Posts Tagged ‘RunKeeper’

Shing Mun, again

June 5, 2011

We didn’t quite do a complete loop last time. Today we have done a complete loop.

Read the map.

Best route to run in summer, the road is completely tree lined.

As usual we decided to detour to the dirty trail since it’ll be less up and down and a bit longer, I can’t shoot below unless I’m closer to the water

This reservoir loop is probably the shortest in distance among reservoirs on the Kowloon side.

We need more rain this year

Below is from the Bing satellite image in Garmin, I can’t post their map as it’s too lousy and you don’t even see the resevoir.

Screen shot 2011-06-04 at 1.47.10 PM

The Google map in RunKeeper is a lot better

Screen shot 2011-06-04 at 1.45.56 PM

I used iSmoothRun app, distance tracked was 8.09k which is very close to Garmin’s 8.19k. I disabled the auto pause feature of the app as I noticed there are minor glitches of this feature and I prefer to stop the app myself. I also noticed another issue when I stopped to shoot a picture. I manually paused the app, minimized it, shot a picture, bought ISmoothRun to foreground again then the app cued me that workout has been resumed?! The expected behavior would be for me to manually resume my run as I may want to do something else rather than resuming my run as soon as I bring the app back to foreground.

This route is good for a sunny hot day because of the trees, it’s official named “forest trail”. The elevation gain isn’t a lot but the climbs are pretty steep so it’s probably better to hike than run.

Screen shot 2011-06-04 at 2.36.21 PM

The route was also a test ground for running apps. My brother and I used iSmoothRun and my friend used RunKeeper. My friend obviously didn’t notice the GPS signal strength at the start, even if he did there was nothing he could do. My Garmin locked onto satellites alright, iSmoothRun has nothing about GPS signal strength at the start up screen.

It turned out, as you can see from below, that RunKeeper had a wrong fix at the start and my friend started off from the middle of the reservoir.

Screen shot 2011-06-05 at 5.38.03 PM


May 31, 2011

I had a pretty good start January this year. On a typical Sunday I could do at least 10k and on a “short week” Saturday I could do up to 15k or more depending on the new route we plan to explore.

May is a good month, I exceeded 100k which is a new milestone!


Heart rate spikes during run bothered me for a while. I trusted the electronic gadgets I bought and the near 35 years old technology. In fact there are all sort of issues that may affect the accuracy of such devices.

Last Sunday it was pretty hot and humid early in the morning before 8am, I have my HRM put on and Garmin activated in workout mode. I was just talking to my friend while waiting for my brother to be ready. Wow a quick glance at my Garmin I noticed heart rate of over 200, that can’t be right. It turned out that HRM transmits signal doesn’t mean reading is accurate. My HRM was detectable by the Garmin as my skin was “wet” at that temperature however reading was in error because my skin wasn’t “wet enough”.

So I decided to ignore that, said what the hell, if the gadget is broken I don’t want to spoil the morning run due to that. In fact I have already tighten up the belt a bit that morning.

Below graphs show how unreliable this gadget can be. It took as much as 500m+ to get the conductivity right at the electrodes.


So the learning is: feel your body don’t trust the electronics those are for fun only!

High Island

May 24, 2011

Our last run to the East Dam of High Island reservoir was 6 months ago. Our plan this time was too ambitious and we didn’t plan well. Maclehose Trail Section 1 and 2 together aren’t easy the biggest mistake we have made was that we could only hike slowly at Section 2. We didn’t even bring food and thought we could be home for lunch.

I forgot to picture this last time

Was this signboard here 6 months ago?

Walked along the cliff, wow …. white beach. This is the famous Long Ke Beach.

Descending to the beach, a closer look.

Can we swim? No, we got no time! There were some people camping there, reminded me of old days.

There I was.

With the beautiful beach behind us it came the famous tough climb of 315m. Garmin’s elevation reading proved to be very accurate. The view along the climb was stunning but the road is a bit rough, rocky and could be very slippery if it’s wet. The sun was hiding that morning or else our skins would be roasted to crispy dark. I think the government should improve the condition of the road. There is also a sign warning people of heat stroke at the start of this climb.

Section 2 goes all the way along the beaches.

Well we didn’t plan this but never mind a late breakfast at almost lunch time.

The beach wasn’t that busy in the morning and all the people welcomed their visit with a little new born in the herd.

For whatever reasons I didn’t know the iSmoothRun app failed to start so I lost about 1.1k at the front. The default setting for auto pause is 10 seconds due to that I kept getting annoying repeated cues of “auto paused ~ resumed” while I climbed. My cadence was only about 20~30 hence the app thought I wasn’t running.

Below is iSmoothRun GPX import to RunKeeper.


Due to the lousy inaccurate Bing map I imported the GPX file from Garmin to RunKeeper.


We filled our stomach, so relaxed and felt no more motivation to continue on Section 2. We walked to the road for a taxi back to where we have started. If we had continue running or walking for another 6.5k instead of taking a taxi we could have done a complete round trip of the reservoir. We were very lucky as thunder storm hit us while I was on the way home.


The stats for this hikerun:
Garmin moving time 3:06:42, 18.53k on Bing map
Garmin GPX on RunKeeper’s Google map, time 3:20:17, 17.83k
iSmoothRun, time 3:08, 17.2k (corrected)


May 18, 2011

I’m likin’ it, here are the reasons.

You can track mileage of your gears (shoes and bikes) just look down on your feet and pick what you see when you start a run. It pairs with ANT+ HRM and footpod as I don’t have a ANT+ dongle so I can’t tell how good they are yet. Under the “Advance Setting” you have AutoPause where you can set a time between 0-60 seconds. With this you don’t have to take your phone from your pouch when you stop for water or road crossing, the app does it for you automatically. Garmin has it but RunKeeper doesn’t.

There is one minor glitch, whenever I start a run it cues me that I have paused my run. The default setting is 10 seconds I certainly didn’t wait that long before stepping out.

iSmoothRun pledges “you own your data” so when you’re done with your workout you can email it to yourself or upload directly to online communities. For now I upload my workouts to RunKeeper.

I love audio cues ever since I tried Adidas miCoach. iSmoothRun lets you have choices of time or distance. I normally pick 0.5k but they don’t have it, perhaps 400m is best for those who run on sports-ground tracks. I picked 5 minutes for couple of runs it’s weird to hear “…. you have done 6.11k …!”. You could turn on cues for Pace, Cadence, Distance, Time and Heart Rate (if you have ANT+). The cue for Cadence is nice the app uses the accelerometer of the iPhone as you bounce up and down, your phone should do the same in your waist pouch or armband. After couple of runs I see that iSmoothRun’s cadence readings are typically 2~4 less than that recorded by my Garmin 410.

Continue with your run?

At the bottom of the screenshot below “Export” takes you to the page where you can either email or upload your workout to social communities. “Map” obviously shows you where you have been. I have never thought I would “Continue” with my last run?

iSmoothRun differentiates itself from the crowd by saying that your workout data is stored in your phone and you own it (they don’t have their associated website to keep your data). You therefore have handy charts, such as weekly mileage and your weight etc, right on your phone.

Other features which you can’t find in RunKeeper app are HR zone audio cues and custom design your own interval workouts. I’m ready to invest on a ANT+ dongle to enjoy these, too bad I don’t know of any Wahoo reseller here and the high shipping charge for that little piece of plastic isn’t justified.

I have now tested this app on this and that route that I usually run on. GPS distances conformed closely to Garmin readings (Garmin isn’t all that accurate but repeatability is best so far).

iSmoothRun isn’t perfect, e.g. I think it would be sensible for the app to show GPS signal level before I tap “Start your run”, the current version gives cue “GPS is ready” after I have started my run. I also wondered when GPS signal is lost, e.g. I entered a tunnel, will I get cheering cue like “… GPS signal is lost but keep going your distance is tracked by accelerometer of your phone until GPS signal is recovered. ….” or something shorter to that effect.

Last but least important to me is that iSmoothRun doesn’t have music selection/control.