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The best running route planner



It’s too easy to get into the pattern of running the same handful of routes, and while you still take full advantage of the fitness benefits of the sport, you may lose your mojo after a while if you experience the exact same landscape on every trip.

You can choose to just walk these beaten paths at random – but while this will undoubtedly liven up your run, it can lead to longer journeys where you’re completely lost, navigating main roads, or having to get to dead ends with annoying regularity.

The solution is to plan your routes using an app or website. Then, if you have a running watch that can display these routes, ping them on your wrist to track them. Even if you don̵

7;t, you can put your phone in an armband or running belt and check it occasionally. or if you have the memory for it, just assign your preferred path and remember when you run it.

Below are five of the best route planning options currently available. Some require a paid subscription, while others are completely free. With all of them, however, you’ll need to set up an account to create and use the routes.

The best running route planning apps and websites

Strava Route Builder

If you’re an avid runner, you’re probably already using Strava to track or just share your workout. The good news is that this year, Strava has dramatically improved its Route Builder tool and added its own section to the app that lets you get recommended routes near you, depending on where other app users are running. You can also change the app’s suggestions based on how far you want to run, what terrain, and whether you want to avoid hills. The web browser’s route generator is also useful for creating your own routes and sharing them with others or exporting them to your device. If you have a Garmin running watch with mapping functions, you can also set up automatic synchronization, which is convenient.

This is a lot of good news, but here’s the bad: In addition to the improvements, Strava has also moved these features behind a subscription paywall. Members of the coaching team found it very useful that the route builder broke from their usual parking loops, but £ 6 a month is only worth it if Strava’s other premium features appeal. strava.com

Download from the App Store and Google Play | £ 5.99 a month

Komoot

The route planning software from Komoot is impressively advanced and is ideal for point-to-point planning. This is how you generally stay away from busy roads if possible. You need to create an account to save routes and send them to your phone and watch them through Komoot (which, like Strava, also has Garmin automatic syncing), but you get an area for free – choose your local area as the default – if you sign it will cost £ 3.99 to unlock a new region or £ 29.99 to unlock the whole world.

A good idea is to take a bus ride somewhere and then walk back (or vice versa). The route planner also tells you what surfaces your planned route covers so you can see if your road running shoes need to cope with trails. No loop routes like Strava are suggested, but “Running Highlights” are highlighted on the map so you can string some together and explore some new places on your run. komoot.com

Download from the App Store and Google Play | One region free, additional region £ 3.99, region package £ 8.99, unlock world £ 29.99

Garmin Connect

You don’t need to have a Garmin device to use the Garmin Connect route planner in the app and website (although you’ll need to create an account), but of course the main point when creating a route is to sync a compatible watch that should follow on the run. Route planning is easy to use and you can export previous runs to reuse the routes or send them to someone else. connect.garmin.com

Download from the App Store and Google Play | Free

MapMyRun

This is another app and website for which you will need to create a free account to access the route planning tools. Like Strava, MapMyRun is a run tracker. You can also find routes created by other users. However, this works better in the US, where more users use MapMyRun than in the UK. mapmyrun.com

Download from the App Store and Google Play | Free

Plot route

It’s not the fanciest website, but Plotaroute is a free route planner that can be used fairly easily to create and export routes to use with your favorite app and watch. However, you need to create a free account to save and share your routes. plotaroute.com


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