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How Data Visualization Helped Me Run Faster
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Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
6/13/2014 | 2:36:39 PM
Re: Bring it to the next level with GPS
I hear what you're saying, @Chris. My running data is still interesting to me -- beyond time, distance, and calories, I've been tracking the time of day I run and weather (I consistently run better at night when it's cooler). But eventually this will start to feel like navel-gazing, and I'll want to share this stuff with fellow runners. Ideally, a running group could all be on the same app sharing run data to train for a big race. That would make it more fun.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
6/13/2014 | 1:57:57 PM
Re: Bring it to the next level with GPS
It'll be interesting to see how long the data love affair lasts. When I got a heart rate monitor, I found it intriguing for awhile, then I found it fairly predictable and don't wear it much. On the other hand, I always use the Strava app to chart miles -- as Doug notes below, that provides an automated exercise log, but it also lets me know what my friends I follow have been doing, which is fun. 
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
6/13/2014 | 11:09:27 AM
Re: Bring it to the next level with GPS
Great stuff Doug, thanks. I'm still a fitness tracking novice, but I plan to take it to another level with a smartwatch or wristband. Heart-rate and recovery times are important metrics if you take running seriously. I was disappointed that Nike is discontinuing it's Fuelband wristbands. But clearly they think the hardware side of fitness wearables is a no-win situation and they'd rather focus on software and apps.
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
6/13/2014 | 10:45:20 AM
Bring it to the next level with GPS
Good story. I, too, am a Nike+ system user, but I added the TomTom-powered Nike+ GPS watch a couple of years ago. Pasted below is an image of a run projected on a map, with an elevation profile and heart rate information just below the map. You use a heart-rate monitor as a training tool to see your fitness progress as measured by recovery times.

Lately I'm not doing much more than logging my runs without a heart-rate monitor and without paying much attention to the data. It makes keeping a running diary -- something runners often do manually -- much easer. If I were trying to break a personal-best-time or gear up for a race, I'd be paying closer attention to the data.

I'm sure Nike itself is making a lot of use of this data and it could be why they're getting out of the device business. The system lets you list multiple shoes and log the miles run on each pair. If most runners are like me, Nike has learned that customers list shoes from rivals, like Asics, Brooks, and New Balance. I also use the GPS watch when cross country skiing so I can see where and how far I skied. I don't get out calculators and pour over the data. I could, of course, but for me it has lapsed into an easy way to keep a record of my favorite recreational activities.

Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
6/13/2014 | 10:23:44 AM
Re: Eureka
Yes, I'd like to think it was an Agile-esque approach. :) Don't overplan, just get to it and learn as you go, study data patterns, set and complete short-term goals, iterate, keep going.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
6/13/2014 | 10:05:43 AM
Eureka
Congrats on your eureka moment, Shane. But you made the first step: You got out to run. Modern business process embraces that instinct instead of weighing ideas down in death by committee/e-mail approval string.


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