Strava sinks (and stinks) for swimmers


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There is a severe lack of Swim detail in Strava imported swim activities. Essential metrics for loyal Strava customers such as lap splits, heart rate, PRs, CRs, etc, etc are all missing. The current swim visuals are very poor indeed. I’m more of a cyclist and runner, but if I feel this aspect of Strava lets me down, I can only sympathise with true swimmers and triathletes.

Swapping to Premier paid membership didn’t make any difference in this aspect. Thus, one of the reasons I cancelled my Premier status as have many others. Strava is a great app, but outside cycling and perhaps running, it doesn’t cater for much else.

Many have invested in expensive fitness devices that allow measurement of these metrics. Without the ability of Strava to take advantage of these, customers will consider using the device bespoke applications instead.

Customers have been asking for this for years and Strava just doesn’t seem to care.

Even endomondo also a running cycling site is much better mapping PR’s etc

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Garmin itself does much more (it even shows the gap where I paused instead of pressed lap) but it has never really taken off as a social platform ….. will update this if i see something better.

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best apps for training


With more and more people buying smartphones and the proliferation of training apps now available for them, it’s never been so easy to accurately keep track of your training. Gone are the days when you kept track of your training in a notepad, with careful handwritten notes. ROAD.CC

The latest generation of training apps makes it far easier to record and analyse your training, as well as setting goals and targets and reviewing previous performances. We’ve chosen 10 of the most popular apps so you can kick start 2013 with a digital thump.

And with smartphones now offering GPS maps and large colour screens, many cyclists are opting to use them in place of a dedicated cycle computer. Either mounted to the handlebars or safely stored in a jacket pocket, recording your ride on a smartphone is now common.

Garmin Fit

Garmin’s Fit app allows you to use your iPhone or Android smartphone as a training tool. It can be used for various sports, and one you’ve finished it uploads your session to Garmin Connect. It costs 69p but Connect itself is free to use. Once there you get all the important data and there’s useful functions like a calendar that totals your hours of riding each week, giving you an easy way of tracking your training progress.

Available for iPhone and Android.

Cyclemeter

This app functions as bike computer but can also store your route in Google maps, which can then be exported to social media networks like Twitter nad Facebook. A calendar makes it easy to see your recent rides at a glance and help to plan your next ride, and your favourite routes can be saved for future use.

www.abvio.com/cyclemeter/

The Athlete’s Diary

You can easily keep track of training rides with graphs of the total distance and time accumulated with this app. Information is clearly presented with the main screen a log showing some of your latest rides, so you can see at a glance how training has been going. You can also search your recorded rides too. Data is manually entered, but there’s an Autofill option for rapid entry. Only available for iPhone and costs $19.99.

www.stevenscreek.com

SportsTrackLive

This app lets you share and compare in a number of sports. As well as speed, distance, time, it works with compatible heart rate monitor straps and cadence modules. You can replay tracks on Google Maps, share with Facebook and Twitter friends, and export to the SportsTrack website. It only works with Android phones and costs £2.99.

www.sportstracklive.com

Training Peaks

A popular choice for cyclists, as it stems from Joe Friel’s TrainingBible series of books, Training Peaks is a very comprehensive training package that offers unlimited detail and control of your workout data. There’s training plans that can be bought and downloaded, taking the guesswork out of training, and there’s the novel Virtual Coach too. Works for Android, iPhone, iPod and iPad.

http://home.trainingpeaks.com

CoachMyRide

CoachMyRide, only available for the iPhone, lets you set goals and choose training sessions from a library of 105 included in the app. And for analysing sessions, Lionel Reynaurd is a professional cycling coach is available to offer feedback and share his knowledge. AS you progress in your training and you get fitter, the app easily adapts your training to suit.

www.coachmyride.com

Endomondo

Endomondo is a community based workout app that lets you challenge friends and analyse your training. A clean and clear display shows distance, speed and time when cycling, and you can customise what is show on the screen. Once you’ve done a ride you can upload to the website where you can create groups for your friends to share rides, and share through Facebook. With a Bluetooth heart rate strap you can add heart rate data to your training data. It’s free and works across all platforms.

www.endomondo.com

Kinetic

Described as the “Swiss army knife of GPS tracking and timing” Kinetic lets you organise your training sessions by activity or event. It can set goals and monitor your progress against a predicted finish time. Voice notifications chart your progress in real-time. Kinetic GPS Lite is free, while the full version is $3.99.

http://kineticgps.com/

Cychosis

Rather than automatically logging your ride data, which is fine if you want to use your smartphone on the bike, Cychosis differs by requiring you to manually enter data from each ride. So you can leave your phone safely at home or not have the battery drained in 5 minutes by the constant GPS usage, and enter ride information form your cycle computer when you’ve finished your ride. And if you love your spreadsheets, you can export ride data to your computer.

www.cychosis.com

Strava

One of the most popular apps is Strava, because of its unique feature of letting you compared times on ‘segments’ of road. Users can create segments themselves, and any person that has ridden along this segment is added to a leaderboard. So you can see who is fastest on your favourite climb for example. With a community revolving around this feature, it adds a competitive element to training on your own. A suite of power and heart rate analysis tools makes it a good option for those who want to take their training seriously. Available for iPhone and Android.

Polar release integrated gps watch the RC3 GPS


For recreational runners and cyclists who want integrated GPS with smart guidance. This looks like a better made version of the Garmin 610 …. As some readers might know I have the Polar RCX5 with a separate G5 gps pod. I love the extra features of the RCX5 but think that for most athletes and the less tetchy and geeky this RC3 with integrated GPS makes more sense.

One thing polar need to look at in the future – well two things to really help Polar appeal to all the mass market is firstly to go ANT+ using the most common and useful protocol for sensors and the other is to enable polar personal trainer to export .tcx files so that users can upload into social exercise sites like Strava, Endomondo and MapMyRun to name a few. Or failing this to allow those websites to access the protocol for the polar communicator / uploaded.

 

  • Training Benefit gives you instant feedback after your session
  • Tracks your route, speed and distance using built-in GPS
  • Running Index scores your performance
  • Slim and lightweight design with rechargeable battery
  • Allows you to share your training with your friends

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Body measurement features

  • Compatible with Mac (Intel-based) via USB cable
  • Compatible with PC via USB cable
  • Compatible with polarpersonaltrainer.com via USB cable
  • Back to start
  • Distance – training, lap, and total
  • Route mapping – opt. with polarpersonaltrainer.com web service
  • Running Index
  • Speed/Pace – current, average and maximum
  • Backlight
  • Date and weekday indicator
  • Display text in English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish
  • Dual time zone
  • KeyLock
  • Low battery indicator
  • Rechargeable battery
  • StopWatch
  • Time of day (12/24h) with alarm and snooze
  • Water resistant – IPX7

Software for your Heart Rate Monitor and GPS


To some of us geeky MAMILS (middle aged men in Lycra), one of the biggest pleasures, next to the ride or run itself, is quantifying the vast amount of data available to us about our performance.  The prevalence of GPS based and downloadable cycling computers, combined with various websites and programs have made it possible to catalog, view and analyze mountains of data; metrics from average pace to peak wattage vs. peak heart rate are now at your fingertips.  Here’s a quick overview of a couple of the more common sites and programs out there.

 STRAVA

 

my new favourite after a while playing with Endo … (see next)

Strava.com is the relative new kid on the block in terms of ride analysis.  Offering both free and frankly too expensive subscription services ($6 per month or $59 per year) will allow riders to directly upload rides from their GPS devices and track their performance.  Displaying a GPS track of the route you rode, along with an elevation profile and metrics such as distance, elevation gain, moving time, speed (max and average), average speed, average cadence and average power, you get a mass of information to sift through and analyse.

The coolest thing about Strava and it is something that Endomondo also does is social connection ….  You can link Strava to your Facebook page and twitter account and you can even challenge friends (or strangers for that matter) to competitions.  Strava has a unique feature that allows you to designate segments of your ride and run (climbs, TTs, crazy descents) that you can measure against every other person on Strava that has covered that route (or just a section) before and uploaded their ride.  It’s an excellent idea that promotes competition and growth amongst different riders all riding in the same area.

Here is a section of the Arran ride that someone has made into sections … woo hoo I did well without even knowing it.

For example, imagine your club has a friendly “climbing competition” up a particularly long, steep, or otherwise nasty climb.  Anyone who is a member of Strava who uploads a ride containing that climb will be ranked based upon speed, power, time and VAM (Vertical Ascent Meters) along with everyone else who has ridden that climb.  The best part of the whole thing is that once the climb is designated on Strava, the site software automatically finds that segment of your ride and analyzes it, compares it to everyone else, and posts it in ranking of fastest to slowest.  It’s an excellent tool to use to compare both your form compared to others around you, and to chart your own progress by comparing to your previous attempts.

PROS: Great community based concepts.  ”Segments” option for competing with your friends.  Excellent data presentation and layout. Standalone free iPhone app if you don’t have a dedicated gps hrm

CONS: Pay site is yet another expense (free site only 5 rides/month allowance)

ENDOMONDO

My old favourite social exercise site – allowed you to see your friends workouts and comment on them. Again it allows analysis of the ride or run and also keep a note of your PB’s.

The social interaction may be slightly better on Endo although I prefer the slightly better analysis on Strava …. Again there is a dedicated app for iPhone so you can use that on commutes when your gps or hem is at home. Both these sites are better with Garmin products and that is more to do with the disinterest on the part of Polar and suunto more than the development of either of these two platforms. At the moment I import the gpx track from file although this loses the hrm info from the exercise. At the moment you can import the average and max readings into the endo workout but it is not a true graph.

Alternatives for Me

Movescount for Suunto users

Good analysis but lacking social connections as there is no app and your friends can’t compare to you.

Polar Personal Trainer for Polar HRM users

Better analysis but even less social connections.

Feeling like Number 1


I use endomondo now and again – it is like a Facebook for exercise – mainly to keep abreast of what friends are doing.

 

They also have challenges that they invite people to take part in … one of these is a calorie count and others allow you to chase goals – i.e. by running 50km or 100km a month.

It is motivating and i am currently doing the 50km challenge although very close to 100km (at which point I get chucked out) …. but nice to see myself at no 1 for a change.

No 1 woooo hoooo

Sunday running


I must remember to be less social – giving friends an open invite to come around at Sunday ‘sometime’ meant that my plans for a sneaky Kitesurf session were scarpered when a 12:30pm early lunch was confirmed. Bugger there was no way that would work out for me to get down to the coast have a session and be back washed and ready to cook. The solution I am led to believe is not to ditch said friends but to make alternative plans.

So plan hatched was to get my arse in gear and get out for a run. I confess to having been a bit lazy since the Jedburgh half marathon and my sciatic nerve was twinging a bit (stiff arse for lack of a better word) so down for a normal run to glasgow green And along the river path heading east. It is a great run and as I entered glasgow green right next to west brewery I became aware of heavy footstep runner approaching from behind … I sped up and he still narrowed the gap within 400m and passed me. Phew, younger, taller, slimmer and wearing clothes more appropriate for summer than a violently windy autumnal nay even wintry stormy day. Still a good run and slowed down from the unsustainable 4:20/km pace and sauntered on. Legs felt crap and a bit dehydrated (better than hungover) but heart rate was a lowly 141bpm …. Aaas one of those days.

The run is a simple out and back – down the glasgow green path until the path stops at the construction fence (for the commonwealth games) then back. 12.9 ish on the garmin foot pod and 13.01 using google maps.

Rest of day fine, friends good, food nice (cooked a smoked mackerel risotto yumm) prosecco palatable.

Hope you all had a fine Sunday too …….