Track training is great for all sorts of performance and conditioning workouts. In our tests of Endomondo we found that the app generally measured track workouts long, ranging from 3.4% to 5.7 % long in the two short runs I performed for the tests. The app had trouble with start and stop points, consistently measuring them short. The app also had trouble with the turn portion of the track run, consistently measuring one side of the track longer that it is. While our distances of our workouts were small, it does appear that the app had significantly better accuracy on track runs than in all other forms of testing we did. In one instance, the app even measured the distance we actually despite some of the mistakes it made.
Endomondo does suffer measuring errors on tracks, but is recommended for track running.
This run was taken on Jan 2 on a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky. We used a Droid X running Endomondo Pro and the phone was in my hand. The run took place on a track at a high school. I ran exactly two laps where I started and ended the run on the red dot in the image above. Two laps on this track would equal .5 miles. The two blue dots represent Endomondo’s understanding of my start and stop spots, which appear to be off by about 15 yards in both directions (30 yards, or 90 ft, in total). Even with this slight glitch in the start and end positions Endomondo said I ran 0.5 miles exactly.
This is almost certainly because the GPS tracking missed when taking the turns on the track, especially at the bottom of the track, as seen in this image:
I ran in the inside lane the entire run. The straightaways represent this to a surprising degree of accuracy, maybe missing by a few feet at some points. The curves miss significantly and if I were able to have run more laps this might have had a larger impact on my overall distance traveled. Instead it made up for the 30 yards that the app and phone missed on the start and stop of the run. This represents an error of 3.4% – which is very small. You would have to run 3 miles to see a tenth of a mile error with this app.
The app also failed to catch that I was running laps for some reason, so I was not able to easily compare my first and second lap times to each other.
Another point of interest was the changes in altitude measured by Endomondo. The image above shows that on this run I changed elevation consistently throughout the run, with a low point of 564 ft and high point of 604 ft for a total change of elevation of 40 ft. This is impossible and clearly wrong given the nature of the run – I was on a level track! It is possible that holding the phone in my hand and the constant swing of the phone disrupted the readings, but this seems very doubtful. It is more likely that the readings are simply unreliable.
I took this run on Feb 18 with partly cloudy skies. I used my Galaxy Nexus inside my Scosche armband. This run was taken on another high school track. For this workout I did interval training in the the style of the Tabata protocol, a 4-minute long workout where I would run as fast as I could for 20 seconds and then let up for 10 seconds. I ran barefoot on a high school track made of asphalt. The green dot represents my actual starting spot and the red dot my actual ending spot. Endomondo measured this run as 0.7 miles. I actually ran 2 complete laps and then 5/8 of a third lap for a total of 21/32 of a mile (0.66 miles). This represents an error of 5.7%.
The error was introduced by to GPS tracks on the left side of the route, where Endomondo recorded me as taking the track widely (running on the bleachers, apparently) . For the entire run I ran on the innermost part of the track. The tracking error is even greater considering that neither the start nor the end point of the run aligns exactly with my actual start and stop points. Like in the pace track run, the app’s measuring would have had the effect of shortening the run if the rest of the tracks were accurate.
Endomondo also failed to recognize that I was running laps, again.
The main reason I wanted to test a Tabata protocol on a track was to see how Endomondo measured changes in my pace. According to the graph generated by the data points recorded by the app it appears that it did not do a good job of catching the changes in my pace on a small scale. It did appear to get the general slowing on my pace as sprinting became more difficult for my body and fatigue began to set in, but the pace changes between sprinting and slowing appear lost to the app. This was probably because my period of rest was so short when compared to the average data collection rate, which was roughly every 5 seconds.