You may have heard that running is good for mind and body... or maybe too many nights watching the Olympics has you dreaming of how it would feel to be in possession of a pair of envy-inducing leg muscles. Considering it's free, running is starting to sound pretty appealing already - here are the apps to help you make it happen (or take you to that next level). Ready, set, go!

Got your sights set on your next marathon? Or do you just enjoy getting out for a quick run to clear your head? Either way, running’s good for both body and mind.

We’ve pulled together some of the best running apps available on iPhone and Android. From coaching and nutrition to motivation, these apps can help improve your performance and can even help make running more enjoyable.

Here are some of the best running apps you can download now.

 Zombies, Run! – iPhone, Android – free

Ever dreamed of being an extra in The Walking Dead? This app turns the tedium of training into the most fun of your life. Every so often, zombies start chasing you and you need to bolt to escape unscathed. Just keep your headphones in to hear your zombie mission. You’ll be putting in some serious miles in no time.

Run an Empire – iPhone – free

If you like your exercise to come with a side of world domination, you’ll love this gamified running app. Race against friends, conquer local lands – by running or jogging around them, invade new lands, and defend your territories. This is strategy meets sprinting.

 

Charity Miles – iPhone, Android – free

Struggling with motivation? This could be the running app for you. With Charity Miles, every mile you run, walk, or cycle makes a small amount of money for charity. You get to choose from a list of charities – it’s the best incentive to get your trainers on.

There are no details like steps, calories burned, or speed, but distance is everything. You can basically take part in a fun run whenever you fancy it.

Bugmiles – iPhone – free

Bugmiles is one of the most fun and sociable running apps around – you’re basically joining a virtual running club.

Log your miles, track your progress, and get instant feedback, support, and motivation from thousands of fellow runners. The app gives you info on loads of organised events from fun runs and 5Ks to marathons. There’s a lifestyle section with articles and interviews, too.

And that’s not all. It’s packed with nutrition advice, running tips, and loads more. Overall, it’s the perfect companion to have on your running journey.

Runkeeper – iPhone, Android – free

With more than 45 million members, this app’s hugely popular with runners. It records your pace, distance, exercise time, calories burned and much more.

If you’ve got a long-term goal, you can track your workout history and measure your progress. There’s a ‘goal coach’ feature too to help you reach your long-term aims. And the Runkeeper DJ will provide the perfect playlist, too.

And with personalised routines that take into account life’s demands, your running schedule adapts to suit you.

MapMyRun – iPhone, Android – free

As well as covering the usual metrics, this innovative app uses your phone’s GPS to track the course you run. This is great for reviewing and plotting your next route, adding variety to your workout.

Plus, sync the app to your social media platforms and let the world know which terrain you’ve tackled. With a number of useful additional features, such as a heart rate sensor, it’s well worth a look.

Couch to 5K – iPhone, Android – £2.99

This is a tried-and-tested favourite and can turn even the most committed couch potato into a runner. It eases you into running with a gentle training programme that will have you capable of running 5K in just 9 weeks.

TempoRun – iPhone – 79p

This is basically a music app for runners. TempoRun analyses your music and sorts your songs by tempo, giving them a rating between 1 and 10.

Why is this useful? Experienced fitness fanatics will know that you don’t tend to run at a steady pace. If you’re a fan of high-intensity workouts, you can listen to a track that’s the right pace for each point of your run. Get a high-octane, inspiring tune when you’re sprinting and a slow-paced sound when you’re jogging.

And, like the other apps, you can use this one to track stuff like your pace, time, and distance.

Running Trainer – iPhone, Android – free

If you like the sound of a PT guiding you through your run, then you’ll love this app. It gives you audio instructions and real-time updates as you go. It’s a great app, no matter what level you’re at. And it can help you build up from a 5 to a 10K or from a half to a full marathon.

Runtastic – iPhone, Android – free

If you want to track your progress, Runtastic gives you the option to fill out an exercise diary. And there’s all the usual features you’d expect with a running app, too. You can also configure your dashboard so that it only shows the bits you’re interested in. Running apps can sometimes be guilty of information overload, so we think this is a great feature.

Nike+ Running – iPhone, Android – free

There are a couple of great aspects to what is arguably the best of the best running apps. Firstly, it works on a treadmill. So, if you don’t fancy braving the British weather, you can hit the gym and still record your pace, time, and distance.

And you can load up a ‘power song’ of your choice to kick in when you’re flagging mid run, too.

Main pic credit: Via Pexels/gratisography.com