Photo: Jeff Taylor
Photo: Jeff Taylor

5 great apps for runners who want to improve their speed

Whether you're training for your next half marathon or working to beat your personal record, improving your speed is tricky. It’s easy to lose motivation and inspiration to run faster, so it’s important to set yourself up for success. Before hitting the asphalt again, you may want to check out these noteworthy apps that could quicken your pace.

MapMyRun

Probably one of the more well-known running apps, MapMyRun is ideal for mapping not just running but also bicycling, hiking and walking. The “routes” tab allows you to create new paths and search already existing ones nearby. The app's tools are useful for recording your workout details, and you can share your results with your friends. There are three levels of premium membership available: bronze ($40 a year), which gives users five maps per month and three training plans; silver ($60 a year), which includes 10 printed maps and five training plans; and gold ($90 a year), which has no limits on maps or training plans.

RunKeeper

Engagement can be a key feature for motivation. RunKeeper leverages this philosophy to its advantage. One of the app's features allows you to compare your activities to your running buddies on monthly leaderboards. The app also includes a host of running statistics, such as calories burned, highest elevation and your fastest average pace. You can even set fitness goals and create training calendars.  

Strava

If a little competition pushes you, check out Strava. The app, which records your distance, time and speed, stacks you up against other Strava members. If you’re fast enough, your name could appear at the top of the leaderboard. 

Runtastic

Similar to the apps listed above, Runtastic uses a GPS to track and map your time, speed and distance. It also plots your route in real-time, which can easily be viewed in a Google Earth-style view. Some of the other unique perks include a personal exercise diary, which tracks your running metrics. 

Nike+ Running

This app helps track your pace and distance whether on treadmill, trail or track. While you’re out on a run, you can receive audio feedback and a route map. Some of the app's cool features include the ability to load a “Power Song” of your choice and create a Spotify “Pace Station,” which tailors to your target running pace. 

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