The Ultramarathon Diaries, Week 6: Route Planning with the OS App

The Ultramarathon Diaries: Week 6

Hi, I’m Millie and I’m going to try to run an ultramarathon. The ultramarathon diaries follow my journey from a sometimes runner to an ultra-athlete (just kidding) over a year and a bit – join me won’t you?

Wahoo! After a two week break from running I’m back on track … or back on the trail! My new trainers are awesome and my new backpack is awesome and I’ve downloaded the OS app which is, obviously, also awesome. In this post I’ve talked a bit about the Ordnance Survey App and the best thing about using it for running.

Using The Ordnance Survey App

I started using the OS app for hiking a few weeks ago and I know if you’re experienced outdoors you’ve probably already heard of it but for a beginner it’s just brilliant. The app is essentially a smartphone GPS tracker and map which holds your route information in your pc, phone or tablet. You can plan hiking, cycling or running routes along the nation’s paths and bridleways, download the map and follow them whenever you want to.

OS Map App review for running

How Much Does the OS App cost?

When you download the app you can choose whether you want to be a free registered user or a premium user, these give you different options – the more you pay, the more you get. I chose to sign up as a premium user to access the OS Explorer and OS Landranger maps and to use them offline. Because I run cross country I often run out of signal and need to see landscape features as well as public rights of way like bridleways, footpaths and trails – mainly to mentally prepare for hills!

Premium subscriptions start at £23.99 if you opt for a 12 month upfront payment on an autorenew basis.

The most you pay is £3.99 a month if you do it on a one month fix term subscription (that would work out at about £48 per year). If you run a group, club or charity you can also access a group subscription which costs £100 for 12 months and allows you to distribute routes to up to 30 people.

Screenshot from Ordnance  survey app

Flexible Features and Route Planning

If you’re often outdoors and regularly use your smartphone then this is a great solution to buying and carrying maps for different areas across the UK. It has a good range of features; these are the ones that I’ve found most helpful so far:

  • It allows you to download your route and map so you can follow them offline, export them or print them.
  • You can create, save and download routes. When you create a route the app asks you whether you are running, walking or cycling. It tells you how far it is (in Kms or miles, whichever you prefer) and how long it should take, based upon the speed settings that you can adjust. If you’re following a route that’s been planned on a paper map or with someone else then you can simple ‘record route’, save it and use it again in the future.
  • You can find routes in specific areas that have been created by other users. You can filter these by activity, difficulty and time. I’ve found some really good circular runs through this and discovered places near to our house that I didn’t know were there.
  • The app tracks your location continuously and acts as a compass. Handy if the visibility is poor, the path is covered or there’s no obvious route across a field. Being on your smart phone means that this is really uncomplicated and easy to access.
  • It connects to your smart watch. I’m not sure if the app does this for Samsung phones and watches but it does for iOS and apple watches, if you go ‘off route’ you get a push vibrate notification on your phone so you always know if you’re on track. This feature might be my favourite so I’m not continuously having to ge my map/phone out to check that I’m still going the right way.

To download the app you can go to the Ordnance Survey website, the Google play store or the Apple app store.

Training This Week

To go with my usual 4 morning 3 milers I did an 8 mile circuit around Goyt Valley onto Shining Tor and Pym’s Chair. It was beautiful, I got lapped by another runner but the weather was bright and I was happy with my times.

We also started hiking the Peak District Boundary Walk this weekend and did 11 miles for stage one. The Peak District Boundary Walk is a 190 mile route around the outline of the Peak District National Park. It’s split into 20 stages which are each around 10 miles long which we’re going to complete over a series of day hikes. You can check out the walk in this series here.

Total miles this week 31.

Sunrise at Goytsclough Quarry before ascending Shining Tor
Goytsclough Quarry at sunrise before ascending Shining Tor

Thanks for reading this edit of the Ultramarathon Diaries! You can follow my progress on my insta page millie.ferns