Monday, February 7, 2011

Running Ahead from MapMyRun

Being that I do not own a Garmin device for tracking my runs, I've found online mapping applications very useful. I first heard about over a year ago. And, once I saw that I could map routes, record mileage on my shoes, and see a spiffy graph or calendar summary of my running activity; I was hooked on the site.

That doesn't mean I ever liked the experience. Until the launch of their new site "two" months ago, the pages loaded slowly, the design was overly busy with superfluous links, and their reliance on advertising became bothersome very quickly.

But, as a free tool, MapMyRun worked for me.

Late last year, MapMyRun launched a beta version of their current site. It boasted an improved aesthetic design, a more intuitive user interface, and faster page loads. They also concentrated on enhancing the social aspects of the site, stuff for which I had little interest.

One of the major features that MapMyRun neglected to include on the beta site was the gear tracker. As the name suggests, the gear tracker allows users to add mileage to specific gear, like running shoes, with each logged workout. This is a convenient way to keep track of shoe ware relative to miles run. Sometimes, it's just nice to know how many miles a pair of shoes have carried you before retiring them.

Repeated questions from users about the whereabouts of the gear tracker feature were typically met with vague promises to implement the feature on the new site at a later date. MapMyRun encouraged those of us who wanted to use the gear tracker to continue using it on the "classic" site.

I won't bore you with details about the sense of loss this missing gear tracker feature evoked. If you used it on MapMyRun, you know what I mean. And, if you never used it, you don't really care.

So, after a full month of official live action, the new MapMyRun site had yet to implement the gear tracker. And, I was tired of going back to the classic site when I knew there were faster, simpler sites available to do the job.

On February 1, 2011, I logged my first run on It is a much less glitzy site compared to MapMyRun. But, simplicity is a virtue in the world of websites, I say. So, it's no wonder that I like using RunningAhead better already. The pages load quickly. The entire workout can be logged on one page. The mapping is faster. And, there's a gear tracker.

So, goodbye You've served me well. But, you want to be too much like DailyMile. And, that's not what I'm looking for in a run mapping site.

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