. 

This category is a bit more challenging to figure out because we are talking about peak running performance, so any app we recommend here would have some big shoes to fill. In any case, we believe Strava is a great candidate if not the best option. 

Those capable of covering 20 or even 30+ miles without a break might seem alien to us, but they are just people who do things just like everyone else. The main difference is they’ve been far more persistent for far longer and can now boast about their relaxing 5-mile runs

Strava is great for peak running performance because it has everything these people might need: progress tracking, in-depth analysis of performance, running route recommendations, etc.

4. For Mapping Out Running Routes

Unsurprisingly, Map My Run by Under Armour is our top choice here because it does a great job of suggesting running routes to users.

First, the app is intuitive and allows runners to easily plan their route before heading out, which is particularly beneficial when visiting new places and wanting to cover a specific distance. 

Second, the app has a vast library of routes users can share, use, and rate. Given the app’s massive community, you will generally find good running routes, regardless of where you are.

Plus, the app offers the option to download maps for offline viewing in case you’re going to run through areas with spotty or non-existent internet access.

5. For Indoor Running

Peloton is more than just an app––it’s a company that’s made a significant impact in the last few years with its ingenuity, fantastic products, and the engaging workout experience people can enjoy even when working out alone at home.

Here are a few solid reasons why Peloton might be the best app for indoor running:

a)    You gain access to various interactive and uplifting classes. Pick the ones that best fit your available time, workout preferences, and style. Runners can join live classes and interact with real experts, making the workout experience much more fun.

b)    Even if live classes aren’t your thing, you can still enjoy a variety of on-demand workouts ranging from leisurely jogging to full-on HIIT.

c)     Like most other apps, Peloton allows users to track important metrics and see how their performance changes over time.

d)    There are integrated music playlists users can freely listen to during their workouts to make the whole experience even more fun and engaging.

Supersonic Running

Get running, keep running and love it with Supersonic’s voice guided plans, game-like streaks, progress widgets and more

Supersonic Running

Get running, keep running and love it with Supersonic’s voice guided plans, game-like streaks, progress widgets and more

3 Tips to Get The Most Out of Your Running Workouts (And App Use)

1. Set Clear Goals 

Running is a fantastic way to build up your cardio, burn calories, promote weight loss, and enjoy the euphoric feeling following a session, known as the runner’s high (1, 2, 3). 

However, to make the most out of running, it’s best to have specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals (4, 5). That way, you are more likely to stay consistent because you will know what you’re working toward and how close you are to your ultimate goal.

Supersonic does an excellent job for goal setting. You can start a training program (such as the 0 to 5K plan) and instantly have an objective, regardless of your starting point. There are objectives to cover each week, which keep you motivated.

2. Focus on Consistency Over Perfection

Too many people obsess over what’s theoretically ‘perfect’ or ‘ideal,’ which doesn’t offer any real benefits. Trying to be perfect often leads to frustration and overthinking, keeping you from doing productive work and making steady progress toward your goals.

So, rather than trying to optimize everything all the time, focus on consistency. Dedicate yourself to a running frequency you can sustain and follow through week after week. You’d be surprised how much progress you can make by following basic guidelines from an app and applying yourself.

3. Take Care of the ‘Boring’ Stuff 

Running is exciting, invigorating, and full of possibilities, but nutrition, hydration, stretching, and sleep? Eh, not so much. 

However, if we want to perform at our best, keep injuries at bay, and stay on track to reach our running goals, we must take care of the boring stuff. This means:

  • Eat enough calories to avoid rapid weight loss (6, 7)

  • Eat a varied diet mostly consisting of whole and nutritious foods (6, 7)

  • Get enough protein (meats, fish, dairy, eggs, etc.) to support your recovery (8)

  • Stay hydrated throughout the day and drink water before, during, and after running (9)

  • Do some static stretching once you’re done running to promote blood flow and potentially ease muscle soreness (10)


There you have it:

The ultimate comparison of the best running apps for beginners. As you can see, some subtle (and not-so-subtle) differences between these apps make them more suited to one situation over another.

For instance, because of its interface and features, Supersonic is ideal for beginners and those looking to get into running and enjoy gradual progression. In contrast, an app like Peloton is simply built for indoor running.

The bottom line is that it’s up to you to decide which app makes the most sense for you and go for it.

Best running app for beginners 8
Best running app for beginners 8

Supersonic Running

Get running, keep running and love it with Supersonic’s voice guided plans, game-like streaks, progress widgets and more

Supersonic Running

Get running, keep running and love it with Supersonic’s voice guided plans, game-like streaks, progress widgets and more


1. Lu Y, Wiltshire HD, Baker JS, Wang Q. The Effects of Running Compared with Functional High-Intensity Interval Training on Body Composition and Aerobic Fitness in Female University Students. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Oct 28;18(21):11312. doi: 10.3390/ijerph182111312. PMID: 34769831; PMCID: PMC8583460.

2. Williams PT. Greater weight loss from running than walking during a 6.2-yr prospective follow-up. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013 Apr;45(4):706-13. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31827b0d0a. PMID: 23190592; PMCID: PMC4067491.

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6. Burke LM, Jeukendrup AE, Jones AM, Mooses M. Contemporary Nutrition Strategies to Optimize Performance in Distance Runners and Race Walkers. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2019 Mar 1;29(2):117-129. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2019-0004. Epub 2019 Apr 4. PMID: 30747558.

7. Beck KL, Thomson JS, Swift RJ, von Hurst PR. Role of nutrition in performance enhancement and postexercise recovery. Open Access J Sports Med. 2015 Aug 11;6:259-67. doi: 10.2147/OAJSM.S33605. PMID: 26316828; PMCID: PMC4540168.

8. Vliet SV, Beals JW, Martinez IG, Skinner SK, Burd NA. Achieving Optimal Post-Exercise Muscle Protein Remodeling in Physically Active Adults through Whole Food Consumption. Nutrients. 2018 Feb 16;10(2):224. doi: 10.3390/nu10020224. PMID: 29462924; PMCID: PMC5852800.

9. Judge LW, Bellar DM, Popp JK, Craig BW, Schoeff MA, Hoover DL, Fox B, Kistler BM, Al-Nawaiseh AM. Hydration to Maximize Performance and Recovery: Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors Among Collegiate Track and Field Throwers. J Hum Kinet. 2021 Jul 28;79:111-122. doi: 10.2478/hukin-2021-0065. PMID: 34400991; PMCID: PMC8336541.

10. Herbert RD, de Noronha M, Kamper SJ. Stretching to prevent or reduce muscle soreness after exercise. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Jul 6;(7):CD004577. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD004577.pub3. PMID: 21735398.