Using Runner 2 for Open Water Swimming — TomTom Community

Using Runner 2 for Open Water Swimming

David RDavid R Posts: 2 [Apprentice Traveler]
Hi - I know it's not designed for Open Water Swimming but had been using it to give me time, location (map looks good) and then I would edit the distance as it over reads by about 50%.

However my Runner 2 auto uploads all my run, swim & cycle data to Strava when completed then when I edit the swim to the correct distance on Tom Tom Sports website it does not then update Strava with correct distance.

Any ideas how I can "force" the update through to Strava as you cannot edit activity distance via Strava itself as it relies on the uploaded file - or how do I edit the distance on the Runner 2 before I complete the activity and the auto upload to Strava starts.\\

Any suggestions ?

Comments

  • tfarabaughtfarabaugh Posts: 15,924 Superusers
    David R wrote:
    Hi - I know it's not designed for Open Water Swimming but had been using it to give me time, location (map looks good) and then I would edit the distance as it over reads by about 50%.

    However my Runner 2 auto uploads all my run, swim & cycle data to Strava when completed then when I edit the swim to the correct distance on Tom Tom Sports website it does not then update Strava with correct distance.

    Any ideas how I can "force" the update through to Strava as you cannot edit activity distance via Strava itself as it relies on the uploaded file - or how do I edit the distance on the Runner 2 before I complete the activity and the auto upload to Strava starts.\\

    Any suggestions ?

    There is no way to directly upload an edited file to Strava, as it goes to Strava and MySports at the same time. I would try turning off the Strava upload before syncing the activity (pause it under Connected apps), then change the metrics on MySports, then export a tcx or fit file for the activity and manually upload it to Strava. I am not sure if it will work as intended as I don't know if the edits are only done to the display in MySports, not the actual data, but it is worth a shot. I can't really think of any other ways to do it, as the only modes on the watch that you can edit the distance before syncing is treadmill, which won't get you a map. I would give it a shot and see if it works. It is very frustrating that Strava does not allow editing because they also recalculate every activity based on their own algorithms and seem to inevitably be shorter than reality.

    I hope this helps, please let me know if this answered your question. If it did, please mark it as a solution so others can look for it if they have the same question.
  • David RDavid R Posts: 2 [Apprentice Traveler]
    Thank you for your response - as you say frustrating but the only way to do it.

    Hopefully TomTom will see this and consider giving the edit distance function on Freestyle as well as Treadmill ..... how do we make that suggestion ?
  • tfarabaughtfarabaugh Posts: 15,924 Superusers
    David R wrote:
    Thank you for your response - as you say frustrating but the only way to do it.

    Hopefully TomTom will see this and consider giving the edit distance function on Freestyle as well as Treadmill ..... how do we make that suggestion ?

    I do not think you will see an edit distance function of any GPS enabled activity because it is the GPS points that are determining the distance versus the internal accelerometer they use in treadmill mode. There would be no way for it to create a map as it would not know which points to remove or what points to add to the GPS data. I don't know of any GPS watches that allow you to correct GPS based distance for this reason. They monitor the forums so they will see it here, but I would not get my hopes up. The focus seems to be on getting basic functionality (connectivity and accuracy) working, then getting promised updates implemented (phone notifications), so this is probably pretty far down the list, if it is on the list at all due to the technical limitations.
  • mykaczmykacz Posts: 4 [Master Traveler]
    I really miss the open water swim mode in my Spark. I truly hope that Tomtom will add the this feature in next version of firmware. It shouldn't be so difficult.
  • tfarabaughtfarabaugh Posts: 15,924 Superusers
    mykacz wrote:
    I really miss the open water swim mode in my Spark. I truly hope that Tomtom will add the this feature in next version of firmware. It shouldn't be so difficult.

    I doubt it will be added, as it is actually quite difficult. The watch cannot detect GPS underwater so it would need to time the GPS signal attainment with the split second the watch is above water on each stroke (assuming you are doing a stroke that brings your arms out of the water). This is a very difficult thing to compensate for and it has been a mixed bag on all devices, none of them do it perfectly well and many have not even tried, like TT. Even the latest flagship Garmin watches are not including open water swimming, so TT is not alone here.
  • mykaczmykacz Posts: 4 [Master Traveler]
    @tfarabaugh

    Possibly you are right. I am not a specialist in GPS algorithms. But open water swim mode with active GPS would be a very useful feature. I swim at the lake from June to August every year. Usually I swim 1.5 – 2 km. I always use my iPhone with active GPS and Endomondo app. I secure it from the water and place it on my secure buoy. I have noticed many times that my mobile phone is under the water during long distance of my swimming. But the distance showed by Endomondo was usually correct.

    I’m going to check the freestyle mode in my Spark with active GPS soon and check its accuracy during my lake swimming. The crawl style needs to have the hand above the water regularly. So the GPS communication between Spark and satellite should be possible without any differences. I hope so :)
  • ASmugDillASmugDill Posts: 550 [Apprentice Traveler]
    mykacz wrote:
    I really miss the open water swim mode in my Spark.
    Which wearable device did you have that offered you an “open water swim mode” that you now miss, having switched to the TomTom Spark?
    mykacz wrote:
    I always use my iPhone with active GPS and Endomondo app. I secure it from the water and place it on my secure buoy.
    Your iPhone is not a wearable device. That said, nothing stops you now from continuing to use the same thing for tracking open water swimming, so there is no reason to miss it when it's still available. It's just not part of an integrated fitness (data and/or activity) management ecosystem that TomTom did not promise to deliver†.

    That said, there are wearable devices in the market that offer open water swimming tracking capability, even if they may not deliver other capabilities (including platform interoperability) that you may want for fitness management, or not be part of a comprehensive ecosystem, or have asking prices outside of your budget.

    † As opposed to smartphone notifications for who is calling and messaging you while you workout.
  • gl00gl00 Posts: 965 [Revered Pioneer]
    Hi there, in addition to what tfarabaugh and asmugdill already wrote:

    - open water modes give you a somehow better distance, but the traces are not great: what they do is remove the points that are a obviously wrong (not reliable signal) and keep only the good ones. The result is a jagged line made of points taken at intervals of 30s or more, with a much higher inaccuracy than usual. Not very satisfying, and the swim metrics (strokes) are not quite relevant due to that

    - if you already swim with a buoy, you'd be better off using the watch the same way you use your phone: that's the best way to track you swim accurately actually, even with a watch that has a dedicated mode.
  • tfarabaughtfarabaugh Posts: 15,924 Superusers
    mykacz wrote:
    @tfarabaugh

    Possibly you are right. I am not a specialist in GPS algorithms. But open water swim mode with active GPS would be a very useful feature. I swim at the lake from June to August every year. Usually I swim 1.5 – 2 km. I always use my iPhone with active GPS and Endomondo app. I secure it from the water and place it on my secure buoy. I have noticed many times that my mobile phone is under the water during long distance of my swimming. But the distance showed by Endomondo was usually correct.

    I’m going to check the freestyle mode in my Spark with active GPS soon and check its accuracy during my lake swimming. The crawl style needs to have the hand above the water regularly. So the GPS communication between Spark and satellite should be possible without any differences. I hope so :)

    Most people simply put it in freestyle and put the watch in their cap or on a floating safety buoy behind them.
  • mykaczmykacz Posts: 4 [Master Traveler]
    @ASmugDill
    @gl00
    @tfarabaugh

    First of all I have a question: what kind of type of watch Spark (Runner 2) is? Simple wearable tracker or multisport watch? As I understand it is more multisport type of watch than simple tracker. Am I right? So it can be compared not only to Garmin products like Vivoactive but to Forerunner series or to Polar V800. Probably there are few more similar watches which are lees expensive.

    Spark watch was my choice because I wanted to avoid swimming with my iPhone. And I wanted to use it during pool swimming, cycling, hiking or all day walking. I decided to choose Spark instead of Vivoactive because of frestyle mode active. And I am quite satisfied with this product especially with this price. I want to check frestyle feature at the lake this week. And then I’m going to see what would be better and more useful for open water swimming: Spark on the hand or placed on my safe buoy. And I will see if there are problems with GPS accuracy. Newertheless it is easier to put Spark under the cap or at the buoy than doing the same thing with iPhone. And more safe for the device. :D

    Anyway thanks for discussion. I will let you know about the results of my water activities.
    Regards
  • gl00gl00 Posts: 965 [Revered Pioneer]
    hi mykacz! they are all quite different watches (coming from someone who has Spark, v800 and vivoactive HR ;) )

    - Forerunners are for runners (guess the name implies that actually ;) ). If running is your only sports, you enroll in competitions several times a year, train 4 times a week or more and want to improve your time, that's probably what you have on your wrist. cycling is included on these because a lot of runners also do cycling on the side, but if you swim or do other sports, forget about this one.

    - v800s (and the likes) are aimed towards triathletes: they are about the same as the forerunners, plus they have swimming (open water), and you can time your transitions and go from one sport to the next at the push of a button. they also are adventure sports watches (hiking/trail running), with route guidance and longer battery mode. They also have multisports capabilities. Basically, that's about allowing you to rename a GPS activity to match whatever you did (kayaking, rock climbing...). If you do triathlons and/or a bunch of outdoors sports and don't mind having a big watch, that's probably what would you would go after.

    - Vivoactive and Spark are quite similar. You can track your runs, pool swims, cycling and other sports separately (no tri mode) and don't have advanced training modes. if you do a lot of different sports, but don't feel like training to be in the top tier of the competition and are not into triathlons nor trail running or hiking (I'm talking long distances here: over 8hrs), you'd enjoy these watches.

    the difference here is the vivoactive is more thought as an activity tracker that can be used as a training tool (you understand training is secondary as soon as you start using the interface and once you realize garmin uses variable rate GPS recording, instead of the more precise 1s recording), whereas the Spark is primarily thought for training: it is super fast to program, you can control it with gloves on, very easy to use when mounted on a bike's handlebar with one finger, data on screen is big and clear, you don't need a phone if you want music... only issue is it doesn't look great under a shirt (but at least it fits, unlike the v800) :P

    So I would say that the Spark is a multisports training watch (to differentiate with the vivoactive, which is my multisports tracking watch...)
  • ASmugDillASmugDill Posts: 550 [Apprentice Traveler]
    mykacz wrote:
    what kind of type of watch Spark (Runner 2) is? Simple wearable tracker or multisport watch? As I understand it is more multisport type of watch than simple tracker. Am I right?
    TomTom states on the Spark range's page on its web site,

    TRACK ALL YOUR SPORTS
    See your stats from multi-sport modes covering a range of fitness activities. Mix up your training: Run. Bike. Treadmill. Swim. And with the all-new TomTom Spark, you also get modes for Indoor Cycling and Gym. Click 'Play Video' below to learn more about the Gym mode.


    so, yes, it is a multi-sport watch, and in fact by TomTom's aforementioned marketing spiel (of “track all your sports”), you could say it is touted as an omni-sport watch which few other manufacturers claim for their product models.

    However, the ( Learn more about different modes ) button immediately below that spiel takes you to a page that clarifies what customers/owners can expect from swim tracking, without express limitation to any particular type of swimming,

    Features in Swimming mode
    Speed, pace, stroke rate and number of laps, calories burnt and distance


    Therefore, you can wear the TomTom Spark for open water swimming and expect the above metrics to be tracked in the device's swimming mode (which does not make a distinction between indoor and outdoor swimming, or exclude either type of activity).
    So it can be compared not only to Garmin products like Vivoactive but to Forerunner series or to Polar V800. Probably there are few more similar watches which are lees expensive.
    You can compare them all you like, but it doesn't mean there is a technical/industry/common standard of included features and/or tracked metrics to which those products ought to be compliant, and by which consumers can set their expectations reasonably.

    In any case, you claimed you miss the open water swim mode in your TomTom Spark, so my specific question was when did you have it on a wearable device? If you never had it, then logically you cannot miss it. The TomTom Spark is not even a smart-watch, let alone a smartphone, so comparing the capabilities of your iPhone (running third-party apps, no less) with that of your watch is akin to comparing… apples and oranges. :)
  • RokysRokys Posts: 12 [Apprentice Traveler]
    Like others have said, even those flagship watches aimed at triathletes perform so-so in open water swimming, and for most (if not all) of them the best (or should I say only) way to track the swimming section reliably is using the in-cap method. Might as well try it with the Spark in freestyle mode and see how it goes
  • tiggelmatiggelma Posts: 5 [Apprentice Traveler]
    Looked around for some answers on open water swimming and this seems to be the most comprehensive thread so I'll use this one.

    So I know open water swimming can be done using freestyle and wearing the watch in a cap. I did try that and it works great! But I have two questions about it.

    I did wear the watch under my cap and left the heart rate sensor on thinking it will stop measuring anyway when it finds no pulse. To my surprise a pulse was found on top of my head (I am almost bald, so maybe that helps). The graph looks pretty accurate (going up from 80 to 140 in a minute and then stabilizing at 130). Can this be trusted or should I switch off heart rate measuring before a swim to prevent measuring false data. Would be great if this works and so I can see burnt calories.

    Another question: is it advisable to edit the workout to change it to a swim afterwards? I've changed it from freestyle to swim and back and the only difference I can find is that freestyle splits up the swim in 1km parts and swim in 100m parts (I prefer 100m of course) and another difference is that freestyle includes a map where swim does not. Both do not show stroke rate. Is there any other consequence of changing the type or can I change it to whatever I prefer?

    Thanks!
  • tfarabaughtfarabaugh Posts: 15,924 Superusers
    If you trust the HR, go for it, but take it with a grain of salt as the head is not the optimal area to get a good pulse. As to changing it to swim, it depends on what you would rather see, a map or 100m splits. You detailed the differences, it is up to you to decide which you would rather have, I know of no other differences besides that (you're not getting stroke rate as it is not on your wrist so it is not detecting strokes).
  • runforhomerunforhome Posts: 1 [Apprentice Traveler]
    The thing to do is to put the watch under your swimming hat. Its fine then. Or buy a Garmin 920XT, that does OW fine.
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