Developer: Clear Sky Apps LTD
Price: $2.99 Download on the App Store
The fast track to becoming a runner starts with the 5K Runner app, one of the best iPhone running apps I've tested. Packed with coaching tips, a training program and a lot of interactive content, this app gets you from couch to 5K (or 3.1 miles) in 8 weeks.
My running debut came in January 2007 when my friend first challenged me to start running. I was living in Chicago at the time and if you know anything about the midwest, you know that the winters are brutal so my running garb included snow gear. I don't recommend taking up running in the middle of winter on the streets of Chicago as after one block I nearly lost a finger from frostbite.
Of course, it really wasn't the weather that was the problem. It was my approach. I didn't do any research, had no clue how to train to become a runner and quickly found myself abnormally sore after a few attempts.
What I soon found in the pages of a running guide from the bookstore is that it's best to enter into running gradually. That piece of knowledge cost me about $10 and some very sore legs.
Luckily for you, you can save yourself that $10 and the trip to the bookstore by downloading the 5K Runner training guide app for free from the Apple App Store. 5K Runner promises to get you off your coach and help you train to finish your first 3.1 mile race.
Training with the 5K Runner App
The 5K Runner application guides you through an 8-week program, three times a week, where in each workout you alternate walks and runs. This is a really great training strategy and one I used in the several months it took me to train for the 2007 Chicago Marathon.
When you launch 5K Runner, you'll see the heading say Week 1, Day 1 and a few tabs, including run, wins and learn. My first advice is to head on over to the learning tab. There you'll find a number of points regarding health requirements, what you need to start, best way to warm up, cool down and stretch properly.
After that, simply put your running gear on, click the run now button and you're ahead of the curve.
The program is meant for the beginning runner to gradually work themselves into a continuous run by training with walk-run intervals. The app breaks it down for you with a 5 min warm up walk, a 15 min workout that consists of 1 min runs then 1.5 min walks and then alternates six times and then finish with a 5 min cool down walk. A coach voiceover talks to you the entire time.
As you progress through the weeks, 5K Runner will keep you on a schedule that increases the time spent running and decreases the time spent walking, until finally, you are running the entire 3.1 miles by the end of the 8 week period.
Bottom line, the 5K Runner app is free, very easy to use, is compatible with your music library and can track your distance via GPS. This application is a must-have fitness trainer for anyone trying to catch the running bug or getting ready for a major running event.