Asics buys Runkeeper

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runkeeperLast year Under Armour bought MyFitnessPal and adidas bought Runtastic — now, it’s Asics buying Runkeeper.

What more can you say? Such tie ups seem inevitable.

Sweaty Betty to buy Garmin perhaps? :-)

 

——- Press Release (spelling corrected!) —————

Runkeeper and ASICS are Joining Forces

I have some big news today! I am proud and excited to announce that Runkeeper has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by ASICS Corporation.

When we started the company in 2008, it was with a simple mission: to get the whole world running. We saw how the rise of mobile, social networks, and personalization were starting to impact other categories, and we thought these ingredients had huge possibilities when applied towards fitness and health.

Fast forward almost 8 years, and we’ve come a long way. Millions of people use our product as a core component of their fitness journey. And our unique blend of collaborative, supportive, quirky motivation has created a brand that really stands for something beyond just tracking your runs. An amazing community (that’s you!) has formed around Runkeeper all over the globe (both the user community and the core RK team). Watching Runkeeper evolve from a mobile app to a fitness movement has been one of my proudest accomplishments.

When we look ahead, it seems clear that the fitness brands of the future will not just make physical products, but will be embedded in the consumer journey in ways that will help keep people motivated and maximize their enjoyment of sport. By putting these two pieces together (digital fitness platform and world class physical products), you can build a new kind of fitness brand that has a deeper, more trusted relationship with consumers and can engage with them in a more personalized way.

Partnering with ASICS to fulfil this vision together makes a ton of sense. We both have deep roots in and focus on running as a core component of the fitness experience. There is strong alignment between our brands and core values. And from people using our Shoe Tracker feature in the app, we know that ASICS shoes are by far the ones that Runkeeper users run in the most!

From the end-user standpoint, not much will change. Not only will the Runkeeper product carry on, but we will be able to move even faster. We will be able to pursue the vision we’ve set out to pursue all along, with a partner that can bring many resources to bear that we couldn’t fathom having access to on our own.

I want to thank each member of the Runkeeper team, past and present, who has helped us get to this major milestone. I also want to thank our investors, advisors, and the countless people who have helped us as a company and me personally along the way to navigate the twists and turns of the entrepreneurial journey.

And from all of us at Team Runkeeper, we especially want to thank the incredible Runkeeper user community! We are so grateful to be on this journey with you, and so excited to continue on it for many years to come.

Happy running!

Polar A360: Goes Swimming // review to follow later

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Polar A360 Review

A360 vs Gear Fit

This week is an easy week for me. So what does that mean? Yep, you guessed it LOTS of really HARD re-tests. Sigh.

But even more days off as well ! :-)

After a hard January all the work seems to be paying off.

Thursday night marked my first swim with the rather pretty Polar A360 (specs). I suspect that the intended market for the A360 is *NOT* swimmers. But it did say water proof to 30m so it just had to go and get wet.

The A360 was thrown in at the deep end (pun intended) with a VO2max session which went well (thank you for asking).

Polar-A360-Garmin-HRMTRI-Swim-Comparison

Swim HR Data – Polar A360

I was surprised that the touchscreen worked at the end of the various sets. But it did.

I was surprised that the overall trainingload for the session based on HR/TRIMP was ‘about right’ . But it was (+5 TRIMP).

I don’t imagine the A360 is intended for HIIT either but this swim was in Z5 as you can see. OK to be fair my HRs for Z5run are higher still and there may be problems there – we’ll see.

I hadn’t updated to the latest firmware, doh, so I don’t think it fair to show a comparison HR track to Garmin’s HRM-TRI yet (I will). However the track you can see was a reasonable representation of reality. There was some lag in the readings compared to the HRM-TRI as others have experienced with this same, old firmware version.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised. The added bonus is that the watch/smartband/activity tracker is still working despite the chlorine.

Detailed review to follow. Maybe in 2 weeks. February in any case.

WARNING: I’m not sure the A360 should be bought and used as a swim watch. Occasionally swimming?; maybe. I’m just saying that I went swimming with it. OK?

 

 

Garmin News: New SOS Features coming soon (well, eventually F3? F4)

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Fenix3HR2_Linedup1Garmin very recently acquired DeLorme.

DeLorme are big in the Marine sector. In a statement, Garmin said it was most interested in DeLorme’s inReach products. Those are GPS devices on which users can send and receive text messages and trigger an SOS, using satellite connections.

So these new SOS capabilities are now ‘in the Garmin fold’. It’s very likely these will be incorporated into Garmin’s marine products but possibly also sports, outdoor, automotive and aviation.

So it looks like your Tactix and F3 (well, F4) might have some sort of GPS based SOS system…one day…perhaps…maybe.

Some DeLorme info:

“inReach has been hailed as a must-have tool for backcountry excursions thanks to its GPS tracking feature, 100% global coverage through Iridium, and the integrated SOS button linking users with 24/7/365 emergency response services through GEOS. We designed it to keep you safe where cellphones dare not go, and that is its core function. But why stop there? When you can send AND receive text messages anywhere on the planet, the applications for that functionality become endless. Case in point: international travel.

“If you’ve ever taken a cell phone overseas and didn’t bump up to an international plan, you likely are still feeling the pain in your wallet from paying roaming charges. Even if you consider paying for an international plan, the high cost can deter most people from bringing any form of communication on their trip. We certainly don’t recommend this, as itineraries often change and not having a reliable form of communication can mean trouble for even the savviest of travelers.

Global Coverage

“inReach uses the Iridium satellite network to send and receive data in the form of track points, text messages, emails and social media posts. Iridium’s impressive constellation of 66 satellites is the furthest-reaching mobile satellite communications network in the world – meaning if you can see the sky, you can send and receive messages. So not only can you post to Facebook from the beach in Fiji without having to seek out an internet connection, you can email your coworkers and let them know you decided to stay an extra week. Well played.

With a slew of subscription options – starting at just $11.95 per month – inReach is an affordable alternative to expensive international cellular plans – and much more reliable.”

 

Garmin is known for its GPS navigation and wireless devices and applications. The company is headquartered in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, and has principal subsidiaries in the U.S., Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Switzerland? Who are based there…Starbucks, Google, Amazon-type companies. Why’s that then?

parkrun PB Tips for the weekend – Updated Feb 2016

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parkrun

parkrun

The parkrun PB tips for the coming weekend has just been updated. There’s now 60 ways to run faster this Saturday. Some spurious and belief-based others that use a sneaky bit of science.

Try all 60 on Saturday and REALLY confuse yourself.

Interesting: ROKA R1 Goggles

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Interesting new Goggles from ROKA c$35. They have special optics to enable sighting.

ROKA R1 Goggle

Source: ROKA, clicks through to their site

This gives you a bit more of an idea.

I need some new goggles. I always seem to buy Predator Flex which always leak and never seem to last very long. Maybe it’s just me?

Swim Serpentine 2016

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swim-serpentive-2016

Clickable to organiser’s site

A weekend of wet fun for you all.

I won’t be doing it because of other commitments but it should be a good series of events including some new championship events. Organisers envisage 1000’s entering so it will be a big spectacle similar to some of the recent TRI events there in recent years.

Top tip: don’t drink the goose poo.

I’ve done a few of the events there and not got ill.

#SWIMBOT : Instant Technique Correction ??

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source: Indiegogo and swimswam: SWIMBOT.

The following is a cut and paste. Looks interesting although I can’t see how it can correct technique flaws of half-decent swimmers.

—————————————————————————————-

The first device that will instantaneously correct your swimming technique

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 12.45.10 PM

Rowdy Gaines

Rowdy Gaines backs SWIMBOT

SWIMBOT corrects your stroke instantaneously with sophisticated sounds. The 3D tutorials teach you the perfect swimming technique.

SWIMBOT has been tested and is backed by Olympic Champions, World Master Champion and professional triathletes:

  • Alain Bernard (FR) 100 freestyle Olympic Champion in 2008
  • Jim Montgomery (USA) 100 freestyle Olympic Champion in 1976
  • Rowdy Gaines (USA) 100 freestyle Olympic Champion in 1984
  • Nicolas Granger (FR) 24x World Master Champion
  • Jeanne Collonge (FR) 2x winner of Embrunman (world’s toughest triathlon)
  • Romain Guillaume (FR) Top 10 Hawaii Triathlon

HOW DOES IT WORK?

3 STEPS TO PROGRESS:

1) Before your workout

● Visualize our 3D tutorials

● Assimilate and retain the ideal stroke patterns

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2) During your workout

● Slip your SWIMBOT under your swim cap. Using bone conduction technology, our earphones offer you comfort and high-quality sound.

● It analyzes each and every move you make.

● It provides you with instant feedback via sophisticated sounds.

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3) After your workout

Synchronize SWIMBOT with your Smartphone via Bluetooth, and share your progress with your friends!

Share your performance and compare yourself to thousands of swimming enthusiasts.

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LET’S SWIM WITH SWIMBOT!

SWIMBOT FEATURES

SWIMBOT includes different levels and kind of exercises whether you are a beginner, intermediary or expert.

courtesy of SwimBOT 2016 indiegogo campaign, a SwimSwam Ad Partner

The above is only a teaser. Dive deeper with SWIMBOT on their indiegogo campaign page here.

IN DEPTH: The Quest For Wet HRV – Swimming HRV Underwater – Finally

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I started off a couple of years ago with the intention to record ‘every heartbeat’ that I do in exercise. Not because I like collecting things but rather to get a more holistic view of the Training Load (TL) of my triathlon efforts. With a better view of my training load I could, for example, better plan to rest and/or train harder.

I naively imagined it would be straightforward.

It’s not been easy. Indeed it’s become the much-fabled “Quest for Wet HRV”.

BACK STORY

As time progressed it transpired that some form of Heart Rate Variability (HRV) would be a further valuable insight into the area of post-exercise recovery and adaptation. So my intention became, instead, a quest to record every triathlon-based RR ‘beat’ – RR ‘beats’ are what are used for HRV.

Again, not rocket science. Garmin’s original 19th Century hard plastic chest strap is certainly waterproof and fully able to transmit RR beats.

Because of all this ‘5krunner stuff’ that I do, it only seemed fair to try to achieve this on all major hardware platforms ie Suunto, Garmin and Polar.

STRYD: Garmin 920XT, Suunto AMBIT 3 SPORT, Polar V800

STRYD: Garmin 920XT, Suunto AMBIT 3 SPORT, Polar V800

A further constraint is my belief in the data openness that will enable us all to review and analyse our training data wherever we want. So, whilst I can’t test every 3rd party data/analysis platform, I thought it would be reasonable to be able to ‘do it’ in SportTracks – it’s a fairly open piece of software and cheaper than a similarish TrainingPeaks package and also has a rather nice implementation of Training Load.

firstbeat_logo_2013_wide[1]

Yet another constraint is to get data into the COACH function of Firstbeat’s ATHLETE software for RR/HRV (discontinued but working software) as this software has a nice feature that dynamically suggests the intensity/duration of your next session.

As you can see, an initially straightforward task morphed into something a little more complex but by no means unreasonable.

Anyway back to the reality of February 2016.

Cycling & Running

Many chest straps are capable of recording RR beats when out of water. Polar, Garmin and Suunto all come up trumps there. We don’t really have to say much more than that. If you run, cycle or do duathlons you don’t really have much to worry about.

In my case sporttracks imports all their files and Firstbeat Athlete links directly to Suunto Movescount as well as importing Polar’s HRM and Garmin FIT files.

Swimming

Swimming is the bête noire of HR recording as ANT+ and Bluetooth signals don’t travel more than an inch or so underwater. The solutions to this are 1. ignore it (Garmin pre-2016) 2. Use a different communication frequency (Polar) 3. Cache the data in a HR strap (Suunto)

a. Suunto: with Suunto’s underwater, caching Memory Belt on the AMBIT3 everything I dreamed of is possible. Indeed way back in 2015 and probably 2014 it was also possible.

Day 2: Power vs Pace

Day 2: Power vs Pace

Sporttracks accepts their sml files and Firstbeat ATHLETE connects automatically with Suunto MOVESCOUNT and/or can directly import Suunto files such as SDF.

The Suunto MOVESCOUNT environment also mostly does what I would want it to in the context of this article around HR/HRV analysis of fatigue.

b. Polar: with a H7 HRM and a V800 we’re mostly good-to-go. Even though the H7 is Bluetooth it also transmits on a non-Bluetooth frequency though water for the V800 to receive as you swim – there is no need for caching.

4iiii Viiiva V100 Heart Rate Monitor, Polar H7, Wahoo TICKR-X, Suunto SMART Belt, Garmin HRM-RUN

4iiii Viiiva V100 Heart Rate Monitor, Polar H7, Wahoo TICKR-X, Suunto SMART Belt (the round one!), Garmin HRM-RUN

SportTracks imports the .HRM files as does Firstbeat ATHLETE (usually).

The Polar environment also does a great job of analysing training load and recovery. Better than Garmin and Suunto.

c. Garmin: Pre-2016 those of you in the Garmin environment were forced to try strange things with other vendors’ hardware (MIO – won’t store this non-HRV data, Suunto – the app didn’t work without a watch but does now, WAHOO – app doesn’t transmit HRV). For example I used to use the excellent WAHOO TICKR-X (caching) but getting the data back to SPORTTRACKS is tricky and not possible (HRV) to ATHLETE. So I only messed around with the process occasionally to validate the estimates I otherwise used.

Garmin HRM-TRI (HRM-SWIM) Review

Garmin HRM-TRI (HRM-SWIM) Review

Garmin’s late-2015 HRM-TRI and HRM-SWIM are caching HR straps and these promised a solution. However they do not (Feb 2016) follow a published ANT+ standard and so are not properly open to ATHLETE and FIRSTBEAT (and others). Sigh.

However the clever people at SPORTTRACKS have now deciphered the non-standard data.

Yes Result!

Err no.

Of course the non-standard FIT files from the HRM-TRI are not compatible with FIRSTBEAT ATHLETE. Of course that software is no longer supported and hence no longer developed and so will not be modified :-(

There are over 1000 posts on this blog and I don’t think any swear word is in any of them. Until now….””$”$%^£%&%^*^&((.

As always there is a clever person somewhere. It’s just finding them that’s hard. The FIT Repair Tool does decipher the non-standard FIT file and then can save it as a Suunto SDF file. This can then be imported to ATHLETE. TA DA !!

So after two years I have completed my quest for the Holy Grail of Wet HRV.

Half Time Summary

So now I can do what I originally intended to.

Of course part-way through the quest I realised it was flawed. Here’s why

  1. Female triathletes will be super happy with costumes that cover straps. But male pants-only triathletes won’t want to look like an idiot and wear a HR strap in a pool. No HR data. Or you could wear a wetsuit and look equally as ridiculous. There is no wrist-based HRV alternative **YET** (the quest continues).
  2. Firstbeat ATHLETE has no concept of different zones per sport. I’m not exactly sure how their TRAINING COACH function works but, in part, it looks at the TRAINING EFFECT of time in zone. so it underestimates swim efforts and also cycling ones albeit to a lesser degree (for me).
  3. It is possible to change the HRmax for each session manually in ATHLETE (that is the ‘solution’ – ie make HRmax SWIM lower)
  4. Even if proper zones can be determined (as with SportTracks) then who is to say how much the training load of one sport impacts on the fatigue state of another sport? Will a TE4 swim one day prevent me from executing a TE 4 run the next? In my case it wouldn’t. But the stats disagree at that level of granularity. Sigh.
  5. Even if all the TRAINING LOAD stuff were correct then will I be able to execute a TE4.2 bike today? (I am about to). The stats say yes. However if I only got 2 hours sleep last night then reality may say otherwise.
  6. That’s why I also use WAKING HRV as an input to my readiness.

The quest is over.

LONGER TERM

I have 3 further LONGTERM distractions on this quest which I don’t think can be properly met yet:

  1. To record every step – In Douglas Adams’s style I’ve decided this is ‘mostly pointless’ for anyone vaguely sporty, although I would still like to do it if I could find an activity tracker that I would not be embarrassed to wear. Polar A360 looks promising.
  2. To record every beat/RR-beat whilst sleeping – this is probably a questette too far. Essentially though it is a good one as a good night’s sleep is probably the best recovery any of us can undertake. Measuring and analysing that could give us more insight on how ready to train we are the following day. However this needs a good bit of wrist hardware and decent analytical software. I can’t see that happening in 2016 (EDIT: an under the bed solution may exist!).
  3. Have a single, aesthetically pleasing wrist-based device that can do all the above, probably using optical Heart Rate Technology.

The single, open, beautiful, wrist-based solution is just pie-in-the-sky and I’m not holding my breath.

If you found any of this info or info on the site useful please make your next purchase through one of these links…standard prices. It helps support my efforts.

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Iolite – Swim Straight in OWS

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Apparently this device from IOLITE is USAT race-legal

Image Source: 220 Triathlon

Image Source: 220 Triathlon

GPS-thingy on your head that is wired to direction-indicating lights in your custom goggles.

That would certainly save me heaps of time in open water.

It seems wrong; but I stress – apparently USAT race-legal.

Who needs SwimSmooth when you can Swim Straight with this?

I seem to vaguely remember seeing a patent that Garmin had for this sort of thing.

In the words of the song “There may be trouble ahead” on many fronts, especially if I can keep with the leading swim pack (OK the one behind the one behind them)

 

 

 

TomTom – Reports big 2015 sales growth for GPS watches

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TomTom Runner 2 Spark Cardio Music - Pairing Headphones

TomTom Runner 2 Spark Cardio Music – Pairing Headphones

TomTom is a Eur1billion sales company operating with about 50% gross margin. Total GPS sports watch sales for the 2015 were 600,000 units up from 500,000 the previous year (+20%).

That’s quite a lot of watches.

Sales comprised both the new TomTom Spark/Runner2, released in the autumn, and earlier models. Higher sales also probably reflecting clearing out old stock of the earlier multisport/cardio/runner ranges. The older stock was widely sold at good prices in summer 2015. Figures presumably exclude Bandit action camera sales.

I’ve no idea what TomTom sells it’s average sportswatch at to retailers. Let’s say it’s Eur50. That still means their GPS sportswatch revenue was, a probably under-estimated, Eur3,000,000. The point of coming at that figure was to show that it is a significant part of their business and hopefully one that they continue to expand.

Let’s see.

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