Skip to main content

How to track your run with the Microsoft Band

We've already shown you how to track a workout with the Microsoft Band. Another cool tracking feature is within the Run tile. This tracker is recommended for activities that cover distance. Some examples are running, walking, cycling, or kayaking. Want to see it in action? Watch our hands-on video!

Follow these steps when you're ready to start your run or other activities that cover distance:

  1. On your Microsoft Band, press the power button.
  2. Swipe left, and tap the Run Tile.
  3. Swipe left to see Run with GPS. Turn off GPS if you're running on a treadmill or turn it on if you're covering a distance.
  4. Press the action button to begin. If the GPS is on, the Band is going to try to lock your location. You can run immediately while your band searches for a GPS signal.
  5. When you're done running (or want to take a break), press the action button.
  6. Tap End to stop tracking your run

Just for reference, I ran with the Microsoft Band on a track outside without my phone. It took about 7 minutes to lock my position. This isn't a huge problem since you can run while the Band is searching for your location.

While you're running, the Microsoft Band's display stays on. It shows your duration, calories burned and current heart rate. Swiping down the Band displays your GPS status, current pace, and total distance.

Viewing Stats

On your Band, you can see the stats of your most recent activity. It shows the date of your last run, duration, distance, pace, calories burned, max heart rate, and average heart rate. There's more data available though the Microsoft Health app on your phone. It includes the same data available on your Band, plus:

  • Calories burned with details on fats and carbs burned
  • Average heart rate (High and Low)
  • Recovery Time
  • Map of your route (if GPS was used)
  • Best Split chart
  • Elevation chart

It's recommended that you name your activity so that it's better to identify when checking your history. After a run, head to your most recent run in the Microsoft Health app and tap 'name' all the way at the bottom. Enter a name, and tap Accept.

The run tracker on the Microsoft Band is a great feature if you want to see stats about your runs or other activities. I've run with apps on my phones, but they don't provide information about heart rate. The Microsoft Band helps with that. The Band also lets you leave the phone behind during your run. This is great because phones have been getting bigger.

While there's no official Runkeeper (runkeeper.com) app for Windows Phone, there is Runkeeper integration with the Microsoft Band. It's a very popular fitness tracking service and social network with more than 30 million users around the world. You'll need to add your Runkeeper account within the 'Connected Apps' section in the Microsoft Health app on your phone. Your run data automatically gets uploaded.

Will you be tracking your runs with the Microsoft Band?

Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.

70 Comments
  • Off: WhatsApp app just updated again here version 596 :) (And Adobe Photoshop Express)
  • http://windowscentral.com/commenting-guidelines/
    I know you clearly stated it being off-topic, but still -- the forum is the correct place for this, not here. Especially as the first comment.
  • So, are you a Cop of Guidelines or something?
  • No, but seriously at least the first few comments should be on topic.
  • Lie
  • OK can you get details of which exercises burn the most calories, and how to get your heart rate up.
  • Can anyone tell me what happens if you try to pair the band to an older phone that only had Bluetooth 3.0 instead of the required 4.0?
  • Apparently it works without LE, so it may actually work with 3.0 as well. Speculation however.
  • Daniel said on Try Before You Buy today that it works with windows phones not LE. Though he couldn't confirm other devices.
  • Microsoft needs to sell more so I can buy one. Im so jealous of those who got one. EBay is selling them for $350-400 dollars :/
  • Isn't that crazy? I knew it would take a little bit to get stocked up again but not a whole week, almost. It's not a good deal for me but I am excited to get on with my workouts and track everything.
  • Thanks! That was some good details. Looking forward to tracking my mile times soon!
  • 7 minutes to lock GPS is quite a while, dis you have a clear view of the sky?
  • I was surprised by this too. I may have to test that myself. I don't run much (though the band makes me want to start again) but I will play with it while I am out tomorrow.
  • It takes mine about 30 - 60 seconds to lock on GPS so I guess it varies depending on location etc.
  • Is that with your phone nearby?
  • Yes, in my pocket. I didn't realize that made a difference. I will test it without my phone later.
  • Mark, maybe you can update the story with how long it takes with your phone nearby. That long waiting for a GPS lock is absolutely terrible. Sure you can run while you wait, but you won't have a record of location.
  • Well I just went for a walk without my phone and it locked on to GPS in 5 seconds so I don't think it has anything to do with the phone.
  • Definitely is at least somewhat location dependent, and also on how many nearby trees and buildings there are. For the record, my band consistently takes 5-15 seconds to lock in to a GPS signal. It is consistently WAY faster than any Garmin unit I've had. I'm very happy about that because that was one of the most frustrating things about my Garmin devices.
  • I have a Garmin Forerunner 220 and it takes up to 10min sometimes, they say in the instructions that the more you sync it, the faster it is, and really, after a sync it locks on in seconds, but if i don't sync for a while or change cities, i can take a stroll, warm up, stretch, wait a bit and then start the run.
  • Clothes covering the sensor will affect it too.  I noticed this when goin out with long sleeves on during the winter. Now it locks onto GPS immediately.
  • Pathetic
  • Question from a family member: Can you load custom run workout to the band (e.g. Warm up 5m, run 5m, walk 5m, etc)?
  • I see custom workouts, but not custom run workouts
  • Cool thanks. Was curious if a supported phone app allowed custom run workouts if that could transfer to band.
  • The only problem is the GPS doesn't always work. 2 out of 5 runs it worked for me. The times it worked it locked within 10sec. The other times it was searching the entire hour.
  • In that time that its trying to acquire GPS does it still track distance? I assume it would do it based on steps at that point?
  • Yes
  • Great except use my phone for music as well, so it must go :)
  • I am looking forward to using this on my biking. I stopped using my fitbit, endomondo won't be needed anymore, and when I can add my own guided work outs, I can remove another 2 apps.
  • Right now it is not optimized for biking, with no way for it to show MPH instead of minutes/mile. But it's good for tracking distance and the route and time so not too bad. I trust that an optimized biking app will come soon. And REALLY hoping that Strava will become one of the Connected Apps in the future.
  • I need to run with music, without it I can't focus or tempo. Not that any of that matters because the Band isn't available in Australia anyway. I propose that the next Band has music storage and can pair with a bluetooth set of sports headphones (maybe also produced by MS) that could optionally do heart rate monitoring to offload some of the work and provide greater accuracy.
  • That's a completely different device your desiring and not a bad one at that. 
  • Anyone run from full 100% charge to empty? I haven't seen one. I want to confirm how long it takes to drain to empty. I have an impression after how it behaves when you can quick charge it to 80%. It might also take longer if running with GPS from 100-80% then from 80-empty the drain is faster.
  • It takes about 48 hours normally, or 5 hours with GPS. I've used my battery down to 5% with out any loss of function. I only got a warning message.
  • Is the 5 hours with the display on or off? If on (which I'm guessing people do by default), I wonder how much more time one can get out of it by turning the screen off...
  • Thank you! This is very helpful. Is it configurable what metrics to display while you are running?
  • I don't see that option but would love that in an update. I don't like that I have to swipe to see distance. I rather see distance up front and swipe for duration.
  • I bet no runners are in research and development. When you run, your concern is your pace, distance and duration.
  • Those are configurable on the phone app. Go into tiles and hit the pencil icon next to run app. You can edit what is on your screen.
  • Will the health app import historical data from runkeeper etc? All my data is currently on endomondo and it would be a shame to lose it all
  • Information goes from band to runkeeper, not the other way around. You only see most recent run on the band.
  • The health app can't import data at this time. You might be able to import your exportable Endomondo data to Runkeeper, though (although it may be a tedious process). Another issue is that currently, only run summaries (distance and time) are uploaded to Runkeeper. The GPS data, including maps and instantaneous pace, is not uploaded to Runkeeper and currently is only viewable on the phone with the Health app. The Band and Health app also can't export data to a file. That is the biggest letdown for me so far as that makes it impossible to use with Strava, currently. But I trust that functionality will come and otherwise I am really like my Microsoft Band.
  • I use my phone for music... Put Xbox music and 2gb on this, perfect health device!
    What happens if I take my phone connect it to a bt headset? What about in and out of my car? Basically how well does the Band and WP handle connections?
  • I'll be honest, I had a bit of trouble getting the BT connection between my WP and Band to work at first. I ended up power-cycling both of the devices a couple of times, but now it seems rock solid. I have a pair of BT headphones also paired to the phone, and it doesn't seem to have any problems with both devices being connected simultaneously. I agree it would be nice to have the ability to play music right from the Band, but I don't think there's nearly enough on-device storage for that. Everything I've seen seems to point to this thing being firmware connected to a bunch of sensors and a display.
  • Great news about Band + headset at the same time. I hope that my devices will work fine together :)
  • 7 minutes to lock on :/ the phone really could help here as it can zero in progressively using cell tower
  • What is the best way to provide feedback and suggestions to Microsoft regarding the Band? Anyone know?
  • They need a user voice!!!!!!
  • Great video Mark. Like the nice touch at the end - i.e. turning over the L930 to show the green back and then your name appears with a green background too. You should make that your signature signoff for all videos!!!
  • Haha I have been trying to do that with my recent videos
  • Keep it going...
  • Also Daniel, I just wanted to point out that when you run, there is a pull-down shade much like the Action Center on WP. It shows the status of the GPS lock and something else which I forgot.
  • The "something else" is distance! Unfortunately the pull-down shade is not persistent, as the Band prioritizes time and heart rate. No biggee...
  • They really need to integrate this with the Health & Fitness app.
  • And/or HealthVault! It was a bit shocking to me that it hasn't been, or that there is no web interface or Windows 8.1 app. But I trust all that will come. Hopefully soon.
  • It gets quicker to find GPS each time. I'm averaging about 10seconds now,much more reasonable.
  • Yes! I was just about to replace my Garmin with a new one, but this is huge!
  • I got the Microsoft Band and was (and probably still will) going to put my Garmins on eBay. The only reason I haven't yet is because currently there is no way to export GPS data from the Microsoft Band to, say, a .GPX file that can be imported into Strava or other apps for granular post-run analyses. You can't even mount the Microsoft Band as an external drive and find the .GPX files corresponding to your runs like you can with a Garmin device. So for use with Strava you still might want to use your Garmin instead. Or your phone. That said, for the other 90% of all runners who aren't so serious about data analyses, I'd recommend the Microsoft Band over any Garmin. For them, the amount of data provided in the Health App (map overview, elapsed time, distance, mile splits, max HR and average HR) is adequate.
  • Daniel are there any noticeable changes in the Band temperature?
  • Thank you for nice article...I love Microsoft Band
  • Does it have the following features? - Change splits to whatever you like (e.g., 1/2 or 1/4 mile) - Provide a goal for each split and provide feedback if I'm ahead or behind
  • Does it still count the steps while a run and add these to your daily steps?
  • Been doing it since day 1.  It also takes mine a while to lock my GPS.  the first time i thought it didnt work or something, becasue it took like 20 minutes! the next few times its only been like 2-3 minutes.  still not great (should be a few seconds i would hope!), but not bad.  I also love not bringing my phone on a run with my (lumia 1520), but still get all the tracking.     1 other small function it does that i didnt see in the article is that it alerts you on screen and vibration when you hit each mile. pretty cool.  some customization on alerts would be nice (max heart rate, etc) but im sure alot of things are still to come.  loving my band so far!!! GPS on board is huge to me. love tracking my routes without having my phone.  one reason i was looking at the fitbit surge, but now there is no need
  • Kayaking? I can't imagine taking this thing near the water, unless you wrap your arm in a plastic bag.
  • Man I am worried about this guy! Why is his heart rate so high? 180 from just walking on a track?
  • Test
  • 7 minutes isn't a huge problem?! I run 1.5 km in 7 minutes.
  • How can I track a run (route, distance, time etc) without a band?  I have an armband for my mobile which has GPS of course and wireless earbuds.  Any advice as I will get a band 3 in future, would be good to keep all data in one place (Microsoft Health)