Why I am not buying a GPS Fitness Watch…… yet

I have been extremely torn to leap at the latest and greatest gps smart watch for my runs. I have a Fitbit Charge HR2 and normally run with my cell phone. The dream of losing the added weight of my phone was a nice idea.

As I think about my normal runs, at least training runs,  sometimes I want access to the normal pace, distance and elapsed time for run information. I don’t want to look away from the course and stare at a display either on my phone or a watch, so I do like audio prompts.

In fact that led to a nasty fall for someone I was pacing in a 10K trail run recently. They looked at their watch display and the many roots on the trail knocked them down. Not only did they fall but buttons got mashed and their display changed so they couldn’t check their pace or distance. Any more button mashing while running could have caused them to lose their gps track and more time to sort it out.

I also appreciate having some music or podcast available to kick off when I need motivation or distraction during the run, especially the long runs. The only way to control that without pulling out my cell phone is via bluetooth headset controls. But you can’t switch between apps like that.

One feature that I greatly appreciate about the Fitbit fitness tacking is its use of audio cues on a regular basis. This is a function available on many phone apps, but no gps smart watch that I am aware of in a price range I want. A serious strike against fitness trackers and smart watches.

In the instance of the fallen runner I was able to call out our pace and distance as I received audio cues.

To alleviate the carrying of the phone either in my hand or strapped to my arm, I have an inexpensive running vest to tuck it into for my long runs. Then I try to refrain from touching it at all, opting to use headset controls. But then that means I’m stuck with audio from whichever app is cued to play at the time I set out on my run. If Stitcher is cued with podcasts, I won’t get driving motivational rock when the need arises to get that extra spark.

The last point I have is in the interest of safety. I will likely continue to carry my cell phone for emergency or the “come pick me up” calls I may need to make on a long training runs.

So a gps smart watch? Not  yet for me.

One other option would be for weather resistant sport Android smart headphones. A set that could understand audio commands just like a Google Home. If I find something promising, I’ll share my thoughts.

Podcast Love

Full Disclosure – this is an Android centric perspective. I cant say this applies to the Apple platform.

I’ve always appreciated brain food. Not just music from streaming services, like Pandora, Spotify, or Slacker.

But stories of interest that may be thought provoking or newsworthy or informative. I find it enjoyable to go through my day with (like Arsenio Hall used to say) ‘Things that make you go hmmmmm’. Especially when I’m doing something thoughtless like driving, yard work, doing dishes, taking out the garbage or in the same room with someone that’s watching a show I’m not interested in.  

Over time, I’ve enjoyed the audio tracks of Youtube, but don’t need the video. I’ve appreciated NPR during drives or streaming from my desktop, but that’s a limited segment.

Over the years, I discovered the blogs from the Art of Manliness  and only recently began to listen to his podcasts. Through his podcasts he revitalized a number of interests that I’ve had.

It was through the Art of Manliness that I heard about Stitcher, an online audio streaming service. Then I became a streaming fiend not only in my braindead time, but in the background while working. Of course, when the good stuff shows up, I pause the stream take notes or remove distractions so that I can focus and then start it back up for the juicy stuff.

From Stitcher I’ve found several interesting newscasts. Have you ever heard the BBC’s take on what goes on in the news for the United States? Very interesting view.

And then there is Soundcloud. There is some overlap in principle but very few podcasts appear on both. Shopify has a few podcasts that I listen too that are interesting.

Both SoundCloud and Stitcher are advertising funded services. If there are other services out there, please share.

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