Strava/Fitbit/Garmin...etc? - what’s your preferred running platform (not device!)?

One for the techies!

So I might get myself a new wearable as a Christmas present, but this post is not about the device itself, but more about the platform. My only real experience is with Fitbit and I like it but I don't really get the "community" vibe unless you have friends added (which I don't!)

I've created a Strava account and I'm intrigued but I feel like it's reserved for the "cool kids/elites" and I'm not one of them! There's a whole bunch of terminology I don't understand (segments? CR?) but maybe if I spent a bit more time I'd be won over. Also seems to be a lot of features reserved for "Strava Premium"? Just seen you can connect Fitbit with Strava - strava.fitbit.com/ though, so now I am more intrigued.

I don't have any experience with any others - Garmin's platform, Nike Running?, RunKeeper? Are those even things?

What set up do you have and what would anyone recommend? I know it's not personally everyone's cup of tea but I like seeing the stats, it keeps me motivated and allows me to track my progress! Nothing like going from 10:33 pace (including C25K walking intervals) to 6:49 pace (just running) in a few months to make you feel chuffed with yourself!

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20 Replies

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  • I use Strava, Runkeeper and FitBit.

    My primary device is FitBit. I also use the FitBit dashboard to check out progress, heart rate, speed, etc.

    Since Strava is connected to my FitBit, it sucks my GPS tracked runs.

    To make matters more complicated, I am also using Bounts to collect points that I intend to exchange for a £50 Tesco voucher.

    Here is my referral link for bounts:

    bounts.it/registration?getm...

    Using this will get you and me both 100 bounts as soon as you record your first activity.

    What I use:

    FitBit device and dashboard and to feed steps into bounts

    Strava to feed activities into bounts

    Runkeeper to feed activities into bounts

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,

    Ash.

  • Thanks Ash! I will definitely look into all these - Tesco is my local! As you track heart rate I assume you must have the Fitbit Charge HR or Surge then? How do you find them? I have the Charge (no HR) currently. Heartbeat and GPS tracking is the main thing I'm interested in for my new device so I'm interested to hear your thoughts about device too!

  • I have Surge.

    It does the job pretty well.

    The only thing I miss is watching my heartbeat on the treadmill when I run on it. But I can look at my wrist.

    One charge lasts up to 5 days or 8 GPS hours.

    Fitbit support is great. If anything stops working, they send you a new device!

  • I've used Endomondo for a long time, to record my walking distances, and did start using it for my running as well (now linked to my husbands Garmin which records the run itself).

    However, what I couldn't find on Endomondo was a was of recording progress over different routes, i.e. it would tell me my overall personal best - but I was interested to see if I was improving over eg my hilly route (which is never going to generate a PB !) as well as my flat route. So I started using Strava (non-premium), which does just that.

    I agree that Strava is looks a bit 'cool kids' but I just set everything as private so I'm not sucked into the whole racing the rest of the world, and just monitor my own stats. The segments are useful again just to record your own progress over certain bits of your run - if you so wish. :-)

  • Thanks for your reply! I do a lot of the same types of runs so I do like the idea of segments! Maybe Strava is the way to go :)

  • Strava isn't for the cool kids - I use it :-D I keep it private and only have people following me who I want .. otherwise I start to feel pressured, iykwim.

  • Thanks for the reply! Sounds like from the responses so far that Strava might be the way to go - I'll investigate more!

  • I find Garmin connect good, you only need 1 platform. I plug in my Garmin 210 to PC and downloads all stats data and a track of where you've run.

    The Garmin 10 seems popular on here and it has a pace alert, which bleeps when you go under or over your set speed.

  • I like Garmin for connectivity. I have it connected to myfitnesspal and my bounts account. For the actual running stats I have it connected to an app called connectStats that has better data to read and it does all the In depth graphs for every run, it will tell me how long I spent in each heart rate zone and how long at each pace and cadence. But I am a real stats sort of girl.

  • i use garmin connect and feed the data into strava. Not sure why- 'cos I can?

    I hardly ever use strava and use garmin all the time. There are things the one can do that the other can't

  • I have a Garmin which I love, it's linked to a free app called Smash Run which gives far more stats than Garmin does.

  • +1 for smashrun, i love it, but as it is only for running, I also use runkeeper

  • Good Run Guide is my choice. You do have to pay, although not a lot, and it links to Garmin so you can upload. I like the simplicity of it and small fee means no bombarding with adverts. You can get PBs for routes and age grading which I find a really good way to track progress and lots of other stats. You can even track the distance you have done in your shoes.

  • Just my views:

    You've basically got fitness data creators (Nike, Garmin, FitBit, Suunto, Polar etc and the smartphone apps) and each of these have a repository for their data. Personally I use FitBit (I have Flex) and Nike+ for historical reasons. When these die, I'll move to Garmin.

    Then, you have the data aggregators which can pull data from the repositories. So (for example) Ash (first reply above) is pulling his FitBit data out of their repository, and automatically pushing it into Strava. Strava is an aggregator, and one of their distinctive features is to promote 'segments'. Strictly anyone on Strava can publish a segment, and others can try and get the fastest time on that segment. Another aggregator - FetchEveryone.com does a similar thing. I've occassionally pushed my Nike+ data into Fetch to take advantage of their running analytics, race-time predictor etc.

    Things are slightly more complicated now because the running watches have more sophisticated data and mechanisms to work out your performance (VOx, vertical oscillation, anyone??). So maybe you don't need an aggregator. Also, if like me you're a loaner and don't want to share your data, you'll not need an aggregator. Aggregation sites are great if all your running mates have different watches (garmin, Polar, nike, FitBit) and you want to all pool your data into (for example) Strava to compare your progress.

    So... pick a running watch with the features that you want whilst you are running. That will dictate the host repository (fitbit.com, for example). Then think about what data you want to see after the run. Do you want a aggregator site that will help your training? Will you be motivated on a segment when some club runner smashes your time with no hope of winning the segment (Strava I'm looking at you). Do all your running mates use a particular site already? So many choices. Of course, you can change aggregator any time you like and import your old runs. So you're not tied to using just one.

  • Hi MarkyD, thanks very much for your opinion! I think you're right, I need to pick a watch that works for me and the platform will come from that. I've been looking at a few Garmin Forerunners, can't decide between the 10,15, 225 and 235! I like the idea of HR monitor on the 225 and 235, but obviously they are pricier! I'm a sucker for features. I also don't understand why the 10 and 15 have Virtual Pacer (which also sounds good) but the 225 doesn't. Hmm. Food for thought.

  • I use Strava ( quite pleased to be a cool kid - who knew ! ) I like the amount of stats it gives, and the training log is a big motivator for me. I'm not too bothered about where I come in the 'segment' section, which is a good job. I love the little cups which appear next to your run when you set a new pb - ah the little things. Oh, all this is on the free version too. :)

  • Me too with the cups - they are so exciting :-) !!

  • Oh - also you can add swims/cycle rides too, so it is all in the same place. Strava fan - but not a techie :)

  • Thanks for your input! I have just done my first run trying out Strava, I'll give it a trial for a few weeks I think. Didn't know you could log swims too, that's interesting.

  • I think they are all pretty much of a muchness tbh. I started on Endomondo, moved to Strava because it worked better across the multiple platforms I was using at the time (hahaha that sounds so techie. I am actually the worlds biggest luddite, but am forced to use ipad and an Android tablet for work and 2 iPhones) and then settled with Garmin connect because I got a Garmin watch and it just seemed simpler not to be transferring data about. I can't say there is much to choose between them. Once you get used to one it becomes the one you're used to.

    That said, I don't use mine to connect with other people. I don't really like the idea of haring all my data with all and sundry, and find the concept of sharing the route you are running on a bit iffy tbh.

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