The difference between a GPS watch, a foot pod and a pedometer

At a basic level, gps watches, foot pods and pedometers all tell you exactly the same thing - how far you have run.  In fact, if you can remember where you ran then you don't need any of these, as websites such as mapometer or mapmyrun let you plot your route and tell you the distance you have covered.

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The main differences between the three is in the level of technology which is attached to each and the additional information they also tell you.

The most basic is a pedometer.  The simplest versions count your footsteps, so if you know roughly how long your stride is you can work out what distance you have covered.  This isn't a particularly accurate way to measure distance and can be out significantly in terms of distance on a medium to long run.  For example, its well known that your stride length shortens when you get tired, so the distance you cover for a set number of strides will be shorter than when you started out on your run.

The next level of technology come into more advanced pedometers (which are also known as footpods).  Footpods work by counting your footsteps and the acceleration of your feet to calculate how fast you are running.  By using this information, together with the time you have run for, they can then work out the distance you have covered.   One advantage of footpods is that they can be used on indoor running tracks.

The most advanced technology is used in GPS watches.  These use the same satellites as the car satnavs and work out where you are now and how far away you were since they last looked and work out the distance and speed this way.  Because of the technology which is used in GPS devices, these watches can provide lots of additional information, for example split times or your expected finish time or the pace you need to maintain to make a certain time.  For this reason GPS watches are our preferred choice of technology and this site is devoted to them. If you are looking for purchase a GPS watch and are not sure what is right for you then our review of the best GPS watches on the market is a good place to start.

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It’s great to find someone else who is interested in these great devices. I have a Garmin 305 which I think is one of the best models available. Mind you, I wouldn’t mind the 310XT.

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