Last weekend I did three runs, the first was a race which was measured and timed for me, second was a jog where I didn’t measure or time it and the third was a long run which I measured using a GPS watch. I like tracking my runs and logging my progress. It helps me to see what I have acheived and what I need to do in order to improve. Here you will find a number of simple ways that you can track your runs:
1) Treadmill – People seem to either love or hate the treadmill, but for measuring your run you can’t really beat it. You have complete control over pace, hills, time and distance. If you run on a treadmill regularly then you can track your progress easily by repeating the same run and trying to increase your pace, or by running further. It’s also vital for training in cold winters when there is snow and ice on the ground.
2) Map your run online – There are a number of online tools that allow you to draw your run onto a map and see the distance that you have covered. This is a great guide to give an idea of how far certain runs are, but do be careful, I’ve found that these are not always 100% accurate as they tend to follow the centre of the road, over a long run that can make quite a difference.
3) GPS Watch – My favourite piece of running equipment is probably my GPS watch, you simply let it pick up the satellites and click ‘start’ and the watch will measure your time, distance, speed and even elevation. They seem to be really accurate and you can download all the data onto your computer to see progress over time. For a well priced solution I recommend the Garmin 305 which has fantastic GPS receivers that work under tree cover and near tall buildings (older watches struggled with these):
There’s currently a big sale on the Garmin 410 which is very well reviewed:
4) Smartphone – If you have a smartphone then you can use the GPS functionality on that to track your run. Just download an app such as Cardiotrainer for android (free) or Runmeter for iphone (£1.99). You’ll need something to hold the phone on your arm so that it can pick up the signal, which you can get from Amazon here: phone running armband. Personally I’ve found this to be less accurate than the GPS watch, but it’s a great low cost solution if you already have the phone.
5) Don’t bother – Okay, this is a bit of a cheat because I wanted five, but sometimes it’s really nice to just go for a run without being measured against the clock for time or pace. Just go out for a jog and enjoy whatever is around you with no worry about the speed or distance.