What is it?
Smashrun is a platform that allows you to compile and make sense of your running data. It does this in the hope that with better understanding of your statistics and all of your runs in context to your life and others, you will be more motivated to run and ultimately progress in what they call “ a lifelong sport”. By adding your run information to the site it analyses the data, turns it into statistics and trends and then attempts to make them more understandable and applicable to the real world by offering incentives.
How do I use it?
The interface is pretty simple (for the most part), you upload/sync your running data (don’t worry they talk you through it – I still don’t have a clue) and it does the rest for you. Although they have been working on integration from a lot of different running apps (some I’ve never even heard of) it can be quite time consuming transferring individual runs from some apps (*cough* Runkeeper *cough*) which I will talk about further in the “Room for improvements” section below. That aside once you’re up and running (pun intended) it’s really easy to use.
Who’s behind it?
The brains behind Smashrun comes in the form of Jacklyn, Steve and Chris who founded the site from Fort Greene in Brooklyn (The U.S). They all run, showing that it’s a site made FOR runners BY runners and their passion doesn’t go unnoticed. Their social media presence was what drew me to Smashrun and it was definitely a “they’ll find you” scenario (and I’m glad they did).
Their twitter handle is @SmashrunHQ (if you care to follow)
And they write a SmashRun blog here.
I’m sure I haven’t covered all of them but these are the main ones I’ve been using/ encountering frequently.
- Badge incentives
- Funky interactive graphics for data analysis (e.g. distance vs pace)
- Yearly and monthly goal setting
- Share features on social media
- Daily ranking system
- The coolest bit I think are the tailored insights based on personal previous data (e.g average run length, runs per week and days most/least often run on) which you can also view in different time periods.
- Personal records (also time period adjusted)
So what makes it different?
Predominantly the reward system – Appealing to the competitor in all runners the badges are the reason Smashrun is addictive. With quirky blurbs and cool cartoon pics there are some genuine challenges to face in order to get them and you are ranked against other runners.
I’m not a morning runner but I can assure you I’m going to be running before 7am at least 10 times because I’m getting that early bird badge….and I suppose that is kind of the point.
The thought that has gone into it shows it’s not just another site churning out numbers, ironically it has a lot more heart (which is atypical of statistical platforms). Everything from progress windows spouting semi funny feel good mantras (#cheetahlegs) to the picture color picker. All of these things add a personal level that I feel is unique and hasn’t been done before.
What I love about it
- The charts and graphs combined with colour attributions give a great visual and a helpful “at a glance” look into personal run statistics.
- User friendly – There is a help tab for almost (I want to say all but I haven’t seen everything) everything which is great because there is a lot of data to look over and sometimes it can be a lot and you get confused (especially when you have a larger amount of data)
- The calorie counter – if you input your weight it will work out roughly how many calories you’ve burned – like most trackers – now here’s the cool part – it will convert it to a food/meal etc so you can better imagine what you’ve worked your butt off for, you can select a healthy or unhealthy option which caters to everyone.
*One thing – Lets make the “unhealthy” view option stick (if I select it) all the time guys because I want to be able to justify more cake not see how much salad I’m allowed now – for reals*
- The badges – it keeps the competitor in me alive when there’s no events around and if I am partly through a training program – do I want to go out in the rain?… no…. do I need 3 more miles to earn the “solid Week” badge?… yes..out I go.
- Time cut offs – you can stop seeing runs before a certain time period – do I want my 6 failure runs 3 years ago dragging down my averages? – no I do not.
Room for improvements
- Background colours – for a start “office carpet”, “new user grey” and “tin press” are all variations of grey. You need badges to unlock virtually more grey and honestly even the “pro” colours are pretty horrendous… I can use a custom colour picker for my graphs in powder blue but I get a variation of grey for my background….gross…are zebra stripes too much to ask!
- Pro – I get the need for a payment option from their standpoint but as far as user benefits (either the sales pitch isn’t very good or I’m not getting it) there doesn’t seem to be any point in paying £40 a year just to become a “Founding member”, I just can’t justify that to my husband (I tried)
- Integrations- I almost don’t want to bring it up because on the one hand I’ve seen the blog posts about improving integration from many different apps onto Smashrun BUT moving data from Runkeeper is a nightmare and it’s such a popular app this needs to be sorted. I have done over 600 miles since the beginning of 2014 (woop woop) but having to transfer them one at a time (almost 2 miles at a time in some cases) almost stopped me joining altogether. Could I have left them and started from scratch? ..yes… do they count towards badges?…no… but then it would have taken a long time to collect more running data and I would have missed out on some of the cool running trends and seeing how far I’ve come. Also the thought of having to download and then re-upload the gpx file after every run from now on is a real turn off!
- Badges – there are some weird and wonderful badges to earn but then some major gaps e.g early bird = pre 7am, lunchtime run 12 – 2pm, night owl 9pm onwards.. so when do I do most of my running? Between 2pm and 9pm ! and sometimes there’s no option to be going out on lunchtimes etc. <<<This is me being selfish – but you should have a “bed by 9pm” badge because I’d be all over that!
To sum it up
With a great presence on social media and supportive feel from the team and the friends on Smashrun, you can’t help but get involved and stay motivated and ultimately that’s what it is all about. It is easy to use and a fun quirky way to help stay on target. Does it need to work on a few things? (*Cough* Grey *cough*)…Yes… are there similar sites out there?…. Yes…. But I’ll wait for you Smashrun, you definitely need it in your life if you consider yourself a runner…I’m hooked..well played Smashrun, well played.
4 out of 5 stars – I would Recommend
*To Join Smashrun visit here.*
Note: This is not a paid review – I think SmashRun is great and wanted to share it with all you runners!