Monday, December 17, 2007

A Better Alternative to Cool Running/Active Trainer

For anyone that feels left out in the cold by Cool Running and Active Trainer, the site Running Ahead looks like a great alternative.

I've set it up and entered data for one week and I think it is a much better log than Cool Running. I found Cool Running to be more difficult than my Thinnman Spreadsheet that I've used for 3 years and was hesitant to switch. I was considering switching to Cool Running, but with the merger with Active Trainer, it looks like they have ruined a good training log. Also, the transition is not going smoothly and Active trainer charges for features that Cool Running provided free. Everyone seems to be confused and people that were switched to Active Trainer from Cool Running are finding other alternatives.

The Running Ahead site is more user-friendly and and has more useful features than Cool Running. Like Cool Running, it allows the user to enter different cross training activities. You can set up all of your running routes and even map them if you like. It would be nice if they would add a feature to import routes that are already mapped, but you could just put a link in the notes for each route. The shoe tracker will even let you enter previous mileage for a pair of shoes. It also will track PRs, graphs, export to Excel, has scripts to use to post data to a blog, and allows you to share your log with others by making it public.

The only thing I didn't like is when I selected their option for strength training it didn't allow me to enter the duration. I found a way around it by adding a new activity called weight training which will allow me to enter the duration. The activity called strength training they had set up was nice in that if you want to be really specific about your workout, you can enter each exercise, number of reps, and sets. It just needs a place to add duration.

If you want to switch to Running Ahead or some other log, you can download your data from Cool Running. It is pretty easy if you have a link where you have shared your log if you can't sign into Cool Running to do so. Once you can see your log, click on "Tools" and "Click here" which will save your file as a .cgi. Then you can send the file to Running Ahead and they will import into your User ID. If you want to view the file in Excel, first open Excel and then select File, open to select the .cgi file to import into Excel. Excel will walk you through the steps.

In the right column of my blog, you can see last week's workouts as well as the YTD (in the Running Ahead Log). In order to see my entire log, just click on the link below my distance totals.
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