Smartphone with running apps or Runners watch? - Couch to 5K

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Smartphone with running apps or Runners watch?


I'm thinking of getting a smartphone with running apps or runners watch with GPS. I'm not sure which would be best to help encourage me and better my running. Which would you suggest and why? Also does anyone know how much data these running apps use? I'm looking for the best value for money.

Thanks in advance


20 Replies

I use Runkeeper on my phone, which is a free app. Tracks via phone gps and does everything I need it to...pace, distance, audio cues, maps runs and updates me on progress. Lots of votes on here for Garmin Forerunner watches and I am tempted, but at present am happy with Runkeeper. Can also play my music via app too! Hope this helps!😀

bikertj1981Graduate in reply to Sandraj39

may I ask what you mean by audio cues?

Sandraj39Ambassador in reply to bikertj1981

Yes, for example I have it set to let me know when I have completed every km, at which point it tells me my time as well. You can also set it to let you know when you have run for a set time - eg every 5 minutes or so.


I had RK too, it was pretty good, but my phone really wasn't powerful enough to run it and it kept losing the signal or just crashing. I eventually got a Garmin and wish I'd done it sooner, it's brilliant!

I'd say it depends if you would like a smart phone anyway, you can do lots more with one of those!


I switched from runkeeper to a garmin (fr15) because I was finding rk inaccurate. But others have different experiences.

Sandraj39Ambassador in reply to ajwyld

Think it depends on your phone alot. I used to find this too but since upgrading my phone have found it v accurate.

I used RK for about 4 months and was very happy with it until leaves appeared on the trees and it just couldn't keep a signal. No such problems with my Garmin. The one thing I would 'moan' about on my Garmin is that the 'moving time' column on Garmin Connect can be inaccurate. However, given I'm generally always moving I know that the time = moving time. Thus, if this would be an important feature for you i'd look at a different brand.


I did C25k & since using the Nike+ app on my phone and it does all I wanted it to. Doesn't use a huge amount of storage but like all of them, maintaining a GPS fix on longer runs can drain the battery a bit. Having said all that, my wife bought me a TomTom running watch for Christmas, and I like that I can check pace, time etc. without having to get my phone out of my pocket and it does seem a wee bit more accurate. Only had it a week and I already love it. :)

I currently use my android phone and the mapmyrun free app running in the background that way with my cheapo Bluetooth headphones I can hear my music and Laura as well as record my run. I make sure it's fully charged, data use is tiny and the GPS seems accurate enough.

I am saving for a garmin watch though the forerunner 225 as it has built in heart rate monitor.


I use Runmeter on my phone which I like because you don't have to pay a subscription. I've never had any problems with GPS and there's enough data to keep my geeky side happy, it also uploads to Strava which is nice because my mum, husband and I like that we can see each other's runs.


Lots to think about thanx all for your swift replys

now I need to think about how I want to get my information, I would like to be able to track my pace as I'm running so I can see if I'm running to fast or too slow. So far it sounds like the only way to do this is with a watch?

SaralexisGraduate in reply to bikertj1981

Runmeter does it, I think run keeper does too (but there's the subscription). You can set whatever announcements you want at whatever intervals you want (time or distance).

5kOrBustGraduate in reply to bikertj1981

I wouldn't say the only way, but it's certainly the easiest. I no longer have to fumble with the zip on my pocket and open my phone case to look at that info - it's so much easier to have the info on my wrist. The Nike+ app does have helpful verbal cues and announcements but if you're listening to music (as I usually do) you might not hear them so I found them of limited use.


I have used Endomondo on both my Android phone, and now my i-Phone. It does the job, and is free. You can get an arm pouch off ebay for a few quid.

For me the choice is simple, I am not going to go running without my phone (I am kind of on call for work), so might as well make the phone do two jobs.

I have thought about GPS Running Watches, but it really does not look to that much more than my phone.


Do you not already have a smart phone? I think if I could only afford one I would get the smart phone as can be used for more. I used to use map my run to see how far I had got :) I was lucky enough to get a Microsoft Band and compatible Windows phone for Christmas and I am now in a new perfect running zone they word seamlessly together. The band tracks my heart rate , sleep, steps, distance, buzzes every KM too ! calories etc. (once back from a run the stats get transferred to my phone) and I have Cortana on it ! As well as picking up my emails, Facebook chat, phone calls, and sending me reminders for appointments The list goes on but you get the idea ! I have waited months and months for this and it was so worth the wait :)

bikertj1981Graduate in reply to ridingstar

no I just have a basic phone for now but am a little worried that cost could spiral once I get a smart phone.

I use mapmyrun on my phone, and a Fitbit. I have the audio cues set up on map my run, and the two give me lots of information. Probably more than I really need, but I quite like all the data!

bikertj1981Graduate in reply to Sarahredhaira

I have used mapmyrun on my laptop but having to plot the run I have just done is annoying. Does it tell you how fast you are running while you are running?

SarahredhairaGraduate in reply to bikertj1981

I use the app and it logs the run and the route for me automatically. I have the audio cues in so it tells me how far I've run, how long I've been running, my speed etc at each point.

bikertj1981Graduate in reply to Sarahredhaira

great that makes me lean toward a smart phone Thanks!

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