General Question

rooeytoo's avatar

Do You Use a Handheld GPS for Running?

Asked by rooeytoo (26875 points ) June 11th, 2009

I love gadgets and like to know exactly how far and fast I run. I use MapMyRun.com but would like something a bit more specific. Do you use a handheld GPS and what brand do you recommend?

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18 Answers

DarkScribe's avatar

I no longer run, (I have a damaged right knee) but I did for years. I would just time myself over a known route. I had a half dozen or so routes, depending on mood and weather etc.

I use a GPS on my mountain bike, that is handy for both speed and distance as well as variety in route choices.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

For GPS, go with Garmin.

DarkScribe's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic For GPS, go with Garmin.

Why? Garmin’s dominance in GPS development has been equaled by several less expensive and better featured brands.

rooeytoo's avatar

@DarkScribe – Mapmyrun will do tell you how far and fast and how many calories burned and on which shoes, but I am in the market for a hand held so I have instant feedback.

@The _Compassionate_Heretic -Garmin does make handhelds, but I just wondered if anyone had personal experience and a favorite style/brand.

Thanks though

DarkScribe's avatar

@rooeytoo but I am in the market for a hand held so I have instant feedback.

I have a couple of handhelds, both a year or more old, Navman and Garmin, but I now tend to use my BlackBerry – it has full GPS and street by street nav with voice if required.

MrItty's avatar

I just use Nike+‘s sensor on my iPod Nano. It tells me how far and how fast I went. I don’t need a gadget to tell me where went. And it’s significantly cheaper than any GPS.

rooeytoo's avatar

@MrItty – is Nike+ an app you purchased from iTunes, or does it come with the shoes?

MrItty's avatar

Neither. Nike+ is a sensor and receiver for the iPod Nano or iPod Touch. If you have an iPhone instead, the receiver is built in so you only need the sensor. Nike, of course, wants you to buy their “special” shoes that have a compartment in the sole in which to put the sensor. But really, you can go to Amazon and search for “nike+ pouch” and you’ll find a bunch of little pouches for under $10 that you can just tie onto your laces, and they work just as well. No reason to fork over more money to Nike for special shoes.

You stick the sensor in your shoe, connect the receiver to the iPod, and go to “Nike+ Ipod” on the menu. You select what kind of workout you want (basic, time, distance, calories), and whatever goal you’re looking for, then you select an album or playlist you want to play while you’re running. Then you start running. As you go, every so often it will automatically tell you how you’re doing. For example, if you choose a 5K distance workout, it will tell you when you reach 1K, 2K, 2.5K, etc. If you choose a 30 minute time work out, it will tell you at 10 minutes, 15 minutes, etc. Or you can push the center button while it’s playing and the music will fade to background as the voice tells you your current time, distance, and pace.

When you’re done, you plug the iPod into your computer like normal, and iTunes transmits your workout data to your account on Nikeplus.com, where you can keep track of all your runs.

rooeytoo's avatar

@MrItty – Thanks for your help, I will give it a go! Sounds good.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@MrItty: Isn’t Nike + basically just a pedometer, though? It’s distance and pace calculations aren’t based on GPS data, but estimation of your stride.

MrItty's avatar

That’s absolutely correct. So what? The OP was “I love gadgets and like to know exactly how far and fast I run.” Who cares how those values are calculated?

rooeytoo's avatar

I just picked up a Garmin Geko on ebay. I will let you all know how it goes. I’m excited!!!
I love bush running but I am always scared I will get lost so this should help.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@rooeytoo: Please do let us know!! I’m interested in getting getting a GPS for running as well.

@MrItty: I was just making sure. I think it’s great if you’ve found something you like! I personally wouldn’t use it because I know my stride changes a lot over different terrain and based on how I’m feeling and how fast I’m going. A pedometer would be highly inaccurate for me and for a lot of people, but if your system works for you, great!

rooeytoo's avatar

@La_chica_gomela – It is being mailed from down south, always takes forever to get out here in the bush, but should be here within a week, hopefully!!!

rooeytoo's avatar

I have used my new Garmin Geko 201 for the last 3 days and I love it. It tells me exactly how far I have traveled, max and avg speeds, elapsed moving time, where I have been and how to return.

This is a very basic model but it is just what I wanted, small but tells all I need to know! Works on the bicycle as well.

I will probably play with this one for a while and then have to have a more sophisticated model. I love new toys!

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@rooeytoo: Sweet! It looks cool! I’m glad you like it!

So is it literally hand-held or can you wear it like a watch or strap it somewhere? How user friendly is it? Were you able to figure it out pretty quickly? How do you like the display? Is it easy to read and understand?

rooeytoo's avatar

@La_chica_gomela – You can hold it in your hand and it comes with a belt clip, it is the size of a small mobile phone. So far I have had it in my pocket and stuck in the waistband of my skins (it is waterproof so sweat shouldn’t bother it). It comes with a DVD that explains how to use it and it is pretty simple. Is backlighted on a timer which you can set and yes is easy to read even in sun. I think there are features I have not yet used but the basic operation is quite simple and well explained. I haven’t tried it in the real bush yet, I have stayed on tracks but maybe over the weekend I will have time to give it the bush test!

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@rooeytoo: Thanks so much for your answer!! I wish I had that now! I’m in a brand-new city, and I’m kind of freaked out to run without having any idea where I am.

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