New Garmin Connect Updates (including courses and workouts!)

I mentioned last week in my Garmin update post around Vector and new watches that I had one more item of note from Garmin, but needed to wait to more to discuss it.  So this is really more of a minor update to follow-up on that.

That item would be around Garmin Connect.  And while the updates are certainly interesting (and a few of them are really big), some of the discussion we had around the goal and direction of Garmin Connect was actually equally as interesting, if not slightly more.

During our discussion I led off with the question around where there were any planned updates to Garmin Connect (GC), noting that it’s been about 18 months since we saw anything significant – with most of the work since largely being maintenance items.  Garmin’s Justin McCarthy agreed, saying that “The emphasis lately has been placed on stability, the Connect team has done a great job ensuring stability compared to points over the last year and a half or so.  But they’ve definitely been working on improvements and listening to feedback from users”.

This slowdown in new features was undoubtedly tied to a significant setback in staffing/resourcing when the vast majority of the Garmin Connect team (previously from Motion Based) elected not to move to Olathe, Kansas from the San Francisco area, instead choosing to leave Garmin.

However, he went onto say that the Garmin Connect team was “On the brink of a major set of changes – not necessarily aesthetics though, but rather focusing on features”.  In other words, don’t expect to see a shift in how Garmin Connect looks when you login, but rather the development time is being pour into adding new functionality and capabilities (as well as likely bug fixes).  Given that IT development is always a simple balance between functionality and cost, I think this is the right direction since I don’t thing anybody has any real issues with how GC looks form a UI standpoint, but rather would prefer the features to be more advanced.

I prodded about whether they saw themselves adding more advanced features, noting that the majority of advanced athletes don’t use Garmin Connect simply due to the lack of real analysis power behind it.  It turns out though that the Metrigear acquisition may actually be driving some changes in the future.  This is because as Garmin moves into offering products aimed at at more advanced users (the Vector power meter) it will by associate drive some of the changes we’ll be seeing soon – “With rollout of Vector later this year expect some changes, more data fields and information – comparable to what other power systems have that are out there today.”

Now, that’s not to say that we should expect Garmin Connect to become the next Training Peaks or Golden Cheetah.  One of the challenges they pointed out is finding middle ground between a product that a non-technical beginner runner can easily use, with one that more advanced users might use.  They admitted that it’s not always easy to provide heavy analytic information in a package that can be easily consumed by entry level users.  And this jives with the feedback I get from most of you around the different training program offerings out there.  There exists a fairly clear relationship between how complex the software is to understand with how much information it can provide to the end user.  Garmin Connect being on the easy end (but with less information being available for analysis), while programs like Golden Cheetah being on the opposite end with having incredible analytic capability, but at the same time being harder to get up to speed on.

So as for Garmin Connect, what’s new today? Well, here’s the rundown of the big things:

Ability to create courses: This has long been a major pain in the butt that required you to use other sites or the desktop tools.  Now you can create your magical maps online.  This is a pretty big add.

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Ability to create workouts: Previously you had to create workouts on the desktop client, now you can create all sorts of customized workouts using the online version.  This includes creating repeats, intervals, based on HR, Speed, Pace, Power, Cadence, Distance and time.

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Garmin Connect Explore page now opens to where you are: I was just thinking about this over the weekend and wondering when it would open up to some place other than the UK as the default.  Now it uses your geographical information based on your IP address to open up to your current location.  A minor thing sure, but a really handy one.

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New Team Garmin Page: This shows all the activities of the Team Garmin folks.  This allows you to more easily see just how much they can kick our butts in a consolidated manner.

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There appears to be a handful of other items as well out there, such as some changes around goals – though I haven’t tracked everything down yet.  Also, you’ve now got a tiny bit more detail on some of the pages, with it showing the time in a decimal point:

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Again, many times there will be lots of little changes that aren’t mentioned that we’ll probably never notice.  Some of these will have been bug fixes, while others will be subtle little adds to ease support calls or just simply thing that someone wanted added.

Clearly, the big ones here are the additions of Workouts and Courses – two major requests from users.  Usually within a few hours we’ll see a full list of changes posted over in the Garmin Connect forums, so I’m looking forward to that shortly to see what else is out there.

Thanks for reading!

39 Comments

  1. This all looks like good stuff. Might have to start using Garmin Connect again.

    The Team Garmin section is particularly nice. I hope they continue to update this with new files throughout the year.

    I don't have a CompuTrainer right now, but I've been thinking about getting one. Ray, do you know if you can export the Team Garmin files and turn them into CT courses somehow? It'd be cool to ride specific Tour de France stages and then compare your data to the Team Garmin folk (and then cry, obviously).

    Thanks!

    Stu

    Reply
  2. Just tried the course creator. Pretty easy. Would be nice if it showed an elevation profile as well. Do you know if this is a forthcoming feature?

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    I wonder if that is the reason I couldn't upload my workout at 6:20am EDT this morning.

    Reply
  4. Anonymous

    Now if they would just go back to google maps... Or at least allow users to choose that as an option.

    Reply
  5. Just uploaded my latest workout and noticed these changes....had a quick play and then thought i wonder....yep the garmin techno god has done a post about them.

    The create your own workout bit looks very nice...just couldnt find an option to download the workout from my device, not that its an issue to re-enter thecworkouts on there.

    Being a software developer myself i can see a lot of work has gone in to it and i think they have done a very good job.

    Reply
  6. They have also added a feature where you can also compared differents activities!

    Reply
  7. Tim

    The course creator is a nice idea, I just wish it seemed to work better. On my browsers (Chrome, IE8, Firefox 4) I can't seem to get it to work well. It almost seems like I need to double-click to make my route, or click and hold. Definitely not as smooth as RideWithGps.com, BikeRouteToaster.com, or gmap-pedometer.

    I also really dislike the lack of GoogleMaps or OSM for course creation -- bing does not have bike trails where I've looked so far.

    Still nice to see Garmin is trying to do something after such a long time...

    Also wish my auto-weather tagging was brought back (like MotionBased had).

    Reply
  8. Looks like they released it a bit too early.
    I can't upload a run. After fetching the data from my watch it spins in the "uploading" step. Also can't change my personal settings; weight, age, etc. It gets zeroed, or it's copying someone elses.

    Reply
  9. They never do seem ready.

    Reply
  10. they put back the old page! this is ridiculous and unexpected by a company like Garmin.

    Reply
  11. This is awesome. After a brief flirtation with the RCX5 I'm now upgrading my Forerunner 305 to a 610/Edge combo. Psyched to get them and start using Garmin Connect again. Hopefully it'll drift closer and closer to Training Peaks.

    Reply
  12. Good stuff if this would work. As many others, was not able to upload to service and site language was changed to German.

    The issue that I was missing the most was better capabilities to share and comment your friends workouts, i.e. social aspects. This seems to be a basic feature with many (if not all) other similar services - hopefully Garmin will implement that soon.

    Reply
  13. Hannes

    After uploading my data from Edge and Forerunner (that took hours!) I now have activities from all over the world in Garmin Connect. It seems that I am even travelling more than dcrainmaker!

    Unbelieveable....

    Reply
  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  15. I'm happy that Garmin decided to update the GC, but it's another thing on Garmin that you have to figure out with little help. I find Garmin to be a very usefull tool, but I find myself spending to much time trying to figure out how everything works.

    Reply
  16. Max

    Dear Customers, thank you for all your early feedback on the latest version of Garmin Connect.
    Unfortunately, we’ve identified bugs that need to be fixed before we redeploy the new features.

    Reply
  17. Before I bought my 305 I was using mapmyrun.com and they had a nice setup when they were rolling out a new system; they had a prominent link on every page saying "try out the new map my run!" and it was on a different server but with all of your current data. So the users got to stress test it for them and work out the kinks before it went into production.

    Reply
  18. Bob

    I'm fairly happy with the current level of data analysis, but would love a simple equipment mileage tracker. This has been a feature request on the Garmin forum for years with no progress.

    Reply
  19. broerie

    I agree with what Petteri said. Connect really needs to work on the social aspect.
    Most of my friend use Garmin devices too, but it's a pain if I want to watch their rides. Can't be that hard IMO

    Reply
  20. Michael

    I hope Garmin will start supporting usernames containing dots like "firstname.lastname". I received no warning when I signed up with my username, but different functionality doesn’t work correctly, like searching, rssfeads and linking directly to a user account using link to connect.garmin.com

    Besides the problems with my username, I think Garmin Connect is a great product. Compared to Endomondo I do miss the big map (google based).

    Reply
  21. You seem to be well versed with the Garmin technology, wonder if you can help answer a question for me. I have recently purchased a Garmin 800 and it's working great for me except for one (major) thing. When I download courses and try to follow them in the bike, it gives me the wrong directions. I have used It for organized rides where the course is well marked so I know it was taking me astray. I wonder if it is the file format I picked. I downloaded the TCX (the one that gives the turn by turn directions). I also tried the GPX which actually worked but I really missed not having the turn by turn directions.
    Any thoughts about what is going wrong? Could it be a set-up issue?
    Thanks,
    Emma

    Reply
  22. I gave up on Garmin Connect when they went to bing maps. Strava is far superior, I'm really surprised you've never reviewed it.

    Reply
  23. Ray-

    I really struggle getting courses, routes and other GPS files onto my Garmin Edge 800.

    Have you done a post on the various best ways to do that, file formats that make sense and software you use?

    Thanks.
    s

    Reply
  24. Hi Stephen-

    I have not yet. I've done one earlier with generic 'how-to create courses/maps' for Garmin devices, but honestly it's so much easier on the Edge 800 that following that older guide would only make life more difficult.

    I've got it on my list!
    Thanks!

    Reply
  25. these new features are not yet available for me on garmin connect :(

    Reply
  26. a short video about the new features: link to youtube.com

    (still not available on my display :()

    Reply
  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  28. Anonymous

    Any perspective on when and if garmin connect will be creating a "personal public" page with totals vs only per activity? (such as on Dailymile and Runkeeper)

    Reply
  29. Codie

    They need to let you set your own end date for goals.

    Reply
  30. Codie

    Also, can you download training plans and put them on your garmin connect calendar or do you have to create them from scratch. It would be nice if you could buy training plans from say training peaks and put them in garmin connect.

    Reply
  31. Brian

    Just purchased a 310XT. Having no luck sending a workout I create in either Garmin Connect or Garmin Training Center to my device. Says the device does not support workouts. I'm using a Mac. I've tried on both Firefox and Chrome (when trying through Garmin Connect). Any idea?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Are you on the latest FR310XT firmware?

      Reply
  32. Brian

    Pretty sure I do. I installed the ANT Agent and if I run a check for updates it says it all up-to-date. Now is that just for the ANT Agent or does that handle the device's firmware as well?

    Reply
  33. `Robbie D

    Why is Garmin Connect not working,trying to up load my training stats and it would not work , getting this message saying Garmin Connect is not working

    Reply
  34. Any one know of some good pro triathletes/cyclists to follow on garmin connect?

    Reply
  35. Adam

    Any ideas what's going on with Garmin Connect? It's been almost non-functional since around June 1 and no comment from Garmin. No data getting into reports or leaderboards. Just want to know that Garmin is aware and has a plan.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Strange, nothing on leaderboards (for segments or activity monitoring)?

      (I see data on activity monitoring updating, but haven't re-looked at segments).

      Reply
    • Adam replied

      Not since June 1: nothing on leaderboards (I have 6 buddies that I train with and it's a constant battle until Saturday night when the leaderboard refreshes to see who will lead each discipline). And nothing in my reports either (daily activity, total activity and others). But we each individually can see our own activities, the calendar has the activities and I can sometime see my connections individual activities.

      Reply

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