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Whether you're a beginner or avid runner, there are major benefits to mapping your run. When you have a predetermined run route you know exactly how far you're going. You can also pinpoint mile markers along the way. This can help you increase speed or work on endurance. You can also map routes similar in terrain to upcoming races to increase performance.
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If you're training for a race, it's important to build up to the distance you'll be running. You can do this through mapping by creating routes that increase your mileage by 10% per week. This is the recommended level to increase your mileage to avoid injury. Your final training run should be approximately one mile over the distance of the race.
Training for the terrain is also a good idea, especially if you're going to be running in different terrain than you're used to. Consider the hills, downgrades, road surfaces and trails. You can't account for weather, so have experience running in all weather.
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Even avid runners get bored. You can prevent this and shake things up by mapping new routes or checking out previously mapped areas in your town. Mapping sites have saved public routes done by users to make your search easy. With a mapped running route, you can also invite others along for a running group and they will know the exact distance and approximate time it will take.
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There are a variety of tools you can use to map your running routes. MapMyRun is free and easy to use. Their user community gives you people with whom you can talk and run. The site also offers challenges to keep you moving and keep things interesting. Some of these challenges include 20 Workouts in 30 Days, 30, 50 and 100 Miles in 30 Days. MapMyRun is part of a larger network called MapMyFitness where you can also map and track walking and biking.
MapMyRun gives you the ability to log runs so you can see your pace and where to improve. You can also take a look at elevation changes and terrain. The log shows you your progress on a daily, monthly and more basis so you can compare your improvement over time. They also have sync capabilities so you can upload a run from your Garmin or other device.
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FavoriteRun is another free membership site where you can be part of a running community and map your runs. You can log your runs and see exactly what your pace and distance was. This helps you find out where you need to improve and help you train to break your PR. You can also print routes and share routes with other members.
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When you take a few moments to map a new run, you'll build excitement for your next run. You can time your runs better and venture out to a part of your town yet unconquered.