Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Run. Track. Run. Guidance and More!

In my weekly GeekFest Run. Track. Run. was demonstrated. After going through the site and explaining the importance of things we chose to be in there, it was suggested by other Obtivians that I talk more on here about what is what and why I chose what I chose as far as the graphing goes.

I got so frustrated a few years ago when I got my Garmin Forerunner 205 because while the watch was awesome, getting the data off of it and into a form that was useful was impossible. Since I was a Mac user I didn't have the ability to use SportTracks and I thought that there should be software or a website anyways that works cross platform.

Anyways...thus enter the RailsRumble competition and an opportunity to build something awesome. The following are some screen shots and explanation for why certain things were chosen and why even though there isn't a *ton* of functionality there is probably more than what you think and what is there is very useful.

I want to take a line here to thank the team that took my idea and built exactly what I was looking for. So thanks to Dan for the awesome Boogie Nights design, Dave for the backend cleanliness and Fred because without Fred there would be no graph awesomeness and so the site would have been a list of runs you have done which would be less than useful.

So here we go. Enjoy. (E-mail rumble@obtiva.com with comments.)

Garmin Importing
This was really important to feature. Because without having garmin importing you would basically have a spreadsheet :-). Right now this is just going to get your splits/distance/time. I don't have a heart rate monitor, but that functionality is coded in as a "todo" item for those of you that do have that so as we roll out more features that will be one of the first to come. So right now you get an unstyled list of the runs that are currently on your watch, listing the date and the total time the run took. If you select that top check box they will all import, or you can import them one by one. Please give it some time because that little spinner at the top is only spinning as "working" for the first file.

Displaying your Data!
After it's done (you can watch the status bar on your web browser) go back to your dashboard. and you will see something like this...depending what exists on your watch. My watch had 4 runs on there, spanning 3 different weeks:

The graph that is shown at this point is your miles/week. If you click on those arrows you will go backwards and forwards in time in a cool way. That's good information because you really want to know what you are doing on a weekly basis. This graph shows 8 weeks of information at one time but again you can go back and forward in time. The dates on the bottom are the Mondays of the week...because well my life starts on Monday. The right side of the screen is show you your last 5 runs, as well as the next 5 runs you have planned.

If you click on one of the points of the week, another plot shows up below it. This is expanding that week out and shows you what you did each day of the week (Monday - Sunday). So you can see what did for everyday that week (for example here I selected the second point of the first plot up there) :

From here you can get more details on an individual run. For example, if I click on the Sunday run I get the following :

So right now the text is the distance of the run, and then the time of the run (in minutes....this was the last feature implemented). The graph shown is showing your splits from the run in orange, and the filled in area is your average pace over the run. I think is by far one of the most useful graphs you can look at. So for that 9 mile run I can see where I was above or below that average pace. What I would not want to see is that orange line creeping up at the end of the run...showing that I didn't have anything left or that I didn't pace myself properly. So I can get a visual of what I was during...really how I was feeling...during the run.

Other Features!
Other features right now include displaying what you had planned to run. On your dashboard in the lower right hand corner there is a "Scheduled Runs" bin. From here you can plan runs (distance and time...although the time for a planned run doesn't do anything yet). If you have planned runs they will show that on the top two graphs so you can visually see what you are doing versus what you were *supposed* to do.

Also, if you run twice in one day, the bottom part will show both runs:

(Notice that the top run here is my run from this morning....how about that pace plot it's like I knew what pace to run to get a nice smooth line! The bottom one is made up)

Eventually these will be popup things that show all that information because it's kind of hard to see it all on a scrolling basis. Also the individual runs will show more information as we add that into the database.

You can also add runs by hand, splitting out the splits as well. Note that here we have it adding your splits up for the total if you left the total time blank, but we don't have it checking to make sure they are the same (or close) if you have imputed elapsed time and splits so be careful there.

So. That's where we are. Hopefully this provided some guidance and explains why the graphs we chose for version 0.8 where these three. This application was built in 48 hours....which is pretty awesome...there is a lot there for not a lot of coding time.

Whenever there is an update to the application I will note it on here so stay tuned! So go here to use it! http://run.r08.railsrumble.com/


Anonymous said...

Nice charts! ;-D

Seriously, though, it was a really fun weekend, and much of that was due to the fact that we were with working from an idea that was already so well-formed.

Ok, now how about a comment from somebody who DIDN'T work on the app?

Jake Scruggs said...

Nice explanation Leah. When I first saw the site I didn't realize how much functionality was there -- Thanks for walking me through it.

And of course: A hardy 'well done' to all involved.

Scott said...

Leah, I think it is great that this program goes right from data input to graphs. Other sites that you showed me you had to jump through more hoops and THEN if you wanted you got to generate a 'report' or graph. It's the GRAPH that you want because ALL the information is there. Nicely done!

Jason said...

What I think can't be overstated is the awesomeness of the average pace fill on the graph. That's something that nobody else has and is key to determining your consistency. I mean, nothing makes one feel better than seeing the pace dip below that average line for the second half of a run. Of course, more important is if it goes the opposite direction.

I can't wait till we get to see the beta version.

Runner Susan said...

I heart you guys. This is awesome.

harbor53 said...

Does this work for slow people with metal body parts?

Will the graph change colors depending on your mood, speed, or gastric orientation?

Do vampires really avoid garlic bread (like someone really could!?!)?

Can Sarah Palin see her mind from Russia?

Can we really know ourselves the way others see us?

Getting back to Sarah Palin - stupid and hot beats Dick Cheney hands down (so to speak).

I think I've said enough.

Except very nice job Leah!

Yours - up to the teeth!
Chairman Meow

Dawnie said...

This looks AWESOME. I absolutely love, love, LOVE the pace graph. That can tell you SO much about a run. I don't know why other tracking sites don't have it (or at least don't have it in an easily discoverabe place), but they should. Great work!