To prepare routes of varying lengths while training for her first marathon, The Marathon Mama (a.k.a. Kristina Pinto, my wife) used to simply drive from the house and clock distances using her car’s trip odometer. But training for her second marathon, this time as a mother, she began to realize:
It can get tedious to drive around with a toddler in the back seat asking, “Where we going?” as we pass our house several times to measure various routes. Besides, I often forget the mileage of my routes.
In the past, she’d used a rolling “pen” to calculate mileage on a printed map (the roller increments as it rolls along the route, with calculations needing to be made for scale), but she always doubted its accuracy. Thankfully, her training partners (she’ll be running the Boston Marathon for charity, as part of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge) turned her on to some much more efficient and practical solutions, provided by third-party Google Maps mashups:
For city runners who jog on a lot of one-way streets, or any of you who walk or run and are looking to chart out the mileage on a new route: you don’t need to get in your car to clock the miles anymore. There are several free websites that will help you out and determine the miles of a path anywhere in the country.
She concludes, “Now you don’t have to get off your seat to count your miles, but you still have to get off the chair to actually run them.”