A course map in running is a visual representation of the route that a runner will take during a race or training run. It can include information such as distance, elevation changes, and terrain.

Course maps can be useful for runners to plan their strategy, understand the course layout, and prepare for any challenging sections. Course maps can be created using online tools such as Mapometer, On The Go Map, MapMyRun, and Plotaroute, which allow runners to map out their routes and calculate distances and elevation profiles. Some running watches, such as the Garmin fēnix 5 Plus Series, also have a course map feature that shows the course elevation plot and a plot of the next climb, which can be useful during trail races.


  1. Route Details: Different types of races have different maps. For example, a marathon map differs from a 5K or trail race map. These maps often include symbols indicating the locations of water stations, aid stations, bathrooms, and medical help. Some even have written descriptions about the course, expected weather conditions, and other important details.
  2. Accuracy and Preparation: Race organizers use specialized software to create these maps and often verify the route in person for accuracy. Maps show the start and end points, help stations, and other significant locations.
  3. Strategizing and Training: For runners, course maps are invaluable. They help you plan your pace based on the course's specific challenges, like varying terrain and elevation. This allows for mental and physical preparation before the race. You can also decide where to position yourself at the start based on your pace and experience level.
  4. Spectator Use: Spectators also benefit from course maps. They can identify the best viewing spots, understand the course layout, and anticipate when runners will reach the finish line.

In summary, a course map is a crucial component of any running event. It provides runners with vital information about the route, aiding in preparation and strategy. It's also useful for spectators to follow the race and support the runners effectively.


A course map in running can help with running training in the following ways:

  1. Route Planning: It allows runners to plan and visualize their running routes, ensuring they stick to the intended course and mileage, and helping them discover new trails and roads for their training runs.
  2. Elevation and Terrain Information: Course maps provide elevation and terrain details, enabling runners to prepare for any challenging sections and adjust their training accordingly.
  3. Performance Visualization: Runners can use course maps to visualize their running performance, track their progress, and set goals based on the course's gradient and their proximity to popular locations.
  4. Community Engagement: Mapping technology allows runners to share their workout data with others, fostering a sense of community and providing a platform for sharing routes and experiences.
  5. Training Accuracy: By accurately measuring and visualizing running distances, course maps help ensure that runners hit their training targets and maintain the quality of their runs.

In summary, course maps are valuable tools for runners, aiding in route planning, performance visualization, and training accuracy, while also fostering a sense of community among runners.