As a runner and a nerd, I like to combine technology with my running so I can get precious, precious data. When I started out, I used an interval timer and my fitbit. This didn’t tell me too much, just how many steps I took, a very approximate distance, and how long I was running. Later, I began manually mapping my runs out on RunKeeper.com. This gave me a clearer idea of my distances, which I could combine with the time from the interval timer to figure out my pace more accurately. Finally, I got a smart phone and started using the RunKeeper app, and I haven’t looked back. I do still wear the fitbit, but I don’t look at the data for it very often, besides total steps and miles for the day.
Recently, I’ve been craving a way to see my current pace without pulling my phone out of my pocket. I use a running belt and my phone fits very snugly into it so it isn’t bouncing around while I run. Unfortunately this means that it’s not a simple act to pull out the phone, check my pace, and stuff it back into the belt. I can manage the act while still running, but it tends to slow me down, defeating the purpose of checking my pace in the first place.
I’ve heard of new smart watches that connect to a smart phone and can display information from apps on your wrist. This seemed perfect! I can just hook it up to my existing setup and read my current pace, win! I decided to read some reviews and see how well this worked for others. It turns out the Pebble ties to RunKeeper, but the reviews aren’t great. Apparently it only displays total time, total distance and average pace, and the display can’t be modified through settings. The reviews I read were both from several months ago, when the Pebble/RunKeeper link was first announced. I thought that given the complaints about the minimal functionality, an update may have been released in the last four months. Especially since several new versions of RunKeeper have been released since then, including one new major version. According to Pebble’s customer support site, users are still stuck with those three data points.
I guess it’s back to the drawing board. Maybe the time for a GPS watch is drawing nigh. I have a number of pace specific runs coming up over the next few weeks, so I will have to see how my current setup, combined with my mental pace estimator work to fill the gap.