Here are three online tools for runners that will help you keep track of the miles you run and share your routes with others. Whether you are a serious athlete, or just someone who runs for exercise purposes, these tools will help you stay on track and meet your running goals.

Each of these tools are free. One has an optional paid membership to remove the ads.

Online Running Log: RunningAHEAD

Keeping track of the miles you run and the way you feel during a run can encourage you when you finish one of those inevitable bad runs. Looking back at what you accomplished over the last few weeks or months can help you see that not all your runs are like the one you just finished. Having a log can help pinpoint when you might be doing too much, or that you need to ramp up your training a notch because you have fallen into a lazy routine.

RunningAHEAD is a training log that has been around for a few years and has plenty of features to show that the developers take pride in the community. They have all the basic features that most other online logs have, but with a large number of extra features.

The running log at RunningAHEAD lets you keep track of several data points. There is a powerful reporting tool to help you evaluate the data you track. You are not required to input data into every field if you want to use it as a simple log. However, if you do choose to keep track of the weather and your heart rate, there are dedicated sections for those data markers.

Some of the greatest features are in the "Workout Details" section of the log. Along with the standard information of distance and time, you can keep track of which pair of shoes you were wearing for the run. You can also choose from seven different types of workouts. There is a mileage total for each pair of shoes along with a breakdown of how many cents per mile you have gotten out of the shoes based on how much you paid for them.

There are several reports that are already set up for you to get basic information, but reports can be made on any data that is contained in your log. Some of the basic reports include how many miles per week you have run over the last year, or how many miles per month for the same period.

Even though RunningAHEAD is heavily weighted towards runners, there are individual log books for keeping track of swimming, cycling and walking workouts too. There is an active community in the forums with runners ready to give information and tips about running and the RunningAHEAD website.

If you currently use another running log that lets you export your data, you can import your information into RunningAHEAD to get started. Even if the log is not imported through the automatic tools, the site owner will try to manually import your information if it is possible. And if you are currently using a running log that does not let you export your data, you should move away from it as quickly as possible so that you don't lose control of any more data than you have to in the future.

Online Run Mapper: Gmap Pedometer

The strength of Gmap Pedometer is its simplicity. If you only want to use the site to measure a running route, then you won't find anything simpler. Even generating an online map that you can send to your friends to tell them where the group will be running the next day is straightforward and uncomplicated.

Inside the RunningAHEAD log there is also a route mapper which has more features, but there is no way to save that route and invite others to view the map you created. Gmap Pedometer is the easiest online mapping tool for creating a quick route that can be shared with others.

There is no need to sign up for an account to use Gmap Pedometer. There is not even a place to login. To get started you just need to navigate to where your route will start and begin mapping your route. To make a map you will need to double click on the map to create the points. This is different than the other maps mentioned in this article which only require a single click.

Online Run Mapper and Log: MapMyRun

The most full featured running route mapper is at MapMyRun. While Gmap Pedometer lets you create running routes to share with others, MapMyRun allows you to create detailed running plans. Along with mapping a route you are able to mark where runners can pause to buy drinks and a snack on a long run, where public bathrooms are and where viscous dogs are known to hang out. If you are creating the map after a run you can include information about where you stopped and took a walk break, or note where the incredible views you saw along the route.

To share a map though, it is much more complicated than Gmap Pedometer. You have to save the map into your user account. This is a process that can take several minutes since they allow you to record so much information about the route. You will be asked to tell whether the route is hilly or flat, urban or rural along with many other bits of information about the run. Even though it takes time to create a map at MapMyRun, you can put every detail imaginable about the run.

After creating the map you can share the map address privately with your running buddies. You can also make the route public. This will allow other users of MapMyRun to see your running routes along with your thoughts and opinions. If you are traveling and need a suggested running route, you can look through the public maps at MapMyRun.

There is also a running log at the website. If you like using the mapping feature of the site then you might be interested in keeping your full running log there. However, the log features at RunningAHEAD are compelling enough to keep you from using any other running log.

Online Running Tools: Usage Suggestions

All three of these sites can be used for different purposes. RunningAHEAD is a daily use website for any runner to keep track of their activities. For its simplicity in creating maps and sharing a link to the map with friends, Gmap Pedometer is the best way to let others know your running route for safety's sake. MapMyRun has powerful mapping tools that will help you plan group runs and public routes so you can share your running experiences with others.

One of the great things about the many online tools available today is that we are not limited to using just one. Each of these tools has their strengths. Use them to keep you motivated as you run and train throughout the year.