What Do I Want From MY Online Running Log

I have looked for an online running log that meets my needs and wants or is that wants and needs, for what seems like forever.

Why do I want something better/different, instead of continuing to rely on my old, but reliable spreadsheet to store and manipulate my running data?

My spreadsheet does the basics, but since I have used the online running logs, I know that my spreadsheet is not what I am really looking for.

Honestly, I am too busy doing stuff that I want, that I do not want to take the time to do create a database when one probably already exist – I just have to find it. Call me lazy or whatever, but building a database at this point in my life, just does not interest me.

Running Log Spreadsheet screenshot
Running Log Spreadsheet screenshot

Which online Running Logs so far

Over the months I have tried, looked at and played around with most of the major online running log applications/programs: Garmin Connect, Strava, Endomondo, RunKeeper, RunTastic, My Asics, Adidas MiCoach, Nike+, DailyMile and a bunch of others. Unfortunately, something has always been lacking in the programs or just didn’t feel comfortable for me.

Some don’t allow manual input (for those wonderful treadmill runs) or exporting of my data (after all it is my data to do with as I please – not the website’s despite many of their wonderful Terms of Service agreements).

Others require money (believe it or not – sarcasm) to enable or “unlock” the features I want and cost more money than I am willing to spend for an annual or monthly subscription. Yes, I am cheap and yes I understand that server storage and development time is not cheap or easy.

Primarily because I have a more data there than other places, I stuck with Garmin connect for most of 2013, but as 2014 came around I was really unimpressed by it and wanted something different.

Garmin connect screenshot 1-23-14
Garmin connect screenshot 1-23-14

I decided to move over to Strava.

Strava Screen Shot
Strava Screen Shot

While I was happier with Strava than Garmin Connect, after using it for a couple of weeks, it still was not what I was looking for, so I continued to search for “the” program that will work for me.

What am I looking for?

What am I looking for in an online running log?

  • Connectivity to my Garmin or other GPS watches that I might get in the future and the ability to upload old data via some method or other.
  • Has an Android/IOS Phone App if I need to use it (i.e. I forgot to charge my Garmin or I break it) or can upload data from one of the existing apps.
  • Ability to manually add runs (treadmill anyone or the ever popular “naked” run) and to correct distances based on race results (you know those races where your GPS watch says something other than the “official” distance).
  • Be able to interpret/visual data in different summary and graphical forms and have a place to see the more important things quickly/easily. Also the ability to create non-typical reports from time-to-time would be an added bonus.
  • Track shoe mileage.
  • Put together my own training plans if I want to, instead of relying on a canned program that is difficult to change.
  • Is maintained, updated  and improved as needed, none of those create it and let it linger in quasi-app purgatory for years.
  • If I choose to – publish my run to Facebook, Google+ or Twitter (not a set in stone need, but something that is a nice option).
  • A program that allows me to do screenshots of the data I want to share on my blog, without having to include a map of my route or other information that I do not want to include.
  • Be free or at least reasonably priced for what I consider the service as a software to be.
  • Have a community, forum or ability to connect to an existing social media group or site.

In other words I am looking for an online central hub for my running.

Am I asking a lot of a free or cheap online program – without a doubt.

However, if I am going to eventually replace my spreadsheet, use someone else’s program to store and manipulate my data and have it become the central hub of my running, those are the things that I want it to be able to do.

Also my wants/needs change as I continue to mature as a runner, so there is a certain amount of flexibility that needs to be native to a program, so that when MY data analysis needs change, that information is in the program and can be extracted – I just have to figure it out.

A contender has risen from the ashes

Surprisingly, the program that appears to do almost everything that I want is one that I tried back in 2009 and 2010.

Huh what you talking about Harold, you used it and then stopped what’s up?

Well there are lots of reasons why I stopped using it, mostly because life got in the way. I was changing jobs and had my knee injury which caused me to stop running for a quite a while, plus it didn’t have all the bells, whistles and modern “look” that I associated with a state of the art online running site.

Then to be honest, I completely forgot about the program, until the other day Seth Hasty was making a comment in one of the Facebook Groups that I belong to and said something about this program.

I went to the site and “remembered” that I had been here before. I logged in (yep it still had my old data) and when looked around, liked what I saw, so I imported the data that was stored in my watch and then started playing around. Over the past couple of days, I have done a lot of looking around, using the features (both major and minor one) and continue to be impressed.

I liked what I was seeing – a lot!

Impressed enough I am going to go ahead and do a 2-week trial of it to see if it actually meets my needs or not.

The program is RunningAHEAD and I will be reporting back in a couple of weeks, to see if it is a keeper or not.

RunningAHEAD Summary Page
RunningAHEAD Summary Page

Are there any online running logs that I should take a look at that I haven’t listed or is there anything I should look closer at when I am testing out RunningAHEAD?

4 thoughts on “What Do I Want From MY Online Running Log

  1. It is funny – I am using Garmin Connect as the Magellan Echo uses Wahoo fitness app on my iPhone which exports to Garmin, and I can also get my data from Polar’s app into Garmin. But I actually liked the features of Nike+ better when I used it, so if I could use RunningAhead I would try it … of course Wahoo doesn’t export there yet! Definitely interested in how things work for you.

    1. Mike – I like the Nike site better than most of the others, but I had to either get a Nike GPS device or use my phone and when they stopped supporting my old iPhone 3G, I moved on. However, it also didn’t play nice with letting me have my data easily or without a premium membership, which is the same I found out about Strava and some of the other sites. I plan on using it for a couple of weeks and then doing an update. However, so far, I like a lot about it, but there are a few quirks that I am trying to figure out.

  2. I was just thinking this morning about searching for an online running log! I actually have similar requirements/desires so I’m interested to hear what you think.

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