Reviving my Competitive Spirit with Athlinks

Are you on Athlinks? Athlinks is a website and online app that allows you to keep track of all your races. I have been using it for as long as I have been aiming to get personal bests, but have only been inclined to invite friends to join the platform recently. Why? Athlinks has been through a revamp that makes it a lot more social and fun to use.

In the past, Athlinks was a website I'd only visit just before or after a race to check my personal bests and race course bests as well as other stats such as overall and age group rankings. It is a lot more convenient than having to copy and save the stats into Excel sheets and also easier to research. It also allowed me to quickly review the full results pages of past races and to find the names of people who seemed to often be finishing races slightly faster than me. I must admit having checked the profiles of some of them on social media in the hope to be able to recognize them on race day and then use them as pace rabbits... The old Athlinks itself did not feel like much of a social media platform, more like a data research and data analysis tool. The new one however, was definitely designed to encourage runners using it to connect and interact. I had not been on Athlinks for a little while, as I had put my competitive spirit on pause as I was trying to just relax and run for the fun of it after my pregnancy. But then, as a BibRavePro I was invited to test and review the new Athlinks website and mobile app and it brought back some memories of my more competitive days, as well as the feelings of excitement that came with them.

Here are three aspects of the new website I enjoyed and that helped me revive my competitive spirit.

Race Research

Athlinks now not only allows you to research past races, but also future ones. The events search tools lets you research events within a certain distance of your training grounds. You can then add them to your calendar by adding yourself to the start list, and make your goal time for the race public for some extra motivation and to maybe connect with other runners with similar goals. Cannot find a race? You can help your fellow runners by adding it to Athlink's race calendar.

Race Start Lists

When researching future races, Athlinks allows you to see who else on Athlinks will be racing it and what their time goals are. In the world of track & field, race organizers always publish the start list prior to the race with the names of all athletes competing as well as their personal bests. This allows the athletes and coaches to mentally prepare themselves for the race and get an idea of who they can expect to be running next to. Athletes can also then plan to use fellow runners with similar PBs to help them pace themselves. I remember finding it very useful when planning my first few 400m sprint races. When switching from sprinting to road running, I sadly realized that start lists were not as common. Sometimes, race directors would publish an "Elite" list, but what about us mid-pack runners? We can also benefit from knowing our competition and teaming up with other runners with  similar goals. I was so glad when I found out that Athlinks is aiming to bring that Elite race prep tool to the masses, but because the information does not come from race directors, but from the runners themselves, it can only work if many of us are on Athlinks.  So, I really hope that if you are reading this article, you will also sign up and join the race lists :-). You can sign up with your email, Facebook or Google account. I am registered as Karin Femi, feel free to follow me!

Identifying and Connecting with Rivals

There is nothing like a little bit of friendly rivalry to get the best out of a runner. Athlinks goes through your claimed results to identify runners who have run the same races as you and calculates how often they have won against you and how often you have won against them. It calls these athletes "rivals".  When I identify a rival who is on Athlinks, especially one with win vs. loss numbers that are very close, I make sure to connect with them on the platform. I do this with the hope to be able to join them in a future race so that we can push each other to run our best. Anybody here from Vancouver into 5k racing who wants to start a friendly rivalry?