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Go from Speed Walker to Marathon Runner with These 5 Training Apps

January 22, 2021

Pick up the pace with these five training apps.

Whether you’re running your first 5K or your tenth marathon, everyone can use a little help. Thanks to training apps like Strava and Peloton, anyone can become a runner. Plan your route, track your progress and tap into your inner athlete with these five training apps that take you from speed walker to marathon runner.


1. Strava: Where social meets performance data


Meet Strava, your GPS-enabled, social media-based app that tracks your progress between each run. By syncing with mobile devices, smartwatches, heart rate monitors and power meters, Strava gathers as much data as possible to deliver precise performance metrics. Connect with friends and family to view a summary of their daily activities. Or, see how you stack up to other runners in the Strava community by joining a challenge and comparing your results to others on the leaderboard. Users who pay for the premium version even have access to training calendars that can help take you over the finish line with ease.


2. Runkeeper: Your personalized pocket-coach


Like Strava, Runkeeper allows you to track activities and view metrics, including mileage, duration, pace and calories burned. What sets Runkeeper apart from other apps is its customization. When you create a goal—like running your fastest 5K or your first marathon—Runkeeper will provide a personalized program to help you conquer those aspirations based on your current fitness ability. By connecting with your fitness trackers, Runkeeper can leverage data regarding sleep, nutrition and weight to give you an even better understanding of your overall health.


3. MapMyRun: Routes in the palm of your hand


Whether running through your neighborhood or in new territory on vacation, MapMyRun allows you to create and export routes in virtually any destination in the world. If you don’t have the time to plan your own run, you can view courses created by others in your area. Toggle between road or trail running for even more accurate performance metrics during your activity. With a paid subscription, you can also access audio features that announce metrics like time, distance and pace throughout your run while also delivering coaching alerts to help you stick to your pre-established goals. 


4. Training Peaks: Serious about stress


If you’re focusing on progress, TrainingPeaks could be your solution. One of the key differentiators between TrainingPeaks and other fitness-related apps is its Performance Management Chart. By calculating a Training Stress Score after each workout, you can see the amount of stress endured per session. When used over time, the app can determine whether that stress is causing your body to progress or digress. While TrainingPeaks can help prepare you for the big day, it can also help make sure your next race isn’t your last.


5. Peloton: Together we go far


You don’t have to make it to the finish line alone. In fact, there are bound to be hundreds of others running alongside you on race day. But with Peloton, you can even train alongside others in the running community. With both live and on-demand classes, Peloton offers a wide variety of classes—including HIIT, Marathon Race Prep, interval training and fun runs—as well as strength training, stretching and meditation sessions. Best of all, you don’t need a gym membership or at-home treadmill to take part. The Peloton Digital Membership also offers audio-only, outdoor classes to help keep you moving on the streets. Just download your class on wifi beforehand and access it offline. Whether you want to embark on an 18-week marathon training program or a 6-week 5K plan, Peloton has the tools you need to run while having fun.


If it was easy, everyone would do it; but with the right tools and preparation, you might just realize that running isn’t quite that bad after all.

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