A couple more weeks in the books as the project continues woot woot! It was a bitterly cold week last week especially in light of how mild the winter has been so far. I’m approaching the 250 km mark and the GPS map is slowly filling up with lines showing my completed sections. I worked with a friend to get a better overall progress map on the site and switched from the Strava heat map to a more interactive map from a developer called MapTalks. When I say I worked with a friend on getting this done, it’s more like he did all the hard computer techy stuff to get it to work on the site and I picked the color of the map lines. Thanks Neil lol…either way, I think it looks much better and I like how it isn’t just the small photo that I had been attaching to the site manually every time I completed a run. Not only does it look better but it also auto updates about a day after I finish an activity. The way I had it before was not as good…you could barely even see the progress. I’m also lucky for another reason that the map change was made…Strava changed their app slightly and I don’t think an accurate version of my progress map would’ve been as easy to integrate onto my website. Like I was saying before, the site is a work in progress and I’ll slowly add different features or change things as time goes on.
The whole overlay that running/biking apps like Strava use with your GPS watch to track where you’ve gone, and also all the statistical info they provide are pretty amazing features. I was a runner before things like this came out and I’m telling you if they had these sorts of things 20 years earlier I’d have probably logged many more activies and kms. It’s awesome how the technology has the ability to break down anybody’s run and show pace, heart rate, elevation gains, etc. I started tracking my activities in a notebook a long time ago but my information was pretty much limited to time and distance. I still use a notebook but I guess it’s pretty redundant. Anybody else still use paper and pen?
Either way, I’ve always used Strava and I think their format and features are really good at bringing out my competitive nature. If you’ve never used it before, they have leaderboards in monthly competitions and segments (segments are specific sections of popular running routes that show how quickly any person that has passed through that section on their run has been able to complete it. You are ranked based on your speediness and for the really commonly used segments there can be thousands of competitors). It’s for this reason I’ve always used Strava but there are a bunch of others out there that are really good and might be more tailor made to what different people want out of a running app.
Like Strava, Runtastic by Adidas, for example, keeps track of the usual running metrics but also has customized coaching and features designed to keep your motivation up. Others such as RunKeeper or iSmoothRun are used in conjunction with your smart phone to track activities. There are also other interesting apps you can download like Zombies, Run! that add a bit of spice to your activity. I’m actually thinking of downloading the zombie one haha. You need a set of headphones and your music will be interrupted periodically when the app tells you information about a mission you need to complete or that you have to run faster because there are zombies chasing you. I never wear headphones when I’m running but I might try this one out just for the hell of it.
Just my opinion, but I’ve found that any of these apps are only as good as the watch you’re using. It would take a lot to convince me that the Fitbit or Apple watch, for example, are superior to a Garmin. Garmin seems to cater to the meat and potatoes of any activity with better GPS data and more accurate altimeters. 6 or 7 hundred dollars is a worthwhile investment and a really good price when you consider how much more it does than just tell the time.
Thanks for reading and of course any donations that people made this month. Close to 500 bucks has been raised to date and hopefully that number continues to climb as The Streets Initiative moves forward. Happy running guys and gals!