New shortcuts on the by run page

No more flipping back between the run list and the by run page. Woohoo!

Run toolbox

We’ve added some new shortcuts just under the calendar so that you can now easily do all of the following directly from the run view:

  • Publish a run to Facebook or Twitter
  • Edit a run’s details
  • Delete a run
  • View extra details about a run

Weather Updates

Weather on newly imported data should be a bit more accurate now. We’ve fixed some timezone related bugs and we’re also now interpolating the temperature if it falls between 2 readings. So if, for example, you start your ran at 7:15am and finish at 7:45am we’ll take the midpoint of your run (7:30) and get the 2 nearest available readings. These are usually by the hour, but may be much longer depending on where you are. So, we’d grab the 7am temperature and the 8am temperature and since 7:30 is 50% of the way between the two we’d split the difference. If the available weather readings are few and far between or if there’s a sudden change in temperature this can actually make a pretty big difference.

Once we’re sure these changes are working we’ll rerun them historically. There’s definitely some limitations of the weather services we’re using, but hoping this iteration should be much closer to matching reality.

2 comments

Introducing Smashweather

Weather icons
Weather is a part of every run. You may slog through a long, midday run on a steamy August day and wonder why you even bothered. Or perhaps, on the first day of spring after a long winter, that same sun might inspire you to turn a long slow distance into a joyous fartlek. Or an approaching storm, may force you to run it out, only to get caught up in it, soaked through to the bone, leaving you overwhelmed with a glorious joie de vivre, suddenly aware of the natural world and your own glorious track star in training place in it all.

So it seems like we should put it somewhere on your By Run page. For now, we’re using free data sources for the last 30 days of history, and a paid data source for our pro user’s for the last 5 years. It’s actually a pretty mean feat, figuring out if it happened to rain on the particular patch of the planet that you were running across, on the particular hour you were running across it, four and half years ago. If you look at it that way, the data is really not bad. However, I think we might have to build some sort of edit weather functionality at some point so you can correct it when it’s wrong.

The global standards for weather types are super comprehensive. Sure 99% of the weather you might ever run in will fall neatly in the sunny to rainy spectrum you see on your local TV weather report, but what if you find yourself running in (or more likely away from, at top speed) an approaching sandstorm? Fear not! We’ve got you covered! (Well, at least, the reporting-after-the-fact bit. As far as the escaping-getting-sandblasted bit goes, I’m afraid you’re on your own.)

Also, if your run has a significant heat index (usually humidity over 50% and temp > 80F/27C) or a significant wind chill, a small triangle will appear next to the temperature that you can use to cycle your weather to view that effect.

Almost everyone should now be getting their runs updated with new data as you import them (provided they’re not more than 30 days old). And we’ve got a process running now, slowly slogging through all the back data of our pro users over the last 5 or so years, and updating the weather where it’s available. It’s looking like some locations might be having trouble. It just depends on if you’re near a supported weather station or not. We’ll be on the lookout for new data sources, and see if we can improve the data quality for everyone.

To provide the weather data, we’re currently using a combination of weather sources including: ForecastIO and OpenWeatherMap

Also, in this release we fixed the following issues:

  • Safari browser edit run bug
  • Issues with streaks on the one year view
  • Fixes for some extra pause issues with Garmin runs
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June Patch

Last night’s patch should address all of the Nike import issues that some users have been having recently. If your initial sync doesn’t work, please try setting a new minimum import date within settings > synced devices > then sync again.

Email us at [email protected] if you are still getting an error.

Other fixes included in this patch are listed below:

  • Restored the ability to view split data for HR, cadence, & elevation in the Pro Map
  • Negative average pace due to corrupt Garmin data is fixed
  • Editing a run should no longer take you to a run other than the one you just edited
  • Improved tracking for user referrals
  • Pro users can view the colorpicker photo as well (and there’s a new one!) > to view the default pro colorpicker, just exit the colorpicker photo and open it again

For iSmoothRun users: TCX exports that were not importing previously should now work. Some exports from iSmoothRun were missing GPS coordinates early in the run, which triggered an error when Smashrun tried to parse it.

If you’re using iSmoothRun and are still getting an error while trying to import a TCX file into Smashrun, you should give these troubleshooting steps a try (courtesy of iSmoothRun):

  1. Phone’s settings > General > Background refresh > ON and ON for iSmoothRun
  2. Phone’s settings > Privacy > Location services > iSmoothRun > ON
  3. iSmoothRun Settings > Advanced settings > GPS threshold should be 120-150 meters
2 comments

Nike import error

The latest changes on Nike’s site have recently affected certain user accounts, which is causing Nike imports to fail on Smashrun. For those who are affected, we have been informed that Nike Support is currently doing manual fixes on an account-by-account basis.

From what we can tell, the cause appears to be one of three things: (1) the user is unable to log in to Nike’s website with correct credentials, (2) the user gets an error page when trying to view run activities or upon logging in, or (3) the user is unable to load their All Time activity view of their runs on Nike.

If you’re unable to view your stats on Nike’s site because your profile is broken or your activities are not loading, neither can we.

Here’s how to check if your import error is related: log in to Nike’s site > click on Activity > click ALL.

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If it loads the map with all your runs, send us an email – we’ll need to investigate further.

If the loading screen just keeps trying to load, then it’s probably failing.

  • Tweet @NikeSupport and, apparently, they can fix it within the hour
    (thanks, Cecilia!)
  • Or call Nike Support at 800-379-6453 and they can fix it as well
    (thanks, Jonathan!)

Laps and Improved Segment Selection

We’ve made a couple of recent changes to Smashrun’s Pro Map!

  • You can now view laps within the Pro Map if you upload a run from a TCX file*
  • Switching between map filters no longer resets pace buckets/ HR zones etc
  • Mouse over filter will only show the overlay for the selected segment
  • Selecting segments, splits, or laps can be reset
*This is really the first step towards broader support for lap data. Two things to note: (1) laps will not be retroactively added to previous runs imported as a TCX file and (2) if you’ve got more than 28 laps, it’ll overflow from the container so… we’ll fix that.

Retain selection between filters

Reset splits, laps, and segments

We also included a small section at the bottom of the settings > sync page where you can tweet at some of your favorite apps/devices to help us convince them to integrate with Smashrun!

9 comments

Custom Zones, GAP, and New Reports

The Spring Headliner Features are out and we also released a pretty big patch! Let’s start with the good stuff.

Spring Headliners

This quarter, the three contenders are Custom Training Zones, Grade Adjusted Pace, and Dynamic Run Reports. We also added the ability to comment on each feature using Disqus and you can basically post as long as you have an account with them or using your Facebook, Twitter, or Google account.

Some quick guidelines:

  • Do feel free to share your thoughts on the value of a particular feature.
  • If you have suggestions for improving the feature concept, try and back it with links or references to convey your point across.
  • Keep it constructive. (That’s it!)

If you have a request for a different feature, please email us and we will respond directly. Remember that smaller features will not make it into the Headliners, but that doesn’t mean it’s not on our schedule already, so let the voting begin!

Now for the other good stuff. Last night, we also released a patch that should sort out most of the reports we got following the last release. Here are the details:

  • Facebook posts manual runs: Manual publishing is back in order. There are so many different permutations of how this can work and not work depending on browsers, your publishing settings, auto poster edits, etc. so please keep an eye out. If you spot something weird, email us.
  • Facebook explicit sharing and comments are approved: Theoretically, this means that when you post, Facebook will now float that post to the top of your news feed. It should also include your auto poster comments or manual comments that you entered in the Facebook pop-up before you clicked “Publish”.
  • HR, Streaks and Hill Difficulty on FB: We had a few users in the past ask about including additional metrics to the Facebook auto poster so we added streaks, average and max HR, and hill difficulty. By default, hill difficulty will just show up every time you publish a run with a hill difficulty of 4 or greater. The others, you’ll find them in your Facebook settings within Smashrun > scroll to the bottom > click “show format codes”
  • Nike+ Prompt to Publish Fixed: We had a few users that didn’t get their prompt to publish when posting Nike+ runs to Facebook. This should be resolved.
  • Import confirmation time zone and streaks: You should no longer get “undefined” errors for the Run Facts or weird time zone insights about your run. Yay!

Stay awesome, Smashrunners!

4 comments

New features and lots of fixes for April

Last night we released some new features and a patch that addresses several issues concerning the Garmin importer, delayed ranks, and import notifications, among others.

Below is the detailed list of all the feature additions and fixes for this release!

Elevation graph for Smashrun Pro users
Upon request from one of our Pro users (thanks, Adam S.!), we decided to include the elevation profile within the Pro Map. Now, when you click on the hill grade filter, the graph will show the actual shape of the elevation gain/loss. Mousing over it will show the percentage grade while the actual elevation at each point is reflected on the map.

Smashrun Pro Elevation Graph

Unlockable background images
To give users slightly more control over the look and feel of their profile, we’re introducing unlockable background images based on the number of badges you’ve earned on Smashrun! Smashrun Pro users and Founding Members will have exclusive access to certain backgrounds. To check out which background images you’ve unlocked, just go to your settings profile page.

Background image setting location

To change your background image, just select one that you’ve already unlocked, click OK, and you’re good to go.

Background image options

Run facts after importing new runs
Similar to Smashrun’s “notables”, we recently added Run Facts which appear after you import a new run. We calculate them based on identified patterns after comparing your new run(s) against your historical data, so you’ll know when you log a run that’s faster, slower, shorter, or longer than your usual runs.

Run fact

If you’re a Pro user, we’ll also let you know about patterns involving your best performing runs based on SPI, HR, and pace variability.

Import zip files
Previously, bulk imports could only be done by combining several runs within a single TCX file. Now you can import a zipped file that includes several GPX/TCX files! The process for uploading the file is the same as a standard GPX/TCX upload: mouse over the gear icon on Overview and select “Import file”.

Note: If you’re uploading treadmill runs, before you zip the files – make sure that they’re in TCX format, because GPX only includes latitude and longitude points. Treadmill runs would essentially produce “blank” GPX files. They won’t have any of your run data.

Import file

Share Smashrun Pro Maps
Adding #map at the end of a unique run’s URL will allow you to share that run’s map. This makes it easier for visitors to go straight to the Pro Map features. Check out one of my recent runs: http://smashrun.com/jacklyn.giron/run/994673#map. Of course, the URL wouldn’t work if your privacy setting is set to hide your run map details.

Facebook posts use Open Graph API
Smashrun has just integrated the latest version of Facebook’s Open Graph API so you can now share a map of your run and view your monthly totals on Facebook. However, there are a few caveats: Facebook needs to approve us to pass your custom comments (part of the Facebook auto-poster) and they also need to approve us for “explicit sharing”. Otherwise, your posts will not always show up on your news feed.

It doesn’t mean that it didn’t post, Facebook’s API is just making a decision on whether or not to display it… when it feels like it.

First, you’ll need to re-authorize Smashrun to post your runs from your Facebook settings page. The next time you post a run, it will look a bit different. You can choose to hide your map and/or your pace. There might be a short lag after you click “Publish” (we’ll add a spinner in our next release) – you’ll get a notification that it was successfully published to Facebook.

FB_post

By default, it will display your map, distance, speed, pace, and duration.

Facebook post

Also, this is only a theory but, if you like your own Facebook post, it’s more likely to show up in your friends’ news feed as well. A little trickery for Facebook’s API! We’ll update everyone as soon as the auto-poster content is back in business.

New colorpicker
Smashrun users will have access to a new colorpicker this month (thanks, Frank C.!). If you have your own colorful running-related photo that you’d like us to consider, send us an email at [email protected]. You could earn the colorpicker badge.

Beta support for Magellan Active sync
If you’re running with a Magellan Echo, Magellan Switch or Magellan Switch Up, you can now sync your data to Smashrun.

Magellan Sync

Currently, we’re still in the early stages of Magellan’s integration, but it should be stable enough to import your runs without any trouble. Please let us know if you find otherwise. The setup process can be done from the bottom of the settings synced devices page.

Additionally, if you have a bunch of FIT files that you would like to import into Smashrun, you can also upload those files into Magellan Active and then sync them with your Smashrun account.

As mentioned, there were also a lot of fixes that went out into this release. For those interested, here’s the quick rundown:

* Fixed the delay in ranks
* New Zealand Time Zone issue is fixed (thanks, Peter S.!)
* Optimizations to the Garmin importer for treadmill runs and re-importing old runs
* Custom fix to Garmin’s reversed SumDistance errors
* Facebook auto-post will now post runs imported via email
* Goal setting deadline is now set to midnight for the 1st day of the subsequent month
* Removed auto-fill for goals
* If you lose HR data during your run, it will no longer zero out on Smashrun
* SPI for deleted runs no longer show up in Pace Trends (or on the Trailing 90-day SPI)
* Hidden data will no longer show up for fastest runs of a similar distance
* Badge and import notifications should no longer overlap
* Blog post notifications are dismissed once clicked
* Email imports won’t send email message if at least one importable file is attached (thanks, Terry G.!)

Thanks to everyone who reported bugs. Your feedback helps us keep Smashrun in good shape. If we missed anything, please send us an email and we’ll try and include it in our patch.

12 comments

“Heartbleed” vulnerability update

It is possible that you have read the news this week of a serious security vulnerability in the “openssl” library that undergirds a large amount of SSL/TLS traffic on the internet: CVE-2014-0160 is the official reference to what is being called the “heartbleed” vulnerability. It was named such because the specific problem is with the OpenSSL library’s implementation of the new heartbeat extension built into the TLS/DTLS protocol. Exploiting this vulnerability permits a remote attacker to read the memory of an impacted system remotely, without leaving a trace.

Yes, it is a scary bug: Smashrun Ops takes security very seriously. There are two important things to note at this time.

1. The infrastructure directly supporting, and with access to, your customer data was not impacted by this security flaw at any point in time. The tier that handles your login and demographic information, and the certificate that encrypted your credit card information, were not impacted because that infrastructure does not use the openssl library at all.

2. Smashrun owns supporting infrastructure, that does not have direct access to customer data, that was running a vulnerable version of OpenSSL. This infrastructure has been completely patched, and is believed to be exploit-free.

We thank you for trusting us with your personal information. And we thank you for your continued patronage.

Smashrun Ops

Winter Headliner Voting Results

It’s the end of Winter and the start of Spring! That means it’s time to tally the votes and start work on last season’s Headliner Feature.

For those who are unfamiliar with Headliner Features – it is how we highlight some of the most frequently requested functionality on Smashrun. I say some because Smashrun gets a lot of requests for new features.

(And we do keep track of every request and every user who requested it.)

Many of these are generally small: fixes, and tweaks to existing functionalities that often make it into our smaller releases. Yet, we also receive requests that are much larger in scope: features that require months of development and testing. These are the ones that make it into the Headliner Features and that will, ultimately, become a part of Smashrun Pro.

Our first round of voting just ended this month and we will start building Progress Towards Goal (yeah!). In the next few weeks, we will put up the next set of Headliner Features and add the ability to comment on each one. The goal is to foster a discussion around each feature so that, if it gets the most votes, it is built to the specifications that make the most sense to our users.

Updates will be posted along the way to keep everyone in the loop!

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Training Bands and Training Volume

Speed has always been my personal struggle. I never think I’m fast enough and I always fall for the same mistake that first-timers make: I do too much, too quickly. I still don’t believe I can ever run a sub-6:00min/mi (<3:43min/km) and hold it for longer than 150 meters, but that hasn't stopped me from trying to become better at getting there.

To improve, we learn to push our limits until we pass certain thresholds, just enough to stimulate adaption, but not so much that we cause injury. Consequently, we rely on various forms of measurements to properly manage training load such as training volume, Training Impulse (TRIMPs), Ratings of Perceived Exertion (RPEs), Training Stress Score (TSS), and Training Effect (TE), among others. All of them, in one way or another, attempt to answer the same question: are you training hard enough so that you are improving?

As with all models, they each have their shortcomings, one of which is how averages are frequently used. This is an important point because it is the main difference between every “training score” calculation compared to Smashrun’s Training Bands.

Unlike TRIMPs and all of its variations, Training Bands do not attempt to rate your training effort. Instead, it is a detailed account of your effort distribution. To understand Training Bands, it is best to look at how we approach training sessions.

Tracking Effort Distribution with Training Bands

For the sake of simplicity, imagine that you are planning out your running schedule for the week and you decide to allocate 70% of your training volume to your aerobic zone, 20% to anaerobic, and 10% to your max. The easiest way to track this is to look at individual runs as a session and categorize them in some way such as easy, tempo, and speedwork.

A more granular approach would be to track your effort distribution for one run, which is what most training platforms do. Again, to keep it simple, we will only look at three zones: easy, moderate, and difficult.

Effort distribution for one run.

This is often useful for looking at one run but, when you are training for an event, looking at an isolated instance is less than ideal. One 10 mile run could be broken into multiple segments within the same session to include a warm up, several pick-ups, a short tempo, and a cool down.

How would you quantify the contribution of each of these segments if you’re only looking at each run as a whole? This is where Training Bands do the hard work.

Training Volume by Effort

Smashrun looks at each trackpoint of every run and allocates it to a bucket, which we call a training band. It does this for pace, heart rate, and hill grade. Using our previous example, if we took all of the easy zones from a bunch of different runs and added them up across all runs, we will end up with one training band.

One training band.

This becomes tremendously complex with actual running data, because one run could have thousands of trackpoints. Your entire training history could be hundreds of thousands of trackpoints. Each of those trackpoints go into a specific band. When you combine all the bands together, you get Smashrun’s Training Bands.

Another way of visualizing it is to look at individual area graphs, which you can actually do when you click on specific bands. Each color represents one band. When stacked together, they represent your total training volume.

Area graphs

Training Bands illustrate volume at a different level, because you are not just looking at total duration of all runs. Instead, you are looking at the total duration of runs at different training efforts. Whether you are viewing your Training Bands for pace, heart rate, or hill grade, each band represents how hard you performed, for how long, and for what percentage of your total training.

Combined with training volume based on heart rate zones, it is possible to use Training Bands to get a sense of your training load. This, of course, is not a direct calculation of your load. Instead, it is a quick way to visualize your effort distribution and training intensity over different training cycles.

Scrolling training bands.

As I mentioned in last week’s post about using Pace Trends, overload (the tipping point at which you start to improve) happens with planned recovery periods.

Use Training Bands to see when you spent more time running hard so you can better manage your future training volume.

% tempo

% easy/recovery

Identify the time periods when you did the most speedwork. Did it help your overall training? Or did it set you back because you were too burned out afterwards?

Intervals

Have you ever wondered what someone’s training might look like if they stick to the 10% rule to gradually increase volume? It’s like something out of a textbook.

10% rule

It gets even more interesting when we look at the same person’s Training Bands for heart rate, viewed as a percentage instead of absolute duration. You’ll see that they ran less in the beginning but spent a lot of time near their max, whereas they’re running much more now but spend much less time in the red zone. By running more, aerobic capacity just naturally increased, which is as it should be!

HR distribution.

Training Bands is really where Smashrun bridges the gap between small data (your individual runs) and big data (your total training duration by effort distribution). It is a much more meaningful representation of your training volume because it shows you how every second of every run contributes to your training as a whole.

14 comments