5 Ways To Make Sense Of Your Running Data

By: Elizabeth Palermo
Published: May 04, 2015 07:11am ET on LiveScience.

GPS running watches can track everything from your steps per minute to the length of your stride, but analyzing all that data can be a chore — especially if you don’t have a running coach to help you make sense of your stats.

Live Science spoke with two expert running coaches to wade through the running-watch data dump. They told us what information runners should be tracking during workouts and helped us make sense of the advanced metrics that some GPS watches collect.

From checking your pace to counting your steps, here are some expert tips for how to analyze your runs: [Best GPS Watches of 2015]

1. Pay attention to your total time and distance

The most basic information you’ll get from any GPS running watch is your total time spent running and total distance covered. But these simple stats are actually the most important metrics for runners to track, said John Honerkamp, a running coach and senior manager of runner products and services at New York Road Runners, an organization in New York City that provides classes, clinics and online programs for runners.

“Basic GPS is key, because time and distance are important,” Honerkamp told Live Science. “Beyond that, it’s an extra layer of data — like cadence and heart rate. You don’t need that stuff, but if you’re the type of person who wants and can handle that information, it can be helpful.”

Some watches, like the TomTom Runner Cardio, can be programmed to buzz or beep when you’ve covered a certain distance or run for a certain amount of time. And many GPS watches also let you set up alerts that go off every mile, so you can keep track of how much ground you’ve —> Read More