Review: Endomondo Sports Tracker App

This is a common conversation when I head out riding with a friend of mine:

Friend:  “I’m going to set my tracker app.  Maybe it’ll work this time.”

Me: “Ok, I’ll set my Endomondo app, and we can compare when we get back!”

(After the ride, which we know to be about 6 miles long.)

Me, checking the app: “6.2 miles!”

Friend:  “Dang!  Mine stopped after a mile!”

The Endomondo Sports Tracking app (free version) has yet to fail me.  To be honest, I’m not one for uploading my results to a website, tracking all my rides and miles and GPS… I just want to know how far I rode, approximately how many calories I might have burned, and what my route looks like on a map.

I like Endomondo because, with the free version, I can do all that.  Sure, it prompts me quite frequently to upgrade, and maybe I will one day, but for now the free version does what I want it to. It tracks me.

With the free version I can track my distance, duration, average and max speeds, calories, altitude, ascent, and descent.  I can post results on Facebook, save routes if I want to (though I never do), and even chart my pace per mile.  With a hike I took the other day, for instance, it appears that I hike fastest at the beginning and ends of the hike and tend to slow down in the middle.  Something to work on…

Endomondo helps you track your workout through quite a few different sports.  Sure, it has the common ones like mountain biking, hiking, running, and cycling, but it also has activities like squash, downhill skiing, skateboarding, and kayaking. It also works on both Android phones and iPhones.

Example of a saved route on Endomondo's website.

I simply open the app, choose my activity, and press the “play/start” button.  Then, I throw my phone in my pack and forget about it.  Depending on the type of terrain involved and the activity, I sometimes feel it vibrate with each mile counted.  If I have the volume up, a woman’s voice says, “one mile…” When I’m done with my activity, I take the phone out and hit the stop button on the app.

When we were in Park City biking, the phone lost its signal for a bit.  As soon as it found one again, the app caught itself up and kept right on going.

Endomondo also creates “challenges” for its users to help foster a community of active people.  For instance, one recent challenge, for women only, was the “Back on Track” challenge.  It ran from August 31 – October 31 and encouraged women to join the challenge and use Endomondo to track their overall calories burned during that time period.  The goal was to get past the “lazy days of summer” and back on track with a fitness routine.  For every calorie burned, contestants earned one “ticket” for a drawing. So if you burned 1,000 calories in the time period, you’d have 1,000 chances to win one of five prizes, which included running shorts and a year of Premium membership with Endomondo.

Some people thrive on challenges and need them for motivation, so it’s good to see tracker apps trying to help with that.  Another challenge going on now is the All the Wheels challenge: most calories burned doing any activity involving wheels between Sept. 30 and Nov. 30. 10 winners will get Premium memberships.

So what is included with a Premium membership? For $19.99 a year, you can get training plans, workout comparison tools, more detailed training analysis, access to the entire Endomondo site, which includes events, a database of routes like the one above, training info, and more… and most importantly, you don’t have to look at any more pesky ads on the mobile app!  For hardcore folks who really want to keep track of all that, a Premium membership might be just the thing they need.

For me, I just want to see how far I rode and how long it took.  Maybe I want to see the calories burned (approximately) so I can really enjoy my beer and pizza.  Most of all, I want to be able to say, “Hey!  We rode 25 miles today!”  Endomondo lets me do that.

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