How to publish your Garmin training data to other services with "tapiriik"

There is a new way to publish your training data on multiple services with just one click. And you know what? It’s completely free! The name of this great tool is “tapiriik”. At the moment it supports synchronisation of SportTracksGarmin ConnectStravaRunKeeperDropbox and TrainingPeaks.
With just a few settings you will be able to backup your training data on different databases.
The home page as it appears at your first access.
The login to each service can be done just once at the beginning, with the normal User+Password method. Saving the credentials will limit this operation at just the first access. After that you will just need to access tapiriik and do the sync.
To connect a service, just enter your login data.
The options you can manage are explained in the picture hereunder. You can simply decide, for each service, from and to which other service synchronise your data. In this example I decided to sync the other services starting from SportTracks, because that’s where I have my main log.

The “Options” window of each service will allow you to decide what synchronises what. Just click on the arrows under the “From” or “To” option to activate or deactivate the direction of sync.
If you suddenly decide that you don’t want to use one of the services any more, you can just unlink it under the options menu. Nothing will be deleted, in case you do it accidentally.
To disconnect a service just click on the “unlink” button in the options window.
Nothing will be deleted after disconnecting a service.

Some websites like Dropbox will require an “app authorisation”, like showed in the following figure. Also RunKeeper works with apps, so you will be asked for the same thing.

For some services, like Dropbox, the login comes as an external app authorisation.
Since Dropbox works directly with folders, you are allowed to choose where to save your files. Also the file extension (*.tcx or *.gpx) can be selected, like the naming system. Simply click on “Reconfigure” under the service icon to activate the options window.

In Dropbox options you can also decide the target folder, the file format and the file naming system.
After the general setup just click on “Synchronize now” to start the sync. If your database is large, the operation will require some minutes the first time. After that, if you will do it with a regular cadence (let’s say once every one or two weeks), the sync time will be less than one minute.

Clicking on “Synchronize now” will start the synchronisation between the selected services. Closing the window after this operation won’t affect the sync.
There is also the possibility, by paying just 2.00 $ a year (!), to have the synchronisation automatically done for you. Definitely a reasonable price, don’t you think?
Pros and Cons:
+ A service like this coming for free is absolutely good news.
+ Having the chance of using Dropbox is a remarkable step towards data ownership freedom, since the users can migrate their own data as they prefer (that’s also the philosophy of SportTracks‘ team).
+ Heart rate data, where available, are correctly transferred among services.
+ The website is very simple and usable.
+ The sync time has been improved a lot in the last months.
+ The following cons are not directly linked with tapiriik, but are the result of a great lack of standardisation between platform services.
– Strava doesn’t import no-GPS files; this is a problem for people doing indoor training sessions.
– RunKeeper imports no-GPS files, but sometimes doesn’t take into account the corrections made and you can often find activities with correct duration, but empty distance.
– Garmin Connect shows the same problems as RunKeeper does.
– In general, I’d like to see the corrections made on distance, since GPS devices often over-estimate distances.
Here you can find a list of my running-related posts. Now shut down the notebook and have a run!


Science and Training:
Races:

Heel-to-toe drop: meaning and measurement

In a shoe, the “heel-to-toe drop” (HTTD), also called “heel-drop” or simply “drop”, is nothing but the difference between the heel and the fore foot height. Some people measure these values without including the insole, but I like more the approach that includes it (there is always an insole, so why forget about it? Moreover, some insoles have differentiated thickness from heel to fore foot).

Figure 1 shows the location of the outsole (usually the only part in contact with the ground, provides grip), the midsole (usually located between outsole and insole, provides cushioning) and the insole (also called insert, provides a small amount of cushioning and sometimes supports the arch of the foot).

Figure 1 Outsole, midsole and insole in a running shoe.

Typical values of HTTD can be classified (here you can find a list of some shoes I measured) as follows:

  • 0 to 4 mm – usually found in racing flats, “zero-drop” or minimalist shoes, generally low cushioned
  • 4 to 8 mm – usually found in racing flats or “low-drop” shoes, generally low cushioned, sometimes mid cushioned
  • 8 to 12 mm – current standard for fast training/long distance racing shoes, generally mid cushioned, sometimes highly cushioned
  • 12 mm or more – a common value for normal jogging/running shoes, generally high cushioned.

Measuring the HTTD is quite a simple procedure and can be done in many different ways. Here I will show you my method, that I found being very accurate and reproducible. Only a caliper and a reference frame are needed to complete the measurement.
As showed in Figure 2, after building an L-shaped reference frame, the first operation is to set the caliper to zero.

Figure 2 Setting the caliper to zero.
The first measure to take is the heel pack height (outsole+midsole+insole), as shown in Figure 3. The measurement point is exactly in the lowest area where usually the heel is.
 
Figure 3 Measuring the heel pack height.
The second and last measure involves the fore foot zone. During this operation you want to be sure that the outsole is touching the reference plane (normally running shoes have a quite strong curvature in this zone). Normally the measurement point is under the metatarsal area, at the centre of the foot.

 

Figure 4 Measuring the fore foot pack height.
The difference between the first (heel pack) and the second (fore foot pack) measure is the HTTD. Typical results are listed here.


Here you can find a list of my running-related posts. Now shut down the notebook and have a run!
Science and Training:
Races:

2013 Track & Field season

Chronicle of a Steeplechase year

As said in last year’s end-of-season post2012 was my first season 10 years after quitting races. This year I kept on smashing my records (it’s so easy, when you start again from scratch), even if an Achilles tendinopathy tried to stop me. 

Taken from the athlete profile section, here’s a review of my improvements:

Outdoor progression of main events.

Some targets were achieved, some others just approached. I really wanted to run sub 10:10.00 in the steeplechase event, but maybe I forced too much in the first part of the season. I am very proud, though, of my improvements in longer distances.
Definitely the most important point is that I finally found a great team here in Berlin and I can say I picked up the right pace to start the winter season in a proper way. Carsten, Sebbi, Micha, Merlin…they were all very kind in relieving my forced stop. Not to mention, then, the great support I always had from mum, dad, Katrina and all the friends in Conegliano (Pie, Mattia and Gbo in a special way).

Over the water pit in one of the last races.
Last, but not least, the irreplaceable help from my technical partners has been again crucial. Brooks Running Italy and “himaxx” (Center for Altitude Training, Berlin) continue to follow my journey strongly. Thank you!
As usual, I tried to condense all the emotions, motivations and regrets in a single, short video. Nothing is better than direct experience to understand what lies under a whirling Track and Field year. But the images and the music itself are quite appropriate for trying to understand. 
So, again, welcome to my world. Enjoy and…keep on training!

What is training load?

Using training load to plan and analyse your preparation is a powerful weapon. The risk of injuries can be significantly reduced and training efficiency increased.

But what is training load?

Long story short, training load is nothing more than this:
TRAINING LOAD = TRAINING VOLUME x TRAINING INTENSITY
Using a logging software such as SportTracks, makes it very easy to implement the previous expression. The only important thing is to chose correctly the two parameters. In the following lines a synthetic explanation of their meanings.
Training volume is usually calculated as training duration. Another approach is to define it using mileage (for example 120 km/week for a runner). There are no major differences in choosing one or another.
Training intensity indicates how hard your workout is. A common way to quantify this parameter is by using the so-called Borg RPE (Rating of Perceived Exertion) Scale. Originally conceived with numbers from 6 to 20, nowadays it is commonly accepted tu use values from 0 to 10 to quantify the perceived exertion. The great advantage of this method lies in its simplicity: the athlete judges every workout’s intensity with a number according to his/her sensations. This is a good way for taking into account a wide pool of parameters that influence the workout like, for example, athlete’s motivationkind of shoes used or nutrition before and after the session.
0
Rest
1
Extremely light
2
Very light
3
Light
4
Somewhat hard
5
Hard
6
7
Very hard
8
9
Extremely hard
10
Maximal exertion
The modified Borg RPE (Rating of Perceived Exertion) Scale.
It is quite a little effort to obtain such a powerful analysis tool. And it is funny indeed, playing with all those numbers. Give it a try!

Here you can find a list of my running-related posts. Now shut down the notebook and have a run! 
Science and Training:
Races:

A nice gift from Brooks Running Italy

Brooks Running Italy recently wrote a beautiful article about me. In the next lines a translation from the original piece. Thanks Brooks!

March 12th, 2013 
THE GREAT BROOKS PASSION!
The large Brooks family is not only full of well-known athletes. A lot of young and passionate guys revitalise the “Run Happy” philosophy…
This is the case for Alessandro Santuz, born in Conegliano (TV – Italy), a great running enthusiast that have been training since he was 11.
After a short break to finish his studies in Aerospace Engineering at University of Padua, in 2011 he started again to run in the 3000 m steeplechase event. A discipline requiring a lot of willpower and hard workouts.
He currently lives in Germany and trains with a group of athletes led by the two-time Olympian in the 1500 m event Carsten Schlangen.
Alessandro grinds lots of kilometres, around 400 each month, and told us that Brooks shoes and apparel are his  ideal companions: “Now I have cumulated about 1300 km with different models of shoes and clothing, and I was surprised by the excellent quality of materials and exceptional attention to detail…that said, I won’t ever leave Brooks!”. Those were his exact words.
Alessandro writes a very interesting blog about his activities and sports experiences!
VISIT HIS BLOG AND…RUN HAPPY! 

 

24th Lauf im Britzer Garten: a good pre-season test.

With the 24th Lauf im Britzer Garten (official website) the “summer” season has started. In the frame of the beautiful Britzer park in Berlin, 500 runners were at the start of the 10 km main competition.
With a time of 0:34:45 I classified 10th, running my 10 km PB (and my 5000 m PB too, as a split!). This is a very good news for the following races, all the training I’m doing with my wonderful group is definitely paying off!
Below a couple of pictures and the final classification. Here the GPS-track.

A quite crowded start!

For the first 3 km this was my group.

Feeling strong around 4th km.

A beautiful view of one of the bridges.

Final meters!

This is sport.

So happy!
1
Engler, Jonas
1985
DE
LG Süd Berlin
0:31:39
2
Bubel, Niels
1987
DE
Die Laufpartner
0:31:40
3
Krannich, Christian
1984
DE
LAC Berlin
0:32:23
4
Wienecke, Jonas
1992
DE
Tus Neukölln Tri.
0:32:30
5
Matysik, Nico
1995
DE
LAC Berlin
0:32:51
6
Landmann, Marc
1994
DE
LAC Berlin
0:33:24
7
Rodewohl, Christoph
1988
DE
LAC Berlin
0:33:48
8
Schwark, Ludwig
1986
DE
LAC Berlin
0:33:55
9
Dumann, Axel
1972
DE
OSC Berlin
0:33:55
10
Santuz, Alessandro
1983
ITA
LG Nord Berlin
0:34:45

The official results of the 24th Lauf im Britzer Garten.


Tough Guy: the safest most dangerous event in the world

Some of you surely remember my post about the Red Bull 400 or the Sant’Antoni’s Night Trail, that both show my inclination to strange races. But what you are going to see in this video posted by Brooks Running Germany YouTube channel, is somewhat over the normal conception of “tough race”. The “Tough Guy” is claimed by its organisers to be “the safest most dangerous event in the world”. You won’t find it hard to believe after the first seconds of the following clip.

The course map says it all, with a section named “Killing Fields” and another called “Bracken Maze Tortures”! My favourite part would certainly be the “Brasher-Disley Steeplechase” (you can have an overview at the minute 1:52), even if I’m not so sure that all that mud is going to help the fun…

Many congratulations to Knut Höhler (Brooks Running Team) for the Hattrick!

2012 Track & Field season

Chronicle of a Steeplechase year

2012 was my first season 10 years after quitting races. Step by step I increased mileage, training sessions, commitment. In complete harmony my family, my girlfriend, my friends and my training mates started and kept on supporting me. It was a special season, that can hardly be synthesized by a short clip. I anyhow tried to and the following images are my biggest thank you to those people who continuously follow my running journey.
Every ceiling, when reached, becomes a floor […]” (Aldous Huxley)
Thanks to mum, dad and Katrina (always the main sponsors and fundamental moral supporters), Mattia (it’s a pleasure to search for the scientific explanations of facts), Pie (2013 will be definitely great, you’re destroying the right obstacles), Gbo (where should I go without your accurate technical hints?), the whole Cone-Project (more than an idea…a way of life!), Batman (talking with you is always a motivation injection!), Mark (more than a simple technical partner), and every single person that helped me or I helped during hundreds of training sessions.
Enjoy and…keep on training! (LINK for German viewers).

A good way to end the year

The 2012 has come to a (good) end! Today’s race, the 37th Berliner Silvesterlauf, aka “Der Pfannkuchenlauf”, gave me a beautiful 10th place over 935 finishers along a wonderful 10 km course in the famous Grunewald (see the website www.berliner-silvesterlauf.de for more details). Congratulations to my training partner Johannes that won the race with a perfect run, leading from the start to the finish.

After 18 races, 2800 km and 200 hours of training, 180000 kCal burned and an average pace of 4’20″/km, I can easily say that I laid the right foundations for a rewarding 2013, under every point of view.

Happy new year, my dear readers! And…keep on training!

The last corner before the finish line at the 37th Berliner Silvesterlauf.
1
Riewe, Johannes
1986
DE
LG Nord Berlin
0:34:00
2
Kopf, Michael
1976
DE
SCC Berlin
0:34:58
3
Töpfer, Arne
1988
DE
LTC Berlin
0:35:22
4
Müller, Philipp
1981
DE
Jevenstedt
0:35:40
5
Leidig, Holger
1969
DE
Leidig24 Triath.
0:36:08
6
Rodenbeck, Jürgen
1969
DE
RSC Wunstorf
0:36:19
7
Meinike, Patric
1992
DE
Oberhausen
0:36:20
8
Frommhold, Jens
1988
DE
SCC Berlin
0:37:05
9
Kröhnert, Kevin
1988
DE
SCC Berlin
0:37:11
10
Santuz, Alessandro
1983
ITA
LG Nord Berlin
0:37:12

The official results of the 37th Berliner Silvesterlauf.



Cone-Project presents: "Emozioniadi" 2012

What are the “Emozioniadi”? It’s a group-training session (not a real race, actually) where the fifth gets the bigger prize and the rules are quite simple:
  • the event must be held at the end of season
  • everyone can participate in five different disciplines (100 m, long jump, high jump, shot put, 1000 m)
  • the will to have fun is compulsory!
Enjoy the video recap of this big party!