Let's just get something out of the way from the get go, I am a map geek - and pretty much a geek in general. Although there definitely are times and places where I loathe connectedness and technology invading my life, and although I have spent the better part of my life as an athlete pursuing two different sports to a high level, reliably keeping a training log...this has eluded me for the better part of my life. All our e-things and iThings are making this much easier.

Granted, I am willing to admit, there very well may be better things out there, but right now I am having a decent experience with a combination of a Garmin Heart Rate Monitor, Polar Bluetooth Heart Rate monitor strap, and the various MapMyFitness applications on my iPhone.

Why do I have all these devices? The Garmin heart rate monitor I picked up a few years ago, and I actually think the Garmin Connect website is pretty decent. It does require syncing fairly regularly to have the data available in the website, something I am kind of bad with since it requires a USB dongle. This means I have to find the USB dongle, which I seem to be able to find about a third of the time when I want it.

The upside is this device fits on my wrist. I do not have to carry my phone, and it is waterproof, so it is good for paddling workouts. The downside is the syncing issue.

Recently I started running with my three month old son in our Bob stroller after work. Carrying my phone is not outrageously difficult when running with my son, just toss it in the stroller. Since I had picked up the Polar Heart Rate strap a while back, I decided to use MapMyRun for tracking workouts. After all, I am carrying my phone along already anyway.

Investigating the website, I discovered MapMy[Run/Hike/Walk/Bike/Fitness] can automatically import from Garmin Connect. This really sweetened the deal for me. Now, no matter which device I head out the door with, I have one dashboard for looking at my workouts, MapMyWhatever. This I definitely like.

Also, MapMyWhatever also provides the capability to publish a calendar in Google Calendar. Since Google Calendar is what I typically use to plan my training week, I really like this feature. It allows me to compare what I am doing to my plan and use this in planning the coming week.

Finally, although I am an absolutely terrible developer, I do like the idea, if I decide to get really froggy and dig into development, I can tie into this data myself through an API. As a GIS geek, MapMyWhatever also peaks my interest since the API provides access to the route geometry. In theory I conceivably can tie into my account and pull all my routes out as true spatial data for more advanced mapping and analysis.

Right now though, I am sold on being able to head out the door with whatever device meets my needs for the activity and workout I have in mind. Once back home, I then have all my data in one place for tracking and with the Google Calendar integration, my data available for planning training. MapMyWhatever, for right now at least, is providing the best solution for my fitness tracking and planning needs. Although my training is nowhere near as serious as it used to be, I now am tracking my training better then ever before.