If the New Year has inspired you to get fighting fit, then you've hit the right page. Technology has the tools to help you get in the shape of your life but it's not easy to know which product is right for your goals.
We've enlisted the help of T3.com Editor-in-chief and ultra runner Kieran Alger to put together a four-part guide to help you uncover everything you need to go from couch slouch to marathon finisher.
You're now officially a runner. Not a jogger, a fully fledge race-experienced runner. With you 5km medal hanging on the back door it's time to take on the 10 kilometre distance. So, how can your phone help you step up?
Preparing to run a 10km is going to mean one thing: more running. You'll be out there pounding the pavements more often, going further and experiencing different types of training run for the first time.
It can be a daunting gear change and this is where some people can find it tough to stay motivated and boredom free.
Apps like Endomondo Pro and Adidas MiCoach are perfect for setting up training plans, taking the guesswork out of preparing to run 10km, but motivation and enjoyment are also vital as you strive to get race ready.
Luckily there are a whole host of other apps that can help keep the hunger alive.
Best motivational running apps
Runnit - Free, iOS
What if we told you there was an app that let you earn rewards for each mile run? From coffee to clothing, Runnit rewards your efforts out there on the streets. You simply select a challenge, do the miles and pick up your goodies.
Polar Beat - Free, Android and iOS
Polar Beat is an easy way to unlock the power of Polar's running and fitness tracking without the need for a watch. Pair it with the Polar H6 or H7 heart rate sensor and you get real-time graphical and voice guidance to keep you running at the right intensity.
Keeping your effort levels right means you can avoid the negative effects of over training, one of which is that horrible feeling that you're not enjoying the run. It can also tell you how to run to help your body recover from tougher sessions earlier in the week.
iMapmyrun - Free, Android and iOS
This hugely popular running app has all the usual GPS run tracking tricks up it's iOS and Android sleeves but it has one very useful function on top of that, it lets you search existing routes near you. There are well over 36,000 routes logged, offering a great way to keep your training runs fresh.
Strava Run - Free, Android and iOS
If competition is what keeps you motivated, then Strava Run is a great app for you. Just like the cult cycling version of the app, Strava Run lets you find and compete for the fastest times on routes near you. It's the ultimate way to add a competitive edge to those otherwise potentially dull training runs.
Upbeat Workouts for Runners
Making the perfect running playlist can be tricky, particularly if you want to do clever things like match the music to your training intensity. Upbeat Workouts for Runners takes the pain out of that process, calculating your stride-per-minute (SPM) rate and finds a song on your iPhone with corresponding beats-per-minute. If you pick up the pace or slow down, the song selection changes.
Perfect for motivation during for interval runs and for runners working at holding a steady pace over distance.
Helpful running sites
Training runs explained
Now that your ambitions are more serious, you'll start to hear words like fartlek, tempo and interval. These are all different types of training runs you should look to build into your plan in order to get the full all-round package of building strength, endurance and speed.
The running experts at Competitor.com have put together a great guide to help explain.
Run your fastest 10km
Great tips from running experts over at Men's Health that'll help you not just complete the 10km, but do it in a double-quick time.
How to run when you don't really want to
Getting out there running is easier than you think but if you're finding it hard to make that first step, here are a few handy running tips to help you banish those pre-run doubts.
Essential Reading: E-books to help you run better
The Art of Running Faster
Julian Goater and Don Melvin
This is a nitty-gritty book that aims to make you a faster runner. It delivers detailed training advice, hints on how to avoid injury and tonnes of inspirational advice to help you hit that PB.
Run Fat Bitch Run
This is a great read for anyone who's ever tried to run and failed to 'get into it'. It offers up a no-nonsense, nowhere-to-hide approach to becoming a runner and losing weight as a result.
It comes with a complete six week plan for absolute beginners and a whole load of straight forward wisdom to help break down the barriers to success. There's a definite female focus but the "eat clean, run more" philosophy for leading a healthy life is well made.
Part 4 of our "Get marathon fit with your smartphone" series will be online soon and will help you in the last step of becoming a fully fledged marathon runner. In the meantime, good luck!
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