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After a period of inactivity I recently started running again and want know what gadgets or tools I use to monitor my workout.

Some requirements:

  • It should offer workout programs (based on my level or goal)
  • It should graphically show my progress over time
  • It should be mobile, so I can take it with me during running

So what can I use to monitor my running workout?

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Do you have some kind of mobile device like an iPhone or Android device? –  Ciaocibai Mar 1 '11 at 20:22
    
@IntuitionHQ, feel free to recommend either, as I don't want it to prefer one system over the other –  Ivo Flipse Mar 1 '11 at 20:24
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What was the point of asking this question if you already had an extremely well prepared answer to give? It should have been mentioned in the question that Adidas Micoach is used/known already and explain negatives there and why you want something different. Otherwise, it appears as if reputation is being fished for. –  whaley Mar 1 '11 at 21:56
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@Whaley, I was actually planning on adding the same for other products, I simply have great experience with MiCoach. But I would love to help out editing your answer, I just have been busy answering more questions at the moment –  Ivo Flipse Mar 1 '11 at 22:02
    
I'm glad Ivo asked this, and I'm also glad he shared what he's using now. It's okay to answer your own questions. Others can share what works well for them in the answers. –  Lance Fisher Jun 29 '11 at 23:31
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11 Answers

I've had lots of success of RunKeeper Pro

It comes with some preset training programs and you can customize them yourself. Granted, the programs themselves are only for single running sessions as opposed to a long term plan. There are also training programs (Fitness Classes) available through the site, though you have to buy them. However, you can set them up yourself as well.

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RunKeeper Pro is available for free on both the iPhone and Android. Which uses GPS to track your running speed and gives you feedback during your running session. The results are automatically uploaded to their website.

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When you login to their site, you can see reports of your progress/activity over time. There are also options to add reports for other workouts, like swimming or rowing and also upload heart rate reports from your Polar to get a more complete overview of your workouts.

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There's also RunKeeper Elite (19$/year) that offers access to more advanced features.

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using RunKeeper and find it really useful, just the free version for now. –  dove Mar 2 '11 at 13:28
    
It seems the app changed quite a bit since the last time I tried it, guess I should give it another shot :-) –  Ivo Flipse Mar 2 '11 at 17:20
    
I highly recommend it as well - they made the pro version free on the iPhone at least, so it's pretty hard to say no to. I find it really motivational to have all this information at my disposal. –  Ciaocibai Mar 3 '11 at 10:13
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Funnily I think the naming scheme is just a facade @IntuitionHQ, because the 'real' pro version is called Elite! –  Ivo Flipse Mar 3 '11 at 17:31
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@Ivo Flipse - In fairness, elite was a further payment on top of buying the paid pro app. Their used to be a lite/free version with less features than the pro app - they made the pro app free in January as part of a promotion, and had so much success with it they left it that way. –  Ciaocibai Mar 3 '11 at 20:24
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up vote 7 down vote accepted

You can use Adidas MiCoach

What is it?

It comes in several flavors: foot pod, foot pod + heart rate monitor, iPhone App or Android App.

What does it do?

It lets you choose training programs, based on general workouts, losing weight, or more 'professional' goals like running a certain race distance or improving your race times.

You can customize your workout based on your level and the amount of training sessions per week: enter image description here

And it gives you an overview of your progress + options to analyze each separate workout: enter image description here enter image description here

How does it work?

My version uses a heart rate monitor + foot pod. They have a wireless connecting with a 'Pacer' which stores the results. You have one earphone connected to the Pacer, which tells you what you have to do during your workout. As you can see in the image above, it will tell you to speed up when you reach the green zone or slow down when you have to go back to the blue one. For the rest, it's pretty much out of your way and you can wire it through an mp3 player, which will be muted when you get a new command.

When you're done, you connect the Pacer to your computer using USB and your workout gets synchronized to the Adidas site, where you can analyze it. It has space for 15 workouts and it will automatically download a new one after you've finished another.

Are there any downsides?

It costs 120 euro, which is expensive compared to using pen and paper or just a Polar watch. As you can see in one of the screenshots, if you 'miss' one of your scheduled workouts while having the Pacer connected, it will assume you did the workout and 'skip' it. Also, while new features are added steadily, Adidas doesn't seem able to keep up with some of the competing smartphone apps.

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Looks neat - does the pacer and heart rate monitor connect to your mobile device somehow, or does it all have to be connected to a computer to offload the data? –  Ciaocibai Mar 3 '11 at 21:51
    
Well since there's no Android version, I can't confirm it yet @IntuitionHQ. But the system works perfect without your phone! The only thing the phone adds is the gps tracking, so your running speed and location. –  Ivo Flipse Mar 3 '11 at 21:59
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I have a Garmin Forerunner 305, and have used it for over a year. I love it. It offers training, and the software shows graphs and shows reports. There is 3rd-party software for even more functionality.

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why the downvote here? This seems like a perfectly legitimate answer. –  whaley Mar 2 '11 at 21:50
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One big advantage of running watches over Android/iphones is that the running watches are water-resistant. I'm not afraid of getting my Garmin wet. I run it under the faucet after each workout to wash off the sweat. –  edgester Mar 8 '11 at 2:04
    
I have a forerunner 305, the only complaint I have with it is the amount of time it takes to get a GPS signal after turning it on. Don't know how other watch form factor tools fare in this are, but the 305 can take up to 10 minutes to get GPS signal. –  BlackICE Jun 30 '11 at 18:16
    
edgester good one, the 305 is great, and I also LOVE my 401 - the "iconoclastic" choice! If you ever get a chance to try one, give it a go. @David the 401 is very fast indeed to lock on the satellites. –  Joe Blow Jul 20 '11 at 11:26
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I would suggest Endomondo which is available for all mobile platforms and synchronizes the results to a web application. There's a strong focus on social networking and other users or friends can leave comments on your workout. You can also create challenges that other have to beat or let others track your progress live.

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The Endomondo Sports Tracker PRO ($3.99) also features some additional features. Though not yet on all platforms.

  • Beat yourself: Set a previous workout as your target and the audio coach will help you perform better this time
  • Headset control: Use the headset media button to get audio feedback and pause/resume a workoutt
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This is cool - I'd never seen this app before. Thanks for sharing. –  Ciaocibai Mar 3 '11 at 20:30
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Finding free software that is good at tracking your runs may be difficult to find. One suggestion that I have, but have not used yet is the Nike+ system:

Nike+ helps you track your distance, pace, time and calories burn while you run. After your workout you can send you run stats to Nike+ online. Where you can set goals, join challenges and connect with friend in the Nike+ community.

You can use an iPod to listen to music, while tracking your run stats, or use their "Running Band" instead. The software app for Nike+ for the iPod is 1.99 and the gear to use Nike+ cost money as well: ~$70 for sports band, iPod sensor is $20.

While I've never used this myself, I've been very interested and will hopefully be using soon and be able to give more personalized feedback. However the advantage appears to be in the seamlessness of the tracking, syncing and reporting of all your runs.

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Nike+ has an annoying habit of losing the last minute of my run if I allow my iPod to go to sleep or switch to another app after I finish my workout. –  alesplin Apr 8 '11 at 22:16
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Not everything has to be super automatic, cost a lot of money, and generate cool graphs.

I keep a table, and I run the same route each time (so the distance is fixed, measured with my car's odometer/Google maps "walk" once)

ROUTE A
(Can draw diagram of route here)
Date               Time           Notes
2/3/2011 12:50pm   32:11:450      Cramp @ 23:50
2/5/2011 8:30pm    32:22:501      No food before
2/7/2011 6:00am    31:12:100      Breakfast banana + bread

(if I ran more than one route I'd keep a separate table for each route, since hill information is embedded in the times)

All you need is paper, a pen, a stopwatch, and discipline.

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true this works, but it's not 'really' suited when you have to follow a program or have to 'learn' how to run or more importantly when to slow down –  Ivo Flipse Mar 2 '11 at 13:40
    
If you own a smart phone, it doesn't cost lot's of money, and you get way better stats. The new runkeeper will allow you to plot heart rate, pace and elevation against each other in the same graph for precise performance analysis –  Mild Fuzz Mar 4 '11 at 16:42
    
oh yeah, this is the winner; without discipline you aren't going far. –  Elijah Saounkine Mar 24 '11 at 14:13
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I have a Garmin Forerunner 310XT with a heart rate monitor and a foot pod. I've used it for over a year for running, hiking, and hunting. It monitors pace, elevation, heart rate, and cadence. I can also do basic navigation with it like marking a waypoint and finding it later, as well as following my tracks back to the trailhead. The battery lasts for 20 hours which is the longest of any of the Garmin watches.

When I get home, my results are wirelessly uploaded to Garmin's website where I can enter a run description and view a map. Here is an example of a recent race.

I really enjoy getting data from my runs, and it helps motivate me to run more.

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A friend of mine has one of those, I must say the reports look very slick. –  Ivo Flipse Jun 29 '11 at 23:39
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If you are looking for something different, try PaceMaker for iPhone and Android.

It is a unique application that help you maintain a certain pace as well as tracks your run. It has integration with http://dailymile.com, so you can post your runs to that popular running site, rather than to it's own site like many of the other apps out there.

You basically set a desired pace, like 9 minute mile, and it audibly tells you to "speed up" or "slow down" as you are running in order to keep you on pace.

It does the basics as well like keeping a history of your runs and creating GPX files you can either download, or upload to Dailymile.

http://pacemakerapp.com/

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Looking good! I might give it a try soon. –  Ivo Flipse Aug 7 '11 at 7:12
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I have had success using a combination of Garmin Forerunner 405 (with a heart rate monitor) and SportTrack 3.

The watch have all the usual capabilities as well as the ability to "execute" advanced goal-oriented workouts. Unfortunately the battery is only good for 6-8 hours of active use, which can limit for some types of exercises and races.

SportTracks comes with a large number of plug-ins can do just about everything from keeping track of the use of your equipment, your weight/body far, the weather during runs, your current CTL/ATL, training plans, VO2max, your records, etc, etc.... After 3 years with SportTracks, I have a rather comprehensive diary of all my cardia exercises - apart from swimming :-)

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I use Sports Tracker for many years. There is version for Android, iPhone, Symbian, Windows phone, and there is also Web service that sync with mobile application. It is free. You can connect it with Heart Rate monitor (Polar, Sports Tracker etc)

You can find it HERE on Google Play.

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I love Sports Tracker too, but could you please add some more information and possibly some images to make the answer more on par with the others? –  Ivo Flipse Sep 24 '13 at 12:58
    
The Sports Tracker website is offline for maintence, that's why I couldn't post images. I'll do it another day. For pictures from phone I need to root phone. –  Nenad Bulatovic Sep 24 '13 at 17:18
    
No problem, I still think its a great app so +1 –  Ivo Flipse Sep 24 '13 at 18:21
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enter image description here

I'm really surprised Runtastic (PRO) hasn't been mentioned, since it's the second-most-downloaded of its kind (after Endomondo), but the top rated actually.

Runtastic and Endomondo has equally useful and high-quality implementations of features, but I like Runtastic better, because it has more accurate evaluation and statistics features, both on the Runtastic website. Runtastic also has many other fitness and helper applications, and the company makes valuable accessories, like bluetooth heart rate monitors, watches, or cadence monitor for bikes.

Endomondo has more social features. That's all. I would consider between Endomondo and Runtastic. Just check features list and pick the right application for you. (Also check their fitness-site's capabilities.)

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Care to add some screenshots and other information you can find about it. I personally haven't used it, but that's more because I already have too many tracking apps –  Ivo Flipse Sep 24 '13 at 18:22
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