As runners, we have all see the cliche coach balancing 3 stopwatches and clipboard on the side of the track, desperately trying give his athletes splits and record times. Inevitably, these records get mixed up and eventually lost, and athletes lose the markers of their progress. In a world where modern technology is changing the way in which people practice and train in every other sport, running still uses outdated methods of keeping track of training.
For Emmett Scully and Jack Sexton, years of frustration with lost workout times and inconsistent or nonexistent team training logs inspired them to create their app Trackster, an innovative digital training log and stopwatch. Ideal for both coaches and athletes alike, the app features a digital stopwatch that uses the phone volume buttons to create splits, athlete profiles for assigning times to, and an interactive community where race and workout results are posted. “With Trackster, you no longer have to worry about losing or mixing up workout times, and have a great user friendly training log that so that your team can post their hard work and view all their results and progress all from their phone,” says Sexton.
The duo first teamed up at Boston College, where they both ran for a couple years on the cross country and track team. However, it was while doing computer science homework together back in the winter of 2016 that they started to discuss their frustration with their own experience as athletes when it came to keeping training logs. From individual pen and paper logs to team training Excel spreadsheet that never got used, both Scully and Sexton had seen every kind of method fail. “As runners we know first hand how annoying it is to lose results of your hard work,” says Scully, “We are trying to be the app we always wanted, easy to use, team friendly, and accessible.”
The idea for the app held interest for both of them, working together in their spare time brainstorming and working through different beta versions of the app. After a year of steady progress with the app design, the duo began to reach out to any coaches and runners they could find to find out what their frustrations were and get their feedback about what they wanted in a training app.
While doing outreach, the pair were amazed at the enthusiasm for the app they got from those they talked to, in particular from Andy Powell, the distance coach at the University of Oregon. As a spectator at the 2017 California State High School Meet, Sexton was getting a lot of interest for the app from the high school coaches he talked to when he happened to run into Powell. Sexton struck up with a conversation with Powell about the app and the current lack of training resources which lasted the whole rest of the meet. “I was so surprised how intrigued he was with the idea and how much potential he saw in it,” says Sexton. After talking for the entire second day of the meet, Powell was sold on the idea and has been a support and advisor to the duo as the app has grown. “This app is everything I could’ve ask for as a coach,” Powell, who uses the app as his teams training log at Oregon, says. With all of their research and programming, the duo officially launched the first version of the app on the app store last May. Still gathering feedback and making adjustments, Scully and Sexton have spent the last year getting to as many meets and talking to as many runners and coaches as possible, spreading the word and networking. From high school and college teams to professionals like 3:49 miler Edward Cheserek and Saucony’s Parker Stinson and even the popular vlogger Emma Abrahamson, runners across the country have been using Trackster to log their training.
“For years after graduating from the University Of Oregon I was continuing to print out my logs from an old Oregon log I had scanned into my computer. I loved the intimacy that the pen to paper log offered the athlete as they logged mile after mile towards their big goals. During this time I had also tried multiple platforms of online logging due to the encouragement of my coaches in order to be able to access my training easier. However, it was not until I discovered the Trackster app that I found myself no longer needing the process of pen to paper for my log. The Trackster app allows the athlete to feel connected to not only their own training and journey towards their dreams but also to all of the dreams of their friends, teammates, and peers.”
As Trackster continues to grow, both Sexton and Scully look forward to seeing how the community aspect of the app evolves. “Running is a tough enough sport on its own, and alone it is even harder. See workouts and logs from your teammate and runners all across the country in one place gives you inspiration and a desire to get out the door and share your improvement. Whether you are checking on your teams page to see how much progress you and your friends have made or checking out what splits Parker Stinson hit in his workout today, Trackster brings a sense of community to the running world. Whatever level, we are all out there giving our all and trying to better ourselves, and it’s great to see all of that hard work posted in one place.”
As summer training for cross country begins to wind up this month, get your team registered on Trackster, log your training and watch your improvement while checking out others training logs from across the country, from University of Oregon to your conference rivals!