Round the Bays with the Samsung Gear S3 – Training Part 1

Every now and then you put in a review request and the response you get isn’t quite what you were expecting. That was pretty much what happened when a routine review request to check out the Samsung Gear S3 was sent off to the lovely PR peeps. When the reply came the chance to review the Gear S3 frontier was offered BUT this would/is no ordinary review. The Gear S3 is a fitness device as much as it is a smartwatch so for this reviewer it’s all about the fitness. Samsung have entered me into Round the Bays, an 8.4km run in Auckland which is coming up in just over a week and I’m one unfit gamer/geek.

To help me on my way and while waiting for the Gear S3 to arrive, Samsung set me up with a running coach, Sam from Getrunning. Last Saturday I went off for a running session with Sam so he could get a guage of my fitness levels then set up a program for me. After that session, my heavy breathing, bright red face and tight legs confirmed that I am super unfit, who would have thought that sitting on the couch gaming would cause that?!

In any case Sam set me up with a daily run program that mixed running and walking for around 30-40 minutes and so my journey to not keel over during Round the Bays began on Monday with my first session on my own. I didn’t have the Gear S3 yet so I took out my trusty iPhone with its Health App and used the timer to help me stick to each run/walk interval on my program. During the run one thing became apparent, trying to run with a Plus sized iPhone in hand isn’t particularly comfortable. When I got home, sweating profusely and breathing heavily I checked the data in Health and discovered an acute lack of quality information. Of course for Health on an iPhone to show useful data it needs third party apps to feed into it and that just plain annoyed me. The most data I could find was the distance I ran but the time breakdown was basically just a graph so not a lot of transparency there. It was exactly the same when I ran on Tuesday, phone in hand worrying about dropping it and getting the same data. Sure I could have installed running apps but I don’t want my phone filled with apps that are just going to feed into Health anyway.

The Tuesday session proved how unfit I am when I tweaked my knee and walk/limped home after 23 minutes of a 30 minutes session. Wednesday, walking was laborious so I skipped the run to give the knee some rest and that worked in well with the Gear S3 arriving.

I popped the Gear S3 on and that bright OLED screen lit up. I installed the Gear and Samsung Health apps on the iPhone (because of course Apple won’t let them work with its own Health app). And I was up and running (no pun intended).

When I went out for a run on Thursday, I was able to leave the iPhone at home and just make use of the Gear S3. A liberating experience to not run holding that big handset and worry about breaking it. I had the stopwatch running so that I could time my intervals and had the Samsung Health app set to track my running. That is my only run with the watch so far and I’ll be the first to admit I can get more out of the watch but it’s great to have information about the run coming in whilst running. Seeing the distance run as I’m running is very helpful and gives me a gauge of how I’m looking for Round the Bays. My goal is to (on two weeks training) complete the 8.4km in under an hour so to able to see how far I’ve ran while I’m out there training gives me a good guide as  to how close or far off I am from achieving my goal which is a big plus of the Gear S3.

I’ve got another session with Sam tomorrow (Saturday) so that will be another chance to assess if I’ve made improvements since that first session. I’ve also got another full week to train on my own and make use of the Gear S3 to help me prepare for my training so expect another update next week where I’ll be able to talk more about more useful functions and tips for training I’ve found using the Gear S3.

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