Cool Running to Active

This was a frustrating week in the running community. The place where I had previously kept my running log, Cool Running, sold out to Active early in 2007. In August there was talk about how our running logs would be transitioned over to Active’s system in September. Later, it was pushed to October, November and then December. It finally happened last weekend.

Leading up to the transition, there were many questions about Active’s training log. One thing I did not want to do was create an account at Active and start using the system. That complicated everything and I did not want them to have to try and match up my two usernames at the two different sites. But, I did as much reading about the log as I could. Active is very much a “pay for extra services” type site. Nothing wrong with that, but we were getting a lot of features free at Cool Running that we were going to have to pay extra for at Active. These issues were raised and Active seemed to finally be listening and offering to make certain features free.

But the transition took place and things fell apart.

For many people their logs were not moved over, or their logs were missing information (as was my case). Then the problem was not just that the info did not transfer over but the log itself is totally klunky. Just trying to enter a run into the system is not fun. To enter all the basic information that would take one page in Cool Running’s log now took at least 5 pages at Active. You click the date that you want to enter a workout for (load new page) and then have to tell it to enter a new workout (load new page). Then you choose the date again along with the type of workout. Let’s say running (load new page). Enter the type of run with your time (load new page). Manually add mileage to your shoes (load new page). I still have not found out where to add my weather information nor how to change a workout from being planned to actually doing it. The runs that did get transferred over to the new site are all planned workouts. According to their log I have not actually run any mileage.

They instructed us that it would take 24 hours from the time we requested our log conversion until it was available on the new system. My transfer did not go well. Data was lost. I waited the obligatory 24 hours and did not get any more information to magically appear. I contacted them and got an automatic reply telling me that someone would be getting back to me. When they finally did (20 hours later) it was a canned response that told me how to convert my data to begin with. The data conversion had already been done, as I explained in the first email. I wrote them back and have now been waiting 5 days to get a new response. I don’t think one is forthcoming.

Each time you go to the sites (forums at one site and running log at another) you have to log in again. It does not save your login from one session to the next. Since their site’s main business is selling services, for your safety they force the log out so that no one can run up a bill for you.

Cool Runners have been leaving in droves. Active has said they are addressing many of these issues. They expect to have some things worked out in 3 to 4 months. Months! I have already found a new home for my running log. I am a very happy member at RunningAHEAD now. This log is every bit as easy to use as Cool Running’s log was, but with more features. Still you enter all your run info on one page.

Cool Running did have a way to export your log (Active does not). As soon as they started talking about the transition taking place, I took the time to export my log after every run. Many people did not. While there is still a back door to get at your log and download it, that probably won’t be available for long. RunningAHEAD makes it easy to download your log.

Check out my new stats generated by RunningAHEAD in my sidebar. I have not looked to see if I can make my log public yet or not, but probably the statistics in the sidebar is more than most people will want to know about my running.

Active is owned by ESPN. But, they only have 10 hour work days. They have not responded to any type of comments in the forums since the middle of the week last week. I am sure they will be off for Christmas. In that amount of time the ones who were holding out to try and make this transition work will be long gone. I told Active that I would try and stick it out until they get my log imported properly and I get a chance to really use their system. I have been waiting several days now and have not heard anything. I have logged several miles at RunningAHEAD and don’t see any reason to give Active another shot.

Active bought a community of hundreds (and maybe thousands) of runners. Within a week they have managed to drive the majority of them away. So much for the purchase of new users.