A Guide to Android's Best Free Running Apps

Hit the road and record every step with your Android device

There are many apps on Google Play geared for runners. These are in addition to the step counters from Google Fit and Samsung Health that are usually pre-installed on the device. The running apps in this list are free or have a feature-rich free version, have mapping features using the GPS built into Android phones, and can be personalized.

All of the apps below should be equally available no matter which company makes your Android phone, including Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

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A Straightforward Way to Track Your Progress: Runkeeper

Runkeeper app on Android
What We Like
  • Simple and straightforward.

  • Easily set and track goals.

  • No extra junk to get in the way.

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't track calories burned.

  • Lacking some extra data, like an altimeter.

Runkeeper is a running-based Android app. While it doesn't have the personalization options that other apps offer, it excels when it comes to social networking. If you are part of a fitness or running group that uses Twitter or Facebook to share with and compete against other members, Runkeeper is your app.

The mapping feature is solid and you can view the map anytime during your workout—not just when you stop the session.

Despite a few drawbacks that may be addressed in future updates, Run Keeper is a solid app at a solid price: Free.

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Track Your Progress and Follow a Running Plan: Runtastic

Runtastic app on Android
What We Like
  • Easy to track and visualize progress.

  • Get right in and start running.

  • Simple plans to stay on track.

What We Don't Like
  • Ads can be intrusive.

  • Can be slow.

Runtastic is similar in features and functions to Runkeeper. Runtastic is geared towards cardio exercises like running, walking, biking, and hiking. The interface is easy to use and its mapping feature is accurate and powerful.

The downside of Runtastic is that you can only view the map of your route after you complete your workout. It also has limited personalization settings, and it lacks an internal music player.

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Train to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse: Zombies, Run!

Zombies, Run! for Android
What We Like
  • Interesting and innovative idea.

  • Great for people who don't like working out.

  • Tons of activities and goals to achieve.

What We Don't Like
  • Not exactly great for someone serious about running.

  • It's heavy on the zombies and lighter on the actual fitness.

Zombies, Run! is a running app for Android (and iOS) that turns your regular run into a post-apocalyptic survival audio experience so you can forget just how tedious running is. Scripted radio transmissions are intermingled with your regular music collection that build upon the Zombies, Run! story and random zombie events trigger during your route, forcing you to run faster or lose in-app points. It's intermittent exercise but in a whole new way.

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A Great Way for Beginners to Start Running: C25K - 5K Running Trainer

C25K for Android
What We Like
  • Excellent for beginners.

  • Simple interface.

  • Compatible with multiple music apps.

What We Don't Like
  • Some features are limited to the Pro version.

  • It seems limited when not connected to other apps.

Maybe you haven't run anywhere since high school gym class or you just stopped exercising in the last few years. Either way, C25K (short for couch to 5k) is a great way to get active again. It's a super simple app with a clean interface that anyone can get started with in a few minutes.

C25K is designed to take all the obstacles out of your way when it comes to running. It has fantastic integration with several music apps and excellent tracking capabilities, without too much data to confuse you. With C25K, you can install the app, and get started right away. Even better, you'll feel accomplished. Plus, there's some room to grow with this one. Want more option? Check out our roundup of the best couch to 5K apps.

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Run Tracking, Mapping, and Fitness Extras: Map My Run

Map My Run for Android
What We Like
  • Visualize your progress.

  • Focus on maps and routes.

  • Connectivity with wearable devices.

What We Don't Like
  • GPS connection drops occasionally.

  • Seems more like an Under Armor companion app than a standalone.

Under Armor has several fitness apps, and Map My Run is the one specifically for runners. Map My Run is all about mapping out your run and tracking your progress. The goal here is to find which routes work best for you.

Map My Run delivers on its promise of giving you the tools to track your running, but it also feels somewhat like a big ad for Under Armor. If you work with other Under Armor gadgets, this is probably a good thing. Otherwise, one of the other apps on this list is probably a better fit.

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Join the Club, and Get Motivated: Nike Run Club

Nike+ Run Club for Android
What We Like
  • Great simple interface.

  • Excellent visualization of runs.

  • Many ways to keep motivated.

  • Android Wear companion app available.

What We Don't Like
  • Some users report GPS bugs.

  • The app mostly assumes that you have experience running.

Nike Run Club delivers a much more engaging experience than many other apps. From the name alone, you can guess that Run Club is more interactive. With this app, it feels more like a virtual gym than an app.

Nike Run Club offers all the usual tracking and mapping features that you'd expect from an app like it, but it also comes with plenty of ways to stay motivated. Guided runs, challenges, achievements, and social components all help to shake things up and give you a bar to reach.

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An Advanced Running Community: Strava Training

Strava Training for Android
What We Like
  • Packed with features.

  • Great social aspects to connect and motivate.

  • Connect with multiple wearable devices.

What We Don't Like
  • Not really beginner friendly.

  • It can be intimidating to get started.

For more serious runners, there's Strava. Strava doesn't hold your hand or try to give you encouragement. Instead, it gets straight to the point and delivers the tools you'll need to make the most of the runs you take regularly.

Strava's other strong suit is its social component. Think of it as a community of runners, and use Strava to coordinate with or compete against your friends.

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Straightforward Tracking With a Great Interface: Running Distance Tracker+

Running Distance Tracker+
What We Like
  • Clean and simple interface.

  • Tracking data is excellent.

  • Great route visuals.

What We Don't Like
  • Some features require you to pay.

  • The app can feel limited at times.

Running Distance Tracker+ is the best-looking app on this list. It's clean, modern, and sports a unique dark theme that really stands out. This app doesn't just look good. It's also a fantastic tracker that maps out your run and records all the data you could possibly hope for, including your pace throughout the run.

Running Distance Tracker+ is simple to get started with, but if you have specific preferences, it opens the door with a complete settings layout to adjust how information shows up on your screen.

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Track and Analyze Your Run: Endomondo

Endomondo for Android
What We Like
  • Simple to get started.

  • Convenient run tracking.

  • Tons of challenges and goals.

What We Don't Like
  • Ads can be annoying.

  • Key features are gated behind the premium version.

Endomondo is another app owned by Under Armor, and even though it's not specifically geared only for running, it's still a great companion. Endomondo makes starting your workout as simple as possible and tracks the most vital information about your run, including calories burned.

This app's core functionality is good, but as soon as you want anything extra, you'll need to pay for the Premium version. Endomondo can be great, but there are better free options for most situations.

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Plan, Train, and Compete: Pumatrac

Pumatrac for Android
What We Like
  • Lots of built in workouts.

  • Clean interface.

  • Spotify integration.

What We Don't Like
  • Not focused on running.

  • Seems light on features.

Pumatrac is, more or less, a simple way to track your workouts. You can start and stop, time them out, and map your routes when you're running. It's all plain and straightforward.

Pumatrac's main selling point, above other apps here, is the wide library of workouts it offers for free. They're not all focused on running, but you shouldn't have trouble finding something to do with this app.

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