Training While Traveling: Never Miss a Run With These Apps

May 21, 2017

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Running is a fitness activity people gravitate toward for its simplicity: All you need is a decent pair of shoes, a little time and the desire to put one foot in front of the other. However, when traveling, it can become challenging to keep up your momentum — the roads are unfamiliar and your normal schedule is disrupted. The following fitness-forward apps make it easier to run anywhere, are all available for iOS and Android, and free unless otherwise noted, so no excuses.

If You Want to Stick to a Plan

If this isn’t your first rodeo, er, marathon, and you probably have your training weeks mapped out to the mile. But for newbie runners or those with a new goal, the active.com apps — Couch to 5K ($2.99), 5K to 10K (free) and 13.One (free) — provide workouts day-by-day and week-by-week to help get you ready for 5K, 10K or half-marathon race day, and hold you accountable all along.

Image courtesy of Active.com.
Image courtesy of Active.com.

For Exploring Roads Already Traveled

Chances are, if tech-savvy runners have stayed at your hotel in the past, they’ve logged routes on MapMyRun, the largest community running app and website out there. It’s a great resource to see where people run in the area you’re traveling to, showing not only routes’ mileage but also elevation profiles and how to get to them from your location. If you upgrade to MVP ($6 a month or $30 annually) the “Route Genius” function will even plot out a plan for you.

Image courtesy of MapMyRun.
Image courtesy of MapMyRun.

If You Prefer a Virtual Guide

The one bad thing about MapMyRun is that it doesn’t offer turn-by-turn directions so you have to keep looking at the phone screen to be sure you’re on the right track. With RunGo, you can design your own local route and get audio voice guidance at every intersection, as well as your pace and distance traveled — all for free. Plus, if you get really motivated, you can cross-reference MapMyRun to design your route in RunGo.

Image courtesy of RunGo.
Image courtesy of RunGo.

For Finding the Beaten Path

If off-road running is more your speed, the Trail Run Project app sponsored by REI is your must-have database. In it, you’ll find 90,000-plus miles of trails that use GPS to pinpoint you wherever you are. Best of all, it works in offline mode so you don’t need active cell service to find your way.

Image courtesy of the Trail Run Project.
Image courtesy of the Trail Run Project.

For Hooking Up with a Crew

There’s nothing better for motivation and local knowledge than connecting with running buddies or meeting up with a group run in the area. Find fitness pals using Meetup.com’s app, or do it old school by searching for an established club in Road Runner’s Club of America’s database at RRCA.org — there’s no app for that one, but it’s still worth a look.

Image courtesy of Meetup.
Image courtesy of Meetup.

For Staying on Someone’s Radar

If you end up going it alone, especially in an unfamiliar place, there’s always a risk of danger. Many apps like Strava and MapMyRun offer a live-tracking function if you buy into the premium versions, as does Garmin Connect if you own a Garmin running watch. Road ID’s app, however, is totally free for anyone to use and is designed especially with safety in mind. You can alert up to five people of your run in real-time by sending them “eCrumbs” of your whereabouts and set up an alert if you don’t change your location for five minutes. It’ll also allow you to list your in-case-of-emergency contacts on the lock screen so someone else can contact your loved ones without knowing your phone’s passcode if you run into trouble.

Image courtesy of Road ID.
Image courtesy of Road ID.

For Beating “Dreadmill” Boredom

No matter your best intentions, there simply may not be a way for you to take your run outside — well, at least not physically. But with the beautifully shot videos of the Treadmill Trails app loaded on your tablet — for $0.99 per 30-minute route — you can run almost anywhere in the world, like the Appalachian Trail in New York, through the Alhambra Gardens in Spain or along Kauai’s Nualolo Ridge in Hawaii, while comfortably ensconced in your hotel fitness center. And your buck spent isn’t a rental fee: You buy ‘em, you keep ‘em forever.

What are some of your favorite ways to stay in shape on the road? Sound off, below.

Featured image courtesy of Jordan Siemens via Getty Images.

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