One very good way to keep track of your training progress as well as to develop a strong running support group is to join an on-line community dedicated to the same goals that you are. For runners there are several very good options, although I must warn you not to join them all. You will spend more time updating your profiles and logging your runs than actually doing the running! Because of this, you should check each of these options out, surf through the different features, see if there is anyone you know already signed up, and then pick the one that suits you best.
Here are my three favorites:
1. For the Novice: Daily Mile
The main purpose of Daily Mile is to offer you the ability to upload you individual training sessions, including activities other than just running. The site accumulates your miles by the week, year, and lifetime, so that you can see all the miles that you have been putting in. You can connect to people in your area and track their progress as well as offer supportive comments to each other. Daily Mile also sends out a weekly email detailing your training from the previous week. All of this adds up to the support, motivation, and statistical tracking that a lot of runners are looking for.
2. For the Planner: Map My Run
Map My Run provides many of he same features as Daily Mile, but it also offers the ability to plan and track individual running routes. You can open up an area map, mark your starting point, and then plan out a route that meets your mileage requirements for the day. This is a feature that is very valuable of anyone that hasn’t yet purchased a running watch, someone planning out long distance training runs, or anyone running in a new neighborhood. Map My Run also comes with a mobile app that you can use to track your individual activities so that you can see your distance, time, and the actual map of the training you’ve just completed.
3. For the Super-User: Run Keeper
Run Keeper takes all the same features of the other two and adds in the final piece of total connectivity. Like several of the other websites and apps out there, Run Keeper allows you to track tons of different activities beyond just running, including Bootcamp, MMA, and meditation. You can also connect it with several different nutrition tracking aps like My Fitness Pal. It can connect to your FitBit for those of you who have already gotten hooked on that little piece of technology. If you are ready to get even further down the rabbit hole, you can connect Run Keeper to a number of sleep tracking aps as well. All of the tools available through Run Keeper can be daunting for a new user, but for someone who is interested in tracking anything and everything, this is the app for you.
It does not matter what site or app that you choose. All that matters is that you use it and engage with the community there. So find your group of like-minded crazies, log on, track, connect, and keep up the good work!