Sunday, 3 February 2013

GPS

Hey chaps, for several reasons I've not posted a blog for a while. Whether it interests you or not, these are the reasons: 1) I couldn't remember my login details. 2) I got a bit sporadic in my training. 3) I got bored of saying stuff. 4) I just didn't post, ok?!

I'm posting now because I've been training pretty intensely for some weeks now in a far more structured way than before. This culminated in a remarkable run yesterday that saw me take 20 minutes off my time for a ten mile run.

You see, I have an app that tracks my run using GPS, tells me my average speed, generally helps. And this app said I'd run a little over 10 miles. In 1 hour 14 minutes. An incredible time.

Of course, I was delighted. I immediately hit Facebook, bragging about my Farah-like excellence. I sat back and revelled in the barrage of congratulations that came my way. After a bloody cold bath and a long stretch, I walked to town with the lovely wife, and thought "I'll stick the app on, get it to track our walk."

And here's where things became a little unstuck, because about a mile or so down the road I had a look at the app and it said that I'd done a rather impressive 5 and a half miles. At one point I'd smashed 1km in 46 seconds. Things weren't quite adding up.

On further inspection, it seems that when the app can't quite find you using GPS it kind of guesses. And then if it still can't find you, it guesses again. The result of this is that it draws huge zig-zags over your actual route, adding distances that simply weren't there - and couldn't have been unless I could fly at incredible speeds and move through walls. And even I am not that amazing.

I dismissed this as a glitch until this morning, when a friend congratulated me on my speed and mentioned the average mile time I had achieved. I couldn't help feeling that something was wrong.

So I looked at the route I'd taken (it's saved on the app) and apart from a few tiny zig-zags, it seemed absolutely fine. Fine, that is, until I noticed a pretty beasty deviation from my route that had added over a mile to my run. Ouch.

I immediately went on Google Maps and plotted my actual route exactly and it came to just 8.6 miles. So my ridiculous speed was just that - ridiculous. I'd had a good run at a good speed, but I had been premature in declaring myself the new Haile Gebrselassie. Even Haile Selassie would probably keep up with me at the speed I went...

The result of all of this is that I am now going to plot every run before I make it, so that I know the actual distance. I shan't rely on these apps, and I'll check each distance before I go on about it. I'll keep the app running next time I do though. My stats on that bad boy are going to go through the roof!

Feel free to now play "spot the idiot" and point in my direction. But be prepared - I now have an unrealistic target and I'm aiming for it. Big time.

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