Mapping your first route
There are two main ways that you can create your custom walking route:
- 1. Uploading a .gpx, Polar HRM, or TCX Activity file
- 2. Creating your route manually using the ‘Create Route’ option above your activity feed / dashboard
Uploading a file
If you already have some of your favourite walking routes saved on external devices, you will often be able to download the route data and upload the file directly to MapMyWalk.
This is a similar process to importing a workout from a file, and uses many of the same file types (GPX, Polar HRM, TCX Activity).
From the ‘MyRoutes & Courses’ page, you can choose to create a route. While the route planner map is loading, you’ll see the option to ‘Upload a GPX or TCX file instead’.
You can import routes from external map data files, such as Garmin’s GPX
If you choose this option then you can search for and import valid files, specifying a name as a method of clear way to identify the route once it’s created.
Alternatively, you can visit your ‘Connected Devices‘ page, and import the route using the option available under the ‘Your Accounts & Devices’ section, or ‘All Accounts & Devices’, depending on whether or not you have imported data from a file before.
Using the manual route planner
There are 3 main steps to setting up a new route using the map planner. How long this takes will of course depend on the complexity of your desired route, but for relatively simple route planning, this shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
To save time, the map location start point automatically pulls its location from the profile information we entered just now.
- 1. Route details
Allows you to enter a name for your route, so that you can choose it from your list later if it’s likely to be used on a regular basis.
Although the main focus of MapMyWalk is around walking, this is the stage where you can also enter the type of activity you’re going to be doing along that route. You can choose from a range of day-to-day activities, such as walking and cycling, to a number of more adventurous activities, such as rock climbing and even sailing.
You can even send the route to your phone if you’re unsure of the area, and want to make sure you stay on the right track when you actually get out there.
Mapping a walking route using the manual route creation option
If you’re running point-to-point and not in a loop, you can also save time by clicking the ‘Get Directions’ option, positioned directly above ‘Route Details’.
This will automatically populate a route from your map location to a destination that you specify. Although this may not follow the precise route that you want, this does do most of the work for you, after which you’re free to make any minor modifications.
Advanced: By expanding the ‘More’ link underneath the ‘Send to Phone’ option, this lets you add a description to your route, as well as a starting point name and even set the privacy level. This means you can decide whether or not this is a route you want to share with friends.
- 2. Log as workout
If this will be a route that you want to make a part of your regular fitness routine, or are simply planning the route as something to follow in the future, you can also choose to ‘Save Route With Workout’.
Log as Workout allows you to keep a historical record of distances and routes walked
This essentially allows you to enter a date and name for your route, then save it for use later. All workouts saved in this way can be viewed from your workouts page.
- 3. Directions / Notes
Although the map will be the main visual indicator of where to go during your walk, it can also be useful to have a list of directions, detailing the roads you’re going to be walking down, and distances required for each stage of the route.
A list of directions can be viewed on your smartphone during your walk
How to use tools and custom map markers
Whichever map style you opt for, you will always have access to the same set of route plotting tools within the Distance container, positioned below the map style options.
Again, the icons and terminology used make it feel very similar to when you’re searching for directions between two points using Google Maps, which certainly helps to cut down on the learning curve.
Options such as ‘Units’ and ‘Auto Follow Roads’ are fairly self explanatory, but there are some where a quick explanation may be useful.
How to return to your starting point:
- Out+Back – This is for when you’re looking to return to your starting point at the end of your walk. After you’ve plotted a series of points from A to B, clicking this option will create a route that follows exactly the same path back again to point A.
- Reverse – After plotting a series of points on the map, if you decide you want to reverse the direction you follow on your route, this is the tool to use. It can also be a useful option if you want to add slight variation to an existing workout, where you can simply edit your saved map, reverse the route, and send new directions to your phone.
Using the ‘Return’ tool automatically plots the quickest route back to
your starting position
- Return – In addition to Out+Back, this will probably be the tool you use most often. After plotting all of your points from point A to point B, clicking ‘Return’ will generate the quickest way back to your starting point automatically.
The Walking Mode, Bicycling Mode, and Driving Mode options take into account various restrictions that may be in place for a particular route.
In the case of our Central Park example above, this means that the route would be perfect for walking, but a different route would have been generated by selecting ‘Driving Mode’, due to the fact that you can’t drive a car along the same footpaths.
The ‘Distance Markers’ and ‘Units’ tool options are defined based on your preferences set in your user profile, with a minimum distance of 1 mile per marker.
Various other information can also be displayed using the check boxes at the bottom, including elevation, weather, and traffic. These shouldn’t be an issue for walking routes, but may be useful if you are planning a route for cycling.
Map markers let you add additional points of interest to a walking route that you’ve created. The various designs make it easier to identify places compared to relying solely on the place names found on the map itself. Unfortunately these are only available on the paid membership plans, but it shouldn’t have much impact on your route creation.
What is the Gear Tracker?
If you plan on making walking a regular part of your lifestyle and fitness routines, finding a high quality pair of shoes is going to be incredibly important.
Spending too much on a pair that doesn’t go the distance will lead to you replacing them on a regular basis, but the same is also true of spending too little. So how do you find the pair that achieves the perfect balance between cost efficiency, comfort, and longevity?
Although reviews on respected review and ecommerce sites are certainly going to be useful, you can’t be sure that the people who left reviews had a routine that closely resembled your own.
This is why MapMyWalk also includes a ‘Gear Tracker’ feature, which allows you to search for walking and running shoes by name, revealing some extremely useful information.
Adding your shoes
As we just mentioned, the lifespan of running and walking shoes will be affected by a number of factors, including gait, running/walking style, terrain, distance covered, and frequency of use.
With the average lifespan of a pair of running shoes being around the 400 mile mark, this is the default used by the Gear Tracker when it comes to some basic details about your shoe selection.
Gear Tracker allows you to accurately track the life of your running shoes
With a target mile lifespan in place, you can then choose to either add miles manually if you didn’t log them in a workout, or import them directly from all of your logged workouts between the specified Start Date and the present day.
If you then choose to save this information, you will add the shoes to your Gear Tracker under the ‘Active Gear’ section. This will display the estimated number of miles of use remaining, number of miles you’ve used them for, and the option to ‘Retire’ the shoes if you’re no longer using them.
Comparisons can be made between the lifespan of different shoes, helping to evaluate
value for money and overall durability
It’s generally a good idea to enter information in the Gear Tracker before you begin your first workout, as this will give you the option to select the shoes from a ‘Gear Used’ dropdown when logging.