4 Free Ways Of Tracking The Distance Of Your Outdoor Run


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4 free ways of tracking the distance of your outdoor run

I recently received the following question from a reader

I was just wondering if you can recommend an
inexpensive yet efficient pedometer? I just found a park close to
where we just moved and it actually has a track I just walked for the
first time and I have no idea how far I walked. I’m really new at
walking outdoors and not on a treadmill so I realize I need a way to
track my progress.

I have tried using several different models  of pedometers on runs where I knew the distance and never could get them set to give accurate distant read outs, however I do know of a few free ways to track the distance of your runs.

4 Free Ways Of Tracking The Distance Of Your Outdoor Run

1. Mapmyrun.com

I really like Mapmyrun.com for mapping out my long runs for marathons. Create an account using either your facebook or your email as a log in. Then hit the “create map” button found at the top of your home page.  Enter the town in which you are running, and the system will load up a map.  Use the “map tools box” to help you create a route. For instance if you are going on a trail  make sure the “follow roads” is not enabled so you move the route where you want too.

2. Vehicle Odometers

Before I knew that Mapmyrun.com  I use to take my car out to map out my runs. I would drive to where I wanted to start running and then clear my car’s odometer and then follow the route I planned to take. It works but the only draw back is if you follow city trails for portions of your runs. Of course this truly isn’t free as there is the cost of gas, but…you only have to tour the neighborhood you run in once, and you could do it while running an errand so the cost is minimal.

3. Trail Markers

Some public trails have distant markers of some sort either along the trail or on a map posted at the beginning and end of the trial.

The draw backs are often these trails are short and straight and therefore can get boring very quickly.

4. Smart Phone Apps

I don’t have a smart phone, but I have heard that there are a tonne of great free apps out there for tracking your distance and speed. I once ran with a friend who had one and her app readouts were only slightly different than my GPS watch read outs.  Smart phone users if you know of a great app. for keeping track of distance please share in the comments.

My Favorite Way Of Tracking The Distance Of A Run

All these methods above work great for tracking workouts and are free, however if you can afford the splurge and want to make the plunge I highly recommend getting a GPS watch.

Garmin has a GPS watch available for $129 retail.  I saw a New Balance one at Target last week for  $79 on sale. Not exactly inexpensive but if you are serious about your walks or runs, or even bike rides, you could put it on your Christmas or Birthday list. I know one friend who just recently got one as a combined present from all her loved ones. You could also use Swagbucks and Bing Rewards to collect Amazon gift cards to bring the cost down (here is a plan of how you can earn $30 a month with these programs)

I hope these suggestions help. I would love to hear what methods you have use to keep track of the distance of your outdoor workouts and which ones you have found to be most effective.

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  1. Victoria, this information is so helpful and so timely for me as a beginning walker/jogger. After reading all of your recommendations and not being very updated in my technology I believe I will be using the tip on asking for the GPS device for my birthday in September 😉 Until then, I like the idea of estimating based upon how far/fast I go on the treadmill. Thanks!

  2. Nike+ Running is a free app that maps and tracks your distance, pace, etc. It’s been fairly accurate and it gives you motivation as well. It can link to your FB account if you want to compete with friends.

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