Saturday, May 3, 2008

How do you share your runs? Do you?

I don't. My current solution for logging runs is a Windows-based software called SportsTracks. It supports the basic set of per-workout metadata as well as input from devices such as a heart rate monitor or GPS receiver. I use Garmin's Forerunner 305 to record workaround duration, distance, heart rate and course, the import works like a charm. Additionally, SportsTracks provides you with an extensive toolkit for analyzing individual workouts by means of statistics and interactive charts, and generating reports covering multiple workouts. What I love about workouts is the logging ritual. Logging a new run after a hard workout and browsing through the data that was silently recorded throughout the last minutes or more likely hours, that's something I really enjoy. I'm obsessed with my distance totals too ;) That left aside this facility serves as kind of a virtual trainer that can actually provide objective feedback...

I have two problems with my current solution. One, SportsTracks is Windows-based and will probably never run on Linux or Mac OS X. My current system runs on Mac OS X, so I have to fall back to a Windows system to import my new workouts and analyze my progress. SportsTracks used .NET, thus, the chances of a Linux or Mac OS X version are practically non-existent. I don't want to go the virtual machine route, not for one application.

Two, and more importantly, there's no easy way to share all data of my past runs via the internet. Yes, I know - not true. What you can do is export maps and workout data as HTML, an automatic upload via FTP can be triggered as well. Right, my idea of sharing my runs though is to provide visitors with an experience that is similar to SportsTracks. For example, with every new run, I can easily check new distance totals in SportsTracks. In the case of per-workout exports, these totals are not available. Another aspect is interactivity with tables and charts, static images are of course limited to a single view of data.

I guess, I'm looking for some kind of service that provides runners with an easy way of sharing workout data and visitors with a clean yet feature-rich interface for browsing through the shared data. Nike+ provides a nice interface that goes into the right direction. Understandably, it only supports Nike+ input (which is why I had to manually migrate run-by-run from Nike+ to SportsTracks when I switched to the Forerunner :/ ). It fails in respect to sharing though, there's no way I know of to share all runs as opposed to a single selected run.

So, my fellow runners: How do you share your runs? Do you share them at all?

5 comments:

s1n said...

I use SportTracks currently and don't share my runs outside of it yet. I strongly dislike SportTracks and its closed-source / shareware mindset. Everytime I bring up the idea of the developer opening it up, the userbase just recommends I donate money first. It could probably be ported to work with Mono if the developer were more open (yes, it's one man, so you can imagine how slow things move).

My primary system is Gentoo Linux, so I've been playing with PyTrainer on the side. It's very rough around the edges, but there is a userbase forming. I recommend looking at helping this project (though it is Python, ekk).

AK said...

I have not yed developed a database for my runs, but I think a spreadsheet could be built in Excel with interactive features that could be built using basic vba knowledge. It is going to be one of my summer projects. As for using windows based applications... a business student is always limited to windows apps, because many software packages don't work on other systems.

Rahn said...

Did you try running SportTracks over Mono?
I haven't really played with it, since I'm on a Windows system, but may work.

Also, I use Runner+ to track mileage. It uses the Nike+ system in the background, but the interface is much nicer. (As in it's usable.)

s1n said...

I actually tried running it over Mono a few versions back but had trouble with the self-extracting MSI. I don't remember the error, but it may not produce it anymore. If the developer actually just released the binary then we'd have a better shot at either decompiling it or running it under mono only.

zingo said...

I tried a few month back in mono and got quite far...
I used a windows box to install it and than copied it over to my linux box checkout the screenshots here
http://www.zonefivesoftware.com/SportTracks/Forums/viewtopic.php?p=18296
It almost works, my experices with the person writing sportrack is that if we can point out problems he will try to fix them but we will probably have to help hom to point out what he need to change as he is not a linux guy..