Trailing miles and Weekly running reports

We’re introducing two new features that we think will help you see your running in a whole new light and, perhaps, motivate you to keep improving. Of course, since that’s pretty much our raison d’être, it’s safe to say we’re super excited!

The trailing miles chart
This new chart replaces the cumulative miles chart and it’s calculated in three different ways depending on the calendar view you’ve selected. As you drill down through each view — from all time, to a single year, and then a specific month, the framing of the chart will change from trailing 365 to 90 and then to 7 days. Each view is meant to provide insight into your training that might otherwise be difficult to spot at a different scale.

There are a few interesting artifacts of trailing time frame charts. For example, you might be running a lot right now, but your graph could still be plummeting. This is because looking at the direction of the chart doesn’t answer how much you’re running right now, it only answers the question Did you run more miles today than you did 365/90/7 days ago from today? If you did then the last point in your chart will be going up, otherwise, no matter how many miles you logged today your chart will still go down.

So why is it useful to look at your cumulative miles in this fashion? As it happens, there are entirely different changes that occur to a runner’s physiology over different training periods. By viewing your cumulative miles over each of these periods you can gain different insights into the state of your running.

All time view |  Trailing 365 days (Structural Conditioning)trailing365

Fully zoomed out. This is the 10,000 foot view of your running. Let’s call it the grand arc of your running. This view provides you with the great (or, in my case, rather modest) story of your running. Smashrun can handle up to a decade of running data, so the scope of this chart can be pretty huge.

This chart washes out the day-to-day, or even week-to-week bumps in your training, and lets you focus on the big picture. In addition, your total mileage on this chart is a really good indicator of the long term structural adjustments your body made in response to that training.

The classic changes to body composition that occur for runners (leaning of your legs and arms,  flattening and toning of your midriff, hips and chest) happen slowly over a long time period and they also unwind slowly when you stop training. Because of this, it’s almost certainly true that at the apex of your trailing 365 day chart you looked, to the casual observer, more like a runner than at any other point in time.

This chart is actually a pretty good proxy for your body’s changes in response to your running but, in addition to body composition, other changes happen in this kind of time frame. Your body’s ability to handle training load, your running form, and your runner’s IQ, all gradually improve and are slow to diminish.

One year view  |  Trailing 90 days (Aerobic Conditioning)
trailing90

The vast majority of your aerobic conditioning comes from just the past 90 days of your training. Go without any exercise at all for 90 days and, regardless of what condition you were in before, you’re going to be struggling that first day out. Whether you’re training for a race or just want to maximize your performance, the trailing 90 day view is what you’ll want to look at.

That said, it is of course also true that raw miles are only part of the story. How you train matters at least as much, but we’ll have to save that analysis for the future.

One month view |  Trailing 7 days (Goal Setting)
trailing7

This is pretty much the only view that you can actually manage day-to-day. You’ve set your targets. You know how many miles you want to hit each week. This view is the one you want to look at to see if you’re on target. Think of it like weekly goals, for every day of the week.

Speaking of weekly stats…that brings me to feature number two of this release.

 

The weekly email report

The weekly report email is designed to help you hit your weekly miles and motivate you to get back at it when you fall behind. We’re motivated by food, so we baked that into the report. Here’s what it looks like.

weeklyReport

 

A few things to note:

  • If you don’t run for a given week, you’ll instead get The Weekly Non-Running Report that provides all sorts of interesting stats about your non-running.
  • The run list highlights your fastest and longest runs that week
  • You can choose the flavor of your food equivalent from Vegetarian to Bacon and everything in between (Chocolate, Seafood, BBQ, Booze, or Dessert)

What are METs?

When you’re at rest. Totally at rest. On your back. Eyes closed. Dead still. Your body is at 1 MET per minute. Stand up you jump to 2. Have a walk around you’re at three. Start running and you can be at anything between 5 to 15 METs/minute. Run for 20 minutes at a 5 MET pace. You’ve just earned 100 METs. Why do you care?

Well, virtually all health and fitness-related research is measured against METS. And virtually every positive health effect of fitness increases as you increase your METs per week. Want to reduce you chance of cancer, heart disease, psoriasis you name it, up your METs.

For heart disease, what matters is consistency. The American Heart association recommends that you exercise for 500-1000 MET minutes every week to dramatically reduce your heart disease risk. The weekly running report will track that for you and let you know how often you hit that goal, which is really pretty cool, because heart disease is the #1 cause of death. Number 2 is cancer and increasing your METs can reduce your chances of developing many of the most common types of cancer as well.

So there you have it. Run. Use Smashrun. Run more. Keep on living to run another day.

 

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Build Better Training Habits

With Smashrun, our goal has always been to help people become better runners, but “better” is different for everyone. Sometimes, it’s as straightforward as adding a recovery day or balancing hard runs with easy ones. Other times, it’s not so obvious, like getting enough sleep or keeping track of what you eat.

Recently I’ve started using an app called Lift to help me to “pay attention” to some of the habits that might help me improve my running beyond just logging the miles.  It’s pretty basic. You check a box when you keep a habit. I thought maybe some of you might find it helpful, so I set up a Smashrun group there if anyone wants to join me.

We’re starting off July with three fairly simple habits, in addition, to running: exercise, eat a balanced diet, and sleep before midnight. Every month, I thought we could focus on something new like proprioceptive cues, running drills or plyometrics (oh my!).

Maybe I’ll see you there!

Run Annotations

Users with GPS data can now annotate their runs within route maps!

Annotations allow you to identify events or points of interest within a specific run. It’s got some pretty awesome use cases including, but not limited to:

  • Tagging water stops on a race route
  • Noting the distance marker(s) where you paused because of a stoplight
  • Indicating where the hills are located along a trail
  • Elaborating on u-turns because of dogs and/or geese

It’s also super easy to use! Start by going to a recent run with a route map and click on the outline of your map. Once the map is loaded, just click on the notepad icon on the top left.

Notepad icon

The icons across the top of the modal are your different markers. Mouse over each one to see what they represent. The slider shows you where the annotation goes. You can also associate a sentiment (good, neutral, or bad) for all the different icons.

Annotate your run

We made descriptions optional, but it’s much nicer to mouse over an annotation and see a little tooltip about that part of your run.

Mouse over markers to see tooltips

Editing your annotations is also very easy. Just click on any of the annotations you added (or mouse over it and click on the tooltip, if you added a description) and that will reopen the modal. If you change your mind about the annotation, you’ll also see the option to remove it while editing.

Edit your annotations

Check it out and let us know if you have any questions. In addition, we also released a patch that should sort out the mismatched “fastest runs of a similar distance”, which affected a couple of users. Otherwise, we hope you like the new feature!

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Garmin integration and GPX, TCX, HRM support

After nearly 1,000 hours of coding, testing, retesting and a lot of feedback from our Garmin beta testers, Smashrun has finally released Garmin integration with added support for GPX, TCX, and HRM files!

Garmin users can import their runs by linking their Smashrun account to Garmin Connect under settings > Synced Devices. Just remember to set a minimum import date before you click sync to prevent duplicate runs from being imported (in case you’ve been using the TCX2Nike+ importer).

Runs can also be imported individually or in bulk by uploading a GPX/TCX file, which is accessible by mousing over the gear icon on Overview > click ‘Import file’.

For information on how Smashrun processes GPS data, there is a separate FAQ section that addresses questions regarding pause calculations and distance discrepancies.

If you don’t currently run with Garmin, but do run with mobile apps, we can import app data as long as they provide GPX or TCX exports. You can find a Smashrun-friendly app in the App Finder, or if you’ve been thinking about switching to a device but need to weigh the pro’s and con’s, check out the apps vs. devices section on Run Tracking 101.

Again, thanks to all of our beta testers for helping us fine tune Garmin integration! And thanks to everyone as well who take the time to give us a heads up when things don’t quite work as they should! Our user emails keep us on our toes and we’re always on the lookout for ways to make Smashrun a better place for runners.

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More fixes and an improved map

Update as of 2:45PM EST > site outage was delayed to 2:40PM EST, we expect to be back up before 5PM EST.

Just released another patch this morning that sorts out the remaining Nike import errors and missing run charts. If you had any trouble with:

  • Missing “Change in speed over route” charts for Nike+ foot pods
  • Opening certain route maps
  • Inviting friends to Smashrun
  • Following back
  • Resetting your Smashrun password
  • Setting your birthday to earn the birthday badge
  • Empty route maps for Nike+ Sportwatch
  • Different weekly mileage between Ranks and your friends drop-down
  • Linking to specific runs from the badge detail page
  • Tags breaking when you add one
  • Viewing actual pause calculation, where applicable

All sorted out! If you find otherwise, please leave us a comment or email us directly at hi@smashrun.com so we can look into it immediately.

Smashrun’s emails have also been redesigned (and all links should be working now!) in preparation for additional changes we’ll be rolling out this summer. So next time you send out an invite, it’ll look just a tad bit friendlier.

smashrun-email

And for our users who requested a different map view, we added a new default map for runs with GPS data.  If you click on a route map within By Run, all maps will default to the new version. The “switch” between views is the globe icon on the top-right corner of the map.

new-map

For our Garmin beta testers, several fixes went out with this morning’s patch including:

  • Improved pause detection
  • Revised distance calculation to better match Garmin’s summary details
  • Support for combined HRM and GPX  import via email
  • Fixed missing charts for footpod-only data
  • Fixed “Change in speed over route” charts and route maps for combined GPS and footpod-only data

For all Garmin, GPX, TCX, and HRM related issues, please email jacklyn@smashrun.com.

Nike sync fix

We had an issue affecting a small number of users who couldn’t sync from Nike. If you were one of those users, then we’ve got good news! The problem should be resolved. (hopefully)

If you notice any further problems with the Nike sync, let us know and we’ll look into it right away.

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Boston

It’s hard to find words to express the shock and sadness at the events of today. We know that some of you, some of your friends, were running and supporting the runners in Boston. Our thoughts are with you.

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A few reflections on Smashrun’s 3rd birthday

As far back as I can remember birthdays have always been as much for me about celebration as they’ve been about introspection. It’s important, I think, to occasionally pick your eyes up off the road beneath your feet and look off into the distance to be sure you’re going the right way, but also to look back behind to see if you’re happy with where you’ve been. Seeing as this past week marks Smashrun’s 3rd birthday since it’s launch, and since the vantage afforded from here is as good as any I am likely to find. I decided to write blog a post.

Smashrun is Jacklyn, Steve, and myself. We aren’t funded. We don’t have sponsorships from big fitness companies (or small ones for that matter). And for the last 3 years we’ve paid our expenses out of pocket – with the notable exception of our 6 month participation in Start-Up Chile. Thanks people of Chile!

Considering that Nike, Garmin, RunKeeper, MapMyRun, etc have literally millions of dollars in funding and large engineering/UX/design teams I think we’ve done pretty well. The thing is, when you’re working on something that you’re really passionate about, devoting yourself to it completely isn’t something that’s difficult to do. And I think that’s really the magic that has allowed us to accomplish all that we have with so little.

But what I think has really been astonishing is how much you guys have chipped in to help. When I put together the first mockups of the site, we decided to include a little line on the bottom that read:

“Questions, problems, ideas or just want to help? hi@smashrun.com”

Since then we’ve had people offer their help coding, drafting design mockups, sending detailed bug reports, beta testing new features, even offering to print smashrun decals for us. So, in a way, as much as we’ve invested in our users, they’ve also invested in us. And that to me feels a lot like family, which is a pretty wonderful thing to feel.

So, here we are, now and where are we going? Garmin support is big on the list. It’s in beta right now. We’ve been working like crazy to resolve all of the issues our beta testers have found. And it’s almost ready.

We’ve also made the decision to allow pretty much unlimited running histories. We’re hoping that one doesn’t come back to bite us. Between all the new Garmin data and the extended histories, our database is now growing at nearly a gigabyte a day. Our current servers are holding up, but at this rate, they won’t be for long.

Clearly, for Smashrun to grow and thrive, it’s going to need to be self-sufficient. So with that in mind, we’ve also been working on some “pro” features. These are things that we’ve always wanted to build, but that we knew would put a big load on our servers if we did. By making these features part of a subscription, we hope to cover our server costs, but more importantly we want to be able to fund the development of all of the cool stuff you’ve been suggesting to us. (Shout-out to those who completed their surveys. We’re listening and taking notes.)

So happy birthday Smashrun! Thank you to everyone who’s been with us from the beginning. And thanks to everyone who’s joined along the way. Hopefully next year our family will be a lot bigger, and we’ll have built a lot of those features you’ve requested and that we’ve always wanted ourselves.

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Mid-March Update

Hi everyone,

Last night, at 11:03PM EST, we released our second patch for the February Release. Any issues associated with delays in importing Nike+ GPS data or problems with loading maps have been resolved. Please let us know if you find any other problems and we’ll make sure it goes out in our final patch!

In addition, we also included a button within badge details that lets you “relive the joy” of earning your badges. Here ya go – give it a test drive.

longStairs

You can even share the badge url or post it to Facebook and when someone else clicks on it, they get to see it in the same way you did when you first earned it. Yeah!

2013-03-19_1120

More things are coming over the next few weeks and thanks so much to everyone for the ongoing feedback.

Happy running, Smashrunners!

Quick patch

We just released a patch for a number of issues that popped up after our release last week.
Thanks to everyone who emailed us about the problems you’ve encountered. Hoping this should resolve a great many of them.

If you’ve had trouble with:

  • Syncing runs from Nike
  • Editing manual runs
  • Importing from or linking to Garmin (beta testers)
  • Getting a Corleone Badge before missing any days
  • Missing runs charts.
  • Missing maps

Hurrah! We’re reasonably sure you should be all sorted out.

If you’ve had trouble breaking your 10k PR. Then we suggest you use another browser besides Internet Explorer, and hold down shift while clicking refresh immediately before your next run.

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