Comparing Self-Reported Running Distance and Pace With a Commercial Fitness Watch Data: Reliability Study

Garrett Bullock, Joanne Stocks, Benjamin Feakins, Zahra Alizadeh, Amelia Arundale, Stefan Kluzek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There is substantial evidence exploring the reliability of running distance self-reporting and GPS wearable technology, but there are currently no studies investigating the reliability of participant self-reporting in comparison to GPS wearable technology. There is also a critical sports science and medical research gap due to a paucity of reliability studies assessing self-reported running pace. Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the reliability of weekly self-reported running distance and pace compared to a commercial GPS fitness watch, stratified by sex and age. These data will give clinicians and sports researchers insights into the reliability of runners’ self-reported pace, which may improve training designs and rehabilitation prescriptions. Methods: A prospective study of recreational runners was performed. Weekly running distance and average running pace were captured through self-report and a fitness watch. Baseline characteristics collected included age and sex. Intraclass correlational coefficients were calculated for weekly running distance and running pace for self-report and watch data. Bland-Altman plots assessed any systemic measurement error. Analyses were then stratified by sex and age. Results: Younger runners reported improved weekly distance reliability (median 0.93, IQR 0.92-0.94). All ages demonstrated similar running pace reliability. Results exhibited no discernable systematic bias. Conclusions: Weekly self-report demonstrated good reliability for running distance and moderate reliability for running pace in comparison to the watch data. Similar reliability was observed for male and female participants. Younger runners demonstrated improved running distance reliability, but all age groups exhibited similar pace reliability. Running pace potentially should be monitored through technological means to increase precision.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere39211
JournalJMIR Formative Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • GPS
  • Garmin
  • exercise
  • fitness
  • pace
  • pace distance
  • running
  • running
  • running distance
  • training load
  • wearables


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