Pace when running — TomTom Community

Pace when running

SimiaSimia Posts: 20 [Outstanding Wayfarer]
Hi,
I've bought my Spark 3 yesterday and took it for a first run today. I have a question regarding pace that is reported by the watch. It seemed to be extremely inaccurate. For example in the middle of the run I significantly increased speed but Spark reading show no change in pace and started slowly increasing current pace after some time. Than I reduced speed to merely jogging and watch was still increasing speed and than after a while started to slowly decrease it.
When I came back home I've uploaded run to TomTom muSports and Endomondo and to my surprise pace is displayed very differently in both although same source of data was used (pics attached). TomTom data seems to be in accordance with what Spark showed during the run while Endomondo is much closer to real life pace.

How can I make any pace based training when Spark 3 displayed value is so wrong/delayed?
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Comments

  • tfarabaughtfarabaugh Posts: 16,173
    Superusers
    Simia wrote:
    Hi,
    I've bought my Spark 3 yesterday and took it for a first run today. I have a question regarding pace that is reported by the watch. It seemed to be extremely inaccurate. For example in the middle of the run I significantly increased speed but Spark reading show no change in pace and started slowly increasing current pace after some time. Than I reduced speed to merely jogging and watch was still increasing speed and than after a while started to slowly decrease it.
    When I came back home I've uploaded run to TomTom muSports and Endomondo and to my surprise pace is displayed very differently in both although same source of data was used (pics attached). TomTom data seems to be in accordance with what Spark showed during the run while Endomondo is much closer to real life pace.

    How can I make any pace based training when Spark 3 displayed value is so wrong/delayed?

    No watch has true "instant pace". It is all computed in arrears and is a balance between responsiveness and smoothness. A longer lag time gives you smoother data but is slow to react. A short lag time gets faster responsiveness but choppier data. TomTom is slow to react to changes in pace because it applies a long smoothing period to produce smooth, non-choppy data. If you are running at a fairly steady pace you will not notice the lag. However, if you are doing intervals or sprints or changing speed a lot the lag can be become more apparent.

    On the data differences, every site or platform has a different way of handling the data it imports. Some take the data as is while others reprocess it and apply their own calculations and smoothing algorithms to it. This second instance will result in discrepancies between the watch and the site, causing issues like you are seeing.

    I hope this helped answer your question. If so, please mark it as a solution so others can look for it if they have the same question.
  • SimiaSimia Posts: 20 [Outstanding Wayfarer]
    While I can understand different algorithms for smoothing data I must admit that whatever algorithm Tom Tom is using it's just plain wrong. In this circumstances it is simply a lie to state that TomTom Spark provides data about current pace.
  • countzerocountzero Posts: 12 [Outstanding Explorer]
    I've had the TomTom Adventurer since December and use it mainly for running, and the current pace metric is becoming one of the biggest sources of frustration. For example, I did a trail run yesterday, and the average pace for Mile 3 was 8:35, but going over the current pace graph, there isn't a single point that's under 9 min/mi. I'm finding the current pace to be much higher than the average for the mile or the whole run, and it doesn't respond quickly enough to my real changes in speed. Maybe the calculations or filtering are good for cyclists and snowboarders, or give a prettier graph, but for running they're just not useful. Since the average pace metric is already an option, I think the current pace should reflect a much, much smaller period of time, which would actually help runners make adjustments during the run.
  • pmelsanpmelsan Posts: 10 [Legendary Explorer]
    Hi guys,

    I experienced the same. Do we know if it is the current pace or the average pace the one that is wrong? I also usually get numbers for average pace lower than what should be looking at the actual current pace over time. I wonder how this is calculated. I would imagine the average pace would be the actual average of the current pace over time during a certain km, but it is not.
  • SimiaSimia Posts: 20 [Outstanding Wayfarer]
    Average pace seems to be ok. I think it's current pace that's completely wrong. On my run I have a slice of 1km which took 5:56. Average pace is 5:56 which is correct. Current pace for any given moment is almost always above the 5:56 (it drops to 5:55 for a second or two but most of the time it's above 6 mins.).
    Then there is last 'sprint' where ~500 m took 2:30 mins. Tom Tom reports average pace at 5:05 which seems correct while current pace never ever drops below 5:35 (and sometimes is above 7:00).
  • pmelsanpmelsan Posts: 10 [Legendary Explorer]
    I agree with you.

    I had a look at the data for my runs more closely and yes, the average pace is correct while the instant pace is crap. We are not talking about a slight deviation but it can easily be 30 sec/km or more.

    I have done some research and it looks like a known problem and several time discussed in the forum. I love the features of the watch, the music and HR, but this is annoying because you certainly want to know at what pace you are running to speed up/slow down depending on your goals..

    I also have a garmin so I used them at the same time for 1 km to try. Same average pace but different instant pace all over.

    I heard that the cycling instant pace algorithm works better.

    Will they do anything about it? And do you guys know if you look at avg pace screen instead of current pace screen, is it more reliable for steady runs? (I haven´t checked this).

    Cheers
  • pmelsanpmelsan Posts: 10 [Legendary Explorer]
    Would a possibility perhaps be to set a lap every 500m, so that we can get an average pace more often besides the 1 km notice?
  • SimiaSimia Posts: 20 [Outstanding Wayfarer]
    That could be possible workaround I guess but it would be much better if TomTom fixed obvious bug.
  • djleggedjlegge Posts: 14 [Apprentice Traveler]
    I agree that whatever algorithm they use for 'current pace' when running needs, well, tweaking...it's far too heavily filtered. I run to the top of a hill and start to come down the other side, accelerating. The current pace still shows a 8:30 /mile or similar for what seems like a very long time before it notices I've sped up. It starts to come down, slowly then suddenly seems to jump to around 6:50 where I expect it to be. It's not really that useful on a hilly run. I would accept a reading that moves about a bit as a fair price to pay for better response to pace changes. Other than that and a couple of small omissions (altitude not available, weeks starting on Monday...) the watch is great.
  • pmelsanpmelsan Posts: 10 [Legendary Explorer]
    I think for now the best is to use avg pace screen only, and laps every 500m that would give you time enough to adjust pace during a run. However in situations like yours wouldn't work. Current pace in this watch is just useless. Funny thing is if you export the data to another platform like Strava then you actually see the correct current pace (or at least more accurate) that makes sense with the average pace. Funny
  • SimiaSimia Posts: 20 [Outstanding Wayfarer]
    500m laps won't work if I want for example do 200m pace based intervals...
    As you mentioned the data is there on the watch it's just shitty algorithms that calculates output.
  • kent davieskent davies Posts: 91 [Supreme Trailblazer]
    I've started doing intervals and was very disappointed to see the information that the watch displays. It is very inaccurate (don't need to be the exact pace but at least a close value).
  • ep013ep013 Posts: 15 [Outstanding Explorer]
    Instant pace is indeed close to useless, I just never use it. For intervals I use manual laps and lap's average pace. For relatively long intervals of about 800m - 1200m works well enough for me.
  • MikkoKMikkoK Posts: 23,905 Retired Community Managers and Staff
    Hi all,

    Thanks for all your feedback regarding pace calculations!

    As tfarabaugh explained above, this is a rather tricky thing to tackle. It comes down to balance between an acceptable level of accuracy and response for the majority of our customers and the amount of resources available in the watch to use for this without causing havoc for other features and aspects of performance.

    We've already made some improvements to this in past software releases and continue to work on it. Unfortunately, at this point I don't have any concrete information as to when you can expect further improvement to this.

    Cheers, Mikko
  • SimiaSimia Posts: 20 [Outstanding Wayfarer]
    Hi MikkoK,
    I do not understand how "Current pace is always above average" falls under "acceptable level of accuracy" in TomToms dictionary...
    You also mention resource available in the watch but that doesn't explain bs. values show on the web/mobile application.
    If you can not/don't want to provide users with accurate (by accurate I mean comparable with competition) current pace then I would suggest removing it from the watch or renaming to something like "Average for last xx minutes pace". Otherwise you are simply lying about watch feature set and that is not fair to your customers (if not illegal).
  • ChrisVanDeCaabChrisVanDeCaab Posts: 1 [Apprentice Traveler]
    Quite frankly, I think you guys are unrealistic by demanding/expecting of your TomTom instruments to measure instant pace / current pace. Even when TomTom says it measures instant pace, you couldn't really have expected that to be true. Perhaps a "smoothed instant pace", or a "lagged instant pace". More than an average one cannot really expect.
  • SimiaSimia Posts: 20 [Outstanding Wayfarer]
    Ho ChrisVanDeCaab,
    No one expects instant pace to be very accurate. But if you read through the topic you'll learn that pace reported by TomTom is just absurd and competitors, even using data provided by TomTom watch, report much more accurate pace.
    For example my today run. Last split - average 5:23. Lowest instant pace reported by TomTom 5:34. Take a look at the same run presented by Endomondo.
  • tfarabaughtfarabaugh Posts: 16,173
    Superusers
    Simia wrote:
    Ho ChrisVanDeCaab,
    No one expects instant pace to be very accurate. But if you read through the topic you'll learn that pace reported by TomTom is just absurd and competitors, even using data provided by TomTom watch, report much more accurate pace.
    For example my today run. Last split - average 5:23. Lowest instant pace reported by TomTom 5:34. Take a look at the same run presented by Endomondo.

    The data in the graph and the summary actually come from different sources. The graph is unsmoothed and analyzed watch data, while the summary and splits are smoothed data, so they will not be the same. Not sure why they chose to do it that way but that is why they are different.
  • SimiaSimia Posts: 20 [Outstanding Wayfarer]
    Well, frankly I don't care how bizarre paths TomTom takes to display/calculate/smooth data. I just simply want data that are not so obviously wrong and I reckon that's not very high demand in watch for 230GBP. Currently I consider my watch broken.
  • BentPBentP Posts: 1 [Apprentice Traveler]
    My TomTom Runner reports what seems to be accurate pace. However, my new Spark 3 is way off. This has been a very disappointing upgrade, and I find it hard to believe that TomTom can't get it right when all competitors can.
  • AntoineTAntoineT Posts: 7 [Legendary Explorer]
    I am also not satisfied with the current behavior of my Runner 3, I make the same observations about the wrong instantaneous pace:

    • By cycling this calculation is really more accurate and reactive
    • By a constant run, the instantaneous pace is often above the average pace
    • The smooth algorithm is obviously much too slow

    To illustrate this in one of my run, I tried to keep a constant slow tempo for a km (6:44 measured over the km). During this km, I stopped for a few seconds and restart then directly to the previous tempo. You can see in the attached file that it takes more than 2 minutes to retrieve a constant tempo (!!!) and the tempo over the km is clearly always above the average tempo.

    I am aware of the limitation and the complexity of an accurate pace calculation but I am convinced that it can be improved…
  • MarijeSiemannMarijeSiemann Posts: 3 [Neophyte Traveler]
    I'm experiencing the same problems with my new Runner 2 Cardio. During running, the instant pace is sometimes below the average pace all of the time, which is clearly impossible. However during cycling, the algorithm seems to be working fine. I've downloaded the CSV data and calculated moving averages of the data, and compared this with the speed that TomTom provides and the average speed.

    Cycling: a moving average of the last 10 seconds (orange graph) is very close to the blue graph that TomTom provides as instant pace. TomTom seems to have a little better algorithm which smooths out a few odd sinus-like outliers. I'm pretty happy with this.
    a102b81d-a947-4417-9285-ea25949e7dd2.png

    However during running, strange things happen as can be seen in the graph below: The instant pace is always below the average pace.
    e5fad295-7b7e-402c-9ebe-750086a78191.png

    I'm considering to use the cycling activity for running. Could TomTom maybe just give the opportunity to use the speed algorithm which is used in cycling for running as well?

    One more example of the strange things during running: here I used a moving average of the last minute (orange), compared with TomTom, which is very wrong. I didn't run below 12.5 km/h during my race last weekend, however TomTom says I did so for a quite long time.
    295f3ece-2453-444b-8cf3-976a684a1965.png
  • SimiaSimia Posts: 20 [Outstanding Wayfarer]
    It's a shame that TomTom refuses to recognize this as an actual problem and provide proper fix.
  • MarijeSiemannMarijeSiemann Posts: 3 [Neophyte Traveler]
    I tested running while using the cycling activity yesterday, but alas, the instant speed was just as bad as when using the running activity.

    I did a long slow distance run at a fairly constant speed yesterday as well, to test whether slow adjustment to the current speed might be the problem. It isn't. See the image below (MA60 is a moving average calculated from the last 60 seconds):
    8d0dcb68-2350-4cdd-9cb7-62f01ff5b333.png

    The average speed was 11.05 km/h. But the average speed, calculated from the instant speed according to TomTom during the whole activity, is 10.15 km/h. So, instant speed is about 1 km/h too low on average during the whole run, which is not acceptable in my opinion. The instant speed is of course a balance between an acceptable level of accuracy and response as MikkoK points out, but whether you choose for fast response or a more acceptable level of accuracy, the average of the instant speed during the whole run should still be very close to the real average. Independent from this balance.

    Anybody with ideas how we can get a serious response from TomTom? I've sent them a message via Facebook, but they don't respond to it. Maybe reacting on posts on their FB page? That's more public.
  • SimiaSimia Posts: 20 [Outstanding Wayfarer]
    Looking at this topic and other on the forum I think TomTom won't care about out complains. Probably they won't care until people start returning their watches due to this defect.
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