Some of these you may already be familiar with, some maybe not, so here are some free online tools I’ve found that are useful for running:
Gmap-Pedometer.com: This is a pretty simple site, you can just plot out a route using Google Maps. You can do “automatic” and it’ll follow the road or trail or “manual” and it will do straight lines, and give you the total distance and mile markers as you plot a route. This can be good to plan your run before you head out, plot out a route in a new area, or double check the distance of a run (or race). This is also very handy if you have a race coming up and can’t find an elevation map – plot the course and turn on the elevation.
What to Wear Tool: This was on the Runners World website for awhile, and then it disappeared, and now it’s back and improved. Even if you’re a relatively experienced runner, most of the time you already know what to wear, but sometimes it’s nice to double check, because this accounts for if it’s sunny or overcast, windy or not, daytime or dusk, easy run or race, etc.
Runners World Smart Coach: There are lots of training plans out there, but I like the RW Smart Coach because it’s customizable. You can input a recent race time, info about your goal race, what kind of mileage and intensity you want, etc, and it spits out a plan. Granted, the plan is somewhat generic, and doesn’t include weights/strength trainings, and only lists days to cross train but no specific suggestions on how to cross train. BUT, it includes distances and paces, and will include weekly speedwork or tempo runs, including a brief breakdown of how to do those. So if you’ve never done those types of workouts before, or you don’t know what paces to target, this is a good way to start.
McMillan Pace Calculator: Speaking of paces. This is pretty simple – input a recent race time and it will give you suggested training and race paces. Keep in mind the suggested race paces assume you will train appropriately (maybe aggressively) and have perfect race day conditions. But, this is helpful if you’re not sure what pace to target for long runs, easy runs, tempo runs, recovery runs, speedwork, etc.
Do you use any of these? What other helpful sites have you come across?