Best 5 Running Apps for Apple Watch

Runners will pleased to hear that there are plenty of apps on the market to help track training runs and races, but the question is where to start? Which app is best for you? What functions do they include? Is it worth buying an app or using one of the free ones? This article looks at the top 5 apps for runners for the Apple Watch.

Best 5 Running Apps for Apple Watch

1. Apple Workout App
For the most accurate distance, pace and calorie count, Apple’s own Workout app is a good choice for runners. It involves a simple calibration process, whereby the watch clocks a 20 minute run (at your normal pace) to calibrate the watch.


Apple Workout App

Without doing this, the estimations and stats can be inaccurate so don’t skip this step. Apple’s own app uses the iPhone GPS to read distances and look at stride and pace of the runner. It also taps in to the heart rate sensor, something that Apple does not currently allow third part running apps to do. The heart rate is a really good function to keep checking whether you are pushing yourself enough but not too hard and keeping in your ‘safe’ zone.

2. Runtastic
This app is not free but is one of the most popular running apps for Apple watches. It allows you to track time, distance and pace in an overview function which is easy to read and understand. It also links to GPS and includes vocal feedback. For the serious runner, it includes split mile times to help pace longer runs and includes music options and run overviews.



Runtastic allows you to look back at your run and analyse things such as the weather conditions, elevation and even your mood post-run and gathers the information into a monthly stats review. This is great for looking back at your training journey to see how far you have come and what you have left to do. A pro version, for more money, adds the ability to create and devise route plans, add a voice coach and include training programs.

3. Map My Run
Map My Run is a great app for the Apple Watch and allows you to keep your Iphone safely strapped in your arm band without having to press any buttons while out running. It also tracks other activities such as walking and cycling, helping you analyse your overall fitness routine.


MapMyRun Running App

If you are an all-round active person, this is the app for you. The app tracks your workouts and counts calories. It is most useful for mapping a route and testing out distances for training runs. You can have a look on your watch, phone app or website online and see mapped areas to test out distances before you leave the house.

4. Nike + Running
The Nike+ running app is free and tracks your runs and walks. A general health and fitness app, it also controls your weight and calorie intake and motivates you to reach set goals with a coach voice and feedback. There is a simple ‘glance facility’ to look up your overall pace and split times.


Nike Running App

The app allows you to play music while tracking your route and offers an overview of how your activity went and whether your training plan is on track. This app is one of the most popular on the market and has been used for a number of years. It has been endorsed by a number of celebrities including athletes and professional footballers.

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5. Strava
A free and pro (paid) app version of Strava is available for Apple watches, depending on what you need from this app. One of the main assets to Strava is its links to social media and adding friend contacts to help spur you on during runs or cycles. Sharing your activity on Twitter and Facebook helps friends ‘cheer you on’ or add challenges to compete against with contacts.


Strava for Apple Watch

Not as technical as the other apps or as advanced in its data, Strava is simple and so it is perhaps best for beginner runners. While watch information is limited, syncing with the Iphone app allows for more detailed breakdown of runs, splits and calorie burn, however it does not include heart rate stats and can be time consuming to have to check the phone app rather than have all of the information needed on the watch display screen. One of the main reasons people use Strava is for the challenge leaderboard – you can log a challenge, such as a particularly tough hill or add your time to an existing challenge and see how you compare to others in your geographical area.

More and more people are using running apps to track their runs and create training plans. Just take a look at any race events and you’ll see the runners at the start line pressing ‘go’ on their mobile phones or Apple watches and setting their apps in motion. They are a useful way to keep detailed statistics of your run, your pace, the challenges you endured and routes (including elevation for hill training). The article above offers 5 of the best apps for an Apple Watch. The best advice is to try out a few from the list and see which works best for you, as everybody is different. Some more experienced runners prefer the high-tech stat breakdowns, while a beginner runner might be satisfied with a simple timer and distance tracker. Keep a log of your runs online (or on your app/watch) or with paper and pen, to see where your challenges lie and what your strengths and weaknesses are. All of this data will help prepare you for race day