What sets trail running apart from your everyday road running is your focus. Rather than thinking about hitting your PB or queuing up the perfect playlist to match your stride, getting off-road is all about being immersed in your environment. From the ever-changing terrain under your feet to the attention-grabbing sights around you, trail running always takes you somewhere new.
While it’s entirely possible to go wild without a plan, embracing the spontaneity with your trail running, following a route has several benefits. Firstly, you know in advance where you’re headed and what type of terrain you’ll be tackling. Plus, it’s easier to predict how long your run will be when you have a plan in mind.
If you’re finding yourself searching for ‘running trails near me’, you’re in luck. There are some great apps out there with detailed information on running trails in your area, complete with recommendations from other outdoor enthusiasts. We’ve rounded up the best apps for finding running trails, including those that work with your premium Polar GPS sports watch, to give you the ultimate trail running experience.
When it comes to planning and sharing routes, Komoot is a trail runner’s dream. Its set-up includes excellent navigation, points of interest, and a route planning tool with everything you need to find the best running trails near you.
It’s their impressively advanced software that makes Komoot so popular with outdoor enthusiasts such as cyclists, hikers, and runners. With super clear, detailed maps and extensive information about the variety of terrain, you will encounter on this route.
Truly the best feature of the Komoot app is that you can navigate every adventure from your wrist by connecting their app with your Polar Grit X, Polar Grit X Pro, or Polar Vantage V2 sports watch. The turn-by-turn guidance means you can focus on your run – and beautiful sights – as you tackle your trail.
If you enjoy a healthy sense of competition as a motivator for your runs, then Strava is for you. It’s an excellent tool for recording your progress and comparing it to friends and locals. However, another handy part of the information that flows from other users is the app’s capacity to help you locate a route – or build a new one for yourself.
Strava Routes comes with many great features on its route maps. Select the Global Heatmap to see which trails are popular with other runners, or use the Segment Explorer to compete against the running times of others and potentially grab your place on the leaderboard.
The best thing about Strava is the ability to sync your training sessions with Polar Flow. Plus, if you have Polar Grit X, Polar Grit X Pro, or Polar Vantage V2, you can use the Strava Live Segments feature on your sports watch, so you can see how you are performing in real-time.
As it says in the name, this app is all about the trails. Often topping the list of apps recommended by trail runners for discovering nearby routes, AllTrails is packed with over 200,000 crowd-sourced maps, each with user photos and reviews.
While AllTrails doesn’t provide turn-by-turn navigation, it has detailed maps with road and satellite views. Plus, if you sign-up for Pro membership, you can download the maps to your phone, so you can go wild outdoors without having to worry about your phone reception.
More apps to try for running trails near you
- Trail Run Project: crowd-sourced trail database. Best for North America but does have a growing database of European trails too.
- Gaia GPS: a detailed mapping app designed for hikers and off-road explorers.
- Caltopo: similar to Gaia GPS, this is an advanced collaborative map-building app for backcountry adventurers.
Other apps that are helpful for trail runners
- Dark Sky: surprisingly accurate weather forecasting, so you never set-out without knowing the conditions. (Only available on Apple).
- Neveralone+: a support app that sends an emergency alert with your GPS location to your chosen contact if you have an unexpected stop.
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Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.