Whether you are venturing out to try your first boutique fitness class or training for an IronMan, here is the scoop on some great online and mobile platforms that help you manage and schedule your workouts and stats as reported by Empire Tri Club member and Triathlete, David Katz. I love his POV!
Cost: Basic version free - [+] version for $19.99/month
Summary: This is the de facto standard in the industry. It's really the one that most athletes and their coaches use. If you have a coach or are considering a coach, they almost always request the use of TrainingPeaks due to it's vast analysis power. I have had a coach and used their new tool, and I liked it, but didn't love it. It's a great way to see what workouts are coming up, but I didn't find it very helpful for getting a quick view into what I've done. Others will definitely disagree - this is a very polarizing tool. The benefit is that there is a ton of customization available and it's web based so you can access it anywhere.
This is my personal favorite and I have been using this for years to manage and schedule all of my workouts and training with coaches.
Cost: Free trial, otherwise $59/year.
Summary: Sporttracks was originally software for the PC that a lot of people seem to love for analyzing triathlon training. However, they now have a web based version called sporttracks.mobi. It has a way to connect directly into GarminConnect and gather all data that you upload there. It makes it very simple with the new watches that auto-upload to GarminConnect via Garmin Express on your computer.
Sporttracks has one of the cleanest interfaces I've seen and has some interesting analysis tools. From what I can tell, it has the best and cleanest data for swimming, and it also gives health scoring of your training load, fatigue, and performance based on all your training sessions.
Summary: This used to be my favorite tool, but I'm not a big fan of the updated dashboard. The original version gave me all I wanted at a glance - recent results, PRs, maps of where I've been, and their analysis tools have been simple. One of my favorite parts of GarminConnect is that it can easily spit out a data chart of all training sessions and can provide a top level report - very helpful for looking at how you've done month over month or year over year. I find their new system to be confusing with too many options. The funny part is that my favorite tool (reporting) actually hasn't changed, it's just embedded into the new format.
Cost: Basic version Free - [+] version for $39.99
Summary: It's downloadable software for Mac OSX with no web based tools. From a quick-view standpoint, it has all data in one place, and sometimes a bit too much. It has an import feature from GarminConnect, just like Sporttracks, which makes it very easy to access data. A lot of features require the [+] version to use.
Most of the programs above sync with the GarminConnect. Even Apple’s recent iOS 8 Update provides a Health app to monitor your activity. There are other “smartwatches” compactible with your smartphone, Fitbit, Nikeband, and Jawbones are a few to name. Fitbit is even launching a new smartwatch called Surge ™ developed for elite performers. http://www.fitbit.com/surge There is no doubt that tracking goals, examining your exercise, and training for success has never been easier with all the innovative products available.
Again special thanks to David for sharing his insight!