Couch to 5K
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A technical, GPS, motivation, excuse blog

This morning I've been playing around with some GPS data and various sites out there because I wanted to try and prepare myself for next week's run (week 4). In some ways I know that I'm just psyching myself up but I guess that's not such a bad thing.

I'll share what I've been doing and if anyone can tell me “That's already available at xyz site” I'll be delighted but I couldn't find it in a convenient package. So here's where I started:

I wanted to plot a new course for next week and add in the start and end point of each running section based on my own pace from previous runs. Then I wanted to go to Google Earth and look at the street map view of where each section ends, that way I will know on Monday roughly where I'm trying to get to before Laura says I can walk again.

Firstly to plot the route. There are lots of sites to do this but the one I like is called and I like it because it doesn't ask me to log in. Once the map is plotted you can download a GPX file of the plot from the site (follow the “save route” link).

Having got a plot I listened to the first part of the podcast and worked out the repetitions for next week. Next I opened up excel and worked out at my walk and run pace where I'd be, distance wise,when each run started and finished. For example after the warm up I'd be at 383m from the start and so on (“brisk” is a relative term right ;) ).

The penultimate step is to get an editor for the GPX file and add in my own way points. I suspect you could do this bit with Google maps but I couldn't work it out. The editor I chose is called Route Converter and is freely available here: I won't teach you how to use it but it's not that difficult and all you're looking to do is to rename some markers which correspond to the distances you calculated in the previous step.

All of this done open Google Earth and then open the GPX file you've been editing and there you have your route with the markers. I haven't run it yet so I can't tell you how accurate it is but the first marker, where the warm up ends, was within 10m of where it should be so I'm hoping that this is going to work for me.

I'm debating whether I want the hassle of developing some simple code to do all of this automatically and I'm not sure I do at the moment but if there's anyone out there who fancies the challenge or knows where it's already been done do speak up.

Perhaps a GCSE ICT project for any teachers out there ? It's not that difficult to do it's just the time required.

2 Replies

Ooh this looks like something interesting to investigate ... brings out the inner geek..

Can you not plot the route and way points all in one go on google earth? You must have tried already. I think it shows the length of path you plot as you plot it so al lyou would need is a rough idea of your route and your spreadsheet calcs before the final plot.

Do you use the GPX file on a phone or garmin or some such when you run?

Please please please keep us updated with any progress you make on this project




Hi Karen,

Yes you could plot the route and way point on Google Earth but I was making life easy (maybe ?) by using an existing site to plot the route because it has features like "follow the road" and so on but perhaps that can also be done on GE ?

Yes I use a GPX file on the phone written by a GPS tracking app and then keep a log of my runs in order to see how I'm improving.

The ideal I have in mind is being able to go to one site, plot a new route and then tell it that I'm doing week 4 of C25K and that my running pace is 8 min/km and my walking pace is 12 min/km. When I'd decided the route it would add in the start and finish points of each walk and run. Now I could go to street view and see where I will be on the course when I have to change from run to walk. For me a location is easier to push for than a time.

I'll post back if I make any head way and of course would love to hear everyone’s opinions.


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