DC Rainmaker: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Sports Tech with Ray Maker

One of the biggest advantages of running is that you don’t need a whole lot of equipment to do it.

But because we rely so heavily on the little equipment we do need, most of us would rather go for another run than try to choose between the wide array of activity trackers, GPS watches, and power meters available to us within the ever-growing sport tech market.

That’s where Ray Maker’s tech review blog, DC Rainmaker, can save you the time and energy not only picking the best product for you but also getting the absolute most out of that product.

A longtime runner and triathlete, Ray is arguably the most respected sport tech guru out there, and his climb to the top isn’t what you’d probably imagine.

During his spare time in high school, Ray started a one-man software company developing “programs” we now call apps – work that garnered quite a lot of interest in Ray’s skills.

Long story short, Ray went directly from his high school graduation to a full-time career in technology consulting just 36 hours later.

Yeah. You might say he found his calling.

After 15 years working in the Fortune 500 world, Ray left his job at Microsoft to devote his time to a new passion: helping runners like himself optimize their performance by getting the most out of their gadgets.

From its honest product reviews to its exhaustive how-to guides, DC Rainmaker is an invaluable resource for runners everywhere, and Ray gives us an inside look during today’s episode.


Questions Ray is asked:

4:09 What prompted you to start running?

5:12 What difficulties did you experience on your way to your sub-3:00:00 marathon?

7:50 Are you training for anything right now?

9:21 What did you do before you began tech reviews and your blog?

10:35 How has your blog grown and evolved?

12:26 How does your local Parisian running community engage with you?

14:00 Are you recognized and stopped when you’re back home?

16:41 What does “DC Rainmaker” mean?

18:01 How much time do you devote to reviewing a product?

19:14 How can fitness trackers be used for running and which ones are the best?

21:28 Do you think there are discrepancies between different software platforms and, if so, why?

23:43 Why is there so much variability with accuracy, even with devices from the same manufacturer and what environmental conditions may pose challenges for accurate data capture?

26:38 Which Garmin do you believe has the highest Bang-For-Buck ratio?

28:43 How does Optical Heart Rate monitoring differ from traditional methods and is it more accurate?

31:01 How much weight do you assign to using heart rate for pace-setting?

33:06 What are some of the pros and cons of the Apple Sport Watch, Garmin and GPS Watches and what would you recommend overall?

37:04 What other tips can you share to get more accurate data from our devices?

38:51 How can we prolong the lives of our running watches?

40:04 What is your opinion on power meters and how do they differ from GPS watches?

43:24 Do you think running by power units will ultimately replace running by heart rate?

45:29 Are power and heart rate best used in conjunction with each other?

45:37 What is the most common question runners ask you on your website?

46:45 What’s next for DC Rainmaker?

Quotes by Ray:

“If you’ve got all your friends on Fitbit, then get a Fitbit device. If you’ve got all your friends on Garmin, then get a Garmin device – for activity tracking anyway.”

“For runners, you may want to use an activity tracker actually differently, which is to focus on recovery….because [fitness trackers] can hold you to kind of a limit, so say instead of trying to walk 10,000 steps today, I’m going to try to keep it below two or three thousand steps today.”

“How different watches have their antennas designed usually around the face of the watch or the base of the watch is without the question the biggest thing that will impact accuracy on that watch.”

“I’d say the biggest bang for your buck right now is probably the vivoactive HR or the new vivoactive 3 that was just announced.”

“I think like anything else, you want to keep doing new and innovative things. And so as different areas of the market place stagnate or kind of become the same, I’m going to find other areas to dig into – whether that be running power or running efficiency metrics or whatever it may be – I’m going to dig deeper into those areas and see what pops out of them.”

Take a Listen on Your Next Run

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Mentioned in this podcast:

Follow Ray on Twitter
Follow Ray on Instagram
Reviews.com: The Best Fitness Trackers Ranked
Garmin Connect
Apple Watch Collection
Garmin Watch and Wearable Collection
La Parisienne Women’s Race

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