To boldly go where you haven't been gone before
Although the TrailRunner is perfectly suitable for runners, bikers, inline-skaters and hikers, let's focus on how this piece of software could totally change a runners habits.
Motivations for runningThere might be several motivations you start running. Just to get fresh air several times a week, to loose weight or to exercise as a semi professional for races and honor. Either motivation needs goals you define in a training plan and methods to check up your progress, like measuring your burned calories and weight loss, your improved heart-rate, your speed and ranking in a competition or just being able to master a marathon in a given time.
To achive this, most people have like three standard routes they run over and over. Depending on your ambitions they might have distances like 10 kilometers, 13 and 20. It seems like the only goal you have is to accomplish your "training duty" — and the hardest part of it is to stand up, put your shoes on and just leave the house. But then what is the motivation all about? For that reason many people like to make appointments with workout-partners, run in groups or feel happy to watch (mostly pointless) statistics. But what, if you have the genes of an explorer and adventurer? Then your dream might be to spontaneously run say 16 kilometers in a well known and hand-picked collection of endless routes you could choose from.
This is where the TrailRunner could meet you and your motivation, with the potential to totally change your habits with one simple addition: You look forward to run the route you have affectionately crafted for this sunday morning: Imagine you take your car, drive into the woods, run through the small valley with the dabbling stream, head up the hill, enjoy the brilliant view, speed down your favorite single trail, cross the big water meadow and return to the parking place. This all with one important background: Your training plan decided on you that you have to run 16 kilometers today. And you did.
Exploring new routesSo how will one get to the point where choosing a route is like to click your fingers? It starts with the three standard routes you already know. As soon as you have inserted them in into the TrailRunner you will start exploring: While you're running, you notice this small very nice looking alleyway on the right, that you where always wondering about where this might lead to. You just add it to your TrailRunner map and next time you insert this piece of track into your route. That must not add any kilometers, as you could choose a shortcut somewhere else instead. After a while you will notice that you start adding more and more loops and long ways round that will give you an endless choice of nice alternatives.
Standard routes with tentacle-like alternatives means that extending and expanding an existing route is very easy. You just take an old route and tell the TrailRunner to adjust this route to a variation that is almost the same but 2 kilometers longer. The finer your weaved web of tracks is the better this will work.
Collectors delightNow you have reached the point where you can start to separate the wheat from the chaff. You know iTunes? You know how to rate a song using the intuitive star-rating? You know how to create a play-list? Well, a route is not so different to this. Rate you favorite tracks or route segments and comment them. Then use the automatic route layout feature where you select a starting point and let the application calculate a route suggestion based on your most highly rated tracks. You don't like the suggestion? Just modify it to the point where it meets your expectations. The suggestion lies in an area of your map where you do not want to run today? Start creating a route into the area that you want to head into and let the application find the way back with a result that will exactly meet the amount of kilometers you had in mind.
One thing that certainly will happen is, you start realizing that the area you ran in for months or years now will start to get being less boring but more interesting again. The routes you almost hated before because you knew every stone will become attractive again. Just because two thirds of the route are decorated with unconsumed alternatives.
Sharing gemsNow let's get back to the statement that many people like to run with workout-partners or within groups. You might want to share your small route-gems that you've explored and help other people to benefit of your adventurers work, even if they do not own a Mac (yet). This is where import and export comes in. Export a route as a pdf document for windows users. Export and import route-favorites between TrailRunner installations. Send running invitations to other TrailRunners by exporting and emailing route suggestions to workout partners: This evening at 7 AM, lets meet at the parking place and run this route...
Another kind of Feedback and MotivationWhat you have read so far is the main concept of the TrailRunner application. But is it all? No, certainly not. The goal for the application is to become the very intuitive and easy to use tool for people that want to be motivated as adventurers and do not fear experimenting with new tracks in the surrounding area of their well-known workout routes.
This means not only to add new features to the TrailRunner application but also to build an international community of active users. So whatever supports and extends this idea is a good candidate for further development. But this too is driven by two very important factors: Feedback and Motivation. So please give feedback with any suggestions and ideas you might have and please motivate me to continue the development beyond my personal needs by making a donation.