Tracking your running
With numerous smartphone apps on the market for tracking your fitness activities, it can be hard to know which one to go for. I have tried a few different apps and websites over the years, starting out using iPhone apps and later using a Garmin watch to track my activities. This short guide compares some of the more popular activity-tracking websites and apps.
RunKeeper was one of the first fitness apps that I tried for analysing and tracking my running. The smartphone app is very simple and easy to use, providing an overview of each activity along with a map and split times. The app syncs with the RunKeeper website to provide slightly more detailed reports and graphs of activities.
- Good value for money, it once cost $9.99 but is now free. For those who would like to take advantage of more detailed reporting, there is an elite version at a cost of $4.99 a month or $19.99 a year.
- Audio cues from the app at regular intervals for current time, distance and pace are great for hearing how you are doing.
- Facebook and social integration – useful for tracking your friends and family.
- Unreliable with older iPhones – I have started the app and after 5 minues of running I am told that I have run zero miles.
- Although the website has integration for uploading from Garmin GPS watches, if a watch contains many activities this can take a long time.
- The website appears to interpret distance data inaccurately from Garmin watches causing discrepancies with pace.
The Garmin Connect website is promoted to owners of Garmin GPS watches as the place to upload runs. The website is extremely easy to use and activities are easily uploaded from Garmin watches. Had I been writing this article a couple of months ago, there wouldn’t have been much more to say about the Garmin website, however, there has since been a large update and several new features have been introduced including updated profiles, the ability to follow friends and a calendar to plan your workouts.
- Easily integrates with Garmin GPS watches.
- Garmin Fit app enables you to take your activities with you and view maps and statistics from your activities (currently 69p on the iPhone app store).
- Detailed splits and activity analysis.
- There’s not currently any social media integration.
- Finding and following your friends within Garmin Connect is quite basic.
- No graphical reporting of activities.
Strava, the word for strive in Swedish, is a website and app designed for runners and cyclists to track and analyse their activities as well as compete against each other. I’ve only been using this website for a few months but already I’m using it more than both RunKeeper and Garmin Connect. The website has all of the usual features including mapping activities and pace graphs but has the added bonus of “segments”. Segments are created by the users of the website from their existing runs and become a zone in which you compete with others for the fastest time over the segment distance. These may be people you know or total strangers but it certainly adds a refreshing, competitive edge to uploading your running activities.
- Segments provide a nice competitive edge.
- Intuitive user interface with lots of training data, including dates, distance, times to cast your eyes over.
- Ability to participate in sponsored challenges.
- The training calendar combines both cycling and running activities without any way to differentiate between the two.
- Premium features for an additional cost – $6.00 a month or $59.00 a year.
There are plenty more websites available for tracking your activities and these are just a few that I have experience of. Have a look around and see what you think – I would definitely recommend backing up any of your data to your computer as if your website of choice disappeared – so would all of your runs!