Need a new running app?

If you’re in the market for a new running app (as I suspect many of you are) we’ve just gotten word that iSmoothRun has slashed its price by a whopping 60% for the next couple days. So for $1.99 you can get a rock solid app that exports directly to Smashrun, Dropbox, and a ton of other running sites.

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Smashrun API Integration Bounty

When we started Smashrun we thought data viz + badges + running = awesome. But what we didn’t know then, was that we’d literally spend 80% of our time building a data aggregation platform against a quicksand of constantly changing API’s. Or that we’d be begging, buying and pleading our way just to be allowed access to any data in the first place. The remaining 20% of the work we’ve done has resulted in everything most people think of as Smashrun. It’s insanity. When you record a run, it should be just like taking a picture. You should own the finished product and you should be able to post it to any site you want.

So here’s the deal. We want life to be easier for our users. We want you to have great data. We want you to able to use any website or app you want without worrying about how it’s going to mess up your training history. So we’re offering a bounty to any app that integrates with Smashrun.

We have a great API. Its design is the product of learning from the work we’ve done with dozens of other fitness API’s. It favors data quality, simplicity, efficiency, and robustness — in that order. It’s vanilla OAuth. Some developers have built an integration with it in less than a day, and we’ve got tools to make debugging easier.

  • Integrate with our API and send data smoothly and seamlessly immediately after a user finishes their run.
  • Provide high quality data that users can use to analyze their run:
    • Send the data in JSON format
    • Encode pauses and laps
    • No resampling!
    • Include HR, Cadence and other details if you have them available
  • We’ll feature your app, so that our users can discover it.
  • Agree to our super straight forward terms of service.
  • You can send data to any other sites you want, the more export options the better for everyone.
We’ll pay $5/yr for every Smashrun Pro user who uses the app integration.

Note: People may use many different apps, so see full terms.

This is, naturally, subject to approval and applies only to mobile apps and hardware devices, not fitness syncers – you must be the originator of the data.

So please spread the word!

Please tell your favorite apps or, if you’re a developer, maybe now’s a great time to build your own.

Apply for access to the Smashrun API and let us know if you’re interested in the app integration bounty.

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GARMIN UPDATE
We’ve finished the initial development of the new Garmin API Autosync integration. We’ll begin a very short beta period after Garmin flips the switch next week, following which we’ll roll it out to all pro users.

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Nike Run Club sync issue

It appears that the runs from the new Nike Run Club app aren’t made available through the Nike API. Right now, we’re not sure what we can do to get them. Either they’re there, or they’re not. This is frustrating to say the least. Between the recent changes to the Nike website and the new changes to the app we’re hearing a lot of negative feedback, and I’m not sure what the fallout will be. If anyone uses any apps that successfully get data from the new app, please give us a heads up. Right now, it looks like every app we know of that uses Nike data is broken…

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Sale / Fund drive / Garmin Auto-Sync

Help! My paws can't reach the sync button.

UPDATE

The response from everyone has been truly astounding. We’ve already hit our goal, so we’re dropping the donate button – we’re really blown away by the support we received. We’ll keep the sale running to give everyone a chance. Thank you to everyone. We’re super excited to make this a reality.

One last thing. We added FIT support yesterday (mouse over gear in upper right and select import file). This is a prerequisite for the new Garmin API, so if you get a chance to import a test run or two it’d be great to get some feedback/bug reports. For most watches, a FIT file is used to represent the raw data as recorded by the watch, so it’s almost always going to be the best format to import.

—-

Lately we’ve been spending a great deal of time working around Garmin synchronization issues. We sync with Garmin Connect, but we’re not an official Garmin API partner. Official partners pay $5,000 to get files pushed directly from Garmin watches. Thus far, we’ve resisted this route both out of principle and shallow pockets.  But it’s become clear that we’re not in a position to do so much longer. The method we’re currently using has gotten increasingly buggy recently, and it threatens to disappear entirely. We’re going to need to suck it up and make a change.

We’re not a big funded startup. We’re just Jacklyn, Chris and Steve, and we could use your help getting the cash together. So, from now until we raise the needed funds, we’re going to slash the price of Smashrun Pro by 25%. If you’ve thought about buying a Pro Membership for yourself or someone else, then now is a great time. Once we connect to the official Garmin API, Smashrun Pro users will never have to click the sync button again. And, of course, when/if/probably Garmin removes their “unofficial” API, we’ll enable auto-sync for all users.

A few other items:

  • You can now  import FIT files.  It’s beta, not yet rigorously tested, so if you encounter any problems at all, email us the file and we’ll sort it out.
  • The latest version of Garmin Express appears to not be sending duration to Garmin Connect, you’ll notice that your speed graph is missing on Garmin Connect, and since we’re downstream it’s affecting us as well. This resulted in some messed up Garmin imports. We’ve just put a workaround in place, so that we’re using the time of day instead and so far that seems ok. If you’ve had some runs affected this week, you can fix it by importing the TCX file, or shooting us a quick email with a link to the run and we’ll fix it.
  • If you’re a new user from Nike then you may have been affected by a bug that has prevented many older runs from being imported. We just put a fix in place but, to get your older runs, you’re going to have to do a full reimport. If and only if you’re missing runs, you can do an emergency full reimport by setting a far past minimum import date, and then clicking the Nike sync button 3 times,  one after the other. The 3rd time will trigger a full reimport.
  • If you’ve got your user profile set to Private, you can now share your badges and run stats on Facebook. We generate a url with a unique key which unlocks either the badge or stats page, and share that.

UPDATE: Some people asked for a Donate button, so we added one below. (You guys are awesome!)

(We hit the goal, and removed the donate button I can’t believe how quickly and how generously this was received. Excited to start hacking away and building!)
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Demographic ranks update

Demographic Ranks

In the past few weeks, we received over 200 unique suggestions for demographic ranks. They ranged from “3 kids, 2 cars, and a house” to “Borderline Alcoholics” (actually, likely some significant overlap there). If there’s one thing that quickly became clear from this whole exercise, it’s that the ability to create groups is far more interesting than “demographic ranks.” A lot of the suggestions would make awesome groups, but kind of so-so demographic filters (we’re looking at you, Disco Runners). So, the crowd has spoken and been heard, and we’ll plan to add groups to our development timeline.

Nevertheless, demographic ranks is what we promised, and so that’s what we’re working on. The next step is to pare down the list, since a rank needs at least 100 people onboard in order for it function.

To do this, we merged any duplicates and similar suggestions, and we dropped demographics that had less than 10 members. You can imagine that this was a long, drawn-out, and somewhat painful process for us, because who’s to say that “Soft and Sporadic” and “Middle-Aged Beergut Ultra” wouldn’t make good demographics?

If the demographic you chose has been merged with another or dropped because it didn’t have enough votes, you’ll be prompted to choose again. Note that we will keep the traditional demographic categories including: “Everyone”, M/W, M/W < 30, M/W >30, M/W >40, M/W >50, M/W >=60. The custom demographics that resulted from the merge and cut are (drum roll please):

Runners with kids
Desk jobbers
Marathon Training
Clydesdales
Athenas
Newbies
Students
Just for fun
Trail Runners
Ultra-Distance Runners
Run-Walkers
Couch to 5k’ers
Overcoming Chronic Disease
Redditors
Military

A few notes:

  • If enough women hop into any of these groups to carve out a separate group, we’ll break it up.
  • Redditors is a weird demographic. We know. And yes, it flies in the face of pretty much everything we just said about distinguishing groups from demographics but, the thing is, there’s just so many of you. You need a home on Smashrun somewhere so, for now, the ranks it’ll have to be.
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Demographic ranks

Demographic Rank

The Smashrun ranks have always lumped everyone together. Grandmothers are comparing their 5k times to college track stars. It’s pretty discouraging.  So, starting soon, we’re going to calculate individual ranks for distance, discipline, and speed across different brackets. We could have implemented the familiar age and gender related delineations, but in case you haven’t noticed, we like to do things a bit differently.

In a perfect world, brackets would match your peer groups. Who do you really compare yourself to? It might be your fellow ultra-trail runners, or it could be other people working on losing their winter beer belly, or other women who just had their first child. Lines like those are hard to draw, so we need your help.  When you visit the ranks page, you’ll be able to vote for an existing demographic or create your own, and see who joins. After a few weeks, after the dust settles, we’ll take the top 10-20, and make them permanent.

There’s a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.

First, I know it might seem like a site as incredible as Smashrun must have a gazillion users, but there’s actually not all that many of us (I know, I know, we’re shocked too). So you’ve got to be thoughtful about your suggestions. It would be awesome to create a group for 2nd year law students in Guatemala, but you’ll have to get at least 100 people on board for us to be able to build rank.

Second, you’ve got to remember this is a vote. If there’s not enough people we can’t build a useful rank. With just a few people you’ll get bumped around too much by other people’s changes in activity. So, when you choose a demographic you’ve got to choose one you think other people will choose too. And remember to see if the rank you want already exists before you create a new one.

Lastly, I know it’d be incredible if we could simultaneously rank you across many different demographics, but I’ll be honest with you – that’s really, really hard, and we’re not that smart. You’ve got to pick your best demographic, the one that really sums up how you’re different than the average runner.

It’s one giant experiment. We have absolutely no idea how it’s going to turn out. Maybe we’ll end up with cross-dressing zookeepers, as a demographic rank. It really does slow you down when you step in elephant poo in heels, so it could make sense…

UPDATE 

We’re currently experiencing issues getting pauses from Garmin sync, It’s likely they will likely resolve it on their end in the next few days. In the meantime if you experience the issue, it can be resolved by importing the TCX file which will register the pauses correctly. Apologies for the inconvenience.

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TomTom Integration

A few weeks ago, TomTom approached us about becoming an early adopter of their new API Program. We’re happy to say that the process was pretty smooth and the integration is now live!

The original TomTom Runner and the newer TomTom Spark are rock solid GPS watches. You can pick up the original Runner for well under $100 on Amazon. It’s got remarkably good GPS and nice big numbers on the display. The new Spark is more expensive but it’s leaner with an updated interface. It also and adds options for an optical heartrate sensor unlike most, according to DC Rainmaker this one actually works. Spend a bit more and you can get built in Bluetooth music streaming. This means you can leave the iPod and chest strap at home, which is, well, just really awesome. Both the watches also have several modes for running including the ability to set target pace, target HR, or set individual run goals by time or calories instead of just distance.

Here’s how you import your runs from TomTom MySports

Note: If you’ve ever synced your TomTom runs through Nike+ or via a 3rd party app sent by Tapiriik, you should definitely set a minimum import date to avoid potential dupes.

While logged in, go to the Synced Devices page, scroll down to TomTom and click ‘Connect’. You’ll be prompted to authenticate with your TomTom MySports account. Once you’ve entered your credentials and clicked ‘Authorize’, you’ll be all set to sync!

tomtom-integration

Just two things to note:

  1. If you disconnect your TomTom account on Smashrun, the only way you can reconnect is by removing Smashrun as a 3rd party application on TomTom MySports and then you can reconnect.
  2. TomTom is currently sending your runs in GPX format. That means, if you run on a treadmill, there’s no GPS points, so we can’t calculate your splits. Instead, you’ll only be able to import the summary details. We’re following up on this to see if there are plans to fix it.

We’ve tested the TomTom integration as best we could but, like all new integrations, we need your help to make it perfect. So, if you find anything unusual, please send us an email at hi@smashrun.com so we can take a look!

PS – The excellent TTWatcher app still works, so if you’d prefer not to skip sending your runs to MySports before syncing to Smashrun you can still do that.

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New mobile site + race stuff

We pushed out a few new features yesterday. The big one is that we’ve improved the usability of Smashrun on your phone’s mobile browser. It’s only a step, but a fairly big step. It used to be that Smashrun worked great on mobile for anyone with extremely tiny fingers, 60/20 eyesight and an 8″ or larger phablet. But as of yesterday all that changed. Now you can totally get by with 20/20 eyesight. In this release:

    • Your run syncs automatically the first time you open the browser.
    • The most used features have found their way into a hamburger menu
    • You can click to zoom into the more detailed charts.
    • The friends view might actually be better on the phone than the desktop.

Friends mobileMobile charts zoomedMobile menu

That said, this is definitely a half step. It’s a long way short of a full blown mobile app, and the main dashboards are still configured the same way as they are on the desktop, so less than ideal for the mobile form factor. But progress is progress, and we’re hoping that this will take some of the pain out of using Smashrun on your phone. Meanwhile we’ll continue to work to make things even better. Please be sure to send us any bugs you encounter or issues with particular phones. We’ve done a fair bit of cross platform testing but we’ll definitely need your help to get it to 100%.

We’ve also bundled in a few other small but pretty cool things…

Your races now show up as stars on the calendar navigation.

race-300x149

And for Pro users they show up as circles on your pace trends.

Pace trends races

And while you’re on the pace trends you can now change your reference time to see relative improvement over a variety of set distances.

Pace trends reference time half marathon

In addition we’ve patched over 2 dozen bugs, and undoubtedly introduced a few more, so please give us a heads up if you encounter any.

Keep  your eye out for a direct TomTom integration in the next couple weeks.

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Microsoft Band Integration

Microsoft Band 1 and 2

The Microsoft Band 2 is packed with 11 sensors including a barometric altimeter (whoop!), accelerometer, optical HR sensor (bit delayed) , gyrometer, GPS (fast syncing), skin temperature sensor, UV sensor, ambient light sensor, capacitative sensor, microphone, and a galvanic skin response sensor. Its GPS quality rivals the top dedicated running watches (although sampling rate is a bit low), and it’s got 24/7 heart rate monitoring, all in all it’s a pretty slick device to track your running.

So we integrated it with Smashrun!

Set up is super easy.

While logged in, go to the Synced Devices page > scroll down to Microsoft Health and click ‘Connect’. It will prompt you to authenticate with your Microsoft account and you’re all set. At present we’re just pulling in running data, but we’ll see how demand is and may consider making use of some of the other data down the line.

Feel free to reach out to us at hi@smashrun.com if you have any questions or problems!

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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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