How To Track Your Speed While Running

How to Track Your Speed While Running


Running is a popular form of exercise that provides numerous health benefits. Whether you’re a casual jogger or a competitive athlete, tracking your speed can be a useful tool in improving your performance and reaching your fitness goals. In this article, we will explore different methods to track your speed while running, from basic manual methods to advanced GPS technology.

1. Manual Measurements

Tracking your speed manually is the most basic method and does not require any additional equipment. All you need is a stopwatch and a measured distance. Here’s how to do it:
1. Find a track or a known measured distance, such as a running trail or a local park.
2. Start your stopwatch and begin running.
3. Stop the stopwatch once you reach the end of the measured distance.
4. Divide the distance by the time it took you to complete it to calculate your average speed.

2. Smartphone Apps

With the advent of smartphones, tracking your speed while running has become more accessible and convenient. Numerous running apps are available for both iOS and Android devices that utilize GPS technology to accurately measure your speed and distance. Some popular running apps include:
– Nike Run Club
– Strava
– Runkeeper
– MapMyRun
Simply download one of these apps, create an account, and start tracking your runs. These apps not only track your speed but also provide various additional features such as route mapping, real-time pace updates, and social sharing.

3. Sports Watches

Sports watches, also known as GPS running watches, are dedicated devices designed specifically for tracking running data. These watches utilize built-in GPS technology to provide accurate speed, distance, and even heart rate monitoring. They offer more advanced features compared to smartphone apps and are particularly popular among serious runners and athletes.
Some popular sports watch brands include Garmin, Polar, and Suunto. Each brand provides a range of models with various features, so it’s important to consider your specific needs and budget when choosing a sports watch.

4. Foot Pods

Foot pods are small sensors that attach to your running shoes and provide accurate speed and distance measurements. They work by detecting the movement of your feet and wirelessly transmitting the data to a compatible device, such as a sports watch or smartphone app.
Foot pods are especially popular among indoor runners who may not have access to GPS signals. They are lightweight, easy to use, and provide reliable data. Some notable foot pod brands include Stryd and Garmin.

5. Treadmill Displays

If you prefer running on a treadmill, most modern models come equipped with built-in displays that show your speed and distance. Treadmills use sensors to measure the speed of the belt and calculate your distance accordingly.
While treadmill displays are convenient for tracking your speed during indoor runs, they may not provide the same level of accuracy as GPS-based methods. Factors such as belt slippage and calibration can affect the measurements.

6. Running Trackers

Running trackers are wearable devices that can be attached to your clothing or worn on your wrist. They use a combination of sensors and algorithms to track your speed, distance, and various other running metrics.
Unlike sports watches, running trackers are typically more budget-friendly and offer a range of features such as sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, and even music playback. Some popular running tracker brands include Fitbit, Garmin, and Apple.

7. Virtual Races

Virtual races have gained popularity in recent years, especially with the rise of wearable technology. These races allow participants to compete against each other remotely, using their preferred running tracking method.
Virtual races often have set distances, and participants can upload their running data to a central platform for verification. This allows runners to track their speed and compare it with other participants, providing a sense of competition and community even if they are physically apart.

8. Running Strides

Running strides, also known as interval bursts, are short bursts of high-intensity running during your regular run. They can help improve your speed and running efficiency by challenging your muscles to work harder.
To incorporate running strides into your run, simply pick a point ahead of you and increase your speed for about 20-30 seconds. Then, return to your regular running pace for a few minutes before repeating the process. This interval training technique can be an effective way to track your speed improvements over time.

9. Running Clubs and Events

Joining a running club or participating in organized running events can also help you track your speed and gauge your progress. Running with others can provide motivation and push you to run faster.
Many running clubs and events use timing systems to track the speed and finish times of runners, allowing you to compare your performance with others. These events often offer different race distances, catering to runners of all abilities and fitness levels.

10. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How do I track my speed while running without any devices?

Tracking your speed without any devices can be done manually using a stopwatch and a measured distance. Simply time yourself running a known distance and calculate your average speed using the formula: speed distance / time.

2. Are smartphone apps accurate for tracking running speed?

Most smartphone apps that utilize GPS technology are accurate for tracking running speed. However, variations in GPS signal strength and device performance can sometimes affect the accuracy. It’s always a good idea to double-check your results with other tracking methods.

3. Do I need a sports watch to track my running speed?

While a sports watch can provide more advanced features and accurate tracking, it is not necessary to track your running speed. Smartphone apps, foot pods, and other methods can also be effective in monitoring your speed and distance.

4. How often should I track my running speed?

The frequency of tracking your running speed depends on your goals and training plan. Some runners prefer to track their speed on every run, while others do it periodically to monitor progress. It’s important to find a balance that works for you and helps you stay motivated.

5. Can running strides help improve my speed?

Yes, incorporating running strides or interval bursts into your training can help improve your speed. By challenging your muscles to work harder during short bursts of high-intensity running, you can increase your running efficiency and speed over time.

6. Can I participate in virtual races without high-tech running devices?

Yes, many virtual races allow participants to track their runs using basic methods such as manual measurements or treadmill displays. However, using GPS-based methods or wearable devices may provide more accurate and detailed data.

7. How can running clubs and events help me track my speed?

Running clubs and events often use timing systems to track the speed and finish times of participants. By participating in these events, you can compare your speed with others and gauge your progress over time.

8. Are running trackers worth the investment?

Running trackers can be a worthwhile investment for those looking for an all-in-one device to track their running performance and overall fitness. They offer a range of features, including speed tracking, heart rate monitoring, and sleep tracking. However, it’s important to consider your specific needs and budget before making a purchase.

9. Can treadmill displays accurately track my speed?

Treadmill displays can provide a general indication of your running speed while using the treadmill. However, factors such as belt slippage and calibration can affect the accuracy of the measurements. For more precise speed tracking, GPS-based methods or sports watches are recommended.

10. Can running clubs and events help me improve my speed?

Joining a running club or participating in organized running events can provide motivation and opportunities for speed improvement. Running with others can push you to run at a faster pace and participate in structured training programs designed to improve speed and endurance.


Tracking your speed while running can be a valuable tool in monitoring your progress and reaching your fitness goals. Whether you prefer manual measurements, smartphone apps, sports watches, or other tracking methods, there are options available for every runner. Experiment with different methods and find what works best for you in your journey to becoming a faster and more efficient runner. Remember to stay consistent, listen to your body, and enjoy the process of improving your speed. Happy running!

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