I Can Run a Mile After All (and Now I Can Track My Runs, Too)!

By , SparkPeople Blogger
"I only run when chased."

That was my answer any time I was asked about running, otherwise known as torture disguised as exercise.

If I ran, it would be:
1. to catch a bus, plane or train
2. to outrun someone chasing me (This never happened, but I imagined myself screaming, arms flailing, heels breaking and purse flapping on my arm.)

Running made my lungs burn, my shins ache and my body feel like it was being shaken violently. Though I could get through an entire Spinning class or 45 minutes on the elliptical with no problem, I could only manage to run a block or two before giving up.

Still, all of my friends are runners, at least casually. I've greeted friends at the end of marathons, celebrated their success after 10Ks and helped them carbo load before big races. But I was always happy just supporting them.

Some time last year, I saved the article "You Can Run a Mile Without Stopping" as a SparkFavorite. "Maybe some day," I said. "Some day I'll be able to run a mile."

All winter long, I happily took Spinning classes, sweating and pedaling my way across unseen hilled terrain. After months of cold, dark days, an unexpected burst of sunshine one Sunday in February made me reconsider my deep-held aversion to running.

I decided to try running because I was feeling lazy and I don't like to drive. I live downtown, and I have to head to the suburbs, where the SparkPeople office is located, to go to the gym or visit most "good" stores. I wanted to hit the gym and go to the pharmacy, but I didn't want to get in the car on such a gorgeous day. So I decided I could walk to the pharmacy downtown instead, but that short walk wouldn't give me very much cardio. I was craving an intense cardio workout.

Feeling particularly ambitious, I decided to run to the pharmacy, then walk home with my purchase.

"Yes," I decided. "I'll run. I'm SURE I can run at least the half-mile to the pharmacy."

I set out, heart rate monitor on and iPod stocked with a new, upbeat playlist. I had some cash, a reusable bag in my jacket pocket, and my apartment key.

I was ready--but nervous and slightly dreading the impending workout.

"Slow and steady," I reminded myself as I headed out. The wind was lightly blowing, and with the sun shining on me, it was about 65 degrees. The sun felt great, and so did I. After two blocks, my lungs weren't burning, my legs weren't aching, and my mind wasn't giving up on me.

I kept going, past the pharmacy, past the next landmark I set for myself, and past a third landmark. I ran for 20 minutes straight--far more than the mile I'd thought I couldn't run!

I cooled down, walked to the pharmacy and then headed home. The sun was still shining, I was smiling, and I thought about whether the weather would hold out so I could run again soon!

Since then, I've run a few more times, usually for about two miles each time.
I like being outside and running through downtown neighborhoods near my apartment. You won't find me training for a marathon any time soon (or probably ever!), but I would like to run a 5K for fun this summer.

EXCITING NEWS! SparkPeople has just made it easier for me (and all of you) to track your runs and walks. We have just launched Fitness Maps! (NOTE: This works for any country in the world. I experimented with routes in Paris, Toronto, London, Sydney, Seoul and other world cities!)

This feature allows you to see how far you walk, run, or bike when exercising outdoors, then save your routes for the next time. This feature is very easy to use. Just:

1. Go to the Fitness Maps page (it is located under Healthy Lifestyle/Fitness, in the center of the page)
2. Enter the starting address
3. Click points on the map to draw your route; note that you can zoom the map in or out for more or less detail
4. Enter the amount of time it took you to complete your workout (to calculate your average speed)

We will then give you your total mileage, your average speed, and even the calories burned. You can then add your calories burned to your fitness tracker.

You can also:
  • Save your route to access it later
  • Share your route so other members can see
  • Use the city dropdown at the top of the page to see routes in your city
  • Delete or change part of your route (click on the red markers to delete a step in your route)

    We hope this feature makes it easier to calculate your distance and calories for routes, to remember your routes, and to find great new routes that other members have done!

    Are you a runner? Did you immediately like it, or did it take you awhile? And all you runners, walkers, hikers, and bikers: Are you going to try our new Fitness Maps feature?

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This article was motivation. I am a 52 year old who has found it hard to run due to being out of shape. I have lost 11lbs and I am feeling much more capable. I would really like to give it a try again. And I think I will.. Report
Love this mapping feature - I track my walks on streets, on walking trails and through parks. Obviously it is not 100% accurate but when compared with people who have a GPS and doing the same walk - SparkPeople mapping comes within a couple of tenths of a kilometre. I walked over 1,000 km in 2011 tracked using this feature. Report
question on how to use the tracker, i walk/jog around a field, and sometimes I go around like 15 times, how do i get the tracker to calculate everything? I see where you can enter to and back but that's for a linear route, what about a circular one? Report
This is a great way to track my miles, and I love the map feature, but when I put the run in as my cardio first, and then calculate it on the map, the system counts it as a second work out. Am I doing it wrong? Report
Wow! I had no idea it works outside the states! I'm so gonna trace my walks/future runs using this map! Thanks Report
I used to run some 20 years ago when I was around 40, but have gained so much weight now that at 64 years old Im afraid to attempt it until I loose some 20 to 25 lbs. I loved the high (excitement that running gave me.) However a few months ago I began serious treadmilling and am now doing around 3.3 mph on an incline. (I began at 2.6.) So although Im not jogging yet, Im heading toward it.
I laughed when I read your intro cuz that SOOOOOO used to be me too! Now, I'm a firm believer that attitude is 90% of the battle. When you are convinced you can't, usually you are right! Congrats on starting to run ... it is addictive! I agree with Coach Nicole. It takes awhile to fall in love with running so keep it up! Report
I ran for 25 mins today. That was like 2.5 miles Report
I luvd dis info that one can track their walk n run routes in Fitnessmaps from anywhere around the globe!! Report
3 months ago i wouldn't have run for a bus.Hated it.Now, i run twice a week for about 20 minutes.I love it.Hoping to build up to a few charity runs in the new year. Report
Reading this is almost like looking back over my running history - I always thought running was the exercise equivalent of torture but then I started it "slow and steady" with small milestones. I suprised myself when I found I could go past these milstones and run on some more!

Now I am up to 10k and running non stop for 60 minutes and the buzz I get from running is incredible - it's helping to cure my depression and turning me into a better person all round.

Love it.

All those out there who think running isn't for them should just give it a go, you too might suprise yourselves. Report
I didn't like running before...but I wanted to start exercising outside...inside I get bored easy and stop...so I started walking at first and I didn't know how out of shape I was, I could only walk half a mile and slowing going up until one day I decided to try the running...I started slow and could only run half a mile, it took me a month to get to a mile but now I love it....I don't want to train for any marathons, but I am up to 2.5 miles in around 40minutes....but I hope I keep improving...I went from hating it to loving it :) Report
Well honestly I like it sometimes. Why? Right now I still have extra pounds on my frame and its difficult to carry it all at a fast pace. I run so I can lose the weight because I've been doing the gym thing for years and since I was not getting the results I wanted, I'm now walking and doing some running in between. I admire those who can run a mile and more. I'm not that good yet..... but I'm training for a half marthon so yeah I'll be there soon. I'll be running soon!!! I already knew about the fitness tool and I enjoy using it!!! Report
What a great idea. Thanks. Report
I love the fitness maps! I live in a suburb of Vancouver BC, and the maps are so detailed they even show our park so I was able to map my favourite doggie walks.

Running - hmm, maybe some day. Report
great i loved it.. i also wish to do same some day.. rgt now i can not even run for 2 min... i have very poor stamina.. but i am working towards it.. i cud only run 10 seconds in begining.. now it is 2 minutes.


Soena Mudgal Report
I absolutely love this feature. Not only can I keep track of what I ran, but I can save my runs, which makes it sweet to log in the cardio!! Report
I just finished my first 15k Report
I use the maps for my walks and bike rides. There are other sites that will track the mileage, but this one gibes me my speed also. Report
I really surprised myself yesterday when I began the couch to 5 km program and actually enjoyed the entire 31 minutes alternating running & walking. I never, ever thought I could run, (although I have always loved to dance). From night owl to athlete in afew short years...we humans are so adaptable!
The tracker is such a useful tool too. Report
I like using the tracker, although i haven't really gone further in tracking. I started the couch to 5k and completed it in November, i was never a runner and hated it when i was younger, i ran my first 5k in November, I continued to do 30 minute + and now I'm going to attempt to run 45 minutes. I have another 5k in February.

Thanks for your honesty! I, too, am not a runner, but am challenging myself this year to go beyond myself! I am signing up for more 5K and a half marathon this fall. Report
omg love it!! I bike all over town, so I love the mapping and calculating features and I LOVE that it will add it directly to my fitness tracker. Awesome!! Report
I'm impressed by this new tool.
It works, even in the middle of nowhere in France.
I'm not a runner -especially now that I live in the mountains.

The only little drawback I can see is the tool cannot take into account change in altitude when counting the number of calories burnt. Anyhow, I love it to trace my routes, thanks for adding it. Report
What a great, easy to use tool!!! Love it, thanks SP. Report
Love the fitness maps. I gave up using mapmyrun because of it. Their features are not as great as yours. Plus...your is free and links right up to my fitness tracker.

Thanks SP...again, you're amazing! Report
I just ran my first 5K (3 miles) after completing the Sparkpeople Couch to 5K program. I could barely run 30 sec and now I can run 30 minutes straight thanks to that program. Anyone can learn to run!
I love the fitness maps. I used to go on google maps on my own to figure out how far I ran, and this is awesome. Thanks, SP! Report
This is great! I used MapMyRun.com yesterday, but I will try this one now!! :-) Report
I love the fitness maps. Thanks for mentioning it. I can track my regular walks with more ease. And get a better calorie count to.

Thanks! Report
I haven't ran since high school after reading this, I am determined to start back. I am one of those people who made the statement I only run when chased. I am going to try the Fitness Map. Report
I love it! Thank you so much for adding it. One concern is that it isn't with the fitness tab and can be hard to locate. I finally put the link on my desktop so I can go to it anytime I want to... Report
this is the best tool i've ever seen on here! it is amazing! i was trying to do the same thing on another map site but it doesn't even come close!! there's no guessing here! Report
This is a great tool. I use MapMyRun, but sometimes it doesn't work like it should and I get very frustrated. This was so simple--I'll definitely use it. Thanks. Report
The fitness maps are the coolest. I have been tracking my bike rides for a few weeks now and these are the next best thing to having an odometer on my bike for distance, but much nicer they way I can add my rides right into my fitness tracker. Report
My goal for this month is to start running on Sundays. I've been running on the treadmill, but now I'd like to start running outdoors. Tomorrow's the first Sunday and I'm planning to use the Fitness Map. I hope to keep the same pace I use on the treadmill. :D Report
this is awesome. Report
I never thought I would run for "fun" either. My first time was on a treadmill. I was always walking fast and trying to challenge myself and one day I thought about doing intervals. I would only run a half minute or so and go back to a fast paced walk, instead, I just kept running! You don't really know what you can do until you challenge yourself! I'm training for a triathalon now! Great Blog. Report
I'm glad I read this. Now I can see how far I walk during my breaks and at lunch.
Fantastic. Report
I love this tool!!! I wish we could save it under our faviortes so it was easier to get to. Just love it!! Report
I am glad to have this chance because I am not as organized as Keakman who has been doing this quite awhile on her own. Before the fitness maps came out, she was counting all her miles for the week and she logs them on a map on every Saturday's blog. Go check it out! She is doing a virtual walk from Oregon to Pennsylvania and goes the extra mile by searching pix of the areas her virtual walks take her. Talk about making a workout REALLY interesting!!! Report
I am looking forward to trying out the Fitness Maps for my next long bike ride. Another Spark-member tipped me off on another mapping web-site, and I hope this new feature is just as good, even better with its average speed calculator. Report
Congrats!!! I think I'll give it a try! Amazing! ;) Report
wow, i really could relate to this article, I never saw myself becoming someone who runs.. i gave it a go, first on the treadmill a little bit, then on an indoor track, and finally on an outdoor nature trail. I've been doing SP since January, and was shocked when I ran a few half laps on the track without becoming totally winded. Now I try to do intervals of jogging and walking during routines where I previously just walked. It's a great feeling of accomplishment to run after always thinking I never could. I am thrilled about the new maps feature. can't wait to try it. Awesome blog. thanks. Report
I love it, I've enter my 4 favorite routes and yes you can save them to your favorites on your fitness tracker...thank you sparkpeople Report
This is great. I've been jogging on the treadmill for a while and finally made the move outside last week and have been guessing about my distance. Report
I was also one of those who said the only way I'll run is if someone is chasing me...with a gun! I just participated in a 5K and walked most of it with little bursts of jogging. I am training for next year's race and I would love to be able to run the whole thing. Thanks for your encouraging comments. Report
Love mapping and saving my routes on the fitness map! Great tool for all. Report
It's so great that SP has added this feature! My "jogging" pace is slower than what's offered in the fitness tracking section and I could never get an accurate estimate of calories burned...until now!! Thank you, Spark People! Report
I am SO glad SP put this tracking method on their site! I used to go to another route tracking site and transfer info here but now I can do it all in one place! SP will never cease to amaze me :-) Report
I used to run as a teenager. I have started running again since joining Ultimate Loser at my church gym. I found I still like it most of the time. I really like it at the end! Report
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