Runscribe “for the data driven athlete” – unboxing, setup and 1st run with metrics

Early this year, 2015, I saw a post by fellow runner Jerome Martinent about Runscribe. Runscribe was raising funds on Kickstarter.com, a platform presenting new ideas and projects with people having the chance to support, mostly financially. Jerome is following Kickstarter and was very early supporting Runscribe.

I was intrigued by the capabilities of Runscribe, collecting a number of running metrics that so far have been not available to leisure runners. Most importantly for me was the information about my footstrike type. I transitioned from a heel strike runner to a midfoot runner early 2014, when using the time after a virus infection to work on my strength and footstrike. Still I wanted to have further confirmation about this transition and see how my footstrike behaves during longer runs and races. Wondered if I fall back to heelstrike when fatigue sets in.

Runscribe seemed to be the only way to check my footstrike pattern at that time. I still hesitated to buy it, it costs USD239 for two Runscribe sensors and USD25 for shipping. I eventually ordered in March 2015, not under the Kickstarter category anymore but as pre-order. You can also choose to order only one Runscribe sensor but then of course can only track one foot during your runs.

The project got delayed quite a bit but Runscribe informed that this is in favor of an improved and better product. Anyway, just had to accept this situation, hoping the company behind this project doesn’t go bancrupt over all the delays and changes. Well, the updates became more positive and beginning October I got the shipping notification. I received it less than 2 weeks later on October 20, 2015.

About Runscribe

Just to give you a quick idea what Runscribe is about, beyond checking for my footstrike type. Below some information from the www.runscribe.com webpage.

“RunScribe uses a 9-axis sensor to very precisely capture the movements of your foot during the gait cycle. It makes thousands of calculations for every stride to deliver a rich and extensive data set that helps you analyze your running pattern and identify trends. We designed RunScribe to be very easy to use—basically, you just run! When you’re done, upload your data and view your metrics on the RunScribe dashboard.”

Here the measured RunScribe metrics:

  • Distance (DST, in km)
  • Pace (SPD, in km/hr or min/mi)
  • Stride Rate (SR, in strides/min)
  • Stride Length (SL, in meters)
  • Contact Time (CT, in ms)
  • Foot Strike Type (FSType, heel/mid/fore)
  • Impact Peak Gs
  • Braking Peak Gs
  • Stance Excursion 1 (FS to MP)
  • Stance Excursion 2 (MP to TO)
  • Max Pronation Velocity (ProV, highest rate of pronation from FS to MP)
  • Pronation Excursion 1 (ProMP, from FS to max pronation)
  • Pronation Excursion 2 (ProTO, from max pronation to TO)

The Unboxing

Move the mouse over the pictures for details or click it to move through the gallery.

The Setup

Now that the RunScribe sensors were unpacked, battery installed, it was time to bring them to life. The data from the Runscribe is stored in RunScribe servers. After runs the data from the sensors is transferred with the help of mobile phone apps (Android or iOS).

Not all phones come with the correct Bluetooth standard allowing the sync. From earlier checks I understood that the Apple iPad that I have actually supports the standard but I couldn’t find the RunScribe app in the Apple App store. Checking with RunScribe I was told that the Apple app is only available for the iPhone. As such I turned to my Xiaomi with Android, luckily it supports the required Bluetooth standard.

Move the mouse over the pictures for details or click it to move throught the gallery.

Once the sensors are configured you need to calibrate them on a known route, you need to know its exact distance. Optionally you measure the route with a GPS watch or run on a treadmill belt. RunScribe suggests three calibration runs, each run should be at least three km or miles. While I read somewhere minimum distance are three km, Jerome has a reference to three miles. So I suggest you just play safe and run at least 5km on your calibration runs 🙂

RunScribe – First Run

Next step is the installation of the RunScribe sensors to the shoes. We need to stick to the setting in the app, i.e. either “Heel” or “Laces” but you can always change it later. However, make sure you first do your three calibration run with each setting (Heel or Laces). Later you are free to mount it heel or laces, only set it accordingly in the app before you start your run.

I chose “Heel”, so accordingly I got ready for my first calibration run …

For my first calibration run I had to use the treadmill belt due to the unfavorable conditions outside caused by haze with unhealthy air quality readings. I did a 10km run constant at a 5 minutes pace. Here the app screenshots when synching the sensors with RunScribe.

Calibration of first run

With the first run synchronised with RunScribe, I had to calibrate the run. Calibration means I have to verify the reading of the run and adjust it to the actual. In my case I knew my time and distance from the treadmill. For the calibration I logged in to the online dashboard: dashboard.runscribe.com

The Metrics after first calibrated run

Now let’s look at the delivered metrics. As mentioned earlier, my footstrike type is of my biggest interest. The other metrics I have yet to study more and see what take aways are possible. Eventually the metrics should allow to identify strength and weaknesses, allow definition of specific training to maintain strenghts and improve weaknesses but that may be another posting at a later stage.

Here my footstrike metrics – hooray, I am pretty much a mid foot striker

Here the many other metrics, some self explanatory some require further reading of RunScribe documentation / information

 

Lots of stuff and long posting, thank you for making it until here 😀 I hope to post updates regarding my RunScribe experience in the near future. Until then just contact me should you have any question regarding this gear.

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