Nike upgrades

Looks like Nike’s down while they make upgrades. Unfortunately that means our Nike integration is down too…

On the subject of PRs

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about the PR (personal record) section of Smashrun recently, and as they come up I’ve begun to think a lot about the way I’ve implemented it and the pros and cons of the approach.

The PR section on Smashrun is pretty straight forward. I take the speed you ran and then for any run just equal to or farther than a common PR distance for the unit (km/mi) you’ve selected and I multiply the speed by the rounded distance.

An example should make this clear:

You run 10.5k in 1 hour.

So your speed is 10.5k per hour.

Running at 10.5k/hr for 10k would take only 57 mins and 8 secs.

So I use 57:08 as your PR, that way you’re not penalized for running a bit farther. The idea that something would have been a PR if only you stopped at exactly 10k just seems silly to me.

What’s good about this is that you can compare every about a 10k with every other about a 10k. I find this great because usually I just walk out my door and run, and only stop when I get home – I’m not about to start walking just because my GPS says I’ve hit exactly 10k.

Ah, but, how about if you’re in a race? Every course is different, and every racing line is different. I’ve run 10k’s that are curvy and crowded and my GPS has registered well over 10k. I think most people feel that your time is your time for a race. Your 26.6 mile marathon at 4:01:00 isn’t a sub four just because you made wide turns, right?

But at present Smashrun doesn’t this work this way. Whether a run is tagged as race or not. Your PR is the run where you ran the fastest. Period. If you ran 10.5kph on average for a 10k race that your wide turns turned into a 10.5k race. Smashrun will say that that’s faster than a race where you ran 10.1kph on a pretty straight line for exactly 10k.

So, I’m considering having two models. For races your time will be your time, but for all other runs your time will continue to be calculated as it is. But before I make this change we wanted to get your thoughts.

What makes the most sense?

Do you have any better ideas on how to handle this?

New features and fixes

Everyone’s running is different, so each persons running stats can expose unique problems. Over the past couple months we’ve had dozens of bug reports from our users. In this latest release we’ve hopefully fixed most of the major ones. We’ve also added a few nice features and tweaks, they’re small things, but they’re things that we think you’ll like.

  • An enhanced battery meter for Nike+ users .Just click on the battery icon in the header to see a report of all the Nike sensors you’ve used in the past.

  • An enhanced PR section that includes a separate “official” flag for runs that you’ve tagged with “Race”. You’ll probably want to edit in your official time for the race as well. (Although this does lead to questions of distance ran vs. official distance for when your stuck in a big pack taking wide turns).

  • The morning/afternoon run pie chart now breaks out days in which you ran both.

  • On some badges where it makes sense, you can click on the badge to see how close you’ve come to getting the bade. The running streak, days logged in a row, and miles run in a week/month badges now show your records and when those records occurred.

  • We’ve also taken some steps to improve the internationalization of the site. Date formats, time formats, and kilometer/mile support should be working correctly throughout the site.

Happy Running,



Special thanks to Peter F, and the dozens of other users whose screenshots and detailed reports made our work a thousand times easier.

Tweet your 2011 running stats

So last week: I posted my 2011 running report on Quantified Self’s LinkedIn group and got a message from someone who said I should also tweet it. Of course, that was easier said than done, especially because my post was so darn long:




I tested a few tweet variations and eventually we settled on something like Joe Cullin‘s – yeah!




Consider it our first step towards many more tweeting action for your sharing preferences. Keep an eye on that bouncy bird on the right… one day, that little guy will move on to doing bigger and better things within Smashrun….. but, for now, he’s sticking around so you can tweet your 2011 running stats.

Nike+ troubles / new functionality

Nike+ has been going up and down all day again today. Lots of people trying out the sensors they got in their stockings for Christmas, I’m guessing. Expect some difficulty uploading your Nike runs until they resolve this issue.

We’re going to take this opportunity to push out a new release. Smashrun will be down for approximately 10-15mins, starting at 1:45pm

UPDATE 1:50pm

The update is now live. This includes a few small fixes, and a new Tweet your 2011 stats button stuck on the edge. It’s wiggling just now, so you’ll notice it, but we’ll turn that off in a week or so, or lose it all together if you guys hate it.

What do you think?

Facebook patches

We’ve just put in a fix for some of the Facebook issues we’ve been having. There’s a few changes to how Facebook works now that you’ll want to note.

  • Relink your Facebook account. If you log in with Facebook this will be done automatically, but if not you’ll want to go to Settings -> Facebook -> Connect to Facebook. You’ll need to do this to see publish your runs, or see your Facebook friends on Smashrun
  • Follow your Facebook friends On the Facebook settings page you’ll see your Facebook friends who are on Smashrun. Just click their photos and their stats will appear in your friend list. Follow relationships are one way like they are in Twitter.

Hopefully this will fix the problems we’ve been having as Facebook makes changes to their API, but if you notice any strange behavior, please shoot us an email at and we’ll start fixing it right away.

Facebook troubles

Facebook has made some changes which are causing some user’s to have trouble logging into Smashrun with their Facebook credentials. We’re working on a fix and should have one in place shortly. In the meantime, you should be able to login with either your Nike password or your Smashrun password. If this doesn’t work shoot us an email at and we’ll sort you out.

Really sorry for the inconvenience.

Goodbye Brooklyn. Hola Chile.

Building a website like Smashrun on nights and weekends, is to put it mildly, exceedingly challenging. There’s a huge gap between what we want Smashrun to be, and what I’ve had time to code, and it’s been a daily struggle to come up with ways to bridge that gap.

A couple of months ago we heard about a program called Start-Up Chile. It’s a pretty incredible premise. The Chilean government is offering entrepreneurs a 40k USD grant to move their start-up to Chile for a period of at least 6 months. In return they ask for no equity, but only that you actively engage the tech community in Chile and share what you know. And, of course, if you find the environment their suitable to your business you are welcome, but by no means required, to keep your business based there as you grow.

Well, that sounded like a pretty good deal to us, so we applied, got in, and yesterday Jacklyn and I arrived in Santiago, Chile.  In a few days, Steve is set to arrive to help us get up and running, and then the real excitement begins — working one job. We’ll be throwing some serious man hours at Smashrun, and maybe if we’re lucky we might even be able to find some money for a bright spark junior coder to chip in.

Sure, things will be a little tight but, this is hugely exciting stuff for the Smashrun team!  With a little luck, in the next few months we’ll be enabling more devices and creating exciting new charts, badges, and social features.

Now… if only I can make a little time to get a run in.

Anyone got any good recommendations for running routes in Santiago? Those hills in the distance seem fairly manageable…

New badges in the making…

After reading 87 beta surveys, 24 emails, and too many tweets to count in the past 72 hours…it’s pretty unanimous: the badges are cool and Smashrun needs more of them!

Luckily, we’ve been working with an awesome designer/ illustrator who’s been knocking out some newly minted badges. We’re not yet sure about the release date, but the next set will focus on cumulative times, cumulative distances, variations in pacing, and periodization. Here are just a few examples of what we’re currently working on…

As always, feel free to comment and let us know if you’ve got some milestone ideas and we’ll jot them down as we create more!

1:00am Saturday night – release time!

Another exciting weekend here at SmashrunHQ. We’ve been rushing to fix a host of registration, ranking and Nike sync related issues that have materialized recently. If you had trouble importing your runs, you’ll want to go ahead and give it a try again.

We’ve fixed at least a half-dozen edge cases. Some of them were really painfully esoteric.

  • Who knew Nike runs from early 2010 in Australia have invalid time zone signatures? -21 hours GMT is not a valid time zone guys. It’s +/-14 hours only.
  • And how about trying to parse a time string like “9:08”. It seems JavaScript treats 08 as an octal value – an invalid octal value. So that meant you could book a run that was 9:06 minutes long or 9:07,  but try 9:08 or 9:09 and you were out of luck. That’s fixed (we hope!).

While that’s all well and good. It’s not very exciting if you haven’t been having trouble. So we threw in at least one solid improvement. The bottom of the run overview section used to contain “Best times for most commonly run distances.” That was a bit silly. It’s now called “Personal Records” and it contains links to your best 1mi/5k/10/half marathon/marathon times. And we threw in a nice little sparkline to boot.


If you run into any problems, please shoot us a line at We’ll be doing really frequent releases until all these issues are sorted out. And then it’ll be time to work on some more exciting things, like: new badges and community features, and charts, and additional device imports, oh my!