Apps provide ideal platforms to help the time-poor train well. Tap into their communities and watch your training take off!
Feature image: @talbotcox
Zwift + RunPod | £37.99
For this app, there are tech options for smart treadmills or smart shoes, but this was tested on a four-year-old (non-smart) treadmill with a foot pod (£37.99). Once the pod is paired with your device and you’ve created an avatar you select a goal and the app creates a training plan for you: you are now running in a virtual world. You listen and watch commands as to when to walk, run and at what pace. A Zwift companion app accompanies the main app, which gives free access to live and paced runs, clubs such as Lonely Goat host those paced runs, recovery runs and tempo efforts. It seems a little confusing to start with, but after a small time investment this seems a very useful app for both training and group running, and a big win for the treadmill gym techies missing their digital motivation currently. The apps are for all abilities, and the different workouts are something exciting to discover when you are inside.
Strava | FREE
If you’ve heard of Strava but never signed up, it’s worth a go. The main reason is seeing what your fellow runners are doing and receiving a thumbs up for your own training (the treasured ‘kudos’). It’s like a Facebook for runners and it will change your view of running. Soon you’ll be thinking, what did I ever do before Strava? Connecting to Garmin or other accounts is straightforward and your run info is transferred to the Strava app pronto. Seeing what other runners are up to is highly motivational, especially on the days you don’t want to get out… but you see that someone else has. There are monthly challenges, where you can earn a virtual badge, that make you push your own boundaries a little further. Plus, you can upload any sport, so it makes for the perfect virtual running diary to keep track of everything you’re doing and keeping all your information together.
Centr | From £7.83/month
Created by Chris Hemsworth, the Centr app features training programmes, workouts, diet and nutrition guidance and wellbeing/meditation. You are easily able to set up and customise the programme to suit your fitness levels and personal dietary needs. Each day, the Planner suggests a workout, together with meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a post-workout snack. The workouts are for homes with limited space and there is no need for any equipment. You can choose to have images or video mode, where you can easily follow along. For coached workouts, you can stream the video to your TV via AirPlay, which is really useful. Brilliantly the planner also includes daily meditation tips, guided breathing and visualisation exercises and blog posts offering tips on mindfulness. The Centr app has a seven-day free trial, so well worth trying before you buy.
The Sufferfest From | US$14.99/ month
Sufferfest is a very effective indoor training app primarily for cyclists or triathletes wanting to get faster, stronger and tougher (but some aspects, such as Strength Training and Mental Toughness, work for runners too). Sufferfest offers a free 14-day trial period after which you can sign up for a more customised training plan, with all sorts of other options such as yoga and mental workouts, to help you as an athlete in general. It uses a four-dimensional power (4DP) test to create the most effective training platform, which allows you to find out some of your weaknesses and build your strengths. There are a good mix of workouts to choose from, which are interesting, fun, dynamic, but also brutal if you want them to be. It certainly makes you want to push more. This is a brilliant training app for all abilities.