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Trail Runner and RaceBunny – A Perfect Complement for the GPS & Mac Enabled Runner

Screen shot 2010 11 28 at 21.53.43 300x193 Trail Runner and RaceBunny   A Perfect Complement for the GPS & Mac Enabled RunnerI think I’ve arrived late to the party but I’ve just stumbled upon a brilliant piece of software that can actually give Sporttracks a run for it’s money. TrailRunner is a superb piece of kit that acts as a standard GPS enabled training log but with added mapping and routing wizardry. I haven’t had enough time with it yet to provide a comprehensive review of all its features but I do still want to alert you to its routing functionality.

I’ve been looking ahead to the 16 and 20 mile long runs that form part of my marathon schedule and wondering how to find an inspiring route, possibly with some remote off roading and still ensure that I can get safely home at the end of it. The London Loop offers up some fairly secluded long distance trails but although it is signposted in parts, I know I would still get horrendously lost and throw my teddy out of the pram at mile 19.

I’ve therefore been looking for some way to carry the route with me. I’d just started looking round for yet another GPS gadget when I discovered that my trusty Garmin Forerunner 310XT will do the job for me (as would the 305). For some reason I had got it into my head that the 310XT didn’t support routes. In actual fact it doesn’t support routes but does support courses – I don’t know the difference but I do know that courses are just what I need.

This is where TrailRunner comes into the picture. TrailRunner is a 3 in 1 application: an activity journal, a mapping application and a route planning app.

Trailrunner stores all my routes, whether imported from GPS or created using it’s routing functionality, into my own personal network of tracks. I can also access the GPSies community to import nearby tracks and thereby beef up my own personal network.

Screen shot 2010 11 29 at 20.27.33 Trail Runner and RaceBunny   A Perfect Complement for the GPS & Mac Enabled Runner

I get the impression that network building could become quite a techy task. I’ve been reading the instructions and you have to get to grips with a glossary of GPS and mapping terms and occasionally help the program out by splitting and merging tracks.

Having done this though, the program unleashes functionality number 3 – the route planning function. Trailrunner can create a workout of a set distance based on my network, and if I rate the tracks in advance it will do it’s best to choose a loop taking in my favourite segments. Wizardry!

TrailRunner 300x173 Trail Runner and RaceBunny   A Perfect Complement for the GPS & Mac Enabled RunnerI’m importing my old workouts as we speak and mapping out the London Loop into 10 mile segments.

I can export any route held with TrailRunner to a number of different formats. If I choose TCX I can import the file to Garmin Training Centre and then send the course to my device. From here I can access it through the training menu. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me.

This isn’t a feature restricted to TrailRunner by any means. MapMyRun enables you to create routes and then export as a TCX file as does Google (I think), but TrailRunner is such an accomplished piece of kit that I can’t resist investing some time and effort into it.

DCRainmaker has prepared a useful illustrated walkthrough of how to create courses for the Forerunner 310XT (or 305/500/705) using MapMyRun as the route maker and Garmin Training Centre to upload to the device.

photo2 200x300 Trail Runner and RaceBunny   A Perfect Complement for the GPS & Mac Enabled RunnerYou don’t even need to have a Garmin sports watch to take advantage of these features either. RaceBunny is an iPhone app also by Berbie software that works seamlessly with TrailRunner. You can record GPS trails from the phone and import to the desktop software as well as downloading pre-recorded routes into the iPhone.

I’ve got quite a lot of dabbling and learning to do before I become adept at using TrailRunner, as you can see from my mapping example above I’ve got it riddled with waypoints. This isn’t necessary at all as you can link your trails to the map background. So in this case I am using the OpenStreetMap background which has all the legal trails already mapped, all I need to do is click to start my trail and the software miraculously follows the twists and turns to spit out a track.

When I’ve got a little more familiar with TrailRunner I’ll be back to give it a full review but if you love maps and gadgets and have a mac I’d really recommend you give this a go – it’s free and fantastic!

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{ 5 comments… add one }

  • Catherine 1 December, 2010, 11:56 am

    You are such a techno whizz!! I run with an old digital watch!!!

  • Elisa 19 December, 2010, 11:53 pm

    I have seen both your comments about Ascent and TrailRunner. It will be thankful if you can tell me which one you prefer. I have been using sporttarck, but as I am a Mac person, I would like to move to there.

    Thanks in advance,

    Elisa

  • warriorwoman 22 December, 2010, 10:59 am

    Hi Elisa

    They are quite different pieces of software. Ascent is very simple to use, it has a view nice features but has never impressed me as much as Sporttracks.
    TrailRunner is a complex piece of kit, you’ll probably need to work through tutorials in how to use it and the sports log is only one part of its function. It’s very impressive but I think it depends how much investment you are prepared to put into the software. If you like mapping then go for TrailRunner.

    TrailRunner is free as well so you can try it out without any commitment.

  • Elisa 22 December, 2010, 12:12 pm

    Thanks for your prompt reply. That’s exactly my issue: I am so impressed by SportTracks that nothing seems to fit my requirements now.

  • warriorwoman 22 December, 2010, 9:59 pm

    Yes, I miss Sporttracks terribly.
    TrailRunner is better in a lot of areas though, but not as accomplished as a sports log.

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