I love my job, but sometimes I want to build something just for the fun of it. Whether to learn a new skill or technology, enhance my resume, or even build a business, side projects have many potential benefits. I’ve worked on a few, but this time I’d like to try something different: build it in the open, and journal each step. Hopefully I’ll learn a thing or two along the way. The idea for the app is simple—but before I get to that, a quick detour into running.

How I train for running races

With the COVID situation improving in my part of the world, I’m beginning to think about training for my next running race.

Usually I’d use a Word doc or spreadsheet to sketch out my training plan, and open it every couple of days to see what’s coming up. Like many runners, I use Strava to record my trainings. After a run, I’ll typically take a quick look at my average pace and splits for the run, and see how it stacks up against similar workouts I’ve done in the past.

At the start of each week, I’ll open the training doc, write a few comments on how I felt the previous week—a practice I picked up when I had a coach in high school—and then take a look at what’s in store for the coming week.

The idea

The idea, as you might have inferred, is an app for storing and viewing my training program, and connecting with Strava to see my actual activities next to my planned training.

Unsurprisingly, there are already a few apps out there that offer similar functionality. I took a quick browse of the Strava Training apps page and the closest I found was an app called FinalSurge, which looks very slick. After I’m done with this project, there’s a good chance I’ll start using it. But for now, I’m looking to build something of my own.

What’s next?

I’ll start by sketching out the design and prototyping the UI. Once I have the front-end working, I’ll move to the server side. All going well, the end result will be a series of posts like this, and a repo on GitHub.