I used a number of geeky gadgets for running over the past year. I started the year using a Garmin Forerunner GPS watch with heart monitor. It worked well but I did not really like the user interface on the watch during my runs. The small screen real estate makes it a challenge to layout the display of information. The watch eventually stopped recharging. Garmin wanted $75 to look at the watch. I thought that was motivation enough to look at alternatives.
The Runkeeper iPhone app was the most popular run tracker app. My daughter was already using it so I tried it. For free. And never looked back. I now carry my iPhone with me in my hand when I run. A lot of folks I talk to do not like that idea. However, Runkeeper has a really good dashboard that shows distance, time, and average pace, the information I want most during the run. When the run is complete, the Runkeeper app uploads the data to the Runkeeper web site which provides tools for tracking your running (as well as walking or biking) over the long term. Runkeeper app on the iPhone replaced the Garmin Forerunner. For Christmas, I got a Wahoo Blue HR Heart Rate Strap which integrates with the Runkeeper app so that I can monitor heart rate during my run again. Great set up.
More recently, I’ve been trying a new iPhone app, iSmoothRun. iSmoothRun has some features that I really like. The dashboard is layed out better than RunKeeper with larger text that is easier to read on the run. iSmoothRun exports to more web sites include raw data to Dropbox. iSmoothRun has an Recovery Heart Rate calculation function – which they call HRR – that I really like. However, after several uses I have found iSmoothRun quirky and not as reliable as RunKeeper. iSmoothRun user interface is a bit confusing, getting things turned on or off. Using the HRR calculator requires turning on the auto-pause feature, stopping long enough to trigger auto-pause, and then going into settings and turning on HRR. The HRR does not appear in the settings list unless you are auto-paused during a run. And apparently, you have to do this sequence each run. Why can I not just tell iSmoothRun, always calculate HRR? And why isn’t HRR labelled correctly as Recovery Heart Rate (RHR) rather than misusing the Heart Rate Reserve (HRR) abbreviation incorrectly?
So, my currently geeky gadgets for running are Runkeeper running on a iPhone 4S connected to a Wahoo Blue HR Heart Rate Strap. My run data is uploaded to my RunKeeper Profile but you will need to sign up for your own Runkeeper account to view any details.