iPhone 6 Plus: Marathon Edition

Yesterday I ran the Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, PA. I will have a write-up of the race itself soon, but one aspect I wanted to cover specifically was the use of my new iPhone 6 Plus during the race. This was my first race, marathon or otherwise, since I got the new phone. Running with the supersized phone was my biggest concern about the new device. I knew the extra inches would not be a problem for my pockets, but distance running was potentially another story.

I have been an avid RunKeeper user for many years, and use it to track everything from a short weekday run to all of the now nine full marathons in which I have participated. Early on I would wear my iPhone in a belt clip while running, but I quickly switched to an armband as I found it much more comfortable during longer races. The one downside to the armband is that it limits access to the phone. I solved this problem for the iPhone 5 by using the Marware SportShell. This had the phone in a case that could easily be detached and reattached to the armband, even while running. I loved this armband, but unfortunately they seem to have killed it off as I find no mention of it on their site, even for the older phones, much less the new ones.

So instead I went with the Griffin Trainer armband, mainly due to the fact that it was one of the first available. It’s an okay armband, but I don’t love it. I did find it reasonably comfortable. Yes you can feel a little extra weight from the phone, but not very much, and I really didn’t notice it once I got started. But no matter how tight I made it, it seemed to loosen and begin slipping down my arm. There was never a danger of it falling off, and it didn’t bother me once it settled in, but I do wish it had stayed a little higher up. I will probably investigate new armbands once more have a chance to come to market.

I had no issues with RunKeeper. Early on in iOS 8 it was having some stability issues, but I am happy to report that recent updates solved these problems. Stats from RunKeeper were visible on my Pebble watch, and there were no issues with disconnections. I also listened to podcasts the entire way using Overcast. I think I made it a whole episode further thanks to Smart Speed being on. My trusty Yurbuds are still going strong. Seriously if you are going to run, these are the headphones.

But the best part of the iPhone 6 Plus on the marathon came in the form of battery life. At the start line I had about 96% battery life remaining. Earlier this year at the Walt Disney World Marathon, I went through two Mophie Juice Packs on my iPhone 5. I was really hoping the 6 Plus would make it all the way to the end. Not only did it, but it still had 49% battery when I crossed the finish line. The only battery saving setting I made was to disable LTE, since it was not likely to be available on much of the course anyway. Otherwise I had Bluetooth on and connected to my Pebble, GPS running the entire time, and audio playing the entire time. And still had 49%! This was amazing. Yes it was a new phone and battery life does diminish over time, but with the iPhone 5, it made it through its first marathon only barely. The iPhone 6 Plus has a much larger battery to power the screen, but the screen wasn’t on for most of the course, meaning all that power got channeled to the other demands.

If you are concerned about running with the iPhone 6 Plus, you probably don’t have to worry much about it, assuming you are otherwise comfortable with the size. Get a good armband that feels comfortable and you should be good to go. And you may actually be able to use it all the way through, no matter how long it takes you to finish. Also, be sure to check out your step count from the M8 coprocessor. Here is mine from yesterday:

45731 steps

iPhone 6 Plus: Marathon Edition was last updated October 13th, 2014 by Michael Truskowski