Staying Fit with Free Software
Even though it is hard to believe that free software advocating geeks are exercising regularly, it has been reported to occur sometimes. SportsTracker is an application to manage the performed exercises, mainly for endurance sports. But even from a purely technical point of view, it is an interesting program as it has been developed for the .NET platform. SportsTracker requires the Gtk# toolkit and probably works best in a Mono environment. All files are saved in an XML format which makes it easy to write your own applications based on the stored data.
SportsTracker presents the performed exercises either in a calendar or a list view. A new exercise is entered by entering its date, the exact classification of the sport and the time and distance covered. Adding a comment to an exercise is a good idea when searching for it at a later time.
If your preferred sport isn't present in the database you can add it just by entering its name and selecting a color for display purposes. SportsTracker is designed to work with any sport as long as there is a meaningful interpretation of the terms distance and time, for example running, cycling, swimming and inline-skating.
Keeping track of one's progress is rather difficult. It is possible to select particular exercises (even based on regular expression in the comments) and figures like the average speed of these exercises can be calculated. However, visualizing trends is almost impossible as the finest timescale that is supported in diagrams is a whole year. Furthermore, it is only possible to distinguish between different sports but not based on other criteria.
SportsTracker can read data from heart rate monitors which can be extracted using the s710 program. Currently supported are various Polar watches and the Ciclosport HAC4 cyclocomputer. Besides the heart rate the calorie consumption may be displayed as well.
When SportsTracker gets a real statistics and visualization part it will ultimately be the perfect tool for keeping track of one's personal exercises. Until then, a simple solution based on an OpenOffice spreadsheet might do a better job depending on your personal preferences.