If a tree falls in the woods does it make a sound? If you go for a run without tracking it and posting it online, did it ever really happen? Avoid that philosophical dilemma by downloading one of these essential apps for runners.

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Strava

Track all your runs and, more importantly, compete with Strava’s gazillion other users over automatically recorded segments. No other app offers you the chance to become the world record holder (!) for the half-mile run between your house and the shops. As well as some extra features, such as a safety beacon that lets friends or family track you during your activities, Strava Premium users also get access to offers from brands like Wiggle, and Sundays Insurance on smartphones and GPS devices. Free, premium £5.99 monthly, App Store and Google Play, strava.com

Saucony Stride Lab

This ambitious app aims to analyse and improve your running gait, looking at your entire body and stride to assess which areas require some work for you to be at your most efficient. After an initial assessment you are given drills and strengthening exercises to refine your running in five areas – power, mobility, stride, stability and stance. Free, App Store, saucony.com/en/stride-lab-app

Running Heroes

Apps that reward you for your exercise are only successful if (1) it’s easy to record your exercises and (2) there are rewards that are actually worth earning. Running Heroes succeeds on both counts, linking easily with apps like Fitbit, Strava and Garmin Connect to count all your activities. which count towards worthwhile prizes like substantial discounts on running gear and races, as well as free treats like craft beer or avocado toast. It’s also possible to earn the prizes within a couple of weeks via commuting by bike or running, so prizes arrive frequently enough to keep you interested. Free, App Store and Google Play, uk.runningheroes.com

Endur8

If you’re “bonking” (running out of energy) on long runs because you have no idea how to fuel them, this app could be the solution. You load up the route for your event and provide your details – height, weight and so on – and Endur8 calculates the optimum amount of carbs you’ll need to get through the run and tells you when to eat them. You’ll also get alerts during the event to remind you to refuel. Free, premium £6.49 quarterly, App Store, endur8.com

Running For Weightloss

There are many reasons to take up running, but for a lot of people the primary motivation is to lose a bit of weight. This app helps do just that by creating eight-week plans to help you lose weight using interval running workouts and diet advice. Each workout is guided by an audio coach to keep you on track. There are different levels of workouts based on your existing fitness, and Running For Weightloss also links to other apps like Fitbit and MapMyRun so your workouts are synced to them as well. Free, pro £7.99 monthly, App Store and Google Play, redrockapps.com/apps/weight_loss

RunGo

Exploring new areas is one of running’s great joys, but it can naturally result in you spending a lot of time looking at your phone trying to work out exactly where you are. RunGo takes the fear out of running into the unknown with voice-navigation that flags up the right turnings to take and even points of interest you might want to stop and have a look at. You can create and download routes so they work even when you don’t have data, or browse the library of existing routes for cities all over the world. Free, £9.99 pro (or £1.99 monthly), App Store and Google Play, rungoapp.com

RockMyRun

Power through your runs by listening to DJ-curated playlists that automatically adjust the beats per minute (BPM) of the music to match your cadence or heart rate. You can also set the tempo manually to the cadence you’re hoping to hit while running, or pick a playlist where the BPM builds gradually so you increase your speed throughout your run. As well as tracking your runs itself, RockMyRun links to popular apps like Strava and Nike+ Run Club. Free, pro £3.99 monthly, App Store and Google Play, rockmyrun.com

iSmoothRun

The perfect app for those who love to spend hours poring over their run stats and planning out workouts for weeks in advance. iSmoothRun goes above and beyond other trackers by providing stats like cadence and even how many miles a certain pair of trainers have covered. The app also makes it easy to plan custom intervals sessions and links with all manner of external hardware and apps, so you can export your running data to your existing accounts. £4.99, App Store, ismoothrun.com

Footpath Route Planner

This smart, simple app takes all the fuss out of planning running routes, which can be a very fiddly affair. You simply draw the vague route you want to take freeform on the map in the app and it will snap it to the nearest roads and footpaths. It also gives the total distance and elevation of the route, which can be exported to other apps. 99p, Pro £4.99, App Store, footpathapp.com

Running Pace

When you have a target time in mind for a specific race it’s always useful to see how it breaks down into your required pace per mile or kilometre. This free app will do all the calculations for you, and you can also break races down into smaller chunks – for example you could see what time you need to hit the 10km, 20km 30km and 40km marks of a marathon to ensure you achieve the overall time you’re chasing. Free, App Store, fikesfarm.com/rp

McRun

Enter a recent time for any standard running distance into this smart app and it will use the popular McMillan Running Calculator to predict the times you can expect to run over any other distance, based on calculated ability. For example if you ran your last half marathon in 1hr 45min 16sec, the McRun calculator reckons you can do a full marathon in 3hr 41min 32sec. There’s your target time sorted. £4.99, App Store and £3.04, Google Play, mcrunapp.com

Nike+ Run Club

As well as offering all the vital statistics of your run at a glance in a clear and cheery interface, this app also excels in providing detailed running plans for all abilities. Free, App Store and Google Play, nike.com/plus

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Runtastic

Another superb tracking app that goes above and beyond to help with every aspect of your run, including keeping tabs on the weather so you can try and schedule your outdoor sessions to avoid showers. Free, premium £4.99 monthly, App Store, Google Play and Windows Phone Store, runtastic.com

Zombies! Run

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Many have tried, but no fitness app has nailed gamification as successfully as Zombies! Run, which casts you as a survivor of a zombie apocalypse, running missions to help ensure the continuined existence of the human race. A first-class story and the ultimate motivation to run faster – zombies chasing you – make this an app every runner should try. Free, pro £2.29 monthly, App Store and Google Play, zombiesrungame.com

Run An Empire

Another fine example of gamification in a running app, players claim “hexes” as they run, building their very own kingdom by grabbing as many as possible from other users. Free, App Store, runanempire.com

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One You Couch To 5K

Take it back to basics with this app, designed to help absolute beginners build up to running 5km in one go. Free, App Store and Google Play, nhs.uk/oneyou

Dark Sky

This app improves your life whether you’re running or not, but Dark Sky’s localised, incredibly accurate weather reports – which predicts when it will rain to the minute – are especially useful for runners keen on avoiding a soaking. £2.99, App Store and Google Play, darksky.net

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Charity Miles

The world can benefit from your running just as much as your cardiovascular fitness does. Well, maybe not quite as much, but if you record every mile you cover with Charity Miles, it’ll earn money for a good cause. Free, App Store and Google Play, charitymiles.org

Map My Run

It does exactly what it says it will, providing interactive maps and all the details of your runs, as well as helping you search for other routes nearby so you can keep things fresh when pounding the pavements. Free, pro £4.49 monthly, App Store and Google Play, mapmyrun.com/app

Runkeeper

One of the oldest and most popular run tracking apps, Runkeeper has a 50-million strong user base, and with good reason. Accurate tracking, a clear interface and bespoke weekly training plans keep people coming back for more. Free, pro £7.99 monthly, App Store and Google Play, runkeeper.com

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