How to Track Your Runs Without Spending Money

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Tracking your runs doesn’t need to be expensive – you really don’t need to invest in an Apple watch, Fitbit, or Garmin straight off the bat. If you’re just starting out, there are so many great running apps which will track your pace or distance – in miles and kilometres, and even tell you the elevation you’ve run at, without costing you a penny.  All you need to do is read our handy guide as to how to track your runs, and download your choice of free tracking apps to your iPhone or other smart phone.

Why Should I Track My Run?

There are plenty of excellent reasons to track your runs. The immense sense of achievement which comes from realising that your training plan and tailored nutrition is paying off, is further validated by tracking that how far you run is increasing and your times are speeding up. You can use a tracker to set yourself targets and challenge yourself to reach your running goals.

If you find that a competitive edge to a target helps you along, a tracker is a great way to stay engaged with running. You might challenge yourself to beat last week’s times or distances, for example. Or, you could download an app like Strava, and share your runs with friends in order to motivate each other. If you do use Strava, make sure to connect with us there too Great North Run on Strava.

Tips For Tracking Your Runs

Don’t spend a fortune. The good news is you don’t have to buy a brand new device. Many runners start out by using their smartphone, and downloading an app with a free version like Couch to 5k or Strava. This can be a great way to get to grips with the technology and find out if tracking suits you (psst: Couch to 5k is particularly good for complete newbies, with built-in coaching and explanation, whereas Strava is great if you’ve already built a regular running habit).

Be consistent. The whole point of tracking is that it helps you see your progress over time – and that evidence helps you improve further and keep going. In the beginning, you’ll have to remember to bring your device with you and set it every time – that way, you’ll really reap the benefits of recording your runs. And start simple – to begin with, work out what tracking will benefit you most rather than keeping an eye on too many factors – so start with building distance, or working on your mile splits in medium runs.

Get social. Running with others – either in real life or virtually – can be a powerful motivator, helping you make the psychological switch from being ‘someone who runs’ to ‘a runner’. You can find friends and set up groups on many tracking apps, and there’s a huge Great Run Community on Strava. We’d love to be part of your running journey – come and join us!

Some Run Tracking Apps:

Nike NRC Mobile App (FREE VERSION)

Strava (WEBSITE)

Asics Run Keeper (FREE VERSION)

If you do want to track your runs, you could sign up for our Great Run Solo series and take part in a 7-day or 28-day running challenge to earn a unique finisher’s medal. Learn more here!

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