Couch to 5K
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Total technology fail - grrrrr!!!

Total technology fail. Very, very frustrating, because it felt like a really good run.

I set off early this morning, and arrived up on the heights with the GPS enabled on my new mobile, parked the car, did my 5-min warm up walk, checked the stopwatch on my wrist and off I went, nice and gently, up the trail.

Some of the technology issues are my fault. Because I haven't yet worked out how to load my music onto my phone I am still using my mp3 player and therefore I can't hear Mr. Mapmyrun. Also Mr. Mapmyrun is in my armband so I can't see what he's up to.

But I plodded up to a convenient railway bridge which I reached at 30.15 on the stopwatch, meaning that I'd run for 25 minutes, turned round and headed back again (pausing everything for a free-range wee in the brambles - ouch :O - and hoping Mr. Mapmyrun wasn't looking). Now it was ever-so-slightly downhill so I felt much happier - until I looked at my watch, which read 40.11. Odd, because I thought I was doing better than that. Quite a way further, and my watch was reading 40.11. Bugger! Never mind, Mr. Mapmyrun was on my case so I thought I'd do a bit more and then stop.

I wrestled him off my arm and tried to upload my run. No GPS coverage. And it looked as though there had been no GPS coverage for the whole run, as what he has recorded is 31 seconds of running. I was wondering slightly as last time he spoke to me, but I remember that one of those coincided with a break between music so I heard him quite by coincidence. Today I didn't hear him at all but put that down to not hearing him over my music.

Back home I have manually loaded the whole thing into Mapometer, which tells me I did 5.53kms - but of course I have no idea how long this took. The good news is that I felt okay for the whole run - not too out of breath, not too creaky and not desperate to stop.

Lessons learned:

1. buy a new stopwatch

2. try Endomondo or one of the other running apps (although I guess they'll use the same GPS info so it might not make any difference)

3. wear my phone armband on my wrist so I can see what's going on

4. load my music onto my phone so I can hear the running app's info over the music and hopefully notice when it's lost me

5. don't drink as much coffee in the morning :D


28 Replies

How very frustrating. Still, the important bit is that you did all that running. :)

This won't be any consolation, but thanks to your blog title, I remembered that I needed to recharge my garmin, which I'd otherwise have forgotten, so thank you.



Heh heh, glad it was helpful :D

Actually, it was some consolation to realise that although I'd been dithering about whether to buy a Garmin or a new mobile, at least I still have all the phone functions etc. if the GPS is always bad up in the hills. If I'd bought a Garmin and it hadn't been able to track me up there, I'd have been really annoyed...


I don't think it can have been the GPS coverage that was the problem. After all your phone or Garmin will have a good view of the relevant satellites up in the hills unless there was dense tree cover over you.


Well I did wonder if it was operator trouble :D but I did what I did last time so I was expecting it to work the same way. The trail where I run alternates between wide-open space on the top of the world and deep limestone cuttings where the Victorian railway engineers blasted their way through the hillsides - not tunnels but deep channels through the rock. I'll try again in the next few days and see if I can record anything next time.


Ignoring the tech issues, this sounds like a lovely run :D


I'm not sure if this works, but here's the link on Mapometer: :)


Smartphones use aGPS or assisted GPS, so, in addition to using satellites, they get a fix from telephone towers to help locate your position more quickly or if there's limited satellite coverage. Unfortunately there's not normally any way of identifying how good your satellite coverage is with your smartphone. But you probably didn't want to know all that. :D

Shame though, as the location sounds great and the data showing how big the climb and descent would have been interesting too.


When I bought the phone I especially asked about the antennae in the phone. The guy is also a runner and knows the area. Perhaps it might have been operator error after all...

The ascent is only 80m over the run, so it's as flat as it gets round here :D


Looks beautiful there. Lovely place to be - and especially to be able to run there. :)

PS. It might be worth testing out MapMyRun before you go out on a run again - on the way to work or home, say. Just to see if it's working as it should be.


Good idea - thanks :)


I've used Garmin hand-held GPS devices in the hills for years and never had a problem picking up a signal from the satellites. Occasional the old model (~10 years old) would lose reception in dense woods, but I've not had this problem with newer models.


It's probably me then :( I really need to do something about my technophobe issues.


At least you had a decent run. We can get a bit hung up on timing (well I can) but the main thing is getting out there and having a good time. And you have an excuse for more kit now too!


You're right of course, Annie - the run is the thing that counts. And I did have a good time, so that's great :)


I use Mr Endomondo and have never had a problem with him. Sometimes he forgets to tell me when I've done another km (I think he's singing along to my quality music and is distracted ;-) ) but all the info is there when I'm done :)

Sounds like a lovely place to run


I'll try Mr. Endomondo next then, if I can persuade him to come and sing with me too :D


I sahre your frustrations - had a simialr problem with mapmyrun (but not the need for a wee) on saturday morning so maybe they have fault or something. Hasn't happened before but It timed the run and nothing else. Very annoying as was doing a differnet route and had no idea what distance I covered. Am planning to try again in the morning. it is difficult not being able to see the phone, my armband is too big for my wrist - on hot days I have ended up just carrying it which is bound to prove a recipe for disaster.


I hadn't thought about the arm band being too big for my wrist - hmmm... The way I worked out my distance is on Mapometer which isn't too bad to use - here's the link for my run

I hope you have a lovely run today and the stats work for you!


Thank you very much for that. Technology worked today - only as I was leaving realised my dental appt was an hour earlier than I had thought. Still went but full of anxiety I wouldn't get back in time meant I did the route with some very fast stretches- and lots of walking in between!! Still the stats on the running bits look impressive.


Tried to reply to your response but website issues.

Looked at your map, beautiful, is it the Tissington Trail?

Then I had a look around the map and saw Thorpe Cloud and my memory went back 30 years and walking from Dovedale to Milldale across the stepping stones, playing in the river and over the little weir at Dovedale. Oh and hang gliders taking off that hill. Sorry was 11 again!!!

I mentioned to Swanscot the other day that I fancied doing some trail running and that I might try one in Derbyshire when I visit my folks sometime, was thinking of Dovedale, quite flat next to the river. Cheers


Yes, it's the Tissington Trail - gorgeous, isn't it? There's been some controversy recently over the stepping stones. In an attempt to preserve them they cemented huge great slabs over the top, leading some folk to nickname them Jammie Dodgers :D Unfortunately some of these slabs washed off in the floods a few months ago causing yet more grumbles about wasted money etc.

Running in Dovedale is a lovely idea. You might need to go either early or late because I'm sure you also remember how busy it gets. Did you ever do the Dovedale Dash? I haven't quite got the guts to work up to that one :)

I think I've changed my profile pic for today - be inspired!


Lovely picture of the stepping stones, I can see why people would call them Jammie Dodgers :D, never done the dash but looks fun, doesn't it.


I feel your frustration as I've had this problem with mapmyrun before and so switched to Endomondo which has been fine. Sounds like you had a lovely run though :)


Ah, that's worth knowing - thank you. The problem is, I'm never sure if it's my incompetence or if there might be something wrong with the app. I tend to assume it's me :( I'll try Endomondo instead.

It was a fab run, thank you :)


Such a gorgeous run Annie! :-) So happy the actual run went fab for you! Sounds like Mr. Endomondo is in your future. If that relationship doesn't work out, I heard his cousin, Mr. Garmin is a real winner. ;-) Gayle


Thanks, Gayle, it was a lovely run :) Thank you for the relationship hints, although I seem to be swapping men quite quickly here. If I'm not careful I'll get a bad reputation for being fickle ;)


Here's a ground breaking way to make all of your runs techno hassle free...

1) Buy a basic stopwatch and put it in your pocket, NOT your wrist.

2) Leave all other electronic items at home.

3) Go run

I found it unbelievably hard to do this at first, and as I look back I am astonished (saddened) at how addicted I was to my gadgets. (My MP3 was the hardest to leave behind !)

But once your head is denied the opportunity to constantly check the watch, calculate mileage, and even the beat of the next tune .... it is free to wonder absolutely anywhere you care to imagine.

I found myself knowing the trees that I pass on my route, the individual ducks on the water, and I have named the squirrels, all four of them !

Other runs, I have recollected holidays from years ago, planned my next holiday, dreamed up my plans for the revolution, taken a trip to the moon and saved a princess from an evil Ogre.

Maybe I watched too much 'Mr Ben' as a child, or too much 'Adventure Time' as an adult !?

But longer do I spend 30 or 40 minutes thinking : 'Im slower than last week, must speed up'.

If you must, hop onto googleearth when you get home and measure.... it only takes a minute while you scoff your post run muchies.

Happy Running :)


Thanks, Simon. I've just bought a Garmin, and I confess I can't run without something to listen to, because I get really bored and just want to go home! Love the thought of you knowing the ducks and the squirrels - that's great :)


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