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An independent running app to rule them all?


Aussie Grit Apparel Ambassador Tobias Mews wades through the multitude of third party apps and explores three that make life a little easier when it comes to keeping and transferring your data when the inevitable happens:

You’ll find that most of the major brands that supply running accessories, such as Garmin or Suunto also have their own apps that sync with their respective running watches. However, sometimes the applications supplied by the brands aren’t your cup of tea. Some might feel a bit clumsy or equally not work with your other devices.

And then that day comes when your sports watch dies. It happens. I’ve gone through Garmin, TomTom, Suunto and Polar watches. And sadly, in this day and age, they’re not meant to last forever.

Which poses the problem: what happens to your data when you change watch brand?

Well, you’ve got several options:

  • You export all of your previous data to the new brand’s app (which can be a time consuming process);
  • You you ditch your old data and start afresh;
  • You switch to using an independent 3rd party running app like Strava, Mapmyrun, etc. that works with any watch brand.

There is a veritable deluge of third party apps appearing on the market. Here are three of them that offer slightly different options:

Strava

This is in my humble opinion the best option for storing all your current and historical data. It just works and since taking the leap of faith some four years ago, I’ve not looked back. I use a Suunto Ambit Peak 3 for my running and a Garmin Edge 1000 for my cycling – and Strava syncs the data from both of these devices. The iOS and Android apps work great allowing me to see all of my data in one place. It focuses on Running and Cycling, with Swimming data following up in third place.

There are also loads of third party Strava apps that are really fun, with some of my favourites being Relive and VeloViewer.

Cost: £Free or a £44.99 a year for the Premium subscription

Option to export data: Yes

Will connect with: TomTom MySports, Garmin Connect, Suunto, Polar, RunKeper, MapMyFitness, Nike+, Endomondo, Runtastic, Apple Watch Series 3, Samsung Gear S3, LG Watch Sport, Fitbit Ionic and lots more.

Google Fit

This is Google’s answer to the Apple Health App. However, although hardcore trail runners and the like might turn their noses up at such a simple application, it does work with just about every third party app you can think off and over 50 watches… Which would then beg the question – why bother?

Well, alongside the fact that you can upload 120 activities, it also takes your day-to-day data from your phone (provided you have Google Fit installed on your Android phone). Indeed, that’s the biggest gripe I might have with Google Fit – the fact that Wear OS by Google (formerly Android Wear) devices will only send activity data to Google Fit. Which means that if you’re an Apple user, you’ll loose out. However, there is rumour that the Google Fit app will work with iOS in the future.

Cost: Free

Option to export data: Yes

Will connect with: Nike+, Withings, Xiaomi, MapMyRun, Endomondo, Underarmour Record

Training Peaks

If you’re a dedicated athlete and looking to enlist a coach, then there’s a good chance you’ll come across Training Peaks. It is the de facto ‘go-to’ system that virtually all coaches use to manage their athletes.

If you like analysing your training data (watts, calories consumed), it allows coaches to tap into your data, giving you feedback on your training. But even if you’re not using a coach, it gives tons of great data.

It doesn’t come cheap but if you’re serious about your training – then many will consider the the price tag worth it. However, although it works with just about every type of fitness app, it does require you to keep up the subscription to access your data – which isn’t ideal. Or you simply export the data and start again with a new app.

Cost: 14 Day Free trial followed by $9.99 to $19.99 a month depending upon paying monthly or annually.

Option to Export Data: Yes

Will connect with: Garmin, Polar, Suunto, MyFitnessPal, Zwift, Wahoo, etc.

By Tobias Mews

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