JUMP TO:

Sport Tracks 3.0 Upgrade Review

Over the past few months I’ve gotten a ton of questions around Sport Tracks 3.0 and what I think of it.  In the past I’ve recommended Sport Tracks in the past pretty heavily because of it’s free status and because it’s pretty kick-butt.  But the primary trigger point for many of the questions around 3.0 is the new pricing model.  Up until this point Sport Tracks was fully free…but now the new 3.0 full version costs $35.

Now, there’s still a free version which offers many of the features as the full version, just with some capacity limitations.  So I’ll discuss some of those details later.

Before we get into the weeds – let me first preface with what Sport Tracks is for those not familiar.  In short, it’s a desktop app (though not Mac compatible) that enables you to manage all of your training activity in a single location.  It’s highly customizable, and can accept additional plug-ins from developers across the community.  It’s like Garmin Connect…except on your PC, and a million times more in depth.

image

I’ve talked at length in the past about ST – including my Top 10 Tidbits for Sport Tracks.  These posts, combined with peoples general love for Sport Tracks, have helped it to gather over 80,000 users.  A fair number for a downloadable application in a niche genre.

So finally, what’s new and improved in this milestone new version?  Well, let’s get into it…

What’s new:

The full list of all of the new features can be found here.  But I’m instead going to focus on the ones that I think are most applicable to folks, or simply the coolest.

FIT File support (read: Garmin 310XT/Edge 500/Edge 800 native support)

When the Forerunner 310XT was introduced in Spring of 2009 so was a new file format – the .FIT file format.  While the 310XT was kind enough to also export out a legacy .TCX file, the Edge 500 and Edge 800 did not.  As a result, folks couldn’t easily get data into sport tracks without having to first export it from some other program.  However, with 3.0 – that’s now been resolved.  It includes a .FIT parser, so it’s able to natively handle all the latest Garmin devices.

For example, below is the brand new Garmin Edge 800 – you can see it easily pulls in my ride file:

image

And, once imported, it shows up in all its glory in my logbook – including details such as power and laps.

image

Customization of speed/pace types

One of the issues in the past was that if you entered a 3,000 yard hour long swim, it would show you’re distance in either miles per hour (MPH) or in minutes/mile.  Basically, as if the activity was running or cycling.  Now, you can customize how these pace units are displayed.  Here I’ve customized the swimming metric:

image

Now when I look at a given swim, it’ll show up as minutes/100y instead:

image

Addition for Google Terrain Maps & Other Providers

There’s now even more options when it comes to mapping.  In the past, you had to utilize different plug-ins to get different mapping providers.  Now, you can quickly make swaps – including to some more open sourced options.  This is useful if you have an area that’s not well served by one of the major providers.  For example, here’s a short kayak trip I did up in Newfoundland, by changing the map mode you can see the nearby terrain more easily than if I was using the low-res Google imagery for that area:

image

Or just in areas like mountains where it makes the elevation changes much more clear:

image

Ability to create custom data fields

This may sound trivial – but it’s actually super cool.  Most applications have fields to place common bits of information – like ‘Run Description’.  But Sport Tracks now has the ability to create your own data fields, and populate them wit your own data.  For example, I created a category called ‘Nutrition Used” – where I could put in what type of nutrition.  I then went and put a quantity as well:

image

Of course, your imagination is the limit here – tons of options.  I contemplated “Total cookies consumed afterwards”, but figured that might lead to bad things.

Lots of new reporting and charting options

They’ve overhauled the whole reporting interface to make it much easier to chart to your hearts content.  For example, now you can show up to four chart pages per screen.  While I’m not sure this is terribly useful on its own, I think it can be interesting if you’re trying to note trends with respect to cause and effect across multiple data segments.  I do wish I could do the same however on individual activities from the activity view – and say display HR/Speed/Power/Cadence as separate charts in the same manner.

image

Of course, my favorite report is still the good old world map of workout locations:

image

Files longer than 18 hours

Speaking of worldly things.  If you’re out there longer than 18 hours – such as for Ultra’s and the like, Sport Tracks will now support it.  This also goes for anything crossing over time zones or past midnight.  In the past these things caused some trouble.  For me, that was most visible actually when I’d leave my GPS on during long international flights.  Now – these files open up seamlessly – and you can also join multiple files easily as well:

image

Behind the scenes

Much of the work has gone on behind the scenes in enabling a foundation for better plug-ins in the future and a more integrated approach.  As such, you may not see some of these improvements initially – but they are being worked on.  If you’re a developer – you can start here to learn more.

One area though with respect to development I thought could have been streamlined was the plug-in purchase process.  Today, plug-in’s are sold on each developer’s own website and you download the applicable files from them.  I’d much prefer an Appstore approach to allow for cleaner installation and a bit of QA to plug-ins being submitted.  Just my two cents though.

Things that are gone…or could still use work:

Some of the plug-ins that you’ve had in the past may not work on Sport Tracks 3.0.  In my case, all the ones I had, did actually continue to work – so that was good.  But I know there are some out there that might require updating.  But by and large, virtually all critical features within the Sport Tracks application itself were maintained.

Then there are those features that I was hoping would be included.  For example – at $35, I’d expect to see some form of online backup component for the logbook included.  Given my logbook of years of data is only about 20MB, it would be a relatively trivial cost for Zone Five Software to store backup copies of the data using an online cloud service such as Amazon S3 or Microsoft Azure.  The biggest complaint I hear from folks about Sport Tracks (aside from lack of Mac compatibility) is the concern about losing all their data if their computer dies (and given most folks don’t have good backups, this is a valid concern).

The second item I was really hoping to see solved/addressed was the Mac side.  This is due to the fact that the application is written in the .Net Framework, which doesn’t have a Mac runtime.  While I fully understand the reason there isn’t a Mac version due to the coding language chosen, I think it’s artificially limiting growth of the application.

And finally, I was hoping to see some of that Cloud/Online based integration I was referring to above, where I could utilize a iPhone or Android App to connect to my workout data.  Workout data would still be stored locally, but also a copy online – thus making it available to me anywhere.  And then perhaps show a subset of data.  Similar to how Withings does their iPhone/iPad app for their wireless scale.

Price & Summary:

Looking at the two versions (free and $35) – I honestly think most users can get along just fine with the free version.  It’s really the advanced reporting and plug-in limitations that might draw folks towards the paid version.  For example – if you have the Withings WiFi Scale and use the Sport Tracks plug-in for it, in the free version of ST3 it will only show 90 days of data – whereas you’d want the full version to see all the deets.

One of the issues I’m seeing is that it’s not terribly clear up front on the site that there is indeed a free version.  In fact – if you didn’t know anything about it, you might simply continue on wandering to any one of a number of online sites that do the core functionality for free thinking that ST is only available in a paid version.  To get the free version, you simply download the paid version…and don’t pay the money to activate it.

However, Sport Tracks in my mind isn’t just about core functionality – it’s about all the really interesting and cool things that you can do.  It’s about the ability for developers to create all sorts of plug-ins to do anything from importing Nike+ workouts from your iPod to TSS style analysis.

Further, Sport Tracks in comparison to other products out there (such as Training Peak’s WKO+) is relatively cheap at about a quarter the price.  And, by and large it does the majority of what WKO+ does if you include plug-ins that only cost a few dollars extra (like OMB’s Power Plug-in)  In my opinion, desktop-only programs like WKO+ are slowly sliding towards the edge of the cliff – especially once you look at the online options with Training Peaks.  Years ago with only a few folks looking at power meter data, it was highly specialized – now, it’s more mainstream and thus the application needs to appeal to more mainstream folks to stay alive.

So – would I spend $35 for Sport Tracks 3.0 and the plug-ins it enables?  If you value the ability to really dig into workouts and analyze them, then there is no better value across multiple sports than Sport Tracks.  There are certainly some applications which when looking at a single sport (i.e. Cycling) do a better job out of the box – but nothing like the holistic view that ST provides.

Thanks for reading!  As always, if you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments section.

41 Comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply
  2. Interesting stuff - thanks for another valuable review.

    I was hoping for a bit of a gui upheaval; the current one is powerful but not that intuitive.

    On-line storage and accessing the same data from several machines is easily achievable with something like DropBox or SugarSync. If you're paying maybe you could expect it to be included but it's easily done at no cost.

    A new program called Fizilog has a rather interesting interface.

    Andrew

    Reply
  3. I've used ST now for the last 3 training seasons and have always been blown away that it was still free. It is so far above the crap that Garmin puts out it makes Garmin look like a joke. In fact I always wondered why Garmin didnt buy this guy out and just rebrand it since it is SO much better. Anyway, I would happily pay $35 to the developer not only for the new version (and I probably wont even use the new features since I have my 305 still) but as a way to say thanks for the last two years I've gotten out of it.

    When you look at the money that guys spend on bikes, shoes, clothes, helmets etc $35 is nothing - and insures that future versions will be even better.

    Reply
  4. Hi Ray, I'm a cyclist not a triathlete so I was wondering what applications you were referring to when you said "there are certainly some applications which when looking at a single sport (i.e. Cycling) do a better job out of the box"?

    Thanks again for a great site.

    Reply
  5. Interesting Post. I've been following your blog for some time now as i stumbled across it during the Garmin reviews. I was suprised to see your latest post showing a ride in my neck of the woods (queenstown, MD). What brought you over to this area for a ride?

    Reply
  6. birchfinch

    I've been using ST for years, and have really appreciated how in depth you can go with it.

    I agree with the previous comment about wishing for an updated GUI - the author of SportTracks does a good job coding, but is not a designer. I think the learning curve for new users can be tough. It's hard for me to recommend ST to some of my less techie friends for this reason. I expected the new version to address this, but I'm obviously on a different page than the developer.

    In fact, this new version seems to me to be just another update to the 2.x version. The past several upgrades have all included under-the-hood improvements, and this seems like just one more along this line. Frankly, the 3.x upgrade looks like it is most geared toward dealing with the pricing structure changes, and less about a significant upgrade.

    I also use Dropbox for my backup, so can almost use ST as if it were cloudware.

    Thanks for the review.

    Reply
  7. Rob

    Interesting comments about UI ... I have been a long time user of WKO+ and I found ST way more intuitive for some reason. In fact I emailed Training Peaks when I heard WKO+ 3.0 was in the works hoping they would adopt a similar UI as ST. They didn't of course.

    Dropbox for back-up. Easy peasy.

    Great review - thanks.

    rob

    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    I was wondering what the big differences were between Garmin Connect, Sport Tracks and Training Peaks were. If you could do one of your Pro's/Con's lists for each I would be really interested.

    Thanks

    Reply
  9. What plugins do you recommend? The same as for 2.x as 3.x?

    Reply
  10. looks interesting I'll give it a try.

    on the tech side, as long as they aren't using the new WPF UI elements they could get it to run on OSX with Mono

    Reply
  11. I'm a very big ST fan... The $35 was money very well spent, as it works as an incentive for an even better product, and all the hours I spend on it... no brainer.
    I think this is one of the best ones out there... ST and PerfPRO. Anyone out there using PerfPRO?
    I have both and paid for both.

    Reply
  12. Brent

    Agreed. I have been trying to find a piece of software like ST for years. All the other ones I have tried do somethings well but not all the stuff that Sport Tracks does. Hand down the best journal for keeping track of your fitness.

    Reply
  13. Ray - I just noticed you came to the Undie Run I put on last year. I was going through some pics for next years press packet and saw you in there. Will you be back?

    Reply
  14. Anonymous

    One of the things I think you missed was when comparing the free and paid version, is that the free version only supports a limited number of plugins.

    Reply
  15. Jen

    The $35 to buy ST isn't too spendy, but the money I would have to lay down to purchase a Windows machine would be. *Sigh.*

    A Mac version, someday? Would be so awesome...

    Reply
  16. Wes

    I'm up for the $35 cuz I just think these guys rock. and while I agree that an online back up system would be nice, there's already a lot of commercial stuff out there that does this. I, personally, use free back up software and an external USB drive.

    Reply
  17. Rob

    Have you been able to upload any CompuTrainer workouts to it? I seem to recall it being rather cumbersome with v2.1.

    Thanks,
    rob

    Reply
  18. AC

    Rob, no computrainer import is available yet - for me that's what holding me back from upgrading. Sure hope to see it soon, and really think it shouldn't take a plugin for this fuctionality.

    DC, how are you dealing with the Computrainer files, or are you just using a powermeter concurrent with the computrainer and importing that file instead?

    Reply
  19. YouYou

    Hi all,

    I've started using Sporttracks a while ago. So far, so good.

    One important thing though: the free vesion (i.e. you don't upgrade) allows only two plugins.

    Take care
    YouYou

    Reply
  20. So what exactly are the limitations of the free version? Other than only two plugins.

    Reply
  21. FYI ~ the trial version of the 3.x version supports tracking of only 2 gear items (link to zonefivesoftware.com).

    I didn't see you mention that in your review/update.

    Keep up the great work on the blog.

    Mick.

    Reply
  22. Thanks so much for all your reviews and information! I have a question that I haven't found the answer to in searching through your posts; I have a FR305 on its way to me. I'm considering using ST 3.0 for my main software but was thinking that also using Garmin Connect would be good as then I would be "backed up" on the web and I plan to share weekly totals with a running friend who lives in another country and also has the 305. Is there an easy way to upload to both. Or is there a simpler way to accomplish what I'm trying to do?

    Reply
  23. vM

    good review. I have ST 2.0 and happy with it. The new ST 3.0 Free version doesnt seem to be much better ( other than .FIT support and maps) - in fact it has some regression like 890 day trends as opposed to unlimited in ST 2.0.

    that said ST 3.0 looks like it is goin in the right direction. especially if they start a Mac version.
    thanks

    Reply
  24. Anonymous

    Natty, I am using the free version on ST3 and it allows you to have a category "My Friends Activities".

    This was also in ST2. I never used it but I suppose this is what you are looking at.

    Reply
  25. Does ST have a PMC "Perfomance Management Chart" like WKO+? It helps chart Peak performances and what training load got you there.

    Reply
  26. Anonymous

    Does Anyone know why with each successive import from my Garmin FR610 it take longer and longer. I'm sure theres a setting that deletes old files or something so that it doesn't have to sift through more and more files on each import. Any ideas?

    Reply
  27. Ni

    I downloaded the free version of Sport Tracks 3.0, but unable to fine the device in the list (Timex Run Trainer). I tried to find a plug-in for Timex devices, but found out that plug-in for Timex data input seems to be removed and is no longer available. Am I still be able to use Sport Track with Timex devices? Thanks

    Reply
  28. Wes Howarth

    Hi,
    Over the last several years I've used Training Peaks WKO+ but after it's lack of updates and support from TP and reading DC Rainmaker's review I decided to give Sport Tracks a go.

    To do it full justice I invested the $35 and bought the OMB plugins, Garmin etc..all of theose listed above.

    I have to say it's a fantistic piece of software and I the only one I use now. The developers of the plugins are really helpful and respond much quicker than either Garmin or Training Peaks.

    I'd whole heartedly reccomend Sport Tracks to anyone!

    DC Rainmaker thanks for your reviews they are excellent and the most reliable that I've come accross.

    Cheers,
    Wes

    Reply
  29. Lisa Conley

    I am a new triathlete and am currently using Training Peaks to plan and record my workouts. I am curious to know how Training Peaks compares to Sport Tracks. Do you have a pro/con comparison on these 2 products?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I use Training Peaks primarily, as Sport Tracks as a secondary tool.

      The biggest difference comes from the flexibility of each. For example, ST is far more flexible due to 3rd party plug-ins. But, it's not web based (though, they are making progress in that manner). Additionally, it doesn't necessarily have tie-ins to head units to ensure that values like TSS/NP/IF match exactly from head unit to software.

      In my mind, there isn't a right or wrong answer, it's just a matter of how much flexibility you're looking for. If you have a single GPS unit, then TP is probably perfect. But if you had say a Nike Fuel band plus a Zeo and a FitBit, then maybe Sport Tracks is better.

      I haven't written a comparison chart because the software platforms change so frequently (almost weekly) that it would quickly be out of date. :(

      Reply
  30. PhotoMom

    Is SportTracks coming out with an update any time soon? I'd hate to buy the full version, to get access to all my old data, then have a major 4.0 release come out soon after.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      They've made a lot of continual updates. They've also launched a full website variant of Sport Tracks as well.

      Reply
  31. paolo

    Hi, I'm interested in buying Sporttracks but I found a problem:
    when I import the file form my workout (GPS+HR data) from my Timex Runtrainer 1.0 I can see only the GPS maps but no information about the Heart Rate (into TrainingPeaks the same file reports everyting)
    Does someone use Sprttrakcs for it's Timex Runtrainer 1.0? could Help me?.
    Thanks, Paolo

    Reply
  32. Michal

    Ray, Thank you for a great review. I wanted to ask if I can still use the 2.x version and have unlimited plugins or is there still a limit (2 for the free version)?

    Reply
  33. I've been using Sporttracks for several years. The weather plugin and the power calculating plugin are worth getting. I also use the TCX export plugin.

    The backup issue is solved if you use rwgps (ride with gps). After you import your file from your Garmin unit into Sporttracks and get the weather and power (assuming you don't have power measuring on your bike) just export to tcx and upload to rwgps. You can then use either Sporttracks or rwgps for reviewing your data (I rely much more on rwgps). Your data is automatically backed up that way. Worth noting, if you are starting this process you can combine a bunch of activities on Sporttracks into a single TCX (I did a month at a time to get started) and then upload. Rwgps will parse them into separate files at their end.

    Reply
  34. Magnificent website. My Geonaute Keymaze 700 crashed, and so I bought the Garmin Forerunner 910XT, Triatlon version (only footpod is not in the package). Now I will try Sport Tracks 3.0, but I wonder if you could install it on 3 PC's at the same time and have them syncronised (with an online programm that is no issue). Sorry for my poor English, I am from Bellegoed, Bellegem, Belgium (Europe).

    Thank you very, very, very, very (910 times) much!

    VAN BELLE Jean Marc, Straatje 21, 8510 BELLEGEM, info@logocom.be or info@vb.be
    (ps: have also a Garmin Etrex Legend on the bike).

    Reply
  35. frank kelly

    You could probably use a network file for the data, assuming that all three of your computers were on the same network. I would check on the Sporttracks forums and with their licensing terms about sharing the data and also the licensing terms.

    Reply
  36. Blake Melton

    I am pretty close to pulling the trigger on Sport Tracks. One of the main reasons I would do so is to get the TSS data. I'll do the premium so I can have the program at home and at work (with small children, sometimes it's easier to steal a few minutes to review and plan at work than at home).

    My question is this. I know I can use two computers with Sport Tracks. But, does anybody know how this works when it comes to plug-ins. Obviously, I'll need a plug-in in both places to get TSS info in both places.

    Thanks in advance for any help.

    Reply
  37. frank kelly

    You might want to look at sporttracks.mobi.
    I was spelunking around in the sporttracks forums looking for how cloudsync was supposed to work. There is a setting for it in the desktop version of sporttracks but when you click it, it just says "coming soon". You can apparently sign up for a separate sporttracks.mobi for about the same cost as sporttracks desktop and be able to access your data anywhere. I don't know the pros and cons and don't have any need to look at this further but you might want to. Just generally I think you'd get better results looking in Sporttracks forums rather than posting on dcrainmaker.

    Reply
  38. Great to see people still replying to this post +3 years later!!

    To answer some recent comments and address Frank's hint above. We've spent the last few months quietly working on our next generation app at http://www.sporttracks.mobi. We haven't been in stealth mode per-se, but we are definitely keeping our heads down to pump out features.

    You'll see many of the features you know and love in ST3 - the same focus on customizability, deep data analysis features, wide device & GPS support - all wrapped in an appealing new package and modern tech - accessible from anywhere on your smart phone, tablet, laptop or desktop PC.

    We've also taken some of the best and most popular plugin ideas, feedback from users,and lessons we learned in the past 5 years - and incorporating it into the platform. We've even hired some new talent to get the job done.

    And one more thing. If you're a ST3 desktop user, you get full automatic two-way sync of your workouts, health metrics, and gear - to the cloud, so you can review or log workouts on the go, or plan your training while sitting on your couch with your iPad.

    Our team is about a week away from a big rollout of ST.mobi to our userbase. Look for an announcement on our forums and social media. We hope you'll check us out.

    -Aaron Averill
    CEO. Zone Five Software. Home of SportTracks 3 & sporttracks.mobi

    Reply
    • simon replied

      Hi Aaron - will the $35 a year subscription to the .mobi service include a licence to the desktop version and will the .mobi service be able to access scales/garmins etc over ANT+ ?

      thanks

      Reply

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>