One of the fun things about running, is figuring out how far you ran, but this can sometimes be tricky to determine. Until recently, the only way I knew how to determine my mileage was to drive the route in my car. This is fine, unless you're running cross-country or in an urban area with one-way streets.
Fortunately, I recently stumbled upon a wonderful FREE tool that allows me to know exactly how far I ran, and I can even plan routes in advanced based on how far I want to run. MapMyRun.com is my newest favorite running-related fascination.
To get started, all you have to do is go to the site and click on the link in the upper left of the page that says, "Map New Run". In the Quick Start box, just enter your street address and zip code and click the little down-arrow on the right. This takes you to the map page.
There are several option boxes to choose from. I always uncheck the "Auto Recenter Map", otherwise every time you add a new point to your route, the map moves … this can be annoying. Also, I like to choose the "Follow Roads" option. It makes it easier if you're going around any curvy areas. You can even choose to show the elevation, which is great to know if you're running in a hilly area. Believe me, running 1 mile on a flat surface is worlds apart from running that same distance on a hilly surface. Since I run in downtown Orlando, I do not use this option … Florida is not renamed for dramatic topography.
If you're a runner, walker, biker, rollerblader, or whatever, this is a great way to keep track of how far you go, and if you happen to be traveling, you can look up routes that other people have saved. This will save you a lot of time driving around looking for a good place to run if you're ever in a strange town.