Girls Run Wild

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Tracking Your Runs Outside

Want to figure out how long your run was?  Want to design a run in your neighborhood based on a specific distance? Tracking your route is very easy online or through your smartphone.  I am partial to the website Walkjogrun.net for these purposes.  You don’t need an account to use the site – just plug in the address (or even zip code) where you will be/did run and click on “Create a Route” on the tool bar on the right of the page.  Click on the map to set a starting point and continue to click on the map to designate your route.  If I’m running through Golden Gate Park or the Presidio, I find that using the “Hybrid” map option is very helpful for finding the trails on the map.  This site is also great for “stealing” other’s running routes or for finding places to run when visiting a new city.

The map below is an example of how I’ve used this site for charting my favorite run when I lived in the Inner Richmond.

Presidio Golf Course Run

Smartphones can also help you track your running routes – as you run them.  Since cell phone reception in San Francisco is, well, awful at times, I haven’t had great success using these types of applications.  Without consistent cell phone reception, your phone cannot consistently track your run.  I did attempt to use RunKeeper a couple of times and when it actually worked, it was pretty cool.  The application tracks your every step, changes in elevation, and spits out average mile times and even times between specific distances.  It therefore allows you to see how fast you run up inclines versus flat surfaces.  Your runs are saved and you can track your overall distance and time progression over an extended period of time.  I can’t speak to any other smartphone apps, but did find a posting here that reviews ten different options: http://mashable.com/2010/02/23/iphone-apps-runners/.

If you’re feeling like a real running geek, Nike does have a device that syncs with an ipod nano, touch, iphone 3Gs or 4G.  The device tracks your workout information as you run and calculates time, distance, calories burned, etc.  This information is transmitted to your nano, touch, 3Gs or 4G.  Although Nike claims that you need a special pair of Nike shoes that have a compartment for the sensor device, I am told that it’s possible to just tie the device into the laces of your existing pair of running shoes.  More information can be found on the Apple website.

Don’t want to use a fancy gizmo or even a website to calculate your run?  You can calculate your distance based on the number of city blocks you’ve covered.  About 8 “long blocks” (think Irving to Judah) equal 1 mile; about 17 “short blocks” (think 2nd Ave to 3rd) cover the same distance.  How do you know if the blocks in your neighborhood are short or long?  In the Richmond and Sunset, long blocks and short blocks are the same as described above (Streets = long; Avenues = short).  In the rest of SF? Look at a map and break out a ruler…

Have you tried any other run tracking options?

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