A personal trainer in your pocket.
1. Seconds (free, iOS) is a timer for interval training.
What’s amazing about this timer is that you can customize the exercises in your circuit, and the app will speak the interval names aloud. Don’t worry: You can still listen to your own music and hear the alerts on top of it!
The countdown is giant. It’s visible in both landscape and portrait mode, so you’ll never lose track of the time. Upgrade to pro ($5) to save timers for different types of workouts (7 minute, Tabata, HIIT, etc.).
Only the pro version of this app ($5) is available for Android.
2. Nike Training Club (free, iOS and Android) is a great workout app for beginners.
This is the ultimate app for people who want a lot of direction — or don’t want to spend hours at the gym. Nike Training Club creates a comprehensive four-week plan based on your fitness level and goals. Workouts are targeted toward getting leaner, stronger, or more toned and range from 15 to 45 minutes. If you hate running (or are injured), you can even choose to eliminate running from your program.
A voiceover guides you through the workout, and you can double check your form by playing the video that comes with each exercise. I love using AirPlay on my iPhone to beam the exercises to my TV. If you have an Android phone and a Chromecast, you can stream videos to your TV as well.
3. Spring Moves (free, iOS) is an app that’s kind of like SoulCycle for running.
If you love dancing, you’ll love Spring Moves. Like SoulCycle, the app encourages you to match your steps to a beat. You choose the intensity and the type of music you like, then press “start.” Spring will then start tracking your mileage via GPS. If you don’t like the song that’s being played, swipe the song title to the left and press the forward button.
The app is not limited to runs (there’s also walking, interval, cycling, rowing, and swimming), but it’s definitely the most effective for running. It’s important to note that this app streams music, so if you like to run outdoors where there is no Wi-Fi and have a limited data plan, this is not the app for you. The first five hours are free and subscriptions start at $4 per month or $20 per year.
4. Couch to 5k (free, iOS and Android) will help get first-time runners up and moving.
Avoid ramping up your training plan too quickly by following this app’s easy-to-start program. It’s an eight-week training course that requires a mix of running and walking three days per week, thirty minutes per day. An example workout will include a brisk warm-up walk, followed by 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking. You’ll alternate between walking and jogging until you hit 30 minutes. See? Not bad!
If the ads bug you, consider upgrading to the pro version for iPhone.