My running app, Strava, congratulates me so much it makes me feel like I’m doing amazing. But am I really?
On my long run yesterday apparently I had 19 achievements. 19? Yes, 19. Of the 19, one was a PR since January for 30k distance, and 4 for 2nd best time since January for a shorter distance. That’s all great but says nothing about last year or last month. The other 14 achievements are speed records for me for short segments along the route. Since this was a popular route there are many registered segments. Out of the 23 segments of varying distances, I got a PR, 2nd best, or 3rd best time since January in 14 of them. Most of the segments are less than 1 km long so out of a 32 km run, they are really quite irrelevant. There are so many achievements that it makes you feel amazing.
And Strava gives me all kinds of other stats which are interesting but they have nothing to do with my goals.
I had set a goal time for this run and I did beat it by 4 minutes, but that isn’t recorded on Strava because my training plan isn’t on Strava. I need to add that result to my other run recording application, which currently is http://www.Jantastic.me. On this one I set weekly and monthly goals and try to meet them, not break them.
However, neither of these is related to my end goal of keeping up with my training plan for my marathon in 6 weeks or my even bigger goal of a race in August. That training plan is on my phone calendar, and it only has distances on it. I can’t really record on my calendar what I actually ran and then compare weekly or monthly totals later.
I’ve used a couple other apps in previous years, like Adidas miCoach and they do a better job of comparing training plans with actual training. But the interesting stats and connection with your friends wasn’t quite as good.
There is no perfect app. The new cool one is Strava right now. A couple years ago it was Endomondo or Runtastic or a host of other ones. But next year, who knows?
The key, I think, is that you can look back on months of training and be super encouraged that you are making progress toward your goal. And that it is easy enough that you want to record and track it.