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The shortest distance between two points is a straight line

September 18, 2010
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As you start to walk longer and longer distances during your training, you’re probably wonder have far you’ve gone.  I have tried a number of different methods to gauge how far I walk.

Mechanical step pedometer:  Basic function – counts steps. Low cost, low accuracy.  Some have a calibration that lets you set your stride length.  Over long distances (>10 miles), mine could be off a mile or more.

Accelerometer:  Considered the most accurate and reliable step counting mechanism that exists. The drawbacks of accelerometers are shorter battery life, due to the constant sampling of the strain gauge, and a higher price.  (Ref.

My iPod Nano (5th generation) has an accelerometer which is very easy to use.  It displays steps, workout duration, start and end times, calories burned, and totals for the week and month.  I don’t have the Nike + iPod Sport Kit, but for those who do, the iPod can also monitor and record your speed, distance, time elapsed. Info on iPod Nano (6th generation)

Learn more about pedometers including reviews:

Now, if you have some extra change in your pocket, you might want to treat your self to a fitness watch.   This is basically a little computer and GPS device that you strap on your wrist.  My sister is a tri-athlete and uses one when she trains.  Although overkill for my walks, it is still really cool to have all the info on my wrist.

I have the Garmin Forerunner 305. With it, I can easily see my speed, distance traveled, time, time of day, pace, time of sunset, calories, to list just a few of the options.   Once I get back home, I can upload the data to the Garmin Connect website and see a map of my walk with additional details.

Another way to track your walk is on the web.  Some sites you may want to explore:, Google maps,, and Map My Run.

No matter what method you use, the most important thing is to get out there and walk 🙂

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 26, 2011 2:11 pm

    Hi Karen, I remember you from the Charlotte 2009 walk. (And I’ve found some rather unflattering photos of myself that you took! ha,ha. Oh well).

    Have you heard of the BodyMedia armband? How accurate do you think that is for counting steps? I busted my tush on Crew again just last weekend for over 18 hours on Saturday, and it told me that I took close to 19,000 steps. Frankly, I thought it would be more than that!


    • October 26, 2011 8:33 pm

      I’ve crewed Boston and Charlotte, and I swear it is more tiring to crew than to walk 39.3 miles!

      Using a conservative stride length of 2.5, you walked 8.5 miles!!! Using a conservative stride of length of 2.5, you walked 8.5 miles!!! Check out this website to figure convert your stride to miles.

      PS – if you tell me which are the photos of you, I will happily remove them. I’m sorry that the photos weren’t good.

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