Skip Nav

This Running App Made Me Believe in Virtual Fitness

Young sporty woman using mobile phone while exercising on treadmill at the gym.

I've always been a workout app sceptic. My POV: A free YouTube video or article can provide me with the same resources as any costly, impersonal app.

The Charge Running app is my one exception.

Long story short: A press email introduced me to the app, but I quickly disregarded it due to my stubborn bias. Days later, when a coworker heard my woes of mid-Winter treadmill boredom, she chimed in: "Just give Charge Running a try. What will it hurt?"

With no budget for a coach or fancy fitness class, I took her advice and did the unthinkable: pressed download.

Taking full advantage of a free trial, I logged on to see what their "interactive coaching" feature was all about.

Every hour, different trainers host "Live Runs." Around 7:30 p.m., I saw a "Moderate Base Run" had just begun. Two minutes after joining, an energetic voice announced over high-tempo music, "A quick shout-out to Lauren for joining her first class. Welcome!"

Frankly, this greeting from a real trainer took me by surprise. The authenticity of the moment immediately made an impact.

Throughout the session, the coach rooted people on as they shared their personal goals through a chat feature, offered tips, and tracked the pace, distance, and efficiency of anyone with an Apple Watch.

Gracefully admitting I was wrong, the experience was anything but impersonal.

It was inspiring to hear that John was training for a marathon, and Cindy was working towards a 5K. It felt like a real group run, without actually having to share a sidewalk with eight other athletes. I appreciated the small nature of the session, too, which elevated the intimate feel.

A one-month subscription of $14.99, or $120.99 annually (which equates to $9.99 a month) not only gets you "Live Runs," but allows you to pick from several pre-recorded classes, too.

Each range in skill and goal — you can even stay loyal to your favourite coach's programs if you wish.

These "On Demand" options are far from bland, either. They feature how-to videos that walk you through warm-ups and stretches, and some trainers even host music-themed classes.

Despite putting up a fight, my reformed outlook on treadmill time has made a difference in my training.

Now, instead of dragging my feet, I'm vibing to coach Rory Justin's "Girl Bandz"-themed "Base Run" session.

Click here for more health and wellness stories, tips, and news.

More from POPSUGAR
From Our Partners
Products to Recommit to Your Fitness Routine
Live Workouts on POPSUGAR Fitness's Instagram, Week of 1/11
What Equipment Do You Need For the Mirror?
Affordable Home Workout Gear
Best Digital Workout Platforms from POPSUGAR Editors in 2020
Allyson Felix's Favourite Workout Gear and Equipment
Tips For Running in the Snow
21-Day Butt-Building Challenge
Fat-Burning HIIT Workout
Is It Safe to Work Out If You've Had COVID-19?
Trainer's Favourite Isometric Exercises to Build Strength
Live Workouts on POPSUGAR Fitness's Instagram, Week of 12/28
Latest Health & Fitness