Wednesday, May 23, 2012

For those runners of you out there, there's a great tool on that allows you to plan your races and track your times. It's a handy site that, much like other user-content sites, you can get out what you put in. For beginners, it tracks the races you've run and your times, giving you a limited mechanism to track progress. You can group your results by race type (5K, 5M, 10K, half, etc), and it even allows the inclusion of triathlons, mud runs, and similar (sorry, GRT family, GORUCKs don't appear in there).

The site is part social network and part race log, but I honestly never use the social network aspect of it. If you'd like, you can add friends, note what gear you use, and find out about your rivals. Rivals are those people in your community that run the same races that you do but that you probably never see in the 1500 runners standing next to you. I have rivals that I don't know but that I've raced against five or ten times.

You can search for your previous times in the database of races that the site maintains, and you can put future races on your virtual calendar to track what's coming up. The more you run, the more you get out of it. It's fairly comprehensive, and they recently added a Runner Performance Index that allows you to see how you stack up against your fellow runners.
I am 47.8% Awesome. That sounds incorrect...

It's a handy tool that shows how well you're doing. Initially, it is useful as a resource to see how you stack up against other runners when divided into age, gender, and overall divisors. During last year's Winter Park Road Race 10K, I came back with an RPI of 55.6 in my age group. This means that that percent ran 'better' than I did. Note that I didn't say 'faster.' (And, note that a lower number on the 1-100 scale is better). The more races that are run (by everyone), the better the tool is because it will begin to incorporate altitude, elevation changes, climates, and terrain. If a runner runs steady 25-minute 5Ks in Seattle and then 28-minute 5Ks in Salt Lake City, the system will eventually take all this data and determine the impacts such changes have on runners, in general. The more YOU run, the more it will tailor the same analysis to you, and the more accurate your RPI will be.

The intriguing aspect comes into play when you run enough (and it adds the functionality) that will allow for the application to *predict* your race time given all the factors involved. If you run 95% of your races at sea level and then head up to Denver for a half marathon, the system will have the theoretical capability to compare you to runners of similar history to predict a finish time. There will obviously be outliers, exceptions, and oddballs, but the math behind it is interesting.

Either way, even if you simply use the site as a race log, it's a great one-stop shop for collecting your race times and planning for future runs, bikes, swims, or mudding. Best Blogger Tips

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