There is a new—or at least a totally redesigned—player in the route mapping Web space. MapMyRun.com has been online for quite sometime but has just recently released a new and improved beta site. Route mapping sites have become an essential part of my training plan and I think—after a brief review—that this is my new favorite. This site features vastly improved functionality over the old version and other route mapping applications. It features great running specific features that will keep you coming back to the site for more than just mapping a run.
Like most Web sites today, MapMyRun.com requires a brief registration process to gather information and allow you to use all of the functionality of the site. The registration process takes about two minutes and is simple and straightforward. They do ask for a bit more information than most sites, but they do use the information (like your address) to make things easier for you—they need to know where the maps should usually start and it saves you from having to reenter it every time you create a route. Additionally, the entire service is FREE.
The core feature of the site—route mapping—is straightforward and simple. After you register and enter your address, the site allows you to draw a route directly on top of the map, point by point and street by street. As you draw your route, it tracks your mileage, shows you the route elevation change, and allows you to enter locations for water stations, first aid stations, and other points of interest along the route. You can choose from three different map views while entering your routes—Streets, Satellite, and Hybrid (a combination of Street and Satellite). Entering the route is made easier by a nice “Auto Center” feature that moves the map along with the route as you click out your way. This is something I have not seen on any other route mapping site and I really, really like this feature—it is a huge time saver.
Once the route is complete, it can be saved and either made public, allowing everyone to search, find, and use your route, or kept private, just for you. You can easily link to and bookmark your favorite routes by naming them like this: Aaron’s 6-Mile Route. Another great option is to embed your route directly in a Web page. They do provide the code to do this, but at the time of this post, I couldn’t get it to work— it could be a problem on my end.
In addition to the base route mapping functionality, MapMyRun.com also adds a whole bunch of other really useful, nicely integrated, relevant functionality into the site. MapMyRun includes the following:
Search for Runs: If you travel frequently and find yourself in unfamiliar surroundings, this little feature will prove very valuable. This allows you to search for runs by location and keyword. It also allows you to limit the search to only runs you have entered.
Daily Log: The daily log allows users to enter information once a day about a variety of personal data. You can track how much sleep you got, the quality of your sleep, your morning and evening body weight, morning and evening resting heart rates, and few other key data points.
Activity Log: The activity log lets you translate your entered routes in to actual workouts and track them on a regular basis. On page 1 of the “Add Activity” section you can enter start and end times, the type of workout (run, hike, bike, etc.), quality, effort, and the shoes you were wearing during the workout. Page 2 moves on to distance, route (linking in the routes directly from the site), total time (hh:mm:ss), heart rate, pace, and speed (in MPH).
Calendar: The calendar is pretty basic, but holds promise. If they at some point allow users to import their Google calendar or bring in outside data or export data out in someway, this could be a useful enhancement. Right now the Calendar just shows activites. There is no functionality for workout planning or having events in the future.
Races and Events: This seems to be a “coming soon” feature and as of right now, it’s really not working. The concept is great though—this allows event directors a place to easily map and store their event routes and information, and it allow you a place to go search and find the information you need to prepare for your upcoming 5K or Marathon.
Running News: This is a content section for running news and information. The Running News section, like the Races and Events, seems to be still a work in progress. Right now they are linking to CoolRunning News but Iím sure more content will follow.
Map Import: You can import map data from a GPS or *.GPX file or directly from gmap-pedometer if you have existing routes in that service. This makes moving over to this service quick and simple.
In this end, this site is still a work in progress and has few rough edges. However, if they continue to smooth things out, it has great promise and I think will prove to be a valuable asset for any runner. Take a look for yourself, see what you think and let us know your thoughts!