New Badges!

As of today, there’s now 35 more badges that you can earn on Smashrun! Here’s what you need to know.

The Smashrun Pro badge series are the first badges where you can choose which runs count towards them. Basically, you can choose to earn them based on your registration date (that means we calculate the badges retroactively so you might earn a lot of them immediately) or based on the day you unlock them (such as from today onwards).

Some badges – like the travel series – are harder to earn if you’re starting from today, so you may be tempted to calculate your new badges based on the date you registered. But if, like many other Smashrunners, you have a long and multifaceted training history, you might find that you’ll earn at least half of all the new badges if you set the calculation to your registration date.

Either way – it’s up to you. And, if you change your mind, you can switch your badge calculation date for the Pro series on your profile settings. Below are the details on the new badge series!

Explore the World

travel-series

For runners who often go on “destination runs” or have the willpower to run while on vacation, there’s now a set of badges for travelers. Think of them as a good excuse to run in a new city, or just extra motivation to bring your running shoes the next time you schedule a trip abroad.

Astronomical Phases

astronomical-phases

There are early birds and there are night owls. Then there are those who like to schedule their running around sunrise and sunset. We like to think that there’s something a little special about running during certain astronomical phases, so we created the sunrise, sunset, full moon, and solstice badges. You can even start with the Winter Solstice, which is coming right up!

Further to Farther

further-to-farther

Some of these badges can be as challenging or as easy as you’d like it to be. The thought behind it is pretty simple – run a longer longest distance each month. That means it’s up to you. You can even tailor it to a training plan you’ve got in mind. Or you can use it as motivation to build up for your next event.

Pace Variability

pace-variability

Pacing, as a strategy, is one of the most successful ways to set personal bests. The pros swear by it. There’s empirical evidence to back it. And, honestly, it just makes a lot of sense. So, consider these as training badges towards your next several personal bests!

Alternating Days

alternating-days

We did the streaks, extended the streaks, and went as far as challenging runners to do a Leap Year Sweep! (By the way, 2016 is a Leap Year, if you want in on that badge.) This time, we’re rewarding runners who have a different kind of stick-to-it-ness. When you’re trying to break out of a rut, you need consistency. And running every other day is not a bad place to start.

Elevation Gained

elevation-gained

You can now earn an Everest badge! And you don’t even have to earn it in one single run. You get a whole month to stack up your elevation gains. If you’re not much of a hill runner – time to shake things up!

Great Ascents

great-ascents

These are harder than the elevation series. You have to earn each badge in one run. Just think of how awesome your legs and glutes will look after ascending the tallest man made structure in the world sans elevator.

Whew! Hopefully, these badges can keep you motivated during the dreadmill months!

UPDATE
Gareth Beavis is going to attempt to earn every single Smashrun badge in 2016. He’s tilting at windmills, foolhardy at best and totally insane at worst, but I can’t wait to read about his attempt in his regular column on TechRadar.

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FitnessSyncer Integration

Smashrun is now integrated with FitnessSyncer, a cloud synchronization service that helps you consolidate and publish your fitness data into multiple platforms. It’s free and it automatically syncs your activities, and lets you back it up on Amazon S3 or DropBox, every night. If you’re using a Withings scale, you can also use it to keep your weight data up-to-date on Smashrun!

How it works

To set it up, register an account on https://www.fitnesssyncer.com/sign-in and click on Account. You need to add each data source and destination separately. You can also apply filters to each source so that you’re only grabbing the activities you want to include.

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When you add Smashrun as a Destination Task, set it as Type: “Synchronize with Service” > Sync Type: “Activity” > Destination: “Smashrun” > Save. FitnessSyncer will then grab your activities from the source and push them to Smashrun every night.

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 5.21.12 PM

FitnessSyncer supports a lot of different apps and, uniquely, Google Fit, Microsoft HealthVault, FitBit, and MapMyFitness. It also lets you schedule a weekly email report that gives you a summary of all your different fitness activities, whether it’s running-related or not. Give it a go and let us know if you have any questions!

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Exclude bad HR and bad elevation

Last night, in preparation for next week’s release, we added two new tags within the By Run page that allows you to exclude bad elevation and/or HR data from any runs. So, in the event that you lose GPS, find yourself with spiky elevation or HR, you can just click on the “Bad Elevation” or “Bad HR” tag and we’ll remove it!

Matterhorn

Here’s how it works

You can use the tags for personal reference (e.g. they won’t recalculate anything) or you can use the tags to actually remove the data from any calculations or visualizations where they apply.

For Smashrun Pro users, you will be prompted if you’d like to exclude elevation data from the Overview pages, the Pro Map, the Change in pace over route chart, and your Training Bands. If you click “no”, the elevation data isn’t actually excluded – it just highlights the tag.

For HR data, both Pro and non-Pro users can click on “Bad HR” to exclude HR data from a particular run. That means it will no longer show up on your pace chart. If you’re using Smashrun Pro, we’ll also exclude HR from the Pro Map and your Training Bands.

Note: if you’ve ever run with a friend and you’ve had to use their data because your watch died or your app flaked in the middle of the run, you can also use the bad HR tag to remove their HR in case they happened to track it.

And, if you mistakenly apply either tag, you can undo it by deselecting the tag(s).

We hope you find them useful!

There are also a few fixes and additions
  • For Smashrun Pro users, when you double-click a highlighted segment on the pace chart, it now auto-zooms into that segment within the Pro Map
  • We now detect “walks” and “run/walks” and have adjusted the way cadence is displayed for them in the Pro Map
  • “Walks” will have the “fastest similar walks” instead of “fastest runs of a similar distance” displayed in By Run
  • Duration is now displayed on the List page

As always, if you notice anything out of the ordinary, let us know by emailing us at hi@smashrun.com.

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Caledos Runner Integration

Caledos-Smashrun integration

Windows Phone users can now use Caledos Runner to track runs and auto-send it to Smashrun! Caledos is a free app that supports SensorCore technology and Bluetooth SMART devices. It has built-in audio cues in 9 languages and just recently released live tracking. Setup is super easy, it’s free, and you can even run with it “offline”.

To set it up, load Caledos Runner on your Windows Phone, then:
– go to settings > Share
– select Smashrun > authenticate
– enabling sharing

Caledos Settings
Sharing Enabled

After each run, when you click save, you’ll be prompted to share your run to Smashrun!

Share run

Make sure you give it a go if you’re on the lookout for a Windows Phone running app! The developers are also pretty cool and they are quite keen to hear from their users. Just check out their ongoing collection of postcards from runners all over the world.

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New outdoors map

When Mapbox released their Run, Hike, Bike map, we thought it would be a step closer towards better route discovery. Yet, we found that it didn’t really do a good job of highlighting the information that runners might care about most.

At our default zoom level when displaying your run, you don’t really see much. And the streets, regardless of whether or not it’s a main thoroughfare or a motorway, are virtually indistinguishable.

run, hike, bike

This is okay for a minimalist map, but we wanted it to be better. So we switched over to Mapbox’s Outdoors map, which includes the same elevation detail, but with greater landcover data so it’s easier to discover trails, hikes, or footpaths that are off the beaten track.

Then we modified it to de-emphasize anything that runners don’t really care about such as:

  • miscellaneous points of interest including shops, hospitals, universities, etc.
  • colorful building outlines
  • green areas that you can’t actually go to (like areas of tourist attractions)

Afterwards, we differentiated the main roads and motorways from streets and highlighted any footways, paths, designated hikes, and trails (they’re all some shade of dotted green line) – basically, any place where you can probably run, you’ll be able to find it. Bike paths are shown as red dotted lines for anyone who wants to avoid them (or for the duathletes among us).

We toned down the colors (a lot), adjusted the level of detail per zoom level, included some additional basic points of interest like tramways, and railways – if you really zoom in, you’ll find the cafe’s (for the early birds) and bars (for the night owls). And now we’ve got a slightly better map for planning runs and viewing them as well!

outdoor-runner

Of course, all of this data is entirely based on Open Streetmap (OSM), which is open sourced. So, if you see something missing or incorrect, you can just create an account/login on OSM and sort it out!

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Ghostracer integration

smashrun-ghostracer

Ghostracer is now directly integrated with Smashrun! This is hugely exciting for two reasons.

First, Ghostracer is just an all around great Android app. It’s primary feature which allows you to race against “ghost runners” representing previous runs is pretty killer. But what’s really exciting is its untethered integration with the Sony Smartwatch. This means you can run without your phone and then seamlessly upload the run to Smashrun when you get back home. And, since it’s directly integrated, there’ll be no worries about picking up pauses, heart rate, cadence, or elevation.

You can download it for your Android phone and/or Smartwatch from here. It’s also super easy to get in touch with the app’s developer on Ghostracer’s community page.

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Monthly cumulative elevation

This week we’ve added cumulative monthly elevation gain for Smashrun Pro users. It comes with a handy animation that can help you spot which months had lots of elevation gain relative to total distance run. Also, the tooltips on many of the overview charts now include a line for total elevation. Of course, time spent at grade (in the Pro Training Bands) is still the most comprehensive view for hill training, but this provides a far more familiar metric. It’s also possible that you might find it useful for tracking your progress toward earning elevation based badges…should such badges materialize in the semi-near future.

elevation

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Export from TomTom

If you’re running with a TomTom Sportwatch then you’ve probably been syncing first to Nike+ and then to Smashrun. This setup is, obviously, less than ideal. To get the best data quality, you want to get it as close to the source as possible. As the data passes through Nike+, it’s frequently compromised or corrupted entirely. To resolve this, we petitioned TomTom to get access to their API but, unfortunately, we were turned down.

Luckily, a Smashrun user has solved the problem for everyone by writing an application called TTWatcher that runs on your computer and automatically reads your runs from your watch when you connect it and sends them to Smashrun (and other running sites). If you’ve got a TomTom watch, you should absolutely take a moment to read this blog post about how to use it (spoiler: It’s incredibly easy). Also, don’t forget to take a second to “Star” the Github repository.

If you’re a developer and you want to start a similar project to get data from your device and send it to Smashrun, shoot us an email at hi@smashrun.com.

Update: The OSX build can be found here: https://github.com/altera2015/ttwatcher/releases/tag/v1.7.0

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Splits on the by run page

We’ve just added splits to the by run page. Check it out there’s pretty spiffy animation.

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You can also easily highlight and scrub across to see multi-mile/km splits. And pro users can see their elevation splits as well and open up any split in the Pro Map for further analysis.

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Tag Cooper tests for VO2

Cooper test

Cooper test

A Cooper test is a benchmark run that you can use to estimate your VO2 max. It’s pretty simple. You go to a track. Then, well, you just start running like a crazy person until the 12 minutes are up. That’s pretty much it.

The problem is that unless you’re a professional athlete running 12 minutes at maximal effort will pretty much grind you to dust. Don’t even consider doing it if you have the slightest worry about your heart, or if you still have weight to cut, or if you’ve recently recovered from an injury. But if you’re feeling pretty good about you’re training a Cooper test will set an important benchmark, when you look back for years to come you’ll know the answer to what you were really capable of.

If you’re a Smashrun pro user you can tag your run as a Cooper Test and you’ll get a special view of your run on the by run page. You’ll see an estimate of your VO2Max, and a rating of your VO2 Max based on your age/gender. You’ll also be able to compare this Cooper test to other ones you’ve run in the past.

This week we also added a new setting on the profile page to make all of the labels brighter on the report pages. When you set it, the pages might be a little less clean looking but they’ll definitely be easier to read.

High contrast labels

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