barefoottc

my running adventures – barefoot or otherwise

Strava versus Endomondo – clash of the sporting apps!

**UPDATE as of 8th April 2014** (The original article appears below this little pitch about voting for me in the 2014 Running Awards! Just scroll down if you’d like to get straight to the article)

The voting pitch

As many of you are probably tired of hearing, this blog has been shortlisted in the 2014 Running Awards which are happening in London on Friday 11th April (yes, this Friday!), two nights before the London Marathon. I’ve taken the decision to go along too, so I’m excited about who I might meet there! Voting closes this Thursday 10th April, at 6pm, so please…if you haven’t yet voted, and feel that you could spare a couple of minutes of your time to vote for me, given how entertaining you think my blog posts are, then that would be truly awesome!

How to vote

Go to http://therunningawards.com

Register with an email address (purely to enable the organisers to validate your vote, or log-in with the details you used last time), and then navigate through ‘Online’ then ‘Blog’ then click on ‘barefoottc’ to register your vote.

If you haven’t registered before, you need to do that first, and then follow the navigation as mentioned above.

Thank you in advance to all of you who take the time to vote for my blog. It is inspiring to know that people read my blog and feel it is worth voting for in an awards competition.

I’ll keep you posted after Friday to let you know what I thought of the Running Awards ceremony, who I met, and what the food was like! ;-)

The original article, Strava versus Endomondo appears in its entirety below (originally posted on March 19th 2013):

How time flies! It’s now almost a week since I last posted on here, and so much to tell you all! As promised though, this post is going to be shrouded in geekiness and stat-fest wonderment, so if that’s not your thing, check back to see my next blog post which’ll be about a long run I did last weekend, why I did it, where I went and why I needed a comprehensive cleaning when I got home!

In the meantime, it’s down to business – Endomondo pitted against Strava. I began using Endomondo on a recommendation from a mate a good few years back, when there wasn’t much to rival it on the free app market in the UK. I’d just got a smartphone for the first time and suddenly a new world seemed to open up to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ‘into’ technology in any big sense, but when I find something that is useful and beneficial, I’m happy to open my mind to it and give it a whirl.

Now, I really like Endomondo for the following reasons:

It shows your PB records for various distances (1km, 1 mile, 3 miles, 5k, 10k, Half Marathon) and interestingly, also showed your PB for distance ran in an hour as well as the ‘Cooper’ (How far you can run in 12 minutes, a test made famous by the US Military).

Endomondo also has some fun with you in that it tells you how many times you’ve travelled to the moon (0.004), around the world (0.041), and how many burgers you’ve burned through the calories you’ve consumed through exercise (158 at the last count)!

It allows you to comment on your own run, or those of others who used the app (sadly, not many of my friends do!)

You can edit your session details (so, if the GPS failed to work, as it did far too often, then you can roughly approximate and add distance or time to the session).

It is quite user-friendly. I knew where to look to find different things.

What I would have liked to have seen in Endomondo, before I tried Strava:

The absence of endless adverts peppering every single page of the website when I log in.

Local or country-based competitions, rather than world-wide ones that have unrealistically high volumes of seemingly pro competitors that effectively render them not worth participating in. Also, I don’t understand why they don’t automatically enter you anyway, so you don’t have to remember to enter!

More accurate GPS data and signal coverage. I am no technical expert, but I have had little trouble in this regard when using Strava, and endless issues when using Endomondo, even though all the technical equipment and software is probably exactly the same.

More of my friends! I know they (Endomondo) can’t do anything about this, but I think one of the reasons I felt happy to try out a different app was that I knew more people using Strava than I did using Endomondo, and that community and accountability is something that helps me to stay active.

How I became a Stravanian (I made that up, but am happy for it to become part of common day parlance!):

So, recently a friend of mine who is more of a cyclist than a runner gave me his whole Strava spiel, the salesman’s patter, which he’d obviously perfected through countless ‘pitches’ to others of his friends over time. I have to admit it looked good from the beginning, had no adverts and the map feature on HIS smartphone worked much better than mine currently did with Endomondo.

What pushed me to try it out?

A few cool little features that I found very exciting:
1. An ‘intensity’ score out of 10. You type in a distance for which you have a PB and then Strava uses it to compare your latest session against. So, for example, if I’ve just done a 7 mile run, I could compare it with a 10k PB to see how I compare. OR, on a long run of 15 miles or so, I can compare it’s intensity with a Half Marathon PB. I thought this was a good little feature, but on it’s own, not worthy of persuading me to jump the Endomondo ship. So, what else…?

2. Segments. Now, while I still wrestle with their choice of terminology, effectively what it means is you can chop your latest run or ride into smaller sections and name them yourself (unless someone’s already established one pretty similar to you). Then, Strava sets up a leaderboard for anyone who has EVER done that route (including historical sessions as well as ongoing future ones). How cool. Is. That. In my opinion? Very cool! What it means in practice is that you can isolate hills, for example, and test yourself against an established real time you’ve achieved previously, or that others have set that you want to beat. This is good for a number of reasons. It gives you motivation to try to beat that segment time when you run that route next. It allows you to compare yourself with other people who’ve run that route before and since. It can be seen by all your mates, and the wider world.

3. Kudos. You can ‘like’ your friends’ runs or rides and Strava sends you an e-mail when people have done so. A nice little encouragement and ‘feel-good’ factor that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Maybe. If you’re a girl (no offence). Or me!

4. Achievements. After you’ve saved your run and it has synced with the website, you’re sent a message on your mobile phone with a trophy symbol which tells you your results are ready. Results! Awesome, it feels like you’ve been in a competition every time you go for a run or ride.

5. Comparing yourself directly with a friend. If you click on a friend’s name, you can then compare your Personal Records (PRs – known better in the UK as PBs, Personal Bests) with theirs. In Endomondo, you’d have to pay for the Premium version to do this.

6. Every run (pretty much) includes achievements of some kind, from a King of the Mountain segment to a Personal Record, or a ‘2nd’ or ‘3rd’ personal best run for that segment. This is motivating, fun and enables others to see how you’re doing in a flash without trawling through all your past runs or rides.

7. Uploading activities from Endomondo. One of my biggest wrenches about leaving Endomondo initially was my assumption that all that data I’d built up over a few years of runs and rides was now worthless and unaccessible. I was wrong! With a tiny bit of IT know-how (and I’m talking pretty limited, really!), I could download each run or ride as a .gpx file (I don’t even know what these are!) onto my computer, and then upload that same file from my computer to Strava and hey presto! The session I’d done on Endomondo now appears on Strava! I tried this for January and February of this year, transferring my data and now Strava feels like home from home for me! I would still like to transfer all my data across, but for now, I have enough to be getting on with.

8. Finally, Strava doesn’t deal with people, it deals with ATHLETES. Now that makes me feel good! I am an athlete, not just some amateur dude who runs to fight the guilt from eating good-tasting unhealthy (as well as healthy!) food. When you want to search for a friend, you’re invited to ‘find an athlete’…incredible.

So, to add some numerical judgements to my thoughts, here are some scores:

Reliability (GPS signal)
Endomondo: 6 Strava: 9

Social community
Endomondo: 2 Strava: 9

Ease of use
Endomondo: 7 Strava: 6 (still finding my way round!)

Detail of stats
Endomondo: 6 Strava: 9 (You can even state your footwear and bike options for each run or ride!)

Free app functionality
Endomondo: 6 Strava: 8

Scores out of 50:
Endomondo: 27
Strava: 42

So, there you have it. My personal viewpoints of these two popular exercise apps. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the merits of these apps, but also any recommendations for other apps or packages you use to log runs or rides.

I guess a natural question from this review would be: ‘How would you improve Strava?’

First thing that comes to mind is to have an ‘Events’ section where any and all events to do with running or cycling are listed. Now, I don’t just mean the UKA-licensed running events, but an exhaustible set list of listings that is effectively the ‘go-to’ place for looking for events anywhere in the UK (preferences could be set to include events in different countries or continents too).

Second, a set of tips and tricks that come up one at a time when you log in, or go from page to page – a nugget of genius, a quote from an elite runner/cyclist, a motivational phrase, etc.

Third, and I don’t think I’ve been on Strava long enough yet to see if this happens, but a monthly or weekly ‘report’ that shows your PBs for the month, miles ridden/run, periods of most/least activity, comparisons with the previous months’ performances, and if you’ve been on Strava for a year, then an element of comparing your times this month with those of the same month in the previous year.

I’m sure I’ll think of more in due course, but after using Strava for a few weeks now, these are my initial impressions. So, a big thumbs up from me, a new user gained from the Endomondo crowd.

What do you think of Strava and endomondo? Are there other apps you use and prefer? If so, what do you like about them?

Coming up in the next blog post: My journey to the other side of the Trent!

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18 comments on “Strava versus Endomondo – clash of the sporting apps!

  1. Richard Shaw
    March 20, 2013

    I am hoping to join the smartphone world fairly soon. Look forward to competing against you!
    Apparently Lance Armstrong still competes on Strava frequently, despite his ban from cycling.

  2. Richard
    May 20, 2013

    I like Strava better, for one it is much easier to find someone near you than with Endomondo. I feel Strava is much easier to use.

    • barefoottc
      May 20, 2013

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks for your comment. I agree it is easier to search for people near you, as well as searching for segments and clubs too! I’m still getting to grips with the wealth of information Strava provides, and I could spend a lot more time than I currently do poring over stats of my runs and rides and those of my friends and other people I follow!

  3. Kieren
    June 13, 2013

    Endomondo has a Facebook compatible app with the new fitness section on timeline. Can’t find a Strava one, so I guess that’s a one up. Other than that, they both do the exact same thing, just that you don’t have to share every ride from Endomondo to have it on Facebook.

    • barefoottc
      June 14, 2013

      Hi Kieren,

      I agree that it is a pain having to actively choose to share each activity on Strava to facebook, but I appreciate the control this gives me about whether I share an activity or not.

      The main couple of things that settle the score for me in favour of Strava is that 1) alot more of my friends use it, and 2) segment leaderboards really help me stay motivated!

      I also like being called an ‘athlete!’

      Thanks for your comment!

  4. Gunnar
    July 31, 2013

    Try the ios app rungap to sync activities between strava and endomondo. You don’t need to sync tracks individually :)

  5. ecca
    December 29, 2013

    The biggest Negative for strava is the fact you have to buy a different heart rate chest strap if going from endomondo ( using a polar Bluetooth for android ) not spending anymore money.

    • barefoottc
      December 29, 2013

      Thanks for the comment, ecca. I guess Strava aren’t exactly to blame for what heart rate monitors people use, but it’s a fair point. I’ve just started wearing a heart rate monitor (it came with my new Garmin running watch I’m excited about!) and am planning to write about how I’ve found it once I’ve given it a bit of a try out.

      Fortunately, my Garmin and heart rate monitor work with Strava, so I don’t have that compatibility issue.

      From your comment, I’m not sure if you’re using strava now, or sticking with endomondo? Is the chest strap the only thing that’s keeping you with endomondo?

  6. ecca
    January 2, 2014

    Hi again, I did put the strava app on my HTC, uploaded all my of running history from endomondo did the premium subscription thing, then discovered my polar bluetooth HRM didn’t work with it, it was a disappointing result.
    I forgot to mention that ( strava) uses only The Wahoo Fitness Blue HR heart rate strap connects wirelessly to your compatible ” iPhone” without needing any adaptors or dongles. Once paired with the Strava app, you’ll get accurate real-time heart rate data during your workout.
    Note: This strap works only with iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 but will *not* work with the iPhone 3G, 3GS or 4.
    Also not good for Android user or an old iphone 4 owner,
    So Endomondo at least lets you use either iphone or android using the right bluetooth HRM.
    The other thing I noticed, is when you upload all your activity from a saved gpx file into strava it really screws up your details etc makes you look like a super pro runner! ( which is motivational but not true)

    So I’m back to Endomondo app on android, they have just done an update as well and works really sweet, enjoying the premium subscription and training plan, with the audio feedback, keeps me motivated to train harder, and plan for a goal. yes it is minus “the who has the best time & other stuff”, but seriously your only ever really competing again your own best time.

    All that said a done like yourself I think in the future I will probably purchase a Garmin 620 just need to look at the garmin program next see how it works with other apps etc
    Regards
    ecca

    • barefoottc
      January 5, 2014

      Thanks for your detailed comment! Sorry to hear about the incompatibility issues, that’s a real pain.

      I have to say that I got the reverse of your situation when I copied across my files from endomondo to Strava – I looked worse as a runner/cyclist! I use an android phone (or, used to use to until I got my forerunner 210 that Santa rewarded me with!)…

      I agree with your point too about when all is said and done, you’re only competing with yourself. I do, however, still like the motivation of trying to beat runners I deem to be of a similar ‘pace’ on segments. This also really does motivate me!

  7. Stinky
    January 18, 2014

    I prefer Strava, still use both though. Export all my .gpx files from Strava and upload them Endomondo, just because I want to get nearer to the moon and complete a trip around the world.

    • barefoottc
      January 19, 2014

      Hahaha! Yeah, that’s probably the one thing I miss about endomondo – seeing how I’m progressing in running to the moon and around the world! Oh, that and seeing how many burgers I’ve burnt in terms of calories while I’ve been running or riding!

  8. Taimur Amjad
    March 15, 2014

    I am regular user of endomondo pro and have premium web access as well. I can confidently say that most information is now severely outdated and even the recent comments make me feel that they are unaware of how much work endomondo has put into their app recently. either that or they are still using the free version.
    -the social element is now very advanced, sharing rides routes, live tracking for friends kudos pep talk are all possible
    -I have used endo since 2011 on HTC desire HD, blackberry 9780, galaxy note, nexus 4 and these days on galaxy s4.
    -GPS signal was never an issue, maybe author’s phone at the time had a problem
    -its pretty much compatible with any accessory you throw at it. I have friends who are using the recommended BT heart rate monitors and then there is me who is using ANT+ accessories like garmin speed cadence sensors and cyclops powercal heart rate monitor
    posting below the link to latest version info.
    http://blog.endomondo.com/2014/03/06/the-king-of-android-updates-is-out-app-vers-10-0/

    • Taimur Amjad
      March 15, 2014

      further to above, I am trying to get into strava but my entire cycling community is on endomondo so I am researching how and what to be able to decide if strava could be better for me

      • barefoottc
        March 17, 2014

        Taimur, I completely agree with you that the best app for you does, in large part, depend on your peers also using the app. In my original post I did outline that this makes a significant difference. All the best in your search for what you decide to use!

    • barefoottc
      March 17, 2014

      Thanks for your comments Taimur. As you may have noticed, this article was written about a year ago. As such, I was commenting on my views of endomondo and strava as free apps – at the time, I didn’t use either of the paid for apps. Since that time, I am pleased to hear that endomondo has improved, although I don’t use it at all myself. Likewise, I have seen huge leaps forward in Strava’s product too. Perhaps I will revisit endomondo soon, as part of a wider review of social health and fitness apps available. Thanks for the link to information on the latest version of endomondo.

  9. TGIMerv
    March 29, 2014

    Anyone use MapMyRide/Run. I run MapMyRide and Endomondo side by side on my smartphone, find them meeting my needs. All I really do is track my mileage. I have used Stava, found it to be a battery hog, maybe I will give it another try. BTW the distances are different between the 2 programs, in my last effort in the fall, Endomondo showed 26.01, MapMyRide show 26.60, Both were different than the odometer/cyclocomputer on my bike.

    • barefoottc
      March 30, 2014

      Thanks for your reply TGIMerv!

      I know a couple of people that use Runtastic, and I’ve heard of mapmyrun, which apparently features a good ‘live link’ to track someone’s race. I have to agree that the old version of Strava was quite battery hungry, but I’ve been impressed with the new, cleaner and less battery hungry Strava 4.0 version. I’d be interested in your verdict on the new version of the app. A review of Strava 4.0 will follow in a future blog post here!

      As for your distance anomalies, I found something similar when I compared endomondo and Strava, and comparing them both to my Garmin Forerunner 210 GPS watch. I think you just have to go with one and trust it. In the end, if you’re competing with yourself and using the one device/app, then hopefully the consistently from using the one source will help to give a valid insight into your riding, or more specifically in my case, my running (although I do cycle too).

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