Triathlon tracking device

Has anyone used a GPS-enabled device to track your workouts and races?

1 to 20 of 22 messages
17/01/2013 at 18:33

Hi all,

I'm preparing ofr my first tri - I plan to do it in the autumn. I have so far done a half-marathon and 3k swim.

For my running training I found my smartphone to be of great help, it really boosts motivation to see your progress in detail, current speed, etc. - I guess I don't need to explain in detail why tracking is invaluable. I tried several apps and ended up using Runtastic - it's great. However, it's of not much use for a triathlon. 

First problem is that it doesn't support triathlon - it has no feature to separate the different sports. Even if I know the lengths of the section I can't get any per-sport stats. Has anyone used a good triathlon-specific app, preferably for Android?  
I would love it if it also allows custom configurations of disciplines, to let me track, for example, just swimming and running, cycle-swim-cycle, etc.

Another problem - smartphones and water don't go together very well I see three theoretical options here:
1. A good water-proof smartphone jacket. It has to be a good fit to not be a bother when swimming, has to be reliably waterproof and ideally could have a see-through  window so that I can take a look at how I'm doing (the pools in my area don't even have decent clocks!)
2. A smartphone app that tracks running and cycling by GPS but allows swimming to be entered manually. Most times I would swim in a pool, so I'll know exactly how much I've swam, and it can figure out the rest from time elapsed
3. A sports watch or another dedicated device with GPS and preferably triathlon-specific features. I'm not willing to spend much money but compared to the risk of damaging my smartphone, probably £200 is a reasonable price to pay

Thanks a lot for all opinions and good luck with your training! 

17/01/2013 at 18:35

So what do you actually want?

M...eldy    pirate
17/01/2013 at 18:45

a Garmin ?  

17/01/2013 at 18:47
My Timex GPS Bodylink does all that, and even takes care of transition
M...eldy    pirate
17/01/2013 at 18:53

My garmin is slow in transition

17/01/2013 at 18:54
Of course it is dear
M...eldy    pirate
17/01/2013 at 18:56

Its not that hot on the bike either 

17/01/2013 at 18:58
The battery doesn't last long enough to do an IM in mine
17/01/2013 at 20:59

Cheap?  Timex IronMan GPS Global Trainer, they go for around 25-50 squid on eBay second hand, do individual events & multi events & handle transition.  ANT+ so can also do HRM, cadence & power meters.

17/01/2013 at 21:15

Thanks everyone, neat gadgets, you opened a new digital world to me

M...eldy - which Garmin product are you using, I see they have different solutions. Are you referring to the Forerunner sports watches or any of the others?
And what do you mean slow in transition - you need to press several buttons, stop one session, start another, etc.?

Dave The Ex- Spartan - how do you do the transition on the Timex, does it work with one button? I couldn't find a product called Bodylink on their website, is it some regional variation or an old name? Is it similar to the Timex IronMan GPS that Final RV is recommending (which appears to be exactly what I'm looking for!) ?
And how long does the battery last? Maybe you're just doing the IM too slow
Battery life tends to be the first thing to deteriorate on elecronic gadgets so maybe it will be better on a new one (for some time)

Final RV - more like 100 quid on eBay at the moment but I'll lie in wait for a good offer. I guess for sports gadgets you can always get good deal as people jump into working out with great ambitions but a lot give up soon thereafter

17/01/2013 at 22:07

Ahh, Forerunner 910XT... everything I've ever needed

Hefty price tag though, I didn't plan to spend so much money for a bike
When I get to prepare for IM I'll treat myself to something of that class but for the time being I'll look for cheaper options, or good deals on ebay.

And the 310XT model is not bad either, and good £100 cheaper. Does anyone know exactly what is it missing? Or good reviews online?

17/01/2013 at 22:18
18/01/2013 at 23:14

The 310 is an older model and doesn't do everything the 910 does. I *think* the 910 can track the swim but the 310 can't. Apart from that, there's probably not that much difference...

PSC    pirate
19/01/2013 at 06:26
I thought it did track the swim, but not the HR when in the water. It's an ugly lump with an ok battery. But not as good as the 910 in most people's book.
19/01/2013 at 06:33

Trick with the 310, start it and put under your swim hat, will measure the swim distance fine then.....or just get the 910 which measure the distance and how many and what stroke you used to get there.

PSC    pirate
19/01/2013 at 06:38
I would hate to see a trace of my swim. Zigzag city! I would far rather delude myself in the mistaken belief that I can swim straight.
Cortina5    pirate
19/01/2013 at 12:15

The 310 has a open water swim mode which stitches together the points - perhaps not as exact as FF's method, but it seems to be OK.

PSC - It's an eye-opener!

meface    pirate
20/01/2013 at 20:42

Yup the 910 has an accelerometer in it to allow it to be used in the pool (non-GPS). Tracks strokes and laps. Supposed to be good.

None of the Garmins do HR underwater. ANT+ would be good for about 0.5cm underwater. So it is a no go unless they change some major stuff.

The 310 has a firmware upgrade that makes it better at tracking your swim line when wrist mounted. The issue is underwater it gets no signal so has to grab a signal on the recovery stroke. This isn't as accurate as normal operation. The software then stitches together the most likely points to give a closer approximation of your swim. Mounting it in the swim cap on the back of your head gives the best route but does place the device at risk if the swim cap comes off.

The other feature I am aware of is a dual pacing alarm. 310 allows an alarm every x minutes (e.g.) 10 minutes for a 9/1 minute run/walk strategy. The 910 has two alarms for the stop running and start running.

I have a 310XT and haven't upgraded.



21/01/2013 at 12:12

There is the in-depth review of the swim mode update of the 310:

Conclusion - still better to use the standard mode and watch in swimcap.
Not the case with 910, apparently.

Has anyone come upon a good review of the 910's stroke-tracking performance? That's the first model with accelerometers so it might not be that good

21/01/2013 at 15:44

I upgraded from te 310 to 910 after I cracked the screen on the 310. Its a pretty big difference. Personally I think its worth the extra cost. Especially if you'll be swimming a lot. The stroke tracking is very good. I'm rubbish at butterfly so it won't always recognize that. Saying that, other people in the pool probably don't recognize it either.

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