For the past few months I’ve been test driving a social training site called Dailymile.

Claiming that “training is more fun with friends”, Dailymile allows you to share your workouts and connect with friends or contacts online and use them for motivation, challenge, or advice.

I for one definitely think they’re on to something (and it’s free!).

The list of ways you can enhance and track your training is fairly robust and from the few emails that I’ve batted back and forth with their developers, they have more exciting features up their sleeves as well. To give you an idea of the type of things you can manage through Dailymile, you can:

  • Track workouts
  • Specify a type of workout (Ride, Run, Swim, Walk, Cross training, Weights, etc.)
  • Specify your route (even map it out using Google maps – very awesome!)
  • Specify your distance (if you don’t map your route – where it’s automatically calculated)
  • Specify the time it took for your workout (which in turn generates your pace)
  • Enter a synopsis of your workout and highlight how you felt during the workout
  • If you’re big on organization you can even attach unique tags to each workout to categorize them even further
  • There’s also the ability to sync up with your Nike+ workout (not being a Nike+ subscriber, I have no feedback on this)
  • It also appears that importing data from Garmin devices is on the shortlist for development

Obviously the ‘workout’ is the focalpoint of the site, but outside of that you can post notes, photos or videos (similar to many other social sites out there) – I can see this being great fun for group rides or races.

Post a workout on Dailymile

One of the neat ‘social’ features of the site is the ability to join/create groups (ie. your triathlon club, or a local commuters club), so you can see at a glance how your team-mates are doing, indulge in club banter, outline meetups, whatever you like. If more clubs got into this I could see some real traction (clubs competing for mile totals, friendly competition, etc.)

You are also able create/join races which are then added to your profile so you can work towards your goals – You can even smack-talk or encourage your fellow teammates/friends.

Dailymile motivators

One of the more powerful features that I mentioned above was the ability to map your routes through Google maps – Once added you can simply select regular saved routes (around the lake, the commute to work, etc.) from a drop down, rather than having to manually enter it every time.

Mileage and race widgets

Your Dailymile ‘dashboard’ is a pretty happenin’ place, handily, you can post workouts/notes/photos/videos from there, but you can also reference your inbox, view any notifications you might have, as well as check you your weekly training volumes, your friends volumes and what’s going on with all your connections (through activity and notes). You can even download training widgets to add to your blog and show the world how much (or how little) you’ve been training. If you’re a Facebook type of person, you can sync things up so Dailymile will automatically update your Facebook status with your latest workout.

Some additional features I would like to see is the ability to manage a bit more robust training data – like power outputs, heart rate levels, interval types, elevation, etc. Granted I don’t even use all of these things, but I know that for some people, the more data the better. Currently you could just capture these details in the “How did it go?” section. (essentially a text box where you can enter workout notes).

Another thing I spoke to the developers about was the ability to graph the information – Currently the system only seems to support simple weekly graphs based on distance. As graphs become a bit more customizable, it would be great to be able to compare multiple data points (as per above).

Dailymile also does a good job of drawing those interested into the community by highlighting recent discussions, questions, and events from the community.

Overall I’ve really liked using the site. The design is open, bubbly and friendly, and despite the incorporation of fairly robust functionality to track your training and manage your community of friends it doesn’t feel overwhelming. I like it considerably more than some of the other social-geared bike sites like Veloist and WorldCommute. I like the fact that Dailymile brings pretty much all active people into the fold and not just cyclists (like Veloist) and though I appreciate the environmental slant of WorldCommute it just doens’t sync up with my needs enough (though it might be neat to see what my carbon offset would be).

I’ve been trying Dailymile on my own purposefully, but over the next little while I’m going to do my best to get some of my friends and family involved, if/when that happens I think it will only make things better… I know if Sheldon and I were both on this thing it would really motivate me to see him putting in the hours, or if he’s struggling I could send him a little note to help get him back on track (and vice-versa). If you’re thinking of joining, feel free to add me!

Eventually as this site progresses I’d like to see it evolve into something akin to a social “Training Peaks“. Regardless I look forward to seeing this site progress!