When I ran my summer marathon I wore three pieces of tracking tech: A Fitbit Blaze to record my steps, a Garmin (connected to Strava) so I could get a general idea of pace in real time, and a phone with Runkeeper audio cues set for every mile marker so I could get a second opinion on my pace.
Runkeeper was the most accurate, logging 26.35 miles for the race on the mostly straight course. Garmin recorded 27.18 miles. Strava interpreted this as 27.1 miles. My Fitbit log has me at over 48,000 steps for the day although not all of that was during the marathon. I definitely out-stepped everyone in my friends group that day.
All of this tracking is bananas and I’m paring down.
The first to go — Fitbit. More people I know use a Fitbit than any other tracking device and I like the social aspect of it, but none of these people train for races so comparing steps isn’t motivational. Heart rate monitoring and sleep monitoring were interesting for a while. I don’t actually do anything with those stats though. I pretty much know when I need to go to sleep and I don’t train by heart rate. Also, I think the Fitbit device is ugly.
Garmin: I used to only use it for outdoor speedwork, but now I’m using it exclusively for all outdoor runs, meaning I don’t also record simultaneously with Runkeeper. I do upload my data later to Runkeeper. The initial purpose was to preserve battery life on my phone, but there’s an added benefit of making me feel less like a lunatic pressing a bunch of buttons on multiple devices before and after every run. I recently discovered the lap feature which is pretty cool. I still don’t trust Garmin’s judgment about my distance, and I definitely don’t trust it’s judgment about my current speed, but I do think it’s good enough for my goals.
Strava: For now I link my Garmin data to Strava. I’ll probably delete this app soon. I know zero runners in real life who also use Strava so the social aspect is lost on me.
The winner is Runkeeper. A big reason for using this is that I’ve used it the longest so it has most of my data, but also I really like the look of the interface and how it displays my stats. I can easily see this week vs last week, or this month vs last month, or the year overall (1728.5 miles so far). I’ve used it this year to track shoes which has been really handy and surprising – those miles add up fast! So now I’m auto-uploading all my outside/Garmin miles and manually entering my treadmill miles.
Look how pretty it is!
Is anyone else on Runkeeper who wants to link up? I’m not sure how to send a friend request on this thing, but I’d be willing to find out if anyone’s interested. My username is CathJB.