Moving fast without getting lost – maps on an Amazfit GPS

The Amazfit Pace was one of the earliest watches to include GPX track uploading for navigation. When I bought my first non-Casio, it was also something I could afford, half the weight of comparable options, and beautifully designed. Over the last three years, it has been durable enough to handle 9,000+ mi of road/trail abuse and accompany me on dozens of PRs, from a 4:21 mile all the way to my breakout ultra at the 2018 Backcountry Rise 50k.

That last race is noteworthy because I ran off trail (up a gully!) at a washed out turn and bushwhacked for 15 min back to the route by following the uploaded course track. I retook the lead two hours later with a few lessons learned – my training had finally clicked and having a GPS “wrist-map” saved the day.

This is a great piece of technology that is both trail and office-ready (and not just in Seattle, where “dress-code” is a confusing term). For the Trail World Championships, I switched to the Amazfit Stratos (instead of the Pace) and everything worked as reliably as expected. The main differences of the Stratos:

  • Physical buttons for taking splits
  • Submersible, waterproof
  • Slightly bigger (but still unnoticeable on my wrist)

​Whether you are out for a race, mountain training jog, city tour (Paris!), or neighborhood park hopping, the combination of Strava’s Route Builder and Amazfit’s track uploading opens the doors to pretty much any exploration you can imagine. Here’s how I get there, wherever “there” may be ->

Connect watch to computer with USB cable
Click to build a route (and automatically snap to trails) with Strava’s Route Builder. The global heatmap feature is useful for confirmation that people do actually travel specific trails.
Export route to computer in .gpx format or find your route from a different source (race routes are often published on official websites)
Copy the .gpx file to the Amazfit watch’s internal \gpxdata folder.
Start a run as usual, select the route on the watch in Settings (before pushing “Go”).
Navigate!
Worry less, enjoy the views more. 🙂

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