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How Long Is a 5K?

How long is a 5K? You’re a new runner and you keep hearing about it. Your friends have encouraged you to sign up for one, but you’re not sure how long a 5K is and if you can do it.

The “K” stands for kilometer. A kilometer is 0.62 of a mile, which makes a 5K race 3.1 miles long or 16368 feet long or 5000 meters long. When you hear about races such as the Carlsbad 5000, Santa Monica 5000 or Reno 5000, you can know that it is a 5K or 3.1-mile distance event.

The 5000 meter is known as a popular track event, particularly in the Olympics. On a standard indoor track (200 meters), you would need to run 25 laps to run a 5K. On a standard outdoor track (400 meters), 12.5 laps would equal a 5K. Currently, Ethiopian runner Kenenisa Bekele holds both the world and Olympic record for the 5000 meter at 12:37:35 on an outdoor track and 12:49:60 on an indoor track.

In general, 5000 meters refers to track or cross-country events while a 5K refers to road racing events.

A 5K is considered the entry level distance for road racing and is the most beginner friendly choice if you’re looking to break into road racing. With some training, you will be able to complete a 5K without stopping to walk.

The Couch-to-5K Running Plan is one of the most popular training plans for runners who want to get off the couch and run 3.1 miles after just a couple months.

If you’re looking to run your first 5K, you can simply focus on the distance knowing that you will already be setting a PR (personal record) that day. As you build up to your second or third 5K, you can focus more on time.

So how long is a 5K? It would be like:

  • Running across a football field (91.44 meters long) 54.68 times
  • Running around all four bases of a regulation baseball diamond (360 feet to round the bases) 45.47 times
  • Running the length of an NBA-regulation basketball court (94 feet long) 174.13 times
  • Running a little less than a fourth of the length of Manhattan (13.4 miles long)

A 5K is long enough to challenge you, but not so far that you’ll become discouraged. At 3.1 miles, a 5K is a very doable running distance.

Note: Please consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

More:

Your 3-Step Plan to Run a 5K

Race-Day Tips for Your First 5K

What to Do Before Your 5K

3 Ways to Train for Your 5K

Sign up for your next 5K race.

How to Train for a 5K Walk

In 8 weeks, you can go from sedentary to sensational—while losing weight and having a blast

Want to energize your walking and have some fun? Start training for a local 5K (3.1 mile) walk.

Notice I didn’t say race, which seems to scare the walking shorts off some of us. It’s all about the fun, fitness and health for most participants and only about competition for a few elites at the front of the pack. Think of it as preparing for a big party with free T-shirts and musical entertainment. As long as you show up and walk, you’re a winner!

Here’s how to get started today.

1. Assess Your Fitness

Before you register for a 5K, you should be walking at least three days a week for 30 minutes at a brisk pace and be able to walk for one hour at a moderate pace.

2. Commit to a 5K Event

Find a 5K event in the early spring. Register. Share your commitment with friends and family to get support and some walking buddies.

3. Get the Right Walking Gear

You’ll need a good pair of walking or running shoes with plenty of toe box room, sweat wicking socks and a stopwatch. Layering your clothes will help you stay warm as you warm up and cool as you cool down.

4. Try the Track

Go to the high school or indoor 1/4-mile track and follow the easy eight-week 5K training plan below.

5. Know your course

Get a map of your 5K course, then walk it to find out how hilly or flat it is.

6. Stick to the training schedule

Adapt when you must, but do your best to meet the demands of the training schedule, always alternating between harder and easier days. On rest days feel free to do some other activity, like biking, indoor cycling or swimming. Weight or resistance training can be combined with easy days, two to three days a week.

Your 8-Week 5K Training Plan

Follow this day-by-day schedule to take you from the depths of winter to an early spring 5K. Warm up with easy walking, pausing to stretch your calves, hamstrings and hips.

Sundays

Take an easy 30- to 40-minute stroll.

Mondays

Weeks 1–3: Do one 20-minute walk that pushes past your “easy” pace.

Weeks 4–7: Do two 20-minute sets, resting 3–5 minutes in between.

Week 8: Do a 10-minute set as described below for Wednesdays.

Tuesdays

Take an easy 30- to 40-minute stroll.

Wednesdays

Weeks 1–4: Walk even faster than your Monday pace for 10 minutes.

Weeks 5–6: Do two 10-minute sets, resting for 2–3 minutes in between.

Week 7: Do three 10-minute sets.

Week 8: Do a 5-minute set as described below for Fridays.

Thursdays

Take an easy 30- to 40-minute stroll.

Fridays

Week 1: Warm up for 10 minutes, then walk as fast as you can for one 5-minute set.

Weeks 2–3: Do two 5-minute sets.

Weeks 4–7: Do three 5-minute sets.

Week 8: Rest.

Saturdays

Rest. (This can include an activity like biking, indoor cycling or swimming.)

By Maggie Spilner

From our sister publication, Diabetes Focus (Winter 2011)

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at Healthcommunities.com

Published: 17 Oct 2011

Last Modified: 17 Mar 2015

How Far Should You Run to Prepare for a 5K (at Every Level)?

Just signed up for an upcoming 5K (maybe even our Virtual 5K)? You might be wondering how far do I need to run to prepare for a 5K? The short, oversimplified answer is: As far as you can.

There are obviously limits on how far anyone can run, but before we get into what keeps us from embarking on a Forrest Gumpian cross-country foot race, let’s lay out why you should strive to run farther than the race itself.

“The simplest reason why we run long, of course, is to develop the cardiovascular system,” says running coach and best-selling author Hal Higdon. “Stronger heart pumping greater volumes of oxygen-rich blood through wider arteries equals better performance at all distances up to and including the marathon.”

If running farther than your 5K in training sounds daunting, that makes total sense. But don’t worry. It’s not as scary as it seems, especially if you’re simply trying to finish the race and using a race training app like Aaptiv. Those looking to make a PR may need to add more distance training into their routine.

To give you an idea of how far you should run in training, here are general distance guidelines for each running level. Refer to these to safely and sustainably increase your mileage (or just make it through the race!) for your next 5K.

Novice

For 5K first-timers or those of us just getting back in shape, the key is knowing when to slow down or walk in order to hit mileage targets.

“Basically, run in the comfort level,” Higdon says. If it’s uncomfortable, slow down and walk; over a period of time you’ll build an aerobic base and the ability to go farther and farther.”

Week 1: Run three 1.5-mile days each week (half of race distance each session), either rest or have an easy run or walk for two days, take one day completely off and walk 30 minutes on Sunday.

The weekly progression: Add 0.25 miles to each run and five minutes to each walk.

Week 8: You’re now running three miles each day, just short of race distance, and building your aerobic base with an hour-long Sunday walk. You’re much stronger and primed to compete at this distance.

Aaptiv can help you with your first few races. Our trainers will get you race ready in no time.

Intermediate

If you’re a habitual 5K junkie and the distance itself no longer phases you, you’re ready for the next mileage-building step. Just remember that it’s still possible—and perhaps more likely—for accomplished runners to get greedy with distance and pace gains, which can only end poorly.

“If (runners) get involved with a program or a class or a club and start running with other runners, they might start to think, ‘Gee, I can’t run as fast as those people, I’ll never be that good of a runner’,” Higdon says of the potential for overtraining in a group. “Some of the elite and sub-elite athletes still don’t know when it’s time to slow down.”

With that in mind, add some pace work into your weekly training plan.

Week 1: Run 3 miles three times a week (one of those efforts can be a bit faster) and five miles on Sunday; take two days completely off and hit an interval workout of five 400 meter repeats in the middle of the week.

The weekly progression: Add one or two miles to one of your three 3-mile runs each week, add a mile to your long run every other week, and alternate your workout day between 400 meter repeats (adding another rep each time) and 30- to 40-minute tempo runs, which should progress in distance until the week before race day.

Week 8: You’ll want to continue the same training going into the race, but dial the volume back a notch to get your legs fresh for the big day; you can even take two days completely off before the race. A crisp 30-minute tempo will suffice for the week’s workout, which should be at least three days before you toe the line for ample recovery.

Advanced

Once you’re comfortably running 20 to 30 miles a week and taking no more than two rest days when healthy, it’s safe to say you’re advanced. Between the increased mileage and higher-volume workouts, the key here is recovery between efforts.

“Bill Bowerman, the late University of Oregon track and field coach, had his athletes do a hard day and follow it with an easy day so the Oregon runners could run the next day harder again,” Higdon says. “Over weeks and months and years, you build a much stronger runner who turns into Galen Rupp.”

Motor through the 5K with this challenging routine.

Week 1: Hit a 3-mile run on Mondays and chase it with five 400-meter intervals on Tuesday, then run easy or rest on Wednesday. Thursday is 30-minute tempo day, then rest again Friday, just as Higdon specified. Saturday, you’ll run four miles fast, and Sunday you’ll run for an hour.

The weekly progression: Add a rep or three to the Tuesday 400-meter intervals each week, and up the Thursday tempo to 35 or 40 minutes each week, culminating in a 45-minute effort on week seven. Add five minutes to the Sunday long run each week so you hit 90 minutes the week before the race. And run six miles for good measure.

Week 8: Just as we saw in the intermediate plan, race week is a continuance of the same regime, just less. Run fast 200-meter repeats on Tuesday instead of the full quarter mile to put some spring in your stride, and bump your Thursday tempo up to Wednesday to allow maximal rest (assuming you’re racing on the weekend). You’ve come a long way, and when the starter gun fires, it’s time to let everyone know it.

Want to learn more about Aaptiv’s running programs? Check them out in app today.

Couch to 10K Running Trainer

◎ The Official 10K Trainer App
– Official partners and the ONLY C25K – Couch to 5k app featured on FITBIT and SAMSUNG smart watches!
◎ Recently featured on AMC Network!
◎ Featured on Glamour Magazine, Yahoo!’s Appolicious, Popsugar Fitness, Apple’s “What’s Hot”, Apple’s “New & Noteworthy”, CBS News, Fox News, Macworld and many more!
◎ Doctor recommended on healthTap.com
10K Trainer is the easiest program to get beginners from couch potatoes to 10K distance runners in just 14 weeks. By the same experts who created the #1 C25K (Couch to 5K) training app!
Don’t worry, if you are already a 5K graduate, you can skip ahead in this app and pick up where C25K app leaves off!
See thousands of real success stories and race photos of your fellow runners using these running program at Facebook.com/c25kfree.
This proven 14 week plan will allow users to slowly build strength and stamina by alternating between walking and running. The blend of walking and running together reduces the overall impact and risk of injury, makes training more fun, keeps your body guessing, and prepares you to go the distance. By the end of the program, you will be fitter, stronger and healthier than you have ever been and will be able to run a full 10k!
Listen to your favorite music while you train and follow the program’s convenient audio alerts. Along with voice/audio alerts and music controls on your headset, just press “start”, put your device in your pocket, and you are ready to go. NEW smart alerts will tell you not only when to walk or run, but will also tell you for how long!
★ Features ★
🎵 BRAND NEW MUSIC curated from top DJ’s, built right into the app (subscription)! Scientifically proven to increase motivation by 35% 🎵
◉ Proven 14 week program to get you running 10k
◉ Easiest 10k program at only 3 times/week
◉ Track your calories and distance for each workout! Tap the center dial to cycle through your stats! (Pro version)
◉ Listen to your own favorite music and playlist while you train
◉ Easy and intuitive interface. Nothing to learn! Just press START and go!
◉ NEW and IMPROVED audio coach and alerts
◉ Compatible with Nike+GPS
◉ Integrated with Facebook and Twitter communities. Meet other fellow runners and racers!
◉ Brand new look and skins! Choose the color scheme you like best.
★ Want to train for 5K first? Here’s our award winning C25K app: https://goo.gl/NCe703
★ Love this app? We have a complete suite of health and fitness apps that covers all your fitness needs.
Half-Marathon Trainer – https://goo.gl/0n3fc1
7 Minute Workout – https://goo.gl/WQuX61
0-100 Pushups Trainer – https://goo.gl/IfCFCh
0-200 Situps Trainer – https://goo.gl/W1502W
★ Join the community for help, tips, and advice!
http://www.facebook.com/zenlabsfitness
http://twitter.com/zenlabsfitness
★ The Forums are a great place to ask all your fitness questions!

★ Read our blog for great health tips!

Questions/comments regarding the 10K Trainer app? Please email us at [email protected], or visit us at www.zenlabsfitness.com.
Zen Labs is a proud supporter of the National Breast Cancer Coalition. We are passionate about finding a cure for breast cancer and proudly donate to their cause. www.breastcancerdeadline2020.org
Legal Disclaimer
This app and any information given by it or by Zen Labs LLC are for educational purposes only. They are not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult your healthcare provider before beginning any fitness program.

Training plans for 5K, 10K, 15K and half marathon

Run Trainer comes with a various of training plans to suit your needs. If your new to running and wants to learn to run 5k or an experienced runner and want to run a half marathon, the training plans give you feedback during your run what to do and you’ll be fine.

When using Run Trainer you get access to the following training plans:

5K
Couch to 5K training plan
(beginner)

10K
5K to 10K training plan
(medior)

15K
10K to 15K training plan (experienced)

Half Marathon
15K to Halfmarathon training plan (experienced)

Run your distance in 10 weeks

Within 10 weeks you will be able to run the distance you are aiming for. All training plans are based on interval training (to gain stamina) and are quick burst trainings. Depending if you are running 5K or and half marathon, the training sessions won’t take a lot of your time.

I’m experienced and want to run other training plans.

There are several reasons why you want to use your own training plan. Maybe you are recovering from a injury or you want to set a new personal record (called ‘PR’), the ‘My Training Plan‘ feature give you the ability to program your own training plan, so you can still enjoy running and get feedback during your training instead of writing your interval training on your hand thats hard to read and to time.

Announcement: To keep runners motivated, we will introduce new training plans in the near future that you can program and follow yourself. Keep your eye on the runtrainer.com platform.

7 Free Running Apps To Help You Train For A 10K

Training for a road race is rewarding, and it’s also hard AF. If one of your 2018 fitness goals is to run a race, there are some pretty boss free running apps to help you train for a 10K. Because, you need some support, and in this case, technology totally has your back. If you have friends who are also runners, or you follow running hashtags on Twitter and Instagram, you’ve probably seen users post their daily progress via running apps.

While it might seem like they’re bragging, using an app and posting your run on social media can not only help keep you accountable, it can also help you connect with other runners. Running apps allow you to set personal goals, design a training regimen that’s right for you, and track your progress all the way up to the big day. “It’s hard to beat the feeling of setting a goal, crushing it, and then letting your friends know,” Nike noted on its website. “Even if you don’t have a physical running group, your friends can cheer you on through Facebook and check out your post-run photos on Twitter and Instagram.”

What’s more, if you don’t have time to join a running club, and you’re having a hard time going it alone, running apps can act as your digital bestie. If it helps, you can even name your running app something like Sylvia, and make a date to run with Sylvia every day. What’s more, your running-app BAE will always cheer you on and never tell you that you’re not doing well enough. Ready to download? Here are the best free running apps to help you train for a 10K.

1. Nike + Run Club

Nike+ Run Club / iTunes

The Nike + Run Club app for iPhone and Android has almost five stars on iTunes, and acts as your own personal running coach. The app includes GPS tracking of your runs, audio guided running workouts, weekly and monthly distance challenges to keep you motivated, and customized coaching plans that fit your goals and adapt to your progress, according to the app description on iTunes.

Download the Nike + Running app for iPhone and Android.

2. Endomondo

Endomondo / iTunes

If you need a digital personal trainer that motivates you to go the extra mile, Endomondo is going to be your jam. This app “turns your phone into a personal trainer in your pocket — ideal for running, cycling, walking, and other distance sports,” the app explained on its website. “Connecting with a friend adds another layer of motivation and encouragement.”

Download Endomondo for iPhone and Android.

3. Runtastic

Runtastic GPS Running App / iTunes

Want to make your 10K training fan-frickin-tastic? Then you’re going to want to download the Runtastic GPS Running app. This app has both a free and premium feature, and helps you track your progress, discover new routes, share your runs, and more. Additionally, Runtastic has tons of other workout-specific apps you can add if your 10K training involves more than running.

Download the Runtastic GPS Running app for iPhone and Android.

4. RunKeeper

RunKeeper

RunKeeper from Asics is a favorite among all types of runners. It’s an ideal app for training because it tracks your runs, gives you audio cues about your pace and distance, and even designs personal challenges based on your progress to help you meet your goals so you’re ready for race day.

Download RunKeeper for iPhone and Android.

5. 5K to 10K

5K to 10K / iTunes

If you’ve already got a 5K under your belt, and you’re training for a 10K, the 5K to 10K app claims to get you race-ready in as little as nine weeks with 30-to-70 minutes of training three days a week. You can track your pace and distance, set goals, and even listen to your favorite playlist during your training sessions.

Download 5K to 10K for iTunes and Android.

6. Fitness22 Couch To 10K

Fitness 22 Couch To 10K / iTunes

If you think you need more than nine weeks to get ready for your 10K, the Fitness22 Couch to 10K app promises to get you race-ready in 14 weeks. If you’re totally new to running, this app will provide support every step of the way. Fitness22 also has tons of other fitness apps that you can integrate into your training regimen.

Download Fitness22 Couch To 10K for iTunes and Android.

7. MapMyRun

Map My Run

If you follow runners on social media, you’ve probably seen this app a lot. It’s continually been named one of the top apps for runners, and has more than 50 million users. MapMyRun from Under Armour tracks your progress and offers stats to help you improve your performance, discover and map new running routes, choose from hundreds of workouts, get inspiration from other runners, and more. If you’re working toward running a 10K, there’s no reason to go it alone. Download your own personal coach to help you get closer to the finish line.

Download MapMyRun for iPhone and Android.

Runkeeper – GPS Track Run Walk

Everyone. Every run. Join the community that helps people get out the door and stick with running forever! Track exercise, set goals, sweat, and see progress along the way. Whether you’re working your way up to tracking a 5K goal or deep into marathon training, use the GPS app trusted by 50 million users and counting.
OVERVIEW
• Track Workouts – Go for a run, walk, jog, bike, or any activity really. With GPS, you’ll get a clear view of your training in real time.
• Set Goals – Have a race, weight, or pace in mind? We can coach you to get there.
• Follow a Plan – We have personalized routines to fit into your busy schedule. And helpful reminders, just in case.
• Stay Motivated – Join challenges, snag exercise rewards, and share achievements with your friends.
• See Progress – This whole running thing works. You’ll see the sweat and we’ll show you the numbers to prove it!
TOP FEATURES
• Running Groups – Create a custom challenge, invite friends, track each other’s progress, and use the chat to cheer each other on.
• Audio Cues – A motivating voice that you can customize to relay your pace, distance, and time.
• Training Plans – Make major progress by following a plan. We’ll be here for you every step of the way.
• Routes – Save, discover, and build new routes with GPS.
• Challenges – Stay motivated with exclusive workout experiences and rewards.
• Partner Apps – Keep moving with the music you love with our Spotify integration. Connect with other top health apps like Fitbit, MyFitnessPal, and more.
• Bluetooth Connectivity – Wireless headphones and heart rate monitors make great workout companions. Also, sync Android Wear, Pebble, and Garmin watches in seconds.
• Stopwatch Mode – Easily add indoor cardio (treadmill, cycling) and gym workouts to keep full exercise log all in one place.
• Social Sharing – Upload your activities and more with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.
RUNKEEPER GO (Premium)
• Prescribed Workouts – Get a weekly workout schedule tailored to you.
• Progress Insights – See how your runs stack up to each other and get a full view of your fitness journey.
• Live Tracking – Whether it’s training day or race day, share your location with family and friends.

11 Apps to Track Your Runs

It’s not easy keeping tabs on all the new run tracking apps these days, so we asked Runner’s World Gear Editor Jeff Dengate to weigh in on what he uses to measure, map, and share his mileage. Here are some of the standout features of his picks.

More: Best iPhone Apps to Manage Nutrition

Social Star: Strava

Free; iOS, Android

In addition to a fully featured GPS tracking service, Strava shows you a feed of your friends’ most recent activities and lets you compete against them in challenges—such as fastest half-marathon or most miles during a 30-day period. Strava’s top feature is its segment rankings—a leaderboard of all performances over sections of road or trail.

4 Apps for Running Safety

Utility Player: Wahoo Fitness

Free (app only); iOS, Android

This app has two huge selling points: First, its black-and-white layout features enormous numbers that you can easily see at a glance. Second, you can save your tracked workouts to just about any third-party service out there—Strava, Garmin Connect, Training Peaks, Run Keeper, MapMyFitness, Nike+, Dailymile, and more.

For even more utility, pair the app with Wahoo’s new Tickr Run chest strap ($80) to get a “smoothness” score—using cadence, vertical oscillation, ground contact time, and impact readings, the app gives you a measure of efficiency for your running form. This is much like the Garmin Forerunner 620’s running dynamics, but at a considerably lower price point.

The Evolution of the Smartphone as a Fitness Tracker

GPS Pro: Garmin Connect Mobile

Free; iOS, Android

Garmin is one of the best in the business when it comes to GPS tracking hardware. Software? Not so much; others do better. But the Garmin Connect Mobile app is a must-have if you own a bluetooth compatible device like the Forerunner 220/620 or Fenix 2. Through the app, you can enable a “LiveTrack” session, to share your activity (and location) in real time—limited to friends you send an invitation to. After a run, the workout details from your watch can be wirelessly uploaded to the Garmin Connect website, though the process is painfully slow—a 12-mile run took us about four minutes to transfer.

More:15 Best Fitness Apps in 2014

Running in the time of apps

Tracking a run provides so much insight into one’s fitness levels and how it improves over time. These apps, available on Android and IOS, use GPS, so they’re best for the outdoors.

Strava

The Facebook for athletes! It’s got everything you need for all kinds of sporting activity and is free with most features. Segments and courses help you when you run in new places. When you’re running on a track, you’ll instantly be able to see how fast other runners crossed the segment and whether you beat their timing. Its live tracking feature, for people who need to let someone know where they are all the time, is a pro. There’s also a privacy mode. It also connects to other apps (Google Fit, Apple Health, Samsung Health) and to wearable devices. Plus, you can join clubs with like-minded runners.

Best for social interactions, live segments, run courses, challenges

Runtastic

Runtastic, and its suite of exercise-tracking mobile apps, is suitable for all fitness levels. It’s purely a tracker, not a coach (unless you pay ₹3,100 per year), so there are no lessons for beginners in the main app. It makes a host of useful mini-apps for tracking other types of workouts that creatively track your progress. Situps, pushups, pull ups, squats.

Best for run tracking and whole-body workouts, also daily-step tracking

MapMyRun

MapMyRun is a little difficult to navigate (especially to use it while running) because it displays many ads. However, if you upgrade to a paid membership (₹2200 per year), you can enjoy it ad-free. The app supports jogging, walking, and just plain old working out. It can also help you keep track of how long you should be wearing your shoes and when it is time to start looking for a new pair. You can also get customisable voice feedback for precise stats like pace, route, distance, and more.

Best for advanced data syncing with UA HOVR shoes for cadence info — run without the phone

Runkeeper

One of Runkeeper’s unique features is that it offers training plans to help you achieve different running goals. For a small subscription fee, you can train for your first 5K or half marathon. It also has a relatively easy interface to use and integrates well with streaming music services such as Pandora and Spotify. It can track your running, cycling, hiking and other distance activities. Users can go free-form or download and follow popular running routes. The app also works with a variety of smartwatches and fitness devices such as the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices.

Best for tailored workouts and music integration with surprise workout rewards

Endomondo

The app’s main screen gives you your most basic options: Type of Workout, Music On/Off and the immediate Start or 10 Seconds Countdown options. Further settings options give you an Audio Coach, and even the option to allow your friends to send you Pep Talks. There is also a secondary screen you can flip over to with a map showing your current location.

Best for audio feedback and pep talks by your followers during activity

Nike+ Running

One of the oldest, it was released in 2006 and originally dubbed Nike+iPod. It has gone through four iterations, adding in cool features over the years, like virtual coaching, an in-app camera for instant running pics and post-workout motivation from top Nike athletes like Allyson Felix. Earn some serious social media cred by sharing your feats instantly with your friends on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Best for the training plans from 5k to full marathon with week-by-week workout lists

The author is a triathlete, and a periodontal surgeon and implantologist and works as an assistant professor in PSG Institute of Medical Sciences, Coimbatore

If you were lucky enough to get a new phone or smartwatch this holiday season, now is a prime time to get in a great run with your device. Whether you are lacing up for the first time or you’re trying to hit that coveted runner’s high again, sometimes you need a little something extra to make your run stand out.

Luckily, there’s an app—or more like a hundred—that can help. These days, apps can not only track your run, but also coach you, motivate you with music, keep you safe, and more.

Related Stories

To keep it simple, we rounded up our favorites from the past few years and narrowed them down to the best running apps across several categories, highlighting what makes each unique. Whether you’re just starting out as a runner or you’re a seasoned pro, this list will help you find the tools you need to get the most out of your miles.

Best Beginner Apps

Human

Human

Best for: Getting motivated to be more active

Human isn’t the most advanced activity tracker on this list, but it wins points as a strong motivator. The app works in the background, tracks the time you spend being active (running, walking, and cycling), and nudges you to hit your “Daily 30,” or 30 minutes of exercise per day. But the real motivation comes from other people. Human compares your data to other nearby users to create a leaderboard of who’s exercising nearby, so you can see how you rank against your neighbors.

Free: iOS | Android

Couch to 5K

Couch-to-5K

Best for: Building your confidence by working toward a goal

The popular Couch-to-5K app does exactly what it says: Turns you from sedentary couch potato into a runner. It guides you through three 30-minute workouts per week to get you ready for a 3.1-mile race in only nine weeks. Along the way, it tracks your time and distance via GPS, and a virtual coach gives you verbal cues about your workout. After each run, you can log your data to active.com, and you can share your achievements with friends in the app’s newsfeed.

$2.99: iOS | Android

Pacer

Pacer

Best for: Starting a regular running routine

This app is centered on step-counting, but it’s a great launching point into developing a running habit, too. Like Human, Pacer works in the background, logging your steps as you move around during the day to give you a picture of your activity level. Unlike Human, you can also track runs with GPS and join group challenges, and if you opt for Premium ($5 per month), you can access training plans with video workouts.

Free: iOS | Android

Best Advanced Running Apps

Strava

Best for: Tracking runs and rides with a strong social element

Wildly popular among cyclists and runners, Strava is a great choice for casual milers and pros alike. It offers in-depth GPS tracking, works with a variety of GPS devices, and tracks all kinds of metrics (especially if you opt for a Summit membership). It’s also known for its popular segments feature, which shows how you stack up against other runners on the same route. Premium users also get access to Beacon, a safety option that allows three designated contacts to monitor your location while you’re out running.

Free: iOS | Android

Runcoach

Runcoach

Best for: Building an adaptive training plan that fits your needs

Check out Runcoach to create a workout schedule and stick to it. Set a running goal and input information on your schedule, and the algorithm will deliver customized guidance on how to train. Want personalized coaching? (There’s an option to upgrade for $19.95 a month.) Use the app to reach out to USATF-certified coaches for help with injuries, nutrition, and more.

Free: iOS | Android

MapMyRun

Best for: Finding new routes to run

Not sure where to run? Choose from one of more than 70 million routes on MapMyRun, Under Armour’s comprehensive tracker that records distance, pace, elevation, calories burned, and more. It integrates with a variety of major wearable trackers, as well as the My Fitness Pal app, so you can sync your diet and exercise info together for a clearer picture of your health.

Free: iOS | Android

Nike+ Run Club

Nike+ Run Club

Best for: Run tracking, photo sharing, and audio coaching

Engineered specifically for runners, the Nike+ Run Club app goes beyond basic tracking with several motivation and coaching features, such as end-of-run cheers from top athletes, built-in photo sharing that overlays your run stats with a photo from your route, and audio-based workouts from top Nike coaches to help guide you along the way. Plus, the audio-coached runs feature a Spotify integration so you can lay the coach’s cues over your favorite playlist—the best of both worlds.

Free: iOS | Android

iSmoothRun

iSmoothRun

Best for: Training with multiple tracking services

In addition to showing you information about your run—basics such as distance and time, but also steps, weather, and the name of the street you started on—the iSmoothRun app supports run/walk and interval workouts, syncs with a variety of devices, tracks shoe mileage, and can also send workout data to other training logs. We imported a slew of TCX files from Dropbox, then exported them all in one go to MapMyRun in a matter of a few seconds.

$4.99: iOS

Zwift

Zwift

Best for: Feeling like you are running outside when on the treadmill.

Zwift is an online training ground inhabited up until recently by cyclists. Users log in, sync their avatar to their iPad/computer/devices and then ride or run around courses, surrounded by other virtual athletes from all over the globe doing the same thing. Download Zwift to your supported device—like your phone, iPad, or cast it to your TV—then pair up your Bluetooth enabled footpod or supported treadmill and get going.

Free: iOS | Android

Best Music Apps

Spotify

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Best for: Making playlists for your run

The popular streaming app gives you the best music from then and now through playlists you or your friends create. You can also explore the world of Spotify to see what else people are running to, jamming to, or working out to. One of the best parts of the app is it pairs with most devices, like the new Garmin Forerunner 245, so once you have the app, you can take it with you just about anywhere you can take your devices. Both commercial and commercial-free options are available.

Free or monthly subscription: iOS | Android

Apple Music

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Best for: Taking your favorite songs along with you on your run

Apple has dominated the portable music scene since the invention of the iPod, so it’s no wonder they have more than 50 million songs offered. Take the seemingly endless library of songs with you on your run to enjoy just about any music you could ever want on any Apple device. What’s even better is Apple offers deals for students, individuals, and families.

Plans start at $4.99/month: iOS

Amazon Music Unlimited & Amazon Prime Music

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Best for: Prime members and music lovers who want to jam out

There are two options here that both offer millions of song options from playlists and stations tailored to your favorite genres from past and present artists. For Prime members, that includes more than 2 million songs, while you can upgrade to Amazon Music Unlimited which includes tens of millions of songs for hours of commercial free-listening.

Prime Music free with Prime membership, Music Unlimited plans start at $7.99/month: iOS | Android

WeavRun

WeavRun

Best for: Finding music to match your stride

Although it’s always good to pay attention to the sound of your feet, listening to music is a great way to up your energy level on a run. WeavRun will help with that. It remixes pop songs to match your pace, so you can run to music without worrying about a slow song messing up your stride.

Free: iOS

Aaptiv

Aaptive

Best for: Making treadmill workouts a little easier.

Treadmill workouts are the top class category on Aaptiv and range in skill levels so newbie runners have just as many options as marathoners. Some trainers push technical form, others are popular among those people who are race training, and some just like to have fun. Before you choose a run, you can check out all the details in the app, including estimated distance, peak speed, peak incline, and music style, so you know what you’re getting yourself into.

Free 7-day trial, $14.99 per month: iOS | Android

Best Podcast & Audiobook Apps

Audible

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Best for: Catching up on the latest books.

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Sometimes you don’t want to get lost in the music or have the beat mess up your stride. Sometimes you just want to get lost in a story or show. That’s where Audible can help you out. The audio app offers audiobooks, shows, and podcasts from your favorite writers and personalities with a massive library of content for whatever you’re in the mood for.

Plans start at $14.95/month: iOS | Android

Apple Podcasts

Apple

Best for: Keeping track of your favorite podcasts

There are literally thousands of podcasts out there for you to discover and listen to, and the one place most of them can be found is on Apple Podcasts. It’s home feed will always keep you updated on the latest show trends, the top selections in your favorite categories, and biggest names to launch their own podcast. Just subscribe to your favorite shows, and they will be waiting for you the next time you plug in for a run. (Looking for some of the best pods out there? Here are our picks for the best podcasts for runners.)

Free: iOS

Google Podcasts

Google

Best for: Discovering new podcasts

Similar to Apple Podcasts in that pretty much all of your favorite shows live in the Google ecosystem, but our podcast fanatics on staff love that the app always shows you when a new episode is ready to be downloaded. If you’re bored with your current allotment of shows, the app is also very useful in finding shows that will likely match your tastes.

Free: Android

Stitcher

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Best for: Curating all your favorite shows by category.

Yes, Stitcher provides thousands of free podcasts to download and stream, but you can also sign up for Stitcher Premium to get exclusive content, full comedy albums, and ad-free versions of some of your favorite shows. (And a lot of hard to access archived episodes of uber-popular shows are fully available if you are a member.) One of the best features is you can create your own podcasts playlists, meaning you can batch all your comedy/true crime/sports podcasts all in one place so your favorite shows don’t get lost.

Free: iOS | Android

Best Motivation Running Apps

Runtastic

Best for: Keeping your mind occupied while running

Runtastic is a full-fledged run tracker, but it also stands out for its unique “Story Running” feature. Download stories ($1 a piece) in the app to listen to podcast-style tracks as you run. Each story is roughly 35 to 40 minutes long—just about the same duration as your typical daily workout.

Free: iOS | Android

Charity Miles

Charity Miles

Best for: Running for a cause

Charity Miles is a great way to add some altruism to your workout. It tracks your distance and donates 25 cents to a preselected participating charity for every mile you cover. Your runner’s high just got even better.

Free: iOS | Android

Zombies, Run!

Zombies, Run!

Best for: Turning your run into a video game

If lacing up for a run sounds daunting, try adding a little primal fear to your routine with Zombies, Run! This app puts you in the middle of a zombie apocalypse by providing a series audio stories and missions for you to listen to as you run, mixed in with your own music. Follow the audio prompts to collect supplies, fortify your zombie-proof base, and save humanity—what’s better motivation than that?

Free: iOS | Android

Safety

RoadID

RoadID

Best for: Automatically getting help in case of an accident

Road ID is better known for its bracelets that identify you to first responders after an accident (if it unfortunately happens). But the company also has a handy app that lets you share your location with friends and family, and it sends them an SOS message with your location if you stop moving for five minutes and don’t respond to the app’s alert. Better yet, your contacts don’t even need the RoadID app to use it—they get alerts via text or email.

Free: iOS | Android

Safety: Companion

Companion

Best for: Instantly letting friends and family know if you’re unsafe

Similar to RoadID, Companion allows you to pick contacts to share your location with while out running (or doing anything else). Select who you want to monitor you, and they can see your location in real time, either in the app or via text. It comes with built in “Safety Triggers” to detect falls or when you veer off course, and it will notify your contacts if you don’t respond to the alert prompts. You can also adjust your destination and timing as you run, and immediately call 911 if there’s an emergency.

Free: iOS

Running is hard. But if it’s something you are into (or want to be into), you can make it suck less with the thing that’s with you 24 hours a day anyway: your phone.

These apps for Android and iOS will help you crush your goals or just log some outside time in your kicks (and these leggings with pockets for your phone). Let’s get sweaty.

1. If no headphones = no run:

Spotify

Free or $13 a month for premium on iTunes and Google Play

Whether you want to make your own playlist or choose one of Spotify’s kick-ass running mixes organized by beats per minute (my personal fave is “Run Wild”), this app is your ride-or-die for running with tunes. It’s totally free if you don’t mind listening to ads, but a premium subscription will get you ad-free music and the ability to download your playlist so you can listen without Wi-Fi or cell service (aka any outdoor run ever).

2. If you worry about being safe:

Road ID

Road ID

Free on iTunes and Google Play

The app uses “eCrumbs” or “electronic bread crumbs” to track your location as you run (or do literally anything), allowing your friends and fam to keep tabs on you—if you want them to. You can also set up a Stationary Alert Notification, which pings your emergency contact when you stop moving for more than five minutes. And finally, you can create a personalized lock screen displaying your in-case-of-emergency contacts and health info like allergies or medical conditions. So if something happens to you, a bystander can call your people for help and notify first responders of your health issues.

3. If you want someone to tell you what to do on the treadmill:

Peloton

Peloton

$20/month on iTunes and Google Play

Tune in to live treadmill workout classes (filmed in New York City studios) or follow on-demand ones anytime you hop on the tread. Each class is complete with music, amazing trainers, and lots of motivational eye contact (well, the instructors look into the cameras…so close enough). It’s kind of addictive.

4. If you’re obsessed with stats:

Runtastic

Runtastic

Free or $10/month, $36/year for premium on iTunes and Google Play

If you think running is pointless without knowing how many miles you’ve clocked this week, this month, or this year, or you like to investigate how your runs have changed over time, this is for you. The free version also lets you follow your friends’ runs and compete with them to log the most miles. With the premium membership, you can use the app to train for a race, follow your favorite routes, and track your personal records. Nerd alert.

5. If you’re new to running:

Spring

Spring

$8/month, $40/year on iTunes

One of the hardest parts of launching a new running routine is learning how to keep a steady pace. This music-streaming app prevents you from slowing down by detecting your starting speed and creating a playlist of popular songs (which you can sort by genre and artist) with enough beats per minute to match your cadence. Plus, the app records your route, pace, and distance, so you can set goals for your next run. You can also challenge yourself with Spring’s interval workout playlists, which incorporate faster songs that cue you when it’s time to sprint.

6. If you’re training for a 5K:

C25K 5K Trainer

C25K

Free for basic app or $5/month, $50/year for pro version on iTunes and Google Play

Setting out to run a 5K, aka 3.2 miles? This app will be your new running bae. Throughout its eight-week Couch to 5K program, which includes three 30- to 40-minute workouts per week, it delivers audio cues to tell you when to walk or jog. The free time-based workouts can increase your stamina for race day, but if you’d also like to track distance during training runs, upgrade to the paid pro version so you can gauge your progress.

7. If you’re training for a 10K:

10K Runner

10K Trainer

$3/month or $7/lifetime on iTunes and Google Play

This 14-week program is designed for new runners to conquer their first 10K (a little over 6 miles) with three runs per week. Like the C25K app, the 10K Runner also acts as an audio coach to talk you through walking and running intervals, so you can steadily improve without sustaining injuries. If you already run pretty regularly, you can still use the app to train in fewer than 14 weeks: Just scroll through the weekly workouts to find one that most resembles your current routine, then backtrack three days to determine where to begin and how many weeks you’ll need to train for your race.

8. If you’re training for a half marathon or marathon:

Nike + Run Club

Nike

Free on iTunes and Google Play

Preparing your body to cover these distances can take up to 26 weeks—so you need a plan that gets you across the finish line regardless of how often life interferes with scheduled runs. Whether you’re going for a half or full marathon, Nike + Run Club offers ample flexibility: You can reschedule your run or skip it entirely, in which case the app adjusts your training schedule so you’re still ready for race day.

Depending on your weekly mileage, the farthest distance you can run, the amount of time you can sustain a fast pace, and how many runs you can commit to per week, the Nike + Run Club can get you ready for a half marathon in as few as eight weeks or a marathon in as few as 12 weeks. All plans are based on distance, not time, and require at least two runs per week. The Nike + Run Club app tracks your mileage and pace, talks you through speed drills, and recommends Nike Training Club cross-training workouts for runners, which you can follow on the NTC app.

9. If you like the idea of a personal running coach:

aaptiv

$15/month, $100/year (with 30-day free trial) on iTunes and Google Play

A running coach can help perfect your form, challenge you, and push you to achieve new personal records. Thing is, they’re expensive as hell. With an Aaptiv subscription, a human trainer will coach you on form—cueing you to adjust your body by lifting your knees higher or leaning forward—and speed and motivate you through treadmill runs and interval drills that range from 4 to 63 minutes plus outdoor runs and speed work (for 14 to 61 minutes). Bonus: A bomb-ass playlist (read: no stock tunes) created specifically for that workout plays in the background the whole time.

10. If you need a good cause to run for:

charity miles

Free on iTunes and Google Play

If you won’t run for yourself, run for one of more than 40 charities, like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and She’s The First, a nonprofit that fights gender inequality, with this activity-tracking app. Its corporate sponsors, which include companies such as Johnson and Johnson, donate 25 cents toward the charity of your choice for every mile you run (or walk), leaving you sweaty but your bank account untouched.

11. If you’re looking for a new route:

Map My Run

map my run

Premium subscription $6/month, $30/year on iTunes and Google Play

Whether you just moved to a new neighborhood, you travel often, or you’re sick of the same old routine, Map My Run can help you discover new paths with its routes tool. You can search through other app users’ runs, find one that looks fun, and tap “do it” for audio guidance. If you upgrade to premium, you can also share your real-time running location with a buddy, which gives you peace of mind if you’re running in an unfamiliar place.

12. If you want to run faster:

strava

Free or $8/month, $60/year for premium on iTunes and Google Play

Like most running apps, Strava tracks your progress over time, so you can compete against yourself. But what makes this app extra special are its local route locator and leaderboard features, which allow you to compare your pace to that of other Strava users who use the same path—and try to beat ’em. Record your results, and any friends using the app will see you’ve clocked a run, sparking friendly competition.

13. If you want to run farther without training for a race:

RunKeeper

run keeper

$10/month, $40/year on iTunes and Google Play

Who says training plans are only for race prep? To create a routine that helps you increase your mileage and endurance without a finish line in sight, RunKeeper accesses your running level using your answers to a series of questions, then produces a running schedule based on the days and times that work best for your schedule. When you miss a workout (it happens!), the app recalibrates to keep you on track.

14. If you’re running to lose weight:

Running for Weight Loss

running for weight loss

$10/month, $40/year on iTunes and Google Play

Runs that incorporate speed intervals can burn extra calories, which can be helpful for people who are trying to lose weight. Based on your current fitness ability—new to running, able to run one to two miles, comfortable running four miles—this app creates eight-week training plans with three 35- to 40-minute workouts each week. During sweat sessions, a voiceover takes you through a warm-up, walking intervals (for beginners), jogging (for intermediate and advanced exercisers), and bursts of sprints throughout the run, so you can stay in the zone.

15. If you’re sore AF from running:

Stretching and Flexibility Plans

GABRIEL LUPU

$10/6 months, $18/year on iTunes

With 50 stretching routines sorted by fitness level, time, and sport, this app provides plenty of moves to help runners recover. Each routine features its own instructional video, but if you’re feeling extra, the app also offers 300 videos of individual stretches sorted by body part, which you can string together to build your own pre- or post-run routine.

Ashley Oerman Deputy Lifestyle Director Ashley Oerman is the deputy lifestyle director at Cosmopolitan, covering fitness, health, food, cocktails, home, and entertainment.

Everybody knows that running on a daily basis can help you lose weight and keep it off. But just because you run for a few minutes every day, it does not mean your body is ready for a 10k run. You need to gradually get your body ready for that. These 5 iPhone apps can help with your 10k training:

Also check out:

10K Runner: this app is designed for beginners or those of you who have already gotten your body ready for 5k runs. It provides you with a 8-week program to help you reach 5k and 6 more weeks to help you reach 10k. You get audio coaching and can listen to your music while running.

Run 10k: this app tells you when to run and walk and provides you with audio cues. You get a 13 week training program to get started. Workouts range from 40 to 76 minutes long. You alternate between jogging and walking to complete this program.

Strong Runner: a powerful application that helps you train for 5k or 10k events and stay injury free. It has workouts that target muscles important for runners.

10K Trainer: gets beginners ready for a 10k run in just 14 weeks. You just have to practice 3 times per week. The app is compatible with Nike+ GPS. The app offers audio coaching and alerts.

💡Make your home smart with these Alexa enabled connected devices

5K-to-10K: this app helps you go from 5k to 10k in 9 weeks. You get 3 virtual coaches to choose from. It helps you challenge yourself with faster paces.

Have you found better apps for 10k training? Please share them here.

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