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GPS Workout Tracking – Motivation On Steroids… Without The Nasty Side Effects

March 2012
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I’ve been using Endomondo, a smart phone GPS workout tracker, for coming up on a year now.  While I’m a social exerciser on Saturdays, throughout the week I’m on my own…it would be impossible to find someone who would ride as much as I do and be available when I want to head out – I keep a crazy schedule. The lack of a riding buddy exposes weak points in the motivational armor that will need to be filled from time to time.  My tracking program filled that need admirably several times last summer.  I’ll dig into the “how” after a brief summary.

There are a lot of different programs out there but I’ve only used the one – for good reason.  It’s a great program, or at least I think so, but that’s only because I don’t know any better.  This has nothing to do with why I only use Endomondo though.  I use that tracker exclusively because I have everything I’ve done over the last year laid out right in front of me.  On my home page, I’ve got my personal best times and distances for every sport I’ve tracked:

Personal Bests
  • Cycling, sport

    • One hour 19.97 mi
    • 10 miles 26m:13s
    • 20 km 33m:49s
    • 50 km 1h:39m:51s
  • Mountain biking

    • One hour 16.44 mi
    • 10 miles 33m:41s
    • 20 km 44m:32s
    • 50 km 1h:55m:08s

I’ve also got an overall summary of every workout I’ve completed over the year:

OVERALL SUMMARY
Total workouts: 288
Total duration: 8d:00h:55m
Total distance: 2733.34 mi

  • Trips around the world: 0.11
  • Trips to the Moon: 0.011
Average speed: 14.17 mph
Average pace: 4m:14s

Calories burned: 169488 kcal

Burgers burned: 313

On my Workoutspage I’ve got a monthly calendar that has a box for each specific workout and a picture representation of the type of activity, along with a map that appears below the calendar to show the route for a highlighted workout.  On the Statistics page I can track calories burned, distances, times – all on a graph so I can see if I’m slacking with the click of a mouse button.

Here’s The How:

All of this information works towards motivation, but mainly only once I’m on the road.  I’ll get to thinking, as I did yesterday, that if I just push up this hill or through the wind, it’ll reflect a better on my graph.  That’s all well and good, but if I’m stuck in a rut it won’t get me off the couch.  Endomondo sponsored Total Calories Burned Challenges every month throughout the spring, summer and fall seasons – and I participated in every one from June through September in which they invite users of their software to participate.  They’ve got a page that lists all participants and their ranking throughout the duration of the challenge.  In each month there were anywhere from 12,000 to 22,000 participants and I ranked in the top 8 percent in every one that I participated in.  Top 10 percent is good on a national level, but when you take into account that I was in the top 8 percent of people who cared enough to track all of their workouts with a smart phone – now you’re talking about something special.  In fact, there were dozens of times where I’d run or ride a few extra miles or go out when I didn’t feel like it just to boost my standing in the rank.  That’s where the motivation comes in.  Granted, there were plenty of other factors involved in my journey from occasional runner to full-on triathlete, but there’s no doubt that I’m in better shape because of those challenges.  In addition, and far more important, the confidence gained – simply by coming out in the top 10% of that group – was phenomenal and had a compounding effect, leading me to where I am today – a place where working out is no longer work, it’s a way of enjoying life.

If you find yourself needing a little extra push from time to time, GPS Trackers fit the bill nicely.


3 Comments

  1. Kimberly / ThePowerOfRun.com says:

    Sounds like a pretty cool app once you get into it! I used it a few times and bailed on it. I carry my phone in my fuel belt and kept accidentally turning it off.

    • bgddyjim says:

      It is… I carried it in my saddle mounted equip. bag twice and it had a tough time receiving the satellite signal so I bought an arm band for it. That works really well but is tough on the tan.

  2. Who doesn’t enjoy healthy competition? Sounds like you’re having your cake, eating it, and showing off to the neighbors about how good it was…a man after my own heart! Top 8% is awesome!

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