The Motivational Mojo of MapMyRun’s Year in Review

The Motivational Mojo of MapMyRun's Year in ReviewContinuing the thread of year-end wrap-ups that press the levers of motivation (see my post on TripAdvisor here, and Blue Apron here), I wanted to share the year in review that I found the most inspirational of all, from MapMyRun.  I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with MapMyRun; it was the first program I ever used to log my running data, and they don’t make it easy to export, so even though I’ve come to like other running programs better, I stick with MapMyRun for data’s sake. Yes, I am neurotic.

Still, I wouldn’t do that if MapMyRun weren’t doing some things right. Their Year in Review is one of them. It hits on all three major needs underlying motivation according to self-determination theory: Autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Check out the entire thing first and then I’ll break it down:


Long, right? But full of really good stuff.


Autonomy, if you recall, is the need people have to feel like their choices and desires matter. Practically the entire point of the Year in Review is to emphasize that yes, the choices a person made related to fitness over the course of the year added up to something significant. Check out the headline:bannerheader_mmr

The Year in Review is also a subtle reminder of the commitment I’ve made to healthy behavior. It shows me how my physical activity counteracts some of the less healthy choices I may have made:


Fortunately for my pants, I don’t think I ate 427 slices of pizza last year . . . but if I had, I would have burned those calories off running. Thanks, Year in Review, for reminding me of the goals I set for myself. Especially one of my biggest 2015 goals:



Competence is the need people have to see their achievements amount to something. This is where the MapMyRun Year in Review really does well. It lets you know the cumulative statistics of your workouts for the year:


This one makes me feel like maybe I don’t get out enough. How about:


Hmm. Better?


This one I like. I enjoy imagining my 2015 self on a virtual road trip by foot up the coast.

All of these examples are great ways for MapMyRun to reinforce that all of those workouts I did, from the 15 minute shake-out jogs to the full marathon, added up to something even bigger.

Another part of competence is helping people figure out how to adjust their performance for future improvements. MapMyRun embedded a calculator in the Year In Review that lets you see how additional monthly workouts would impact your other annual stats:

Starting point
Starting point
Possible goal?
Possible goal?


Finally, relatedness has to do with feeling connected with others. Although running is in some ways the most solo of sports, many people love to run because of how it brings them together with others. MapMyRun’s Year in Review considers its users as a worldwide running community and shows how their individual efforts combined:


Whether or not you enjoy social running, it’s pretty cool to see how you and other users of MapMyRun collectively trampled the Great Wall of China in 2015. It also makes me wonder when we’re going to figure out how to harness human energy to power appliances.

The Year in Review to End All Years in Review

I received quite a few “year in review” emails in late December and early January, and have to give MapMyRun top marks for use of motivational principles. I truly feel inspired to run more often (and log more non-running workouts) so that next year’s Year in Review can be even better.