As a triathlete I have grown to love capturing data from my workouts and then using it to see how I am doing. Most devices will come with some site/program that you can use to store and review your data with (Garmin has Garmin Connect). Or you can use a service/site/ application that you can upload data to that is independent of the type of GPS/sport computer (for lack of a better term) like Strava, DailyMile, or Training Peaks. I recently have downloaded the free trail version of SportTracks because they now have the capability to analyze swim data (something I have a lot of).
First thing I like, the speed at which it uploads your stuff. In a very (un)scientific study last night I started uploading my data from my Garmin 500 Edge to three places at once; SportTracks, Strava, and Garmin Connect. SportTracks was the first to finish…by far. When I am uploading my data I want it to go in quickly. The interface for uploading is really simple. You don’t need to navigate to find the files. It handles all of that behind the scenes. (It was really easy to put in a big dump of all your data at one time. It didn’t take any where near as much time as I expected it to.)
The next thing I like is the dashboard. It gives you a great look on one screen to a summary of your week, month, and easy access to your recent workouts. A very easy to understand summary of ALL your data. Nice!
Obviously you can drill into the details of the specific workout to get more data analysis in the summary screen for a specific workout. This is where this product shines compared to the other alternatives. Depending on the data your device captured for the activity, you can change your view of the workout with a few easy clicks; and all the data overlays on one graph. Strava does this for cycling and running, but not for swimming. Garmin can show you most of this in graph form, but not on one graph. (If I am wrong, let me know)
You can chose the information you want by just clicking on it and you can keep adding more and more elements. This gives you the ability to see, for instance as shown above, what was your pace compared to your strokes per length. This comparison is great for showing if your form is suffering as you try to swim faster (a problem I have).
If you want to see the raw data/intervals that is all available to you in the intervals screen. It shows you the data for each interval and the rest time between each interval.
The last thing it can do that I will talk about now (there is more but I can’t cover it all now) is compare similar workouts. This feature will hopefully show you improving over time (something I am looking for). This is a pretty neat feature that I haven’t seen in other systems. This exists in Strava with the concept of the segment; but that doesn’t apply to the pool. And let’s face it, 25 yards is 25 yards where ever you swim it (it the pool that is)!
Now, it also allows you to connect with people, comment on their activities, and track your gear. There is some pretty sophisticated data analysis that it does regarding training load and some other metrics. I haven’t looked at this in depth but my husband Stuart did. You can read about that here.
I still need to use Training Peaks to work with my my coach but I have been looking for a one stop shop to house all my data…I think I may have found it!