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meldyck
June 23rd, 2009, 10:02 AM
USMS has finally released it's new fitness logs (FLOGs), available to members. This is indeed a big change.

Unfortunately, for me, this is not easily adaptable to my needs. I have developed and kept my own personal fitness log over the last 15 years, tailored to my own special needs, and don't see how the new FLOGs at USMS can duplicate that effort without some major changes.

The principal example is what I do for exercise. There are a substantial number of available categories but two of my main ones are missing (rowing and cross-country skiing). I realize that I can put these in as 'other' but, because two exercises are mixed together, it is not so easy to look at results over the long haul. Further, as the years have gone by, I have added additional categories and would like to be able to do the same with the FLOGs.

Two other fitness categories that I use are Maximum Heart Rate (supposed to decay with age, as you know, but does it really?) and blood pressure. Neither of these are available in the USMS FLOGs.

I think that, to make the new FLOGs useful for everyone, they need to be individually configurable. I don't do pilates or yoga so, if those categories could be replaced, for me, by cross-country skiing and rowing that would take care of the exercise part. Having the ability to add other fitness measures would also help.

What I'm suggesting is the ability to have interactive programmable code for the entry input panel. Since I haven't programmed for years in HTML (and never in Java), I'm not sure how doable this is.

The final problem is merging records from past years. My fitness log is Excel based and the ability to import these data would be very valuable. I probably would not choose to hand-type the thousands of entries. That means that I cannot easily compare multiple years graphically or in table form. Somehow, this defeats the purpose of my chain of fitness records.

If these problems can be overcome I would anticipate transferring my logs over to USMS. If they cannot be dealt with, then definitely not.

One really nice feature of the FLOGs is having the data in one place and not having personally to deal with the archiving. USMS is certainly on the right track here, its just that the Devil is in the details. One of my thoughts is that this would give great incentive to many more people to keep fitness logs. In the long run this will produce a database of absolutely invaluable information to see how fit people age and what they have to do as they age to keep fit. A couple of years ago, I issued a challenge on these Discussion Forums for people to post summaries of their yearly fitness records. There was not a single response, even though many people looked at the thread. It was discouraging to me to think that not many people consider this important. Hopefully, the new FLOGs would 'right' that situation.

matysekj
June 23rd, 2009, 11:16 AM
All good points, Mel, and perfectly in line with our plans. The flogs today are in their infancy and will grow with new features over time. We are already planning updates for most of what you've listed. Important updates (not really in exact order of importance) include:



Ability to view other's flogs if their preferences are set for that.
Ability to easily add system-wide entry types and allow for users to add custom entry types. There is a fine line to walk here, and you can see an example of it in the blogs here on the forums. Users can add their own categories and there are custom categories there. Unfortunately, if 3 users add "bike", "biking" and "cycling" as their custom categories for the very same thing, it makes it difficult for other users to search for items in that category. Therefore, we want a robust set of system-wide categories available without overwhelming users with a list of 100 things to scroll through when making an entry.
Ability to export your log entries to a CSV file.
Much more options for the Totals page, including graphs, totals by month, etc.
Ability to tie in to blogs, providing a link to "blog this entry" from your flog. That will allow you to flog your workout and then comment on it and invite other comments from other members in your blog. This would be similar to the current "blog this post" link available in any forum post (one of the icons in the lower right corner of any forum post).
Adding hooks for participating in virtual swims from your flog.

Importing data is another need. However, it is one that I would be very reluctant to make available to the general public. It is far too easy to import thousands of records of bad data and difficult to make import tools such that they handle and prevent all such bad imports. Recovering from a bad import would be a time-intensive thing that I don't want to have to deal with. For now I'd rather have a staff member/volunteer deal with receiving people's old logs, massage the data as necessary, and do the import for people. I did this for my flog and imported my data going back to 1990. It can definitely be done, but everyone generally has their own data in different formats that will all need to be massaged into a common format prior to imports.

For anyone who wants to try out the flogs, there is more info and instructions on how to set things up in today's feature at http://www.usms.org/features.php?id=142

meldyck
June 23rd, 2009, 12:38 PM
Thanks for the feedback, Jim. I'm glad to see, but not surprised, that you are still developiing the system. I'll continue to monitor the progress.

When the development has gotten to the point that I'd like to get in my archived files, I'll email you for some suggestions on how to proceed.

Marcia Anziano has also suggested to me a way to deal with the Go The Distance data for the moment.

KEWebb18
June 23rd, 2009, 12:55 PM
I am undecided on using this tool, since I like to comment on each set, or part of set. That is one reason why I like using the blog for my workouts-everything is there in one place. I would appreciate continual information and feedback from users before I commit.

knelson
June 23rd, 2009, 01:13 PM
I just checked it out a little and it looks like a great start. If the other bullet points Jim listed can be incorporated I think this will be a really useful tool!

P.S. This might be the first time I ever clicked on the "My USMS" link. I like this "one stop shopping" approach.

kristilynn
June 23rd, 2009, 01:44 PM
I've been using the flog since the beginning of May. It's been a very easy way to keep track of my Go the Distance miles. I can still comment on each set and all the stuff I do in my regular blog. In fact my routine for the last two months has been to post my workout and comments in my blog and then copy and paste it into the details section on my flog.

Mel, if you want to keep the complex fitness log that you're already keeping, then go right ahead. It only takes a couple of clicks to record your yardage in your flog so that it can go to Go the Distance

poolraat
June 23rd, 2009, 01:54 PM
Like Kristi, I've been using the flog for about 2 months now. And I do the same; post to my blog then copy and paste to the flog.

SearayPaul
June 23rd, 2009, 02:07 PM
Two great things happened with the Flogs.

I like the email that USMS sends out letting us know what is going on. I don't have a team to swim with and a lot of times I have no idea what is going on in USMS unless it is posted here. Thanks for the Email.

I have been using a note card to keep track of my GTD miles and Mary has been posting the yardage up for me each month. The Flogs are a much better approach. It allows me to post up while I remember what I swam and it allows me to see how few days I actually get to swim. I am sure with time it will get better as incremental improvements are made. I will let the real swimmers make the suggestions. Thank you very much for sharing this tool with me.

meldyck
June 23rd, 2009, 06:04 PM
Mel, if you want to keep the complex fitness log that you're already keeping, then go right ahead. It only takes a couple of clicks to record your yardage in your flog so that it can go to Go the Distance

Thanks, Kristi. That's what was suggested to me by another member of the Fitness Committee. Fundamentally, I like the single log approach and would like to migrate over to the USMS site when the upgrades Jim mentioned are actually implemented. What worries me about doing some partial use of the 2009 log for my GTD swims is, when the new additions are available and I want to import my spreadsheet data, whether I then have to go back and remove all the GTD swim data by hand or will I be able to use a one-button 'clear all' function to sanitize the 2009 flog before inputting from my spreadsheet. If the answer to that is yes, then it will indeed be easy to input my GTD data (for example, as a single entry for the last day of the month) and not worry about its effect on future data from my more general spreadsheet.

If the answer is no, then that might be more work than I want.

tjrpatt
June 24th, 2009, 04:53 PM
Like Kristi and Floyd, I have been Flogging for two months now. It has been a great tool. I like that I can seperate swims if I happen to do doubles. Plus, the calendar has been really useful to track all kinds of workouts with the calendar. I feel like I accomplished something when I see a monthly calendar pretty filled up.

orca1946
June 24th, 2009, 06:39 PM
I do not like paper work, my flogs are mentally done.

Ahelee Sue Osborn
June 24th, 2009, 10:06 PM
I'm pathetic when it comes to logging my personal swim workouts - or any of my training. But I do love to train. I am in awe of our bloggers.

So for now, I like the simplicity of the new FLOG.
My challenge is to keep it going...

Most of all, I appreciate the ease it will give our GO THE DISTANCE staff! (Mary & co.)

Also the opportunity to encourage non-competitive USMS swimmers to get involved in a program so suitable and created for them.

Chris Stevenson
July 16th, 2009, 09:39 AM
After having used the FLOG for a few weeks, I do like them a lot. And you can't beat the name!

However (and I hope Jim is listening), I do have one suggestion to make it a better training journal. Right now you can enter total time and total yards for a swim practice, and these things get added up in various ways (eg by week, month, year).

I wish that one could partition up the swimming yards in meaningful ways (and what is considered meaningful may indeed depend on the individual). For myself, for example, I would like to track (in order of importance to me):
-- yards of "quality" work
-- yards of kicking
-- yards of strokes vs freestyle
Others might be interested in other ways of partitioning. During report generation, I also would like these things calculated as subtotals and also as fractions of the total yardage (eg, "In July 2009, 11% of total yardage was quality, 35% was stroke, 25% was kicking").

Since the individual is responsible for manually entering his/her total yardage and time, these things could just be additional fields and their labels could be user-defined. Making it look pretty would probably be the most challenging aspect.

As a minor matter, calculating average time/distance per workout would be a nice addition to reports.

But I would have to say that interfacing the FLOG to the BLOG (which I know is in the works) is probably a higher priority for me.

Bobinator
July 16th, 2009, 10:07 AM
I like the flog and I'm using it. I am really glad it makes information retrieval easier for the gtd people; I love that program, the numbers continue growing and the work behind it must too!
I have not been able to get the comment area to work. I don't know what else I could do to make it work. Any ideas of what I'm doing wrong?

swoomer
July 16th, 2009, 02:22 PM
And while we're asking for pie in the sky, I'd like to include heart rate stats as well. I wear a monitor and can tell exactly what kind of workout I've had by looking at HR results. I am recording this in the comments, but it would be useful to have it in one place so I can look for trends and indicators.

Muppet
July 16th, 2009, 02:25 PM
I would like to track (in order of importance to me):
-- yards of "quality" work
-- yards of kicking
-- yards of strokes vs freestyle

Chris, good idea.
I've toyed around with doing this myself, but with the additional attention needed, I've never gotten around to making it happen. I'm already having trouble trying to remember what I just did last night in the pool.

Doug Adamavich
July 16th, 2009, 05:53 PM
I REALLY dig the FLOG, it is a great tool that any swimmer can use! Tools like this add value to membership and are not just for competitive swimmers. Kudos to the team that developed the FLOG!

My only suggestion for improvement may be a logging tool for health statistics. Lets say you do some tests and want to track the results. This could include:

Weight
Resting heart rate
Lean body mass
Blood pressure
etc.

Over time, you could enter your numbers to see how your training is impacting your health. Maybe some of our medical professionals and/or trainers could come up with a list of useful metrics that could be included in a future iteration.

Great stuff!

tjrpatt
July 18th, 2009, 01:10 PM
Chris, good idea.
I've toyed around with doing this myself, but with the additional attention needed, I've never gotten around to making it happen. I'm already having trouble trying to remember what I just did last night in the pool.


I try to write down on a notepad or get what I did onto my flog or blog within several hours after my workout. If I don't do that, I get into big trouble remembering.

Dominick Aielloeaver
July 18th, 2009, 02:28 PM
Ilike the new FLOGS SYSTEM. THEY are easy to keep track of what ever excerise yuo do . Since I am Lazy. I say KUDOS to the new FLOGS SYSTEMS. DOM in AZ.:bed:

smontanaro
July 20th, 2009, 11:20 PM
Started using the FLOG a week or so ago. Nice to have multiple sports to choose from. Given that it offers yards and meters shouldn't it also offer kilometers as well as miles?

smontanaro
July 28th, 2009, 10:29 PM
Sorry to be anal here, but hey, I'm sort of used to testing software... A few more bits of feedback on the FLOGs:

The switch to week view should switch to the current week not the first week of the current month (but see below for an interesting side effect...)
If I switch to week view it takes me to the week which contains the first day of the month. If I then switch back to month view it takes me to the month in which the first day of that week resides. That's an interesting way to page back month-by-month. ;) (Until you hit a month where the 1st falls on a Sunday I suppose.)
If I enter a workout I think it should give me the opportunity to enter another workout instead of returning me to the calendar view. When I'm done I can click a link to return to the overview.
Mary's spreadsheet is still awesome - it's nice to be able to customize it. It also has those comparative charts. I hope the USMS folks keep it as an option.

kellys
July 28th, 2009, 11:10 PM
Bicycling.com has a training log very similar to the FLOG. It goes into a little more detail for swim workouts including: time of day, quality of workout, effort, your weight, heart rate, & temperature (if you swim outside). I like this a little more than the FLOG because I do triathlons as well. I do use the FLOG though for the GTD event.

MartyD43
August 18th, 2010, 09:19 AM
Just started using FLOG.

My Masters Team coaches suggested it several times. Most of the time they are right about everything - so much cumulative experience.

But I was skeptical. I didn't get the impression it was something new.

It's not totally new but, it works for me - way more helpful than I thought.

This is clumsy, but my new system is: one online log for counting calories, FLOG to track training, and a daybook for combining workout log with other important dates - like doctor visits and planning ahead for travel, etc.

Only overlap among them is the "official" weekly weigh in on Monday AM.

Together they somehow seem to help my motivation and discipline better than any one of them alone and better than other combinations I've tried (and that's a bunch, including cycling logs, home made notebooks, and several tries at making spreadsheets).

NEWBIE QUESTION: I accidentally entered Monday's weight 3 times. Is there a way to erase the duplicates? Looks too cluttered this way.

Thanks.

swimshark
August 18th, 2010, 09:34 AM
Just started using FLOG.

My Masters Team coaches suggested it several times. Most of the time they are right about everything - so much cumulative experience.

But I was skeptical. I didn't get the impression it was something new.

It's not totally new but, it works for me - way more helpful than I thought.

This is clumsy, but my new system is: one online log for counting calories, FLOG to track training, and a daybook for combining workout log with other important dates - like doctor visits and planning ahead for travel, etc.

Only overlap among them is the "official" weekly weigh in on Monday AM.

Together they somehow seem to help my motivation and discipline better than any one of them alone and better than other combinations I've tried (and that's a bunch, including cycling logs, home made notebooks, and several tries at making spreadsheets).

NEWBIE QUESTION: I accidentally entered Monday's weight 3 times. Is there a way to erase the duplicates? Looks too cluttered this way.

Thanks.

Click on the actual workout and then you can delete it.

ElaineK
August 18th, 2010, 02:30 PM
I started using the FLOG soon after joining USMS, in February, and I love it! Thanks, Jim, for all your hard work!:applaud:

What works for me is using a dive slate (www.scuba.com (http://www.scuba.com)) to keep track of everything. The night before my swim, I write down the workout I hope to get done before the Noodlers arrive and kick me out of the pool. In between sets, I write down my splits, times, and HR, before I move on to the next thing. When I get home, I refer to my dive slate when I enter my workout into my FLOG.

This is an easy way to keep track of your workout without having to remember everything, so I highly recommend it! :banana:

MartyD43
August 19th, 2010, 08:19 AM
Thanks to swimshark. Typical newbie mistake. I think I stared right at the delete section and didn't understand it. Much better now.

Bob Hopkins
November 5th, 2010, 09:54 AM
how do you get to the FLOG page on the USMS website??

kgernert
November 5th, 2010, 11:22 AM
To access the FLOG, you need to sign into your "My USMS" account. Once signed in, it's on the front page under "Available USMS Member Online Services". Personally, I love using the FLOG and, crazy as it sounds, it helps me get to the pool on those days I don't feel like going. After all, who wants to have a blank day....

matysekj
November 5th, 2010, 11:26 AM
how do you get to the FLOG page on the USMS website??
Go to the My USMS section - linked in the upper right of any usms.org page, or directly at http://www.usms.org/myusms/. You'll need to link your forums login to your USMS membership the first time you go there.

Once logged in to My USMS, there's a link in that landing page for the FLOGs, or go directly to http://www.usms.org/myusms/flog/.

Rykno
December 28th, 2010, 05:07 AM
I use the FLOG to track my GTD. It's very similar to my other on-line log.

But one thing that has been bothering me is the progress towards your goal.

my goal for 2010 was to reach 500,000m (roughly 312miles)

But the indicater has shown that I have reached my goal 100% ever since I passed the daily goal pace.

So instead of saying: "Congratulations! you have achieved your GTD goal for the year" maybe it should say something like, keep up the good work, you are on track to meet or exceed your GTD goal.

next year my goal will be the 500mile (800km) which is roughly 16,650 a week. if I swim extra now the first week in jan it won't feel right that it shows I have reached my goal for 2011 in just one week only because I am on track.

also i think there is something wrong with the your goal pace. it says my goal pace as of today is 257 my current pace is 309 after todays workout. with only 3 days left in the year one would think my goal pace as of today should be closer to 310 since I swim less than 1 mile a day.

matysekj
December 28th, 2010, 10:15 AM
But the indicater has shown that I have reached my goal 100% ever since I passed the daily goal pace.

So instead of saying: "Congratulations! you have achieved your GTD goal for the year" maybe it should say something like, keep up the good work, you are on track to meet or exceed your GTD goal.

also i think there is something wrong with the your goal pace. it says my goal pace as of today is 257 my current pace is 309 after todays workout. with only 3 days left in the year one would think my goal pace as of today should be closer to 310 since I swim less than 1 mile a day.

Thanks for bringing that up. There was a bug in there for those who set their goals in meters. It's been fixed now and the daily results have been updated for today, so you should now see the correct percent to goal achievement if you goal is set in meters.


next year my goal will be the 500mile (800km) which is roughly 16,650 a week. if I swim extra now the first week in jan it won't feel right that it shows I have reached my goal for 2011 in just one week only because I am on track.

The 2011 event is a separate event from the 2010 event, so you'll be able to set up a new, completely separate goal for 2011. So after you swim on January 1, you may see that you've achieved 100% of your 2010 goal and 0.5 % of your 2011 goal.

I have not yet released the 2011 event for members to enter. It'll be coming this week.

Only 7,500 yards more and I'll make my goal of 500 miles this year! I see there are lots of people with me at the 99% level (http://www.usms.org/fitness/results10/gtdgoals.php). Don't slack off this week!