Author Archives: Alex

Introducing the RunningTrax app

Guest post by J. Gerry Purdy, Ph.D. Founder of FitnessTrax, Inc. and creator of the RunningTrax System

Editor’s Note: We are very excited to announce RunningTrax, an app we’ve been working on for the past year in partnership with Dr. J. Gerry Purdy of FitnessTrax, Inc. Most training plans will tell you how far to run in any given workout, but RunningTrax tells you what pace you should run for that distance. Read on to find more about the RunningTrax app and how it will improve your training. To get notified when the app is available for download and try it free for 30 days please sign up here:


RunningTrax™ is the first personalized, dynamic running training system that tells every runner exactly what pace they should run – day in and day out.

There are more than 200 million people in the world who regularly run at least three times a week. A few are serious, dedicated runners vying for a top national or age-group ranking. This represents perhaps 1% of the total. These runners typically pay hundreds of dollars a month to get personalized training advice: how fast should they run in each workout.

However, the vast majority of people who run regularly (the other 99%) have not had any easily available and low-cost way to get personalized advice for their workouts. They read an article in a magazine like Runner’s World or online that talks about training advice. It is helpful to some extent. But, the training advice given online or from a book or magazine has one major drawback: it cannot possibly give you personalized advice on what you should do.

Training programs, books and articles can only define a general workout recommendation because it has been impossible – up until now – to define a workout for the millions of runners all at different levels of ability. A training program might say to run three miles. That’s fine, but at what pace should you run? You don’t want to run too slow or too fast. And, what if your neighborhood course is 3.3 miles? How would you adapt the recommendation for a different distance? You can see it’s nearly impossible for someone giving training advice to the public to define a specific, personalized workout for every runner.

This is the problem I set out to solve while working on my Ph.D. at Stanford. In order to define a personalized workout, you need to be able to determine each runner’s level of ability. If you could do that, then you would be able to take a proposed workout distance, time or pace and generate a workout that is personalized to each runner’s level of ability. The hard part is to find a way to determine each runner’s level of ability.

The reason it is hard to determine your level of ability is because of a simple fact of human running performance: there are limits to what each runner can perform. The highest performances are known as world records. World records are very hard to beat because the human has limits – we can’t improve forever. When you take a large number of runners, the top performance might improve a little over decades but the rest of the performances don’t change much.

However, for each and every runner, making improvements at lower levels of performance is clearly easier than at higher levels of performance. Thus, any system to determine physiologic performance cannot be linear, where every unit of speed increase would earn the same unit increase in the runner’s level of ability.

Rather, the system that determines level of ability has to reward every unit of speed increase with a larger unit increase in the runner’s level of ability. We call this kind of improvement non-linear because for every unit improvement, larger rewards are provided.

Think of this another way. I am runner with a certain level of ability. As I improve, it gets harder for me to improve to newer, higher levels of ability. When I start off, it is easy to make improvements. But, as I improve, I will find it harder to achieve further improvements.

In order to correctly model human performance, you have to take this ”limitation effect” into account. A system has to be set up so that it correctly defines the level of ability from beginner to average to world class.

I was able to do that by referencing thousands of performances over the past 100 years and then using a non-linear formula that I created with the help of a math professor at Stanford. I used many hours of computer time to calculate the values used in the non-linear formula. This gave us the basis for the values of the level of ability for the ten most popular distances run from 100 meters through the marathon.

Let me explain a bit more about how the RunningTrax™ system works. RunningTrax™ is a breakthrough system which solves the most persistent problem for all runners, from weekend joggers to world class athletes.

When training, runners need to run hard enough to improve but not too hard or they’ll increase the risk of getting injured. Until RunningTrax™, it has been difficult and expensive for runners to get good advice on how to train. That’s why almost all running websites and apps focus on recording what runners have done rather than telling them what they should do.

The RunningTrax™ mobile app is a quantum leap forward in running training. While it provides all the standard features (including GPS tracking, run logging, music integration, etc.), the new RunningTrax app is the first system to help every runner, regardless of ability, get a personalized recommendation on the proper pace to run for every workout.

The RunningTrax app is just days away from being launched on the Apple App Store. To get a notification when the app is available for download and get a free 30 day trial, add your email here: To read more about the RunningTrax app please visit:

Typically, it takes a lot of expert time to define appropriate workouts for individual runners. RunningTrax™ is the first to automatically and scientifically determine what a runner should do for any distance, time or pace. In addition, it adjusts to a runner’s changing level of fitness.

iOS 8 Health App Integration

I’m really happy to announce the release of the latest version of our running apps. This update addresses a few remaining bugs with iOS 8 and adds one of the most requested features by our customers: integration with HealthKit and the new iOS 8 Health app.

The Health app serves as a repository for all your health and fitness data and is a great tool to get a comprehensive view  of your overall fitness activity.

Our apps can write Distance and Calories Burned to the Health app. They can also read and write the Weight, thus allowing you to use our app to keep track of your weight or use any other weight tracking app that integrates with the Health app.

So, here’s how to setup the integration with the Health app:

  • Once you open the app you will see the following dialog:

Configure Health app integration

  • Tapping on the “Configure” button will bring the Health Access screen where you can turn ON which data the app can read and write:

Turn On

  • Tap on the Done button and you are set.

After you finish a workout the Distance, Calories Burned, and Weight (if you entered it) will be saved in the Health app, and the Health app dashboard will look like this:

Health Dashboard

If you wish to change the access permissions after the fact you can do so by opening the Health app, tapping on the Sources tab, and selecting the app from the list:

Change access settings

The new update, version 3.5.7, is available on the App Store and the following apps have been updated to work with the Health app:

Don’t Lose Your Journal During iOS 8 Update!

iOS 8 is here (or almost here)! Before updating, please take some steps to ensure your training history is safe.

While the vast majority of iOS updates happen without a glitch, sometimes an error happens during the update in which customers end up losing their workout Journal.

Our apps provide an easy way for you to backup your workout Journal via our RunHelper Connect service and ensure you don’t lose your training history. So here is a short guide for how to go about updating your iPhone / iPod touch and minimizing the risk of loosing your workout history.

Note:  If you are already using RunHelper Connect, you are all set as your workouts are automatically backed up (unless you manually turned auto backup off).

1) Backup your workout Journal with RunHelper Connect

Backup your Journal to RunHelper Connect

  1. Open your app
  2. Tap on the Connect tab
  3. Tap on the Join Now button and create your RunHelper Connect account. All users get a 30-day free trial!
  4. Tap on the Journal tab and then on the “Backup Now” button

2) Backup your iPhone / iPod touch with iTunes or iCloud

  1. See this article which describes various options on backing up your device.

3) You are now ready to install the new iOS!

iOS 8

If the iOS update process goes wrong and you end up with a blank Journal screen fear not! You can easily restore your Journal right from the app. Here are the steps to follow.

Restore Workouts

  1. Tap on the Journal tab
  2. Tap on the arrow button at the top right corner of the app
  3. Select “Restore Workouts”
  4. Select workouts to restore and tap the Restore button

In addition to backing up your data RunHelper Connect offers a lot more features like:

  • Access to RunHelper Connect Website
  • Workout Summary emails
  • Weekly progress emails
  • Ability to see all your workouts from all of your Bluefin apps at one place.
  • User Forums

Introducing Forums

One of the reasons we developed RunHelper Connect is to enable our customers to connect with each other and share their running experience with the community. We are thrilled to announce that we have added Forums to our apps where you can do, just that.

To access the forums tap on the Connect tab in your app, then tap on the Forums button. As they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s a screenshot that introduces the Forums and how to use them:

Example Forum Post


See you at the Forums!

The 5-Minute Stretch app


The wait is over! Download the 5-Minute Stretch app and put an extra spring in your step. Stretching is a cinch with the 5-Minute Stretch app. Open the app, select a routine, and let the app guide you through the stretching session.

Why Stretch with an app?

The app will show you how to perform each stretching exercise, tell you when to switch to the next one, and let you know when you’ve completed the stretching session. It’s like having a coach right next to you. The 5-Minute Stretch app has 18 stretches specifically chosen for walkers/runners, targeting key muscle groups used while working out.


  • Beautiful animations show you exactly how to perform each exercise.
  • Pre-workout and post-workout stretching sessions.
  • Dynamic and static stretching exercises.
  • 5-minute sessions with 10 stretches each.
  • Integrated with all our training apps.
  • Shuffle exercises to avoid getting bored.
  • Add multiple rounds to extend your stretching session.
  • Alerts tell you when to switch exercises.

Congratulations to the 50 Giveaway Winners!

We’ve notified the winners who have received a free app as part of our launch giveaway. If you won you should have received an e-mail with instructions on how to download your app for free.


Three new GPS tracking apps


I’m happy to announce that we are adding three new GPS tracking apps to our suite of mobile apps: Run Tracker Pro, Cycle Tracker Pro and Walk Tracker Pro.

Since the beginning we have been focusing on developing running apps based on training plans, but we’ve always had customers ask us about having non-training plan based apps as well. When our long time partner Peaksware approached us with the possibility of acquiring their suite of GPS tracking apps we jumped at the opportunity. Adding a Cycling app to our offering and more choices for non-plan based tracking apps is something we’ve always wanted to do.

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome all Tracker Pro users  to the Bluefin family. Other than a few logo changes you won’t notice anything different about the apps now. In the future we plan on adding new features and continue making the apps one of the best GPS trackers on the market.

Here’s a link to the press release announcing the purchase.

What’s new in Version 3.3.3

When running some of us want to be able to see our stats at all times. Are we slowing down? Are we running faster than usual? The biggest change in this update is the Workout screen.

Here’s a highlight of the new features we are introducing with version 3.3.3

Workout Screen gets a small face-lift

We’ve heard from a number of you that the GPS values on the workout screen are a bit hard to read while working out. We are happy to announce that we have fixed that with this update. The Workout screen now sports larger values that are easier to see with just a glance while in the middle of a run.

In order to accomodate larger pace and distance values we have redesigned the music/volume/sharing tabs into a smaller bottom bar that lets you easily control your music and alerts volume, and lock the screen.

The New Workout Screen

Larger Distance and Pace values. Slimmer bottom bar gives you access to Music, Volume, and Locked View.

Another improvement on the workout screen is the music integration. You can now change your playlist mid run without having to stop your workout. Just tap on the album artwork and select a new playlist.

The previous version of the app had a “Lock Buttons” feature which placed  small padlocks on the buttons that could accidentally interrupt a workout. That was a bit confusing so we have replaced that feature with a more intuitive “Locked View”. If you have previously had “Lock Buttons” turned ON, the Workout screen will now automatically change to the “Locked View” when you start a workout. You can also tap the “Lock” button in the lower right corner of the screen to switch to the “Locked View”. With the lock view all buttons that could interrupt your workout are removed.

Locked View

The Locked View removes all buttons preventing workout interruptions by accidentally tapping the screen.

Try Connect free for 30 days

With this update you are able to try RunHelper Connect free for 30-days. The RunHelper Connect service enables you to automatically backup your workouts, see your progress across all Bluefin apps, and much more.

The New Connect Tab

Everyone needs a little extra motivation to stay on a workout schedule. RunHelper Connect helps you stay motivated by awarding you points every time you workout thus making working out a bit more fun.  You can also unlock Achievements that give you extra bonus points and a beautiful trophy for your virtual trophy case.

Connect Tab

See your latest activity, points earned, and unlocked Achievements.

Changes to the training plan

This update brings an adjustment to the training plan based on the feedback we have received from customers. Workouts for Week 1, Week 2, Week 5 – Day 3, and Week 6 have been modified to make the training plan more gradual.

In addition to interval changes for the workouts above, we have made the following changes:

  • Workouts don’t end with a Walk interval anymore. Since a 5 minute cool-down walk is included, having a Walk interval as the last interval before the cool-down was redundant.
  • Week 1 Run intervals have been increased to 60 seconds.

For any comments or feature requests please don’t hesitate to write us at

RunHelper Connect Launched

Last night we released version 3.3 of Power Walk, Bridge to 10K, and Ease into 10K apps. The update for Ease into 5K and the rest of our apps will follow early next week.

This update brings something we’ve been working hard on for quite some time: we are thrilled to announce RunHelper Connect the companion service for our training apps.

We’ve talked about the upcoming RunHelper Connect release and some of the features earlier this summer. Continue reading

Facebook and Twitter Integration

What happened?

This morning we learned that posting to Twitter from our apps stopped working. It turns out Twitter has changed their API, which means that the now old way of posting does not work anymore. They have announced this change on their website but unfortunately we have failed to notice it.  Continue reading

Check your tags — fabrics for summer runners

We’ve talked before about how to run smart as the temperature rises and ways to stay hydrated throughout the day.  Now that the Canada Day / Independence Day BBQ season has arrived, we’re once again reminded that it can get really, really hot out there — and that running effectively and safely requires being smart and thinking ahead.

We definitely recommend clicking through those links above for some basics of summertime running, but there’s another opportunity to improve your hot-weather running performance hiding right under your nose (or, more accurately, just behind your back).

We’re talking about your clothing tags, particularly on shirts, which will cover most of your surface area.  For a lot of people, cotton is the go-to fabric for both casual and workout gear in the summer.  If you’re not planning to sweat a lot and can wear something loose-fitting that allows your skin to breathe quite a bit, this might be fine.  But cotton is the last thing you want hugging your body when you’re doing longer endurance work (or just generating a lot of sweat).

It might seem like wearing a drenched shirt darkened from neck to navel in sweat should be a badge of fitness honor, but in reality that’s just a heavy layer of perspiration that isn’t allowing your body to cool itself effectively.  Synthetic materials — such as polyester, nylon, or spandex — will help wick away sweat and allow it to evaporate into the air, which is precisely how your body’s cooling system is supposed to work.  Putting a layer of spongy, sweat-absorbing cotton between you and the outside air makes things a heck of a lot less efficient.

So if you want to run as cooly as possible as the temperature rises (and perform better as a result) take a look at those tags tickling the back of your neck.  Making some strategic adjustments to your running wardrobe can made a huge difference this summer.