Tag Archives: Fitocracy

I’m Three-Quarters Across the Channel

Don’t worry, you’ve not missed my channel relay swim – not even I’m stupid enough to do it in this temperature – that’s in July. Instead I’m talking about the new Speedo app that helps you to track your swimming and lets you set challenges to complete. The current challenge I’m working on is to swim the channel – and as you can guess by the title of this post I’ve only got a quarter to go (or 10,355m).

2013-12-11 08.53.38I only downloaded the app fairly recently – in fact I’ve only recorded 13 swims using it so far – but from what I’ve seen I really like it. The visuals are clean and crisp and you can really see how you’re getting on, especially compared to your recent activity as it shows you the last five weeks in a nice graphic.

For a while I used to track my activities using Fitocracy, which gives you points for different completed workouts and then enters you into different leagues. The problems I had with that (and the reason I left and ultimately deleted the app) were:

— It didn’t learn, it was easy for me to get lots of points for swimming, but I’d get very few for running. Yet as a swimmer my running workout may well have been harder for me. It should have added an algorithm to allow it to learn.
— I found the people I was in the league with (and to be fair to the app, I had chosen them), were either non-stop athletes and so always way ahead of me, or were lapsed trainers and so usually a long way behind me.
— If not careful I would do workouts to gain points and not because it was part of my training routine. I’ve been on a purge and removed any apps that found me “playing the game” for its own sake – which is why I’m no longer on Foursquare either.

So, does the Speedo app solve these issues?

Well, it is much more of a personal tracking tool, rather than a gamified app – which I much prefer. Ultimately my workouts are personal to me. I have my own goals and I don’t need to win points to feel good about achieving them or not. However, there are still a few tweaks that I would like to suggest:

— As well as the big challenges (eg swimming the channel) allow me to set my own workout goals – for example I want to swim at least 5km per week, let me track that and challenge myself on that.
— Make it easier to “meet” people. I don’t want to be pitted against them, but the Fitocracy community did introduce me to a few people that I now follow and chat to on Twitter. This one may just be a critical mass issue for now, but some form of “chat” should be added to the app I think.
— Finally, and most importantly, within the challenges there should be a Windermere swim. It’s England’s longest lake, let people challenge themselves to swim it!

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I’ve done some reviews of Speed kit (here and here), but this is not related to them. This app is free to download on the iPhone (and possibly other devices too).


Filed under Swimming


I don’t use a lot of technology to help me with my training and motivation – I’m not a big fan of carrying devices around with me when I’m running and I’m certainly not going to take my iPhone swimming! But I suppose a bit like my post on coaches, I like the “pure”, “naked” feel of the training.

That said, I do record most of my efforts into Fitocracy (I’m Patrickjpr if you want to follow me).

FitocracyIt started out with a recommendation from a friend and I signed up to beat her! But then I joined the “community” and although nowhere near as avid a user (or trainer) as many on there, it’s nice to have a few friends and colleagues on this journey – along with the readers of this blog.

One of the main things that Fitocracy does is allow you to record the session you’ve just completed and earn points for it – you can then see where you are on a variety of different leaderboards. And there is clearly some fun and value in that.

However… (and you knew that was coming), what Fitocracy seems to do is give you a score based on its own view of your exercise – and not yours.

For me right now it is easier to swim two miles than it is to run it. In fact, I could almost swim it easier (although admittedly slower) than I could cycle it. Yet I would get a lot more points for swimming than I would for the other two as Fitocracy has decided that swimming is harder. It seems to me that the algorithm should be tweaked to measure you against recent performances, the more you do something, the fewer points you should earn for it.

Or, to put it another way – I should earn more points if I put the effort in to go out for a run, cos I find it really, really hard 😦


Filed under Cycling, Motivation, Running, Swimming, Thoughts