Smashrun update

We released a quick update this evening with a few changes.

Added a Half Marathon distance to the speed ranks
This has been a really popular request, since well, I don’t know, the day we launched the ranks. Well it’s finally done, a half marathon is now a ranked distance. The history graph for the new data point will be blank to start off with but they’ll slowly fill in starting today. So if you’ve ran a half marathon in the last 90 days it’ll now help you toward earning a speed medal.

Streamlined the header design
Nothing drastic here, but we dropped some of the clunkier styles, and made things fit a little tighter, so it should be a little nicer on the eye.

Tweaked the pause detection algorithm
We were sometimes picking up pauses where there were none in the Garmin import of some watches. This should hopefully be resolved now. Pauses are just really hard to detect in general, because they’re frequently not explicitly defined, so you have to make educated guesses. With each release we’re improving our guessing techniques.

Upgraded site infrastructure
We do everything we can to ensure the speed and overall reliability of the site!  To this end, we upgraded the operating system of our web servers and upgraded the version of our configuration management framework as well.

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Quick patch

We were down for a few minutes tonight as we pushed out a quick patch tonight to address a few minor issues.

Here’s the rundown for those that are interested:

  • New comment font on the “by run” page that’s easier to read and supports most European languages, and falls back to native fonts for CJKV character sets.
  • Fixed login issue with IE10. If you’re still having any problems with this browser let us know, so we can get to the bottom of it
  • Fixed charts in IO7 (unfortunately there’s still a bunch of issue we have no way of fixing). Maybe (hopefully) a patch from Apple will resolve these soon.
  • Some users may have gotten robbed of their Corleone badge in some circumstances. There’s a fix here to address the issue going forward, but unfortunately there’s not enough data to fix it retroactively. Sorry about that all.
  • Their was an issue with timestamps being off for some Garmin imports, especially treadmill runs. This should now be fixed.
  • The 7 day trailing weekly mileage chart was actually an 8 day average (we were counting today and 7 days prior). This should be resolved.
  • Under some circumstances manually editing your run could reset your METs in your heart healthy report to 0. That’s fixed, and you should now always get all the METs your earned.

Thanks to everyone who reported bugs. Your feedback is invaluable, so keep those reports coming, and we’ll try to resolve them as quick as we can.

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Embed a running chart in your blog

There’s quite a few patches, and changes in this latest release. Here’s the rundown:

Embed your running data charts. We made a quick and easy interface for adjusting and embedding any of the charts on your dashboard onto your own blog.

A new import via email address. We’ve added a new email server to handle the runs you import through email. We’ve got a new address to go with it @smashrunimport.com In the future, any runs you want to import from email will need to go to this new address.

GPX/TCX import fixes. We’re constantly monitoring the files that try to get imported into Smashrun, and everytime one fails to import, we attempt to diagnose the issue. The problem is that a lot of the times, the files are just impossible to import because they’re missing some critical information.

We’ve added a lot of new errors that, hopefully, will explain exactly why your files aren’t importing as opposed to just failing blindly. We’ve also tried to patch around the bugs in the apps where ever we could. That means, for example, that Runkeeper export files should now import with the correct time stamp (despite the fact that it’s formatted incorrectly in the file).

New login pages. We’ve updated our login pages, lightening the colors and shrinking the font.

Closeness to getting badges. We’ve improved the algorithm for calculating the badges you’re closest to getting, and fixed some bugs with the distance to go in the staircase badges.

Weighted average pace. The average pace shown on the the overview pages is now weighted by the distance of the run. Can’t believe it took us this long to get around to this one. Sadly, if you’ve been running short fast runs, and long slow ones (like most people do) this change will slow down your average pace. But, hopefully, it will make the trends you do spot over time more meaningful.

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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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