Are you preparing for your first triathlon and don’t know where to begin? Is it your third race already, and you want to improve your “personal best”? Or perhaps you’re a seasoned triathlete who’s looking for a way to perfect that technique?
Regardless of your experience and goals, smartphone apps are a great addition to any athlete’s routine. They make training and nutrition advice easily accessible, as well as bring you closer to the rest of the vast and ever-growing triathlon family.
So here they are - 10 ultimate Android and iOS apps that will hone any triathlete’s skills and take training to a whole new level:
1. TRAINING PEAKS
For a rather personalized approach and all-around preparation for the race day, TrainingPeaks is the way to go. It’s a platform designed for athletes who want to get expert guidance and structure their training. The app tracks speed and distance, as well as allows you to log runs, swims, and cycles, making it suitable not only for triathletes but cyclists and runners as well.
Here’s how the app works:
Start by entering the event you’d like to complete or the goals you’d like to reach. Then, structure your training by planning the volume and intensity of the workouts. You’ll be able to export your workouts and sync them automatically to your calendar. And besides the neat features like motivational rewards for hitting Peak Performances or the Training Stress Score which helps you track your fitness progression over time, it’s compatible with a list of fitness trackers, devices, and other athlete-friendly apps.
What’s even more important is that you can incorporate coaching into your training regime. Try the coach match service or search through the extensive triathlon coach database manually to find the right mentor.
Price: $0 - $19.95 / month
Describing itself as “the social network for athletes,” Strava tracks athletic activity while emphasizing the social and fun side of training. Nearly 1.4 million activities are shared every 24 hours, with friends and followers leaving comments, giving kudos, and creating a motivational fitness community for those who use the app.
Networking aside, Strava also tracks runs, walks, rides, and other activities by using GPS and will display important performance stats like distance, pace, and route. You’ll be able to add notes and photos to personalize your training sessions.
If you’ve run out of ideas for roads to run or ride, you’ll find new inspiration on Strava’s extensive trail and road network. Or if you’re a premium user, check the segments feature which marks popular stretches of road and trail, creating a leaderboard of times set by every Strava user who has been there before. And don’t worry about getting lost - turn on the location sharing feature Beacon, and your loved ones will be able to see where you are in real time in case of an emergency.
Price: $0 - $7.99 / month
3. GO SWIM LITE
If you’re new to swimming and want to start by learning (or remembering) the basics, you’ll want to give GoSwim Lite a try. This app has thousands of instructional swimming videos, teaching a variety of techniques and strokes to help individualize your skills for better performance and efficiency.
When using the app for free, you’ll receive a swimming video every work week - which is good enough if you still have plenty of time to prepare for your next race. However, if you feel like diving a bit deeper, the GoSwim pro and coach accounts offer unlimited access to videos, connections to training groups, and even video-sharing option for swim coaches.
As the people behind GoSwim say - the more you know, the faster you’ll go. So even if you’re a triathlete with a couple of races under your belt, you’ll still be able to learn a few things from this app. For example, you can study some of USA’s best swimmers who have shared their technique videos on this app.
Price: $0 - $9.99 / month
4. TRI SWIM COACH
Tri Swim Coach is exactly that - a virtual swimming coach that will improve your form and help you to train for the swim leg of a triathlon race. The app was created by Kevin Koskella, a triathlon coach with more than ten years of experience (by the way, he can be reached through the app if you have any questions!). It offers several 12-week swim programs, drills, training videos, and customizable workout sessions with descriptions, so you’ll know exactly what to do.
To top it off, the app provides special open-water training instruction and four seasonal options (off, base, build, peak) if you want to develop a feel for the water. So if you’re struggling with the swimming part of the race - be it a Sprint, Olympic, Half Ironman, or Ironman triathlon - you’ll find a comprehensive swimming guide in the Tri Swim Coach app.
Price: $4.99 / month
5. MY FITNESS PAL
With intense training comes an even more intense urge to put energy into that triathlete’s body of yours. This means - lots and lots of food. My Fitness Pal and its Calorie Counter journal is a great tool to track meals and keep your fitness diet on point.
The app gives you access to a massive food database, containing 5 million products that you can log into your food diary (or even use the barcode scanner to find the right item) and see how many calories you’ve consumed. You can also set goals whether it’s losing, gaining, or maintaining weight, see a nutritional breakdown of your daily food consumption, calculate the nutritional value of recipes, monitor progress with graphs and charts, and lots more.
The app also integrates with Training Peaks, Strava, and other fitness apps, so two birds with one stone!
Price: $0 - $10.99 / month
We tend to be quite focused on the quantity of food we consume. However, the quality of food we put in our bodies is not less important. Especially so if you’re a triathlete who’s trying to fuel the way through a rigorous training routine. This is where Fooducate comes in handy.
Fooducate is a nutrition tracker that evaluates the food items you log, giving them a grade A+ (healthiest) through D (most unhealthy), based on ingredient quality. So instead of explaining your products in complicated chemistry terms, it offers all the same info with a more simplistic approach. The app also tracks sleep, mood, and hunger, and shows food ingredient explanations.
While Fooducate might seem quite similar to other calorie counting apps, this one, in particular, focuses on helping people make healthy food options, rather than just counting calorie intake. Basically - it’s like a diet toolbox that will help you make an informed decision about what “real” food is and what isn’t. You’ll also be able to see many hidden details, like added sugars, trans fats, artificial sweeteners, and colorings.
Price: $0 / month - $4.99 / 3 months
7. BIKE DOCTOR
Taking care of your bike is also up there in the triathlete’s list of duties. Bike Doctor is the perfect pick for those who want to keep their stead in perfect condition. This app covers all the common bike repairs like replacing a gear cable or adjusting a stuck derailleur. It also offers additional guides to help you avoid the most common bike maintenance errors - like how to avoid squeaky brakes and prevent punctures.
Just like a little pocket mechanic, this app is created in a way that even complete beginners will find easy to follow. When you encounter a problem with your bike or want to explore a specific area, open the app, then tap on that part of your bike you’re interested in, and follow a much detailed instruction (with pictures for each step) on the screen. And voila - you’ll be back on the road in no time!
8. ROAD ID
When out on the road, safety should always be a top priority. There have been far too many cases when triathletes get seriously injured or even killed while outdoor cycling, even during an official Ironman race. Besides being visible on the road, following the rules, and learning to cope with heavy traffic, another thing you can do to set your beloved ones’ minds at ease is use Road ID.
The Road ID app lets you track workouts in real time with the eCrumb feature, so your friends and family can see your location on a map and stay better connected wherever you are. When you stop moving for more than 5 minutes, the optional “Stationary Alert” will notify selected contacts.
The app also allows you to provide vital information on your phone’s Lock Screen in case of emergencies. So if you’re in an accident, the first responders to the scene will have access to necessary information like your name, city and state, emergency contacts, and important medical information like allergies and blood type.
With months of hardcore training behind you, it’s time to enter your next (or first) race - whether it’s a full-distance Ironman or a quick 5k to keep you in good running shape. Active lets you find races, events, and activities by relevance, category, distance, or date. The app boasts the largest selection of endurance events in the whole world, so you’ll be able to find local activities right by your doorstep, as well as global races if you want to travel a bit further.
You’ll also be able to find information on fees, driving directions, maps, and register for the races. There is a large database of health and fitness articles, as well as training guides on the Active app, too. Plenty of material to keep you highly motivated.
You might be surprised to see Instagram up on this list, but the truth is - the ability to share your training and racing experience benefits athletes in multiple ways. First of all, it builds a sense of community and support, a feeling that you’re always in the midst of the triathlon lifestyle and surrounded by like-minded people who share similar ups and downs. Second - if you build a large enough follower base, it might be a chance for you to join the Instagram influencer community, land a sponsorship, and earn a buck or two.
So how do you make the most out of the Instagram triathlon community? Start by finding inspiring triathletes that motivate you or triathlon events you’ve participated in or would like to enter someday. Here’s a useful list of triathlon accounts to follow on Instagram.
Search relevant triathlon hashtags like #Triathlete, #Triathlon, #SwimBikeRun, #Tri365, and #TriLife. Try a couple of unique ones like #TimeTrialTuesday or #Baaw (bike-against-a-wall) to show off your pride and joy.
Add these hashtags in the descriptions of your own photos to make it easier for other members of the triathlon family to find you. Once the likes and comments roll in, you’ll be hooked on the support Instagram can provide.
We believe there are plenty of other useful apps that will benefit a triathlete’s training and lifestyle. So let us know in the comment section below which ones are among your favorite.