Running without a smartphone: Alternatives to fitness trackers and smartwatches


Go for a run without a smartphone, smartwatch or fitness tracker while tracking and recording your route? It sounds surreal, but thanks to many approaches, it is already possible.

Like smartwatches and fitness trackers, smartphones can interfere with jogging. We present you alternatives. (Source: Maridav/

Jogging is part of the daily life of an ever-increasing number of people. The morning tour around the lake or in the city park is a must. Many of you are certainly using fitness trackers, smartphones or connected watches to record your route and the time you have run.

But nowadays, there are many approaches that allow running routes to be tracked without an electronic device. Advantage: You don’t have to think about the device or ask yourself questions like “Where to put your smartphone while jogging?”. Below we show you the relevant options.

AlsterRunning: record Hamburg’s most popular running route with a chip

The AlsterRunning system is unique in Germany. In Hamburg, six measuring stations have been set up around the Outer Alster, i.e. on the most popular running route in the Hanseatic city. They can be used to measure time on individual sections of the route as well as the whole.

To the AlsterRunning website

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And here’s how the system works: each registered runner receives a chip that is installed on the shoe under or between the laces. When passing through the measurement station, the chip uses RFID technology to communicate with the induction loops in the ground. The station receives the chip number, which can be uniquely assigned to a rider. The exact time of passage is recorded and saved. Distance time is calculated from this.

Accurate race data in online account

AlsterRunning is free, only the chip costs about 20 euros once. A second chip is available for 10 euros if more than one running shoe is used. You can access data stored in the online portal and share it with others. The site even offers a leaderboard that displays the fastest times of the day and new personal bests.

Useful: According to the website, the chip cannot be used on the Outer Alster only. The software recognizes whether you have also circumnavigated the Binnenalster and also adds the distance. The chip can also be used at many running events in Hamburg. This includes the hella hamburg half marathon, the BARMER Alsterlauf Hamburg and many more.

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