Tracking time and distance on your run

Here’s some of our favourite ways of doing it

Photograph: Kate Geraghty Irish Times

Photograph: Kate Geraghty Irish Times


It’s nice to know how long you are travelling on your run. You can track your progress and keep motivated too. Here are a few ways you can map out a route for yourself. This list goes from the most fancy to the most basic.

GPS Watch

Garmin forerunner GPA watchThese watches pretty much tell you everything while you are on the move. The time you have been moving, the distance you have travelled and your pace. With most of these watches you can sync them with your computer and analyse your run after showing you a map of your route, your fastest bits and the hills/altitude. There are attachments for cadence and for heart rate monitor on most of these watches. My favourites are the Garmin Forerunner Watches. The basic version that is suitable for anyone running up to a few hours is the Garmin 110. Expect to pay about €120 for the Garmin 110.

SmartPhone Apps

Run keeperThere are lots of apps out now that will track your time, distance and pace of your run. They perform most of the basic functions of the GPS watches, for a much cheaper pricetag but you do have to bring your smartphone with you. My favourites are RunKeeper and MapMyRun. If you are happy to carry your smartphone with you on the run, these give great feedback on your run and will keep a history of all your runs which you can analyse afterwards, and even share the details on social media.

These running apps are all free with options to buy bonus extras.

Planning on your computer

Map my runIf you don’t have a smartphone you can plan out a local route, or look at routes that others in your area have already marked out with Map My Run. You draw out your route on the map, and it marks in for you the distance as you draw.

This is a great way to work out new routes for you, and check what other routes runners in your area are using. This is completely free, and you can save your routes for future reference.

Ask Around

Local runners in your area, a running club or your local running shops are your best way to find out about the best running routes in your area. You don’t need to spend a penny, and you can find out some of the best routes around. You can check up some local events too, as they will have exact 5k and 10k distances mapped - just maybe not from your front door!