Sports July 21, 2020

Any indie runners in here?

Janice @Janice

Curious what are your favorite running apps? Why are they your favorites? And what, if anything, is missing?

  1. 3

    I run between 50-70 miles a week while I am training... 40-50 otherwise. Big fan of Strava. It's great because I can connect with my other running friends and keep up with their progress, especially during COVID. I run with a Garmin (Garmin Connect) that syncs directly with Strava. While Garmin Connect provides more data (and the same data if you pay for Strava), it's missing a good UI and the social aspect.

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      I can't begin to imagine running that many miles in a month, nevermind a week! Kudos!

      So it seems your only pain point is having to use two devices as opposed to one?

      1. 2

        I enjoy finding new pockets and views where I live... so it's easy to get lost and get some miles in :)

        So I run with a Garmin watch and it syncs right to Strava which is really nice.

        What I love about Strava

        • The social aspect. It's great to see what you're friends are up to. Also, it gives me inspiration for new routes.
        • It just works. It syncs great with my watch, Peloton, etc. Strava is the 'Put your #1 app here' of the Running and Cycling community. If an external app/product doesn't support it, they're not going to make it.
        • Segments. Strava members mark segments throughout the city and you can track your progress against them and see where you're at on the leaderboards. I live in San Francisco, so there are thousands.
        • The UI/UX is pretty solid. It's clean and provides the right level of information for a quick assessment. It also has really good detail and suggestions if you want to dive deeper into your training.

        My issues with Strava:

        • The social aspect. It put's a weird 'pressure' on you following your friends. For example, on a Saturday, I will run X miles... but then my friend ran 2 more miles than I did. It's probably a 'me problem' ha.
        • I rarely use the web app. The mobile app isn't nearly as feature-rich as the web app (e.g. I can't add a new pair of shoes on mobile.). They've been working on this over the past year, so I am hopeful
        • They recently stripped a lot of the free features and put them in the paid plan. The paid plan is $60 a year (and I was already paying) so I am not too angry. The features they took out of the free plan were the ones that got me hooked (e.g. leaderboard for segments)
        • The 'Explore' tab in the app makes no sense. It's kind of a dumping ground when they don't know where to put it. I manage, but I am so confused every time I use it.
  2. 2

    Running 3 times a week, dodging injury all the time. I've been using RunKeeper for years with the Apple Watch.

    1. 1

      Any features you wish you could add to RunKeeper?

      1. 1

        Since injuries are part of running for most, I would love to see some kind of injury tracker. It would be helpful to have a check-in to rate pain and flexibility for each run. You could share this data with a PT specialist or try to figure out independently what you can do to ease the pain.

  3. 2

    None. I run 2-3 times a week. Don't know how many km and I am guessing around an hour or less each leg. I like to run without phone, without music, without gps, just bare minimum. I even don't wear my glasses 😁.

    1. 1

      Thanks for taking the time to post!

  4. 2

    Hey! I just feel I should write here. I founded https://runners.com.uy, it's now the biggest running community in Uruguay :)

    1. 2

      Thanks for the reference!

  5. 2

    I run 3-5 times per week – I've never kept track of times/distances but this post has me thinking about starting to do so. I'm looking for a gps watch to do this. I see the garmin watch mentioned several times below. Any other recommendations? For people who don't use a watch, do you run with your phone? That seems like it would be bothersome to carry a phone while running.

    1. 1

      Welcome to the largest debate in the running community :) The simplest way to put it... if you're a casual runner (Run 2-3 times a week and do a race here or there), go Apple Watch. If you're a more serious runner (Run 5-7 days a week, have a planned race schedule) go Garmin.

      The Garmin is not a good smartwatch. Sure, it does notifications and all the good stuff, but it is terrible in comparison to the Apple Watch. I want to move to an Apple Watch because it's better for my 'day to day' life. But I can't give up the physical buttons, the battery life, more metrics, etc. for physical activity.

      DC Rainmaker has really good reviews: https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2019/11/apple-watch-series-5-sports-fitness-in-depth-review.html

      1. 1

        Thanks for your feedback! I've never considered the Apple watch before but seems like a good option for running. $400 for the series 5 seems a lot to drop on a watch just for workouts but maybe the $200 series 3 will be good enough for my needs. (Kinda weird that Apple doesn't have the series 4 on their website...)

        1. 1

          You can get the Series 3 for $170 on Amazon these days. The Series 5 is discounted as well. They scrapped Series 4 last year after releasing the 5. Typical Apple...

          If you can wait until September, I would. The new model will most likely come out and you can get a Series 5 at a lower price.

          1. 1

            Waiting sounds like a good idea. Thanks!

    2. 1

      Apple Watch user here. So now thoughts re Garmin. Thanks for chiming in!

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        I just started running seriously and I started with the first gen Apple watch and just switched over to the Garmin Instinct a few weeks ago. I use the Garmin app to track my running and biking but also use the Nike Run Club app to track my running. I like to have both numbers to get a better estimate of how I'm doing
        RE the Garmin watch, I love it! It's doing all of the features I used my apple watch for and it's less distracting. I can also beat the heck out of it and swim with it unlike I could with the first gen Apple Watch. Battery life also lasts me about a week between charges where the Apple watch I had to charge every night.

      2. 1

        Thanks for the original post – sorry I can't help answer any of your questions since I don't use an app. But maybe in the future!

  6. 2

    Strava, mainly because it has most users on it in my circle of running mates. What I find it lacks is ability to create my own training plans - I end up using google sheets to plan training blocks for upcoming races.

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      What goes into your training plans?

      1. 1

        Ill plan about 12-16 weeks out. Break down into blocks of 3 weeks plus a recovery week. Each block has a focus (base miles, threshold work, v02 work). Then I plan each week in detail on the Sunday before, using the last two weeks to judge what needs to go in the next one (ie if I havent done any speed work then that becomes the priority session). Foreach session I log miles and a quick summary of the session, then a link to strava when completed.

        This all goes on one sheet, so its a way for me to get a high level visual of how training is going. I also put in a few columns of previous training blocks and work out percentage change in things like total miles for the week and longest run. If one of my goals is to increase mileage by 10% from last training block this gives me a rough summary.

  7. 2

    Hi Janice! I've been running off and on for 15 years or so but I've tried to make a serious go of it by signing up for races this year (signed up for a local half marathon). Of course, this year most of those were canceled so...

    I mostly use Strava and Garmin Connect. Garmin's coaching feature has been a huge motivator in keeping me active by throwing workouts at me every week. These days Strava is seeing less and less use...kind of just on it for social network reasons these days. Main thing Strava and Garmin are missing is a kind of 'virtual race' option for a friend group. I'd like to pick a day and as long as someone runs the mileage on relatively flat or similar path their 'race' gets counted. This is mainly needed due to the pandemic.. At the moment, this is all just manual without any leader-boards or anything. And really just for friendly competition amongst friends.

    1. 1

      👋🏾@LuchoC! Ooh. What sort of workouts does Garmin throw at you? And can you place any requests about what's thrown?

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        Garmin has this idea of Virtual Coaches where you can pick from a set of 3 coaches, you do a 'Benchmark' run and then it kind of preplans your workout a week or so at a time. Sadly you can't change the individual workouts but more when you want to do them, and reschedule if life happens to you on that day.

        It's been a huge help for me, as I've always disliked having to track and plan every week what I need to do (and worse, re balance everything if I have to reschedule a workout)

        Another downside: It only works if you have a certain (newish) garmin watch.

  8. 2

    I’ve run a marathon each year for the last three years. I use the garmin connect app and strava. I like both. I would love an app to help me with self diagnosing injuries. I hate having to pay for visits to the physio, when often the injuries are pretty easy to solve for

    1. 1

      Ooh. That's a tasty idea. One I'm wholly unqualified to execute... but I like it! Thanks for chiming in!

  9. 2

    I used to run long distance when I was a kid but then switched to sprinting (100m mainly) during university. Now I run once every now using Strava mainly

    1. 1

      Do you do any other interval work? (E.g. Tabata, Fartlek, Pyramids, etc.) If yes, how do you keep track of your workouts and how do you set up the timer?

  10. 2

    Running 1 - 2 times a week.
    Currently use the adidas Running app.
    Things I like about it:

    • Clean simple interface
    • Good voice over after every mile to tell me my pace / distance and duration
    • Good summary breakdown of run afterwards
      Other things I would like from an app (probably need to have a look at others):
    • Smart pause: e.g. if I stop running to cross a road
    • Ability to connect with Fitbit
    • Export monthly csv of runs

    And then there are other things that I have thought about mostly around music integration

    • Ability to configure a playlist so that songs fit into miles or so that the duration of the playlist helps me keep track of my pace
    • Sync music tempo to pace
    1. 1

      BPM coordination/motivation is something I'm pretty interested in. Makes more sense in the context of longer distances. But am also interested in how this might work for HIIT!

  11. 2

    Running 2 - 3 times a week. I used to be a big fan of Runkeeper, but since I have a Garmin watch I'm using Garmin connect. Still syncing that with Runkeeper to track my goals, and have the full overview of my activities.

    1. 1

      Any pain points? Something that you wish either Garmin or Runkeeper has?

  12. 2

    I try to run 1 or 2 times a week. I use Apple Watch's workout app and export to Strava.

    Works well enough for me

    1. 1

      No pain points? Maybe a better question is, what features, if any, would persuade you to try another product?

  13. 2

    Hi Janice, prior to the Apple Watch I used Nike on the iPhone, but now it's the one built into the watch itself — same for hiking and cycling.

    1. 1

      👋🏾, @WayneSmallman! Any pain points? Something you've wanted to track or measure, but it's not possible with Apple Watch?

      1. 1

        Overall, I'm pleased with everything it does.

        That said, the battery life isn't in the same league as Garmin et al, but Apple are far ahead of the other smartwatches in that regard.

  14. 2

    As other people here, I'm also a Strava user.

    I've been running for 20+ years, but only recently felt the need to start using an app to help track my activities. This is largely due to me getting more lazy as I get older; being able to track and visualize my efforts have been huge in getting me to be more active again. I was an early FitBit user but the had several bad experiences with the devices breaking down in a few months, not to mention at the time there was no GPS feature. Then I relied on Google Fit for a little but was frustrated by the inaccuracies in tracking (it seems to always create straight-lines). Strava in comparison is much more detailed and accurate (although speed seems to be faster than actual sometimes).

    Not sure what's is missing. One thing I'd like to use but still haven't converted to is smart watches, mainly because of the short battery life compared to regular digital watches. Any way to improve the device experience would be cool, I guess.

    1. 1

      When you mention "improve the device experience", are speaking about the shortcomings (or rather short battery life) of watches?

      1. 1

        Yea, sorry, I realize that wasn't a very helpful comment as it seems like I'm asking you to improve an entire industry :(

        Without knowing anything about this space, hardware/the tech, I'd ideally prefer an IoT device to attach to my shoe, my dumb digital watch, anywhere on my person, etc. without any kind of display or functionality, but simply to track me and transfer that data to an app from which I can later review. Like a Fitbit without a display or one of those early Nike+ devices. Not sure what that means for energy economy or if it limits tracking capabilities. But I'm happy to keep as less actual tech on me when I go out for a run while still getting a good level of tracking data.

        Sorry if the above doesn't add anymore insight either... haha

  15. 2

    I'm using Suunto's Movescount web app to view my training sessions. It has a nice calendar view to give you an overview of your trainings in a given month. The Movescount mobile app is not that great though, but you can integrate Movescount with Strava. So I'm using the Strava mobile app and Movescount on the web :)

    I prefer the simplicity of Strava. All the necessary data is shown in a simple neat UI.

    1. 1

      Hadn't heard of Movescount. Checked out their website and didn't see any screenshots. Does this app help to plan your training sessions? If yes, how? And what sort of parameters do you provide to ensure the plan matches with your goals?

      And for you is the "necessary data"?

      1. 1

        Movescount is Suunto's app that integrates with their watches.

        I have never actually used the training planner, but I checked and there is a training planner. You can input what type of activity you're planning, planned time, distance, intensity and description. I would have attached a screenshot here, but I don't you think you can do that in a comment :)

        For me "necessary data" is average pace, 1km splits and distance. I'm not a fan of too much detailed analysis.

  16. 2

    I use the Garmin Connect app together with my Garmin watch and my favourite thing is that my watch syncs with the app after a run so I don't have to upload anything.

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      Any pain points? Anything you'd like your Garmin to do that it doesn't?

  17. 2

    Me, though not so much recently, my hips have been bothering me.

    I've used Strava, it's nice and just works. Tracks data, routes and improvements. I've never felt the need to upgrade to paid account either.

    1. 1

      (Smiling) You sound very much satisfied. Is there any feature that would persuade you to try another app?

  18. 1

    Whoa. There are definitely Indie Runners! Many thanks for the feedback!

  19. 2

    This comment was deleted 3 months ago.

    1. 1

      Apologies! I haven't used the Samsung health app, so I'm not able to speak to its CX or performance.

      But I'm curious how you plan your sessions, given a mix of long distance and HIIT. IS there a plan and if yes, does Samsung help you with the planning? Or deciding what and how to run more impromptu?

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