Running has come a long way over the last 30 years. Leaps and bounds. In just the last 10 years, we've seen the popularity of trail runner soar, minimalist craze come and all but go away, and huge strides in what we eat during a race. But one of the biggest markets has been the evolution of the watch. I remember as a kid, if you had a Timex Triathlon, you were set. Many of my runs long ago were timed this way and GPS watches simply weren't available. Which normally mean the miles in my running log were tagged with an (ish) at the end. Today, there are online mapping programs to help you lay out your course ahead of time, or if you simply adventurous, you just take off and let the GPS watch tell you how far you've gone. With the advances in smartphone apps, you can even measure your distance and listen to your favorite tune. Now you can even instantly share your goals and runs with friends through social media. There is one thing you have to keep in mind as you use this new world technology; GPS Watches and Phone apps are great tools to help you in your training. They are far from perfect. One phase I hear a lot at races is, "I think the course was long, or short". Sometimes they are even right. But much of the time, it's the imperfect gps watches and phone apps that are not dialed in. To understand how this can be the case, you need to first understand how course certification is measured. USATF requires Race Directors to use a specific tool to measure courses that are considered certified. It involves a Jones Counter and a bike and a lot of math. The process is pretty involved and that may be why most race directors opt out of doing it. Not to mention the expense of having your course certified. Now just because a course doesn't carry the recognition of being certified doesn't mean it's not accurate. Most race directors go to great lengths to make sure your weekend 5k is just that; 5k. So the next time you cross that finish line and want to question the race director over the distance, keep in mind the process and go easy on them.