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8 Running Apps to Help You Train for Your Next Race

Whether you’re training for your first 5K or your ninth marathon, these awesome apps will help motivate you through every mile. So by the time race day rolls around, you'll cross the finish line faster (and happier) than you ever thought possible. Read on to decide which app is best for your goal and fitness level!

Couch to 5K

Best for: Beginning runners

Cool features: This app from Active.com will make finishing 3.1 miles a breeze after you complete the nine-week training plan, running just three days a week. You'll pick from one of five different "virtual coaches" to guide you through each workout, plus the app tracks your distance, pace, and routes, and it even shares your progress on Facebook (if you so desire).

Price: $1.99

Available in the iTunes App Store and on Google Play

Proof!

Best for: Runners who like a little friendly competition

Cool features: Hold yourself accountable for every mile with Proof, which lets users "compete" with Facebook friends or contacts in your smartphone to achieve fitness goals—or anything, really. Anyone can post a status that they just finished an 18-miler, but this app requires "proof" of completion—i.e. a photo or video. To keep things interesting, the app has a real-time leader board where users make bets, offer words of encouragement, or talk smack to fuel the competition.

Price: Free

Available in the iTunes App Store and on Google Play

WalkJogRun

Best for: Runners who prefer outdoor training

Cool features: With a database of more than 1.7 million user-contributed routes, filtered by distance and time, the WalkJogRun app takes the monotony out of race training. Choose a "training diary" from the app's pre-set plans or create your own for any distance goal. It's a bit pricier than many running apps, but the incredibly accurate GPS tracking system eliminates any chance for surprises on race day (Are you really running an eight-minute mile?).

Price: $4.99

Available in the iTunes App Store

Upbeat Workouts for Runners

Best for: Any runner in need of musical motivation

Cool features: We've all been there: You're logging miles like a pro with up-tempo tunes to help you keep the pace, when all of a sudden that 90s ballad comes on and totally ruins your stride. The Upbeat Workouts for Runners app uses beats per minute, BPM, to match your cadence with songs from your music library. So your run will never be interrupted by Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" again!

Price: $2.99.

Available in the iTunes App Store

Run Half Marathon

Best for: Intermediate runners who want a structured training plan

Cool features: This training program takes runners who feel comfortable running three miles a few times a week to completing a half marathon in just 13 weeks. The app features a built-in calendar to schedule your training runs, saves your stats (distance, pace, elevation, and calories burned), and checks off each completed workout on the calendar—how's that for a feeling of satisfaction? The developers also created 5K and 10K training plans in case you're not quite ready to take on 13.1.

Price: $2.99

Available in the iTunes App Store

Bit Timer

Best for: Advanced runners or anyone who wants to lose body fat, boost speed, or improve overall fitness

Cool features: Most runners (or gym goers) are familiar with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and its proven power to help increase speed and endurance. But rather than blindly poking at the treadmill console or constantly checking your watch, download this super-helpful app to stay focused on your footwork. Bit Timer, which promises to be the "World's Simplest Interval Timer Ever," has a clean and simple interface, making it easy to plug in your desired number of work periods, rest periods, and repetitions.

Price: $0.99

Available in the iTunes App Store

Full Fitness

Best for: Cross-training

Cool features: To get in tip-top shape for your race, you can't rely on cardio alone. The Full Fitness app puts a comprehensive exercise library, most with accompanying videos, at your fingertips. You can choose from 30 workout routines designed by top fitness professionals and tailored to specific goal, whether it's losing weight, defining your legs, or improving overall fitness. It's like having a personal trainer in your pocket!

Price: $1.99; free version also available

Available in the iTunes App Store

MyPlate by LiveStrong

Best for: Runners who want to shape up their diet

Cool features: Getting fit for a race involves more than just running—eating the right foods to fuel your body is just as important! With the MyPlate app from LiveStrong.com, you can track your intake of protein, carbs, fats, and more to make sure your nutrition is on-par with your training goals. With a comprehensive database of more than 1.3 million foods and restaurant items, you can easily keep track each morsel that goes into your mouth. It also features a community of members who can inspire you to stick to your goals.

Price: $2.99

Available in the iTunes App Store