On my morning run this morning with Julian from R.E.A.L. Fitness and Nutrition, the conversation turned to, among other things, how far we ran and whether or not the pace was typical for the same run without a running partner. The number of people who set out for a run, morning or night, in New York City and across the country is phenomenal and with the plethora of technology available to athletes these days, I often wonder just how much of that information is actually used as opposed to simply acquired. In our case, Julian was running with a simple Polar heart rate monitor while my technological arsenal was limited to my iPod (low volume Led Zeppelin in left ear) and my Blackberry (rarely leaves my side). I found it curious that neither of us had a GPS device such as Garmin or Nike+ or one of the advanced Polar monitors that provides distance and running pace.
The map of running routes in Central Park outer loop, we all know, is about 6 miles. 6.1 to be exact. Check out this great map of running routes in Central Park for even more cartographic information. For the running routes that don’t have such detailed maps readily available, there are alternatives. Check out mapmyrun.com for a very popular running route calculator, the gmap pedometer (an off-shoot of the super accurate google maps) or the impressive running route database and mapping tool from USA Track and Field .
Beyond these excellent internet-based resources, there are portable devices available that will provide information such as distance, pace, etc. Some of the most popular include the
and the Polar RS300X G1 monitor
There is always, of course, the option of driving the course (if possible) in your car to measure the distance or to ride the course on a mountain bike equipped with an odometer if the running course goes off-road or onto paths and trails as in the case of my run this morning.