French Bloke Runs

Shut up and run!

Tag: Bastards

Test: synchronise your running apps with Tapiriik

The issue

I will guess that you’re like me. I have several friends who run and each of these bastards use a different running app, which is a real pain in the neck because I can’t run with five different apps at the same time. For example, I have an Endomondo account just to follow a couple of old friends in France and to participate in UKRunChat‘s challenges. Besides, I used to tracks my runs with Runkeeper where I have other old friends, then switched to Strava where I have newer friend.  Then I switched again to Garmin since I bought my Forerunner 225 but I still use Runkeeper when I rollerblade to work. So I needed to have all my activities on all these apps.

That fragmentation of the data and of the people is a real shame, because the social aspect of these apps is a great source of motivation (more about that in a future post). Also, each app shows the data in a different way, and it’s pretty cool to see the same activity from different angles. So I had a real need for synchronisation of all my data.

The choice

I found several ways of doing this:

  • Specific connectors between 2 platforms (e.g. TomTom has a connector to Runkeeper). This solution works if you have only 2 apps, but if you have 4 or 5 apps to synchronise, it becomes really messy and you’ll end up with some runs synchronised twice. Besides, some connectors simply don’t exist.
  • CopyMySport: I never managed to get this one working, so I concluded it is shit. Next!
  • SyncMyTracks: Really cool looking Android app, it even has a Runtastic connector, which is rare. But I couldn’t test the sync before buying it, so I didn’t test it. Also, this wouldn’t help iPhone owners. Who knows, I may try it in the future.
  • Tapiriik: My app of choice for synchronisation!
Tapiriik running sync

Tapiriik running sync – Original photo by Maurizio Pesce

Tapiriik

I like lists and bullet points, so here’s the list of the “pros”:

  • Really easy to use and to connect your apps.
  • Has connectors for all my apps and even more (the guy who developed it is probably more of a bike nut than a runner).
  • Totally free for manual synchronisations and without any limitation with regards to the number of activities to synchronise, or the number of apps you want to synchronise.
  • Synchronisation is done server side and is automatic if you go for the paid version, so you don’t have to remember to sync after each run.

And for the “cons”, they all derive from the fact that it looks like Tapiriik is made by a lone developer in his garage:

  • No connector for Runtastic, TomTom, FitBit, Polar, Suunto, Nike+, and probably a bunch of other apps.
  • This app is rarely maintained, so if there’s a new app, you probably won’t have the connector. And chances are, the apps listed above will never have a connector either.
  • If the server is down, it can take a long time to come up again. The synchronisation may not happen for up to a couple of days, because the guy is on his own to support it.
  • A little bit annoying: my rollerblade activities tracked on Runkeeper are synchronised as “ice skating” on Strava.

All in all, I think that Tapiriik is a very good solution. But if you have some experience with SyncMyTracks, please share!

Of the usefulness of the skill of running

If you’ve read Born to run, you know that in the distant past, running was probably the most useful skill available to us (if you haven’t read it yet, read it now). Actually, it was essential for survival: on a daily basis, you needed to be able to run away to the nearest tree in case you were chased by a lion, and since you hadn’t invented weapons yet, the only hunting technique was to run after an antelope until it died of exhaustion. True story! The silly animals can run fast yet they can’t run for long since they have to stop to pant and cool down. But us clever bipeds, can go on for hours: running on two legs allows us to control our breathing and to desync it from our stride if needed, and we can also sweat, which is a stinky but efficient way to cool down our body.

Somewhere around the bronze age, we’ve invented the spear and the bazooka which made hunting much easier. We’ve invented dynamite for efficient and ethical fishing. And because we’re lazy but cunning bastards, we’ve even convinced our food to stay put in our fields and wait to be turned into tasty burgers. So nowadays, running seems pretty useless at first glance. But I want to argue that it is actually useful in the 21st century.

Let’s take bus hunting for example. That’s an activity Londoners often engage in after a night of boozing outside of zone 1. On a Friday not so long ago, I found myself precisely in that situation. Having duly honoured the production of a delightful micro-brewery in Walthamstow, I embarked on the journey home. Citymapper informed me that the next bus was arriving in 5 minutes and the following one in 45 minutes. If I didn’t want to freeze to death for 40 minutes, I had to catch the first one, even though the bus stop was 9 minutes away walking. So I jogged away at an easy pace, with a gentle mid-foot strike (heel striking would have been impossible with my dress shoes) and I arrived just in time to catch the bus, not even out of breath in the slightest. Come to think of it, I have to run a beer mile one day…

Beer - Photo by Quinn Dombrowski

Beer – Photo by Quinn Dombrowski

Avoiding to spend 40 minutes in the cold waiting for the bus should be a pretty good argument for the usefulness of the skill of running, but you don’t seem convinced. How about better sex? Ah ah, I knew I would get your attention with that one! I’m telling you, the ability to shag without being out of breath after 5 minutes is appreciable and appreciated. And I’m not the only one to say that runners are better in bed.

Now I can tell you’re convinced: running is a useful skill! And as a bonus, I believe that marathon-finishers deserve bragging rights for life. I’m working on it and by the end of next year, I should be able to bore you to death with all my bragging. In the meantime, any takers on my offer for a beer mile in my friendly company?

Why I run

I have never really been a couch potato but I’ve never been the greatest sportsman either. Since I was a young lad, I have thoroughly hated football (and I still do to this day), fencing and judo didn’t agree with me either. I’ve enjoyed rugby union for a while, but the sports I really liked were skiing, snowboarding, roller-blading and climbing, most of which I still practise today. But running? Hell no! I have done it on and off for years to try and stay fit but I hated it almost as much as football, although I’ve always been fascinated by marathon and ultra runners (but that’s another story).

I have never really been a couch potato but since I arrived in London 4 years ago, I succumbed to British real ales and burgers and they made me chubby. Bastards.
So I started to say things like “I’m fat” fishing for compliments and replies like “Don’t worry, you’re not”. But Lanky Pole was brutally honest with me and told me “Yes you are”. Bastard.
I’m sure he had planned everything from the beginning: spending three years getting wasted on beer together twice a week, finishing the nights eating greasy fried chicken to get me fat, then convince me that the solution to my ‘comfortable’ body was to run. Bastard.
Then we spent an hour in Greenwich Park so he could show me a good running form, unfold a stretching routine and tell me to ask the Quiet Roman to help me choose a good pair of shoes. The Quiet Roman advised for a pair of Altra and innocently recommended me to read Born To Run by Christophe McDougall. Bastards.
I got hooked by the damn book. I began to appreciate the feeling and the lightness of the mid-foot strike. I understood that what I hated in running was sounding and feeling like an elephant at each step. I loved the elegance of this running form, and I stopped hating running. Bastards.
It took me several weeks to change this absence of hatred into active love. Now I hope I’ll never stop.

I have never really been a couch potato and I don’t want to become one. That’s why I began running, but it’s not the reason I’m still doing it. I run because I love the feeling of freedom, I love that I feel my body, my muscles and my feet, I love the ‘high’ it gives me for the rest of the day. I also have to admit that I secretly love pushing my boundaries and the electric atmosphere of a race. Thank you Bastards!

© 2018 French Bloke Runs

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑