GPS…Friend or Foe

A few days ago, a friend sent me an article about the merits of using a GPS on race day (or any day for that matter) as a means to track our pace and distance. One key point that the article brought to light was this:

Using GPS is a great way to get an idea of your pace and distance while out for a run, but it is not nearly as accurate as the course distance that is outlined by the organizers of a race…especially if that race is certified by the US Track & Field Association (USATF). 

Now, I mentioned in my last post that my GPS pace and distance were not quite the same as the one outlined by the course itself. And I’m ok with the discrepancy, because either way I know I’m doing better than I’ve been in the past. Either time marks an improvement, and for that I am both happy and grateful. I use the mapmyrun app on my cell phone, and it gives me enough of what I’d like to know when it comes to running and training. I won’t stop using GPS technology to track my progress, but I do understand its limitations as evidenced by my run today and supported by the article mentioned above.

Us runners are definitely number divas…we love to see a quicker time and pace and we must know exactly how long we’ve run on any given day. However, I challenge us all to take a step back from looking at our beloved GPS apps and gadgets as being absolute, and simply enjoy the run for the sake of…

The run.

What say you?


3 thoughts on “GPS…Friend or Foe

  1. I always like to put my runs into “mapmyrun” to see what its distance states as well.. But If igure if I run the same routes – then it doesn’t matter how accurate/inaccurate it is – as I am comparing times for identical courses.

    as for race day, I just assume the distance that they claim it is – is the “Answer” — and don’t worry about it.

    Like anything – a GPS is a fantastic tool.. But we can’t forget it is a tool.

    • yea, i use that app to keep track of my workouts, though ive begun looking into other apps since id like to be able to see my splits again. i agree with you on race day – the distance and time they track needs to be good enough for me. most days it is, really, though i just like to use the gps to track the run so i dont have to log it in later. but given the discrepancies, i think im gonna leave that tracking to the race company and just enjoy my race come race day 🙂

  2. If you have an Android phone, check out Cardiotrainer. If not and you have an iPhone -they are working on porting it over. If they do – i defintely recommend it! It also lets you auto-upload your runs to face book. I like that feature, as it helps keep me accountable. Now I realize no one really cares about my running – but knowing it is getting posted makes ME feel more accountable.

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