Hi All,
I need help! I'm starting training for FLM 2003 and I need to know whow far I'm running! Surely there must be a website out there where I can find out the circumference of Blackheath, or the distance from Lewisham to Dulwich Park...

I try estimating my pace, but how do I know how fast I'm running when I can't tell how far I've ran!!

Life was so much easier in Glasgow where I knew most of the distances!



  • I use an OS map and an old envelope. Mark the distance from bend to bend on the envelope edge until you have your whole run covered. Them measure it against the scale on the bottom
  • There are a couple of ways - websites like www.multimap.com, www.streetmap.co.uk or even the www.theAA.com website all have route maps for drivers. They allow you to calculate routes with Via's so you can slowly build up a route distance - helps if you've got postcodes and some sites are better than others, but that's how I do it. It's not rocket science but i've found it pretty accurate. - not so good in parks i suspect.
  • Hi Kim,

    I do rather the same as Mij, except with a great big London A to Z, straight pins and a piece of thread. Maybe not perfectly accurate, but a pretty fair 'ballpark' figure.

    Blackheath has at least one mighty decent running club (Harriers?), which might also have distance info on local runs. They might even talk you into joining.

    Good luck,

  • My fiance uses an OS Map and a piece of dental floss to trace the route, says it's fairly accurate.
  • I have got some software called Accuroute (www.accuroute.co.uk) which allows you to save maps off the internet and then (after really quick and easy calibration) trace around the route with your mouse pointer to get an accurate distance. Really easy to use.

    There is another one called www.trailgauge.com which is the same sort of thing, but accounts for hills as well.
  • Your other option is to use a mile calculating device, which operates like a pen with a roller, available from outdoor pusuits stores - pretty accurate but you will need print outs of the maps....
  • I use a mountain bike with a mileometer on it and write down marker points (trees/sign posts etc.)so I know my split times for a few different routes.
  • Thanks guys,
    I think i'll try the maps and string alongside accuroute for a double check.

    Dalya - I've actually been thinking of joining the Blackheath Harriers (or asking if they'd let me in!!) But i feel a little intimidated by their calibar of runners, I think I might up my training before I ask!

    Thanks again
  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    I tried to check my distance using Accuroute after a long/hardish session, but my hands were shaking too much to get the mouse to behave! Must try again when I'm less puffed.

    Like the dental floss one - I may give that a go!
  • Scotty4Scotty4 ✭✭✭
    I read a similar thread recently and ended up buying an Oregon MR300 map reader for £9.95 from John Lewis (£12 from the Innovations catalogue).

    Neat little gadget with a built in wheel that works on any scale map. It's got a built in calculator, key light and compass. Very accurate - and great fun to use.
  • I received my copy of AccuRoute with my Runners World subscription today and tested it on my favourite routes using maps from MapQuest.

    I'm well impressed - seems very acurate !
  • Nessie - solution to the shaky hands - try TrailGauge - www.trailgauge.co.uk.

    I've downloaded a demo version, and you just click from point to point, rather than having to trace the route.

    Not sure how long the demo lasts before I have to part with some dosh!
  • Buy a pedometer (about £15) to wear while you're running. I have a fit pro pedometer which provides a good idea of distance, speed, calories burned, and running time. I ponder the precise accuracy of distance because I'm sure my stride changes depending what surface I'm running on and if I'm warmed up or not. I figure by the end of the run the distance must average out okay though and it seems about right if compared to the map distance.
  • You can buy a milometer for your bicycle and then cycle your chosen running route(s). It is very accurate.

    They're about £40.

    Or, get your partner to cycle with you when you run, measuring your distance. Your partner can also see your speed on the bike milometer.

  • I just got a Timex GPS Speed+Distance system. It's great. Get one!
  • www.map24.com is avery good distance tool. Only measures in km's but very good ans requires no software to download. Works similar to trailgauge, but free, adn unlimited clicks...

    seems very accurate... more details I think are on a thread I started after trialing accuroute, and the distances lett me 'short'...

  • Kim

    You mentioned joining a club - great idea. However, Blackheath Harriers are actually based in Bromley. Nearer clubs are New Eltham Joggers and Kent AC (based in Lewisham).

    Best of luck

  • MinksMinks ✭✭✭
    Scotty H: I've been thinking of getting one of these, having seen it on the John Lewis website.

    One question: can I use it on an A-Z type map which involves having to turn the page or go across the crease in the middle? Sorry if this is a dumb question!
  • Minkin. Yes - it's really easy. You simply stop at the edge of the map/page, lift the wheel off the page and start again on the next page. It only measures when the wheel actually turns in contact with the page.

    It is fun to use but the compass on it is a bit naff though.
  • I use a pedometer purchased from Argos at under a tenner. Once you have pre-set your stride length and weight(not difficult),each time you go running you just clip it to your shorts /belt and off you go . It records the up and down movement you make when running ,and pauses when you are not moving and shows a display with time, distance, calories , number of steps taken etc etc etc . But I only use for distance and time as I don't understand calories ...
    I would recommend this.
  • The other alternative is to drive the route. It took me ages to realise I could set my milometer back to 0 (I know, very thick). I'm afraid I'm a complete girl when it comes to this sort of thing. It's the old right side/left side of brain thing. I bought a pedometer last year but couldn't be bothered to read the instructions, so have never used it! It's the same with watches, I can't be arsed with all the lap things. And my copy of AccuRoute is still wrapped in plastic... It's at times like this I think it would be handy to have a man in my life. Then I come to my senses again.
  • Stay well clear of pedometers for measuring distance unless you can gaurantee that your stride length with be identical for all terrains, all distances and all speeds. They are usually at least 20% out. The one that I got from Argos was even a bit dodgy at recording time since it would occasionally miss seconds here and there.

    If you want an accurate distance then measure it on a map, using software like Accuroute or Trailgauge makes this very easy and accurate to usually within 1%.

    If you're not too bothered about accuracy and you can drive round the route then use the car. Car odometers should be within 5 to 10%.

    If you've got money to burn get a Timex SDM which will be accurate to within 2%.
  • Well I gave in to my gadget craving and got the old man to get me the Timex ironman GPS system for crimbo! Much more expensive than a pedometer but I did get it on ebay for less than 1/2 the UK retail, and that included shipping! ($134 for the watch $30 shipping about £109!)

    Can't wait for the boxing day run!
  • Another option is some new software called Mapper, which is similar to Accuroute and Trailguage, but lets you edit routes, do multiple routes on multiple maps (oh, and actually see your route!).

    With all these programs, you can use any map off the internet, or scanned in from a paper map, and you're not restricted to places you can get a car or bike.

    Download it for a free 30-day trial from http://www.littleredfrog.com/mapper
    It costs £10 to use it after the free trial.

    (declaration of interest: I was asking the same questions about measuring distances a couple of years ago and couldn't find anything suitable, so decided to write the software myself, with the help of a friend who's a much better programmer than me! - Mapper is the result)
  • I'm not sure what the Timex GPS does but to measure a new route I run with an Etrex Summit GPS (around £100 - I already had it for hillwalking). Not much bigger than a cigarette pack it weighs about half a pound. It'll tell you trip time and distance in Kms or miles, average speed, you can spot check elevation if you're running up hills and you can save a lot of routes for future reference. Also handy for getting you home if you're lost!
  • Some interesting Web links here which I'll check out.
    I do find it irritating that accurate maps at a scale lower than 1:25000 are so difficult to get hold of. They are available - down to 1:1250 - but cost a bomb. <rant>Thanks a lot Ordnance Survey - the only mapping agency in the world allowed to make a profit in this way.</rant>
    I'm very keen to get really accurate measurements of relatively short distances such as the lengths of the hill reps I run, and the "usual" sources are pretty useless for this purpose.
    One other alternative is a measuring wheel - but from what I can see, a decent one costs at least £100. Wonder if they can be hired - and at what rate?
  • Mike, if you are lucky enough to live (or run) in an area covered by the ariel photography feature on www.streetmap.co.uk you can get a fairly low scale picture. Not sure what the 1: scale is, but you get 500 metres in a square about 5 inches across on my screen!

    I used Mapper to measure the track at Crystal Palace and it came up with 398.48m, which I worked out as 99.62% accuracy.

    Unfortunately not much outside the M25 seem s to be covered.
  • Afraid there's no aerial photgraphy available here (Wirral - circa 200 miles outside the M25). Strange - as I know a number of aerial surveys have been flown in this area.
    Anyway Chris - yes, I am going to have a look at Mapper!
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