With almost 6000 miles on the road this year and countless miles and hours in years past I’ve tried a few different apps, some with hardware, some without. My experience yesterday with a new feature on my Garmin Fenix gave me the idea for this post.
Let’s take a look at Garmin Connect, Strava, Trainingpeaks and Wahoo Fitness. For each I’ve added a screenshot from the website (hyperlinked for your convenience 😉 ) as well as an image from its mobile app.
- Price = Free (with hardware)
- Key Features = Track exercise, sleep, water intake and more
- Coolest Feature = Add or Remove Gear. Let’s you keep track of miles you put on your bikes, shoes, seats, etc.
- Ease of Use = Fairly intuitive and easy to set up. Syncs automatically with your hardware (most of the time)
- New feature = Suggested workouts. Yesterday my watch prompted me to do some anaerobic work. Was a good workout with visual and audio prompts.
- Price = $15.00 per month or $5.00 per month if billed annually
- Key features = Follow other riders and vice-versa (think Facebook for athletes), explore (aka find) segments or rides, take on challenges and sometimes earn prizes or discounts on schwag
- Coolest feature = Segment results so you can see how you’re doing compared to others. KOMs/QOMs, cups for top 10s and other bragging rights
- Ease of Use = Easy to set up and syncs with multiple apps (Zwift, FulGaz, Garmin, etc.).
- Price = Several, flexible plans including a free option. Monthly ($19.95), quarterly ($16.33) or annual ($9.92) plans as well
- Key features = Robust and detailed graphs, peaks (e.g. 5s power, 20 min. HR, etc.), daily metrics (sleep, soreness, overall health, etc.)
- Coolest feature = Fatigue, Fitness and Form info.
- Ease of Use = Steeper learning curve than the others for sure but you can really slice and dice your data.
- Price = Free (have to buy the hardware though, like Garmin)
- Key Features = Workouts, History (with ability to share .fit files anytime), routes, planned workouts
- Coolest Feature = Ability to adjust settings (e.g. auto-pause, auto-lap, etc.) on your head unit (Bolt or Roam) from the app.
- Ease of Use = Intuitive and automatic. Set up was easy, too. Just download the app. and follow the bouncing cursor, as I like to say.
As you may know, I published a post earlier this year about data and whether it’s worth having access to so much of it. I believe it is but it’s certainly a matter of personal preference. I get that many of you don’t want to be bogged down with all of that info. You just want to ride.
For me, though, these apps have helped me take things to another level.
Strava, with its social nature, makes things more fun and allows you to compete with your friends. Garmin Connect does this as well but it’s not as popular, at least as far as I can tell.
Admittedly, I haven’t tried any of the Wahoo workouts but with FulGaz, Zwift and the great outdoors I’m content with that. My recent discovery of Garmin’s suggested workouts wasn’t a showstopper either.
Trainingpeaks, I believe, is the most helpful if you’re trying to dive deeper into those whys and hows of performance. Coincidentally, before I bought the app I purchased “Training + Racing with a Power Meter” by Hunter Allen, Andrew Coggan, and Stephen McGregor. As I read more and more it seemed to me that the book is somewhat of a companion to the app and in fact, Joe Friel, Co-Founder of Trainingpeaks, wrote the forward for the book.
So you pick. Or not.
If, however, you’re like me and want to better understand why you perform the way you do on a given day and also would like to glean some other valuable insight, take the leap and try one of these apps. Editors note: I did check Strava’s and Trainingpeaks’ websites for pricing today so they are current (for now).
I’m happy to provide more data points; just shoot me an email or give me a jingle!
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