Friday, February 25, 2011

Sports Tracker & Endomondo

As my profession, I strongly belief that you need to able to measure something before you are able to improve it. With my Polar FT4, I can now record the toughness of the previous training, but I am running blindly on the road without knowing how far/fast I am going. I tried the running track in MPSJ, which each standard lap is about 400m. I repeated few weeks and I think it’s a good motivation to encourage me to go further. But later I found myself very tired on counting how many laps I ran and how many more left to go. And I read something on runners’ forum about turn your mobile phone (with GPS) into a training records and tracking device. What an interesting idea, and it’s FREE!

As I am using a Nokia phone, I went to the Nokia Ovi store to look for these tracking softwares. I downloaded Sports Tracker and tried it on the next morning run. Initially, I faced problem on tracking the GPS signal, but later I realized that the phone used A-GPS, so it will be more responsive if the internet is on. The user’s interface is simple and you can pair it with a Bluetooth hearth rate monitor strap. The website recommended purchasing from Polar, and I thought my existing chest strap from FT4 will be good. But later realized that the FT4 strap (and normal Polar straps) uses infra-red to transmit the signal. You need to purchase a special one from Polar to run on Bluetooth and it’s expensive so I didn’t pursue further on this.

After each workout, Sports Tracker will records all the readings and uploads it to the web-based database ( You can later browse thru these records and its feel really good to look back the running track on a map, how your movement plotted a beautiful line on the map. It’s also keeping the records and put them up as monthly summary on calendar style, this is another good point to track your monthly workouts. I used this since Dec 2010 and so far so good.

On the Endomondo, its basically have same function with Sports Tracker, but it adding in the voice coaching feedback. Your phone will read out the split time (depend on the lap distance you set), and your average speed/pace during the previous lap. The audio feedback is a great tool to see your real time effort (I think not many people will keep looking on their phone when they are running outside). The only down side of this tool I encountered are the battery consumption (from my only trial run with Endomondo). I started the running with 50+% of my phone battery level, which is normally fine with Sports Tracker for a 60~70 minutes running. But it’s drained my battery within 40 minutes. Also, both Sports Tracker & Endomondo records can’t combine. So I am stick to Sports Tracker until now.

These are tools to improve your running and keep you motivated. I am thinking of getting a Garmin Forerunner 405CX, I really love the “Running Partner” idea and it can serve as a very well coach if you insert your running plan. The only stopper is the price, its cost ~RM1600, and compare to Amazon in US, its only USD215 (as a replaced model by Forerunner 410). It make me feel imbalance if I proceed with this big difference. Anyone can advice the import procedure to Malaysia?

Until next time.

No comments:

Post a Comment