Posted by: runawaynotes | July 3, 2012

Trying out some new things

Today was a sweet sweet day when the boss man said “Go home early (as in, “before lunch” early) and don’t come back until next week”

That’s how I found myself with a ton of free time today that I didn’t plan for. Purely coincidentally, my house also happened to be clean and all the dishes/laundry/other chores done (I know, how often does this happen?!), which meant that I could spend this time however I wanted perfectly guilt-free. So I decided that it would be fun to check out a new trail today, since I’ve been thinking about it for a while now, but I didn’t want to do it early in the morning or late at night. This trail was supposed to be heavily treed, so running it in the middle of the day wouldn’t have been too bad. Since I was already being adventurous, I decided I would also try out a new running app – RunKeeper, and a new running accessory – Amphipod armband for iPhone. So, here’s my brief review of all the things I tried/tested today.

New trail – 4.5 out of 5
Really enjoyed it! According to the online description, the trail is about 4.5 miles long (I only did about 2.5 miles), but it’s winding and looping, so you don’t feel like you are running in a circle. It is very heavily wooded (I was running in the shade about 80% of the time), and even though it is very close to a major highway, it feels very secluded. However, there were quite a few runners/walkers out there, so it felt pretty safe too. I didn’t have a trail map, so I tried to pay attention to the markers as I was running, but the trail had so many twists, turns, and splits in the road that I ended up actually using the map on my Garmin to figure out how to get back to where I parked my car 🙂 That was a nice change from running a single loop around the White Rock lake. My only complaint – the mile markers (or lack thereof). I could see the signs for “1/4 of a mile”, but that was about it. And who wants to add up in their head how many quarters of a mile they’ve done?

RunKeeper – 3 out of 5
The app itself was easy to set up and easy to use. It’s nice that your data is automatically uploaded to the web site, and the map and the stats features are pretty cool too. However, I think that RunKeeper is simply not accurate enough for me. According to my Garmin, I ran 2.59 miles at 12.09 average pace. RunKeeper tracked me at 2.73 miles at 11:33 average pace. That’s a pretty big difference to me. So, I definitely don’t think I’m going to rely on this app for training purposes, but I think it’s a fun way of keeping track of your activities.

Amphipod arm band – 2 out of 5
Looks like this one will be going back to the store. The arm band was barely tight enough to stay on my arm without sliding, and there was no way to make it tighter. Plus, every time I would swing my arm, the edges of the band would run against my side – definitely NOT a good thing. I guess I will have to look for something else to carry my phone in when I run.

Oh, and one more review –

My injured knee – 5 out of 5!

No pain while running, no soreness after – winning!

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Responses

  1. Great news about the knee! Where was the trail you ran on?

    • Spring Creek trail in Richardson.

      • Our group ran on that last Wed night. It was so pretty, and shaded enough that the 98 deg temp actually felt very comfortable.

  2. None of the gps apps are particularly accurate especially in wooded areas or areas with tall buildings. Even your garmin won’t be perfectly accurate. The GPS signal can bounce and is blocked in those situations. Even in good conditions they are all still estimations. I have read race organizers take lots of calls now from people with these things to say the race wasn’t whatever distance it was supposed to be and it’s down to these things.

    I’ve also found runkeeper on my buddies ipod less accurate than my droid. I think down to how the OS does multi-tasking.

    http://cincyhalfmarathon.com/GPS%20Accuracy.pdf

    • I tried using RunKeeper a couple more times – when running around my neighborhood, and on the trails again. The first time, it had exactly the same numbers as my Garmin. Second time, it was off again by about 30 seconds per mile. I guess it is simply less reliable in heavily treed areas. Thank you for the article, by the way. I really liked the comparison to a Border Collie. I guess that does explain it the best.


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