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TrainerRoad now pulls in outside rides, adds training log and load analysis

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In the growing battle of not just trainer platforms, but training log platforms, TrainerRoad just took a big step forward.  As one of the original pioneers of device-agnostic indoor training apps, they now allow you to account for your outdoor training within their platform.  Not only that, but you can start doing some training load analysis from within their platform as well, including some season comparisons and PR tracking.

I’ve been playing with the features for the past week or so, and figured I’d give you a quick loop around the block.  Note that I do indeed pay for my own TrainerRoad subscription, along with a disturbing number of other platforms too.  Come to think of it, we probably shouldn’t tell The Girl exactly how many training log and app platforms I pay for.  Shh!

What’s new:

The first piece to this puzzle is to understand how exactly TrainerRoad gets your outside data, and the answer is surprisingly simple: It uses the same connections that you’ve had to upload indoor data.  See, TrainerRoad already integrates with Strava, Garmin Connect, and others. Now, instead of just ‘pushing’ data to those platforms, it’s also pulling data (or receiving, depending on how you want to define it).  So each time you complete a ride on your ‘connected’ platforms, it’ll show up within TrainerRoad.  These connected platforms are defined within your settings under ‘Ride Sync’ (Note: this is all the same as before, but it doesn’t import from TrainingPeaks, it only exports to it):

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But that begs the question – what happens if you do as I’ve done and upload everything to everywhere?  Won’t you get duplicates? Nope, apparently not (well, not just apparently, definitely not).

In fact, turns out my specific account was used as a bit of a test case of a worst possible scenario, because not only do I have all my networks connected, but a service like Garmin Connect can often get 3-5 copies of a given ride (since I ride with multiple head units for testing).  For example, this ride a few weeks back on Garmin Connect:

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But it’s actually more complex that than.  See, TrainerRoad also has to deconflict between Strava and Garmin Connect in my case.  So it has to decide which activity to use (and to not use both).  And impressively, they seem to have done that very well.

While I didn’t go back and look at a decade’s worth of history, I did browse through this year’s data and haven’t seen any duplicates.  Which gets to the next point: They are pulling in *all* of your history. It’s pretty cool in fact.  I’ve got 1007 rides imported into the platform now, dating back to 2010.

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Now like most of you, you might not have all of your rides back that far.  For example, while I have rides from 2010 in there, that’s only rides that I’ve uploaded to one of those supported platforms, and it doesn’t appear to be importing from TrainingPeaks (because they block that API access).  So I didn’t really start using Strava that heavily in that timeframe, thus those files were dependent on me uploading to Garmin Connect, which in turn was dependent on me actually using Garmin Connect. This would be in the days before Bluetooth Smart uploads via your smartphone app or WiFi (Garmin didn’t add Bluetooth to Edge units until 2013).

And in the event you had files elsewhere, you can simply drag them in bulk via the ‘Import ride’ option. The Zip file is notable, as is PWX, because that allows you to easily export out from TrainingPeaks, and import into TrainerRoad in one fell swoop.

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In any event, files aside, let’s talk about what you see once you’re back to the dashboard, which is this:

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It shows your latest ride, in this case today, as well as your training stress below it.  As you can see, my latest ride from today was outdoors – not at all on TrainerRoad.  You’ll note that below that it gives me a brief note that rides that don’t have a power meter don’t get TSS data automatically.  So, for example, city-riding on my commuter bike.

Meanwhile, the training stress graph shows my overall load, as well as FTP changes marked with little dots.  It also shows my 6-week running average.  Of course, all of this is cycling-specific, so it doesn’t include running, swimming, or other stress inducing activities.

If I scroll down further you can see the individual weeks with the days of the week, each of those numbers is not the mileage or duration, but rather the stress (TSS) accrued.  Note the ‘0’ entries in there. Those are days where I rode but didn’t have a power meter on the bike.

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I can click on a week and get more detail about what was within that week.  You’ll see the total TSS accumulated at the top, as well as the weekly average.  Again, if I was solely riding and riding more consistently (versus also running or using bikes without power meters), you’d see logically higher values here.

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There appear to be some minor bugs here, for example the ‘Speed’ shown in aero testing is using the total activity time (about 2hrs), versus the moving duration shown above.  In my opinion these should match (either use moving duration or elapsed time.  But I’m sure that’ll get corrected quickly.

Next, we can click on any ride anywhere to get more detail about that ride.  So I’ll use this morning’s ride for the heck of it. Here’s the overall view of everything. Most of it is pretty straightforward.

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For completeness, here’s what the top portion looks like from a semi-recent TrainerRoad (indoor) ride:

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You can highlight sections on the graph, allowing you to get averages and maxes for that section.  Also, you can then create virtual intervals (that stick beyond just this one session).  So if you had certain portions of the ride you wanted to evaluate and then come back to later, they’d be there down the road (no pun intended).

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As I hover over sections of the power curve graph, it’ll show me exactly where they come from in the chart.

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On the graph they also allow you to look at it from a sprint or endurance standpoint.  So in the case of sprinters this pulls the power curve down to 30-seconds, and then gives you more granularity.  Whereas in the case of endurance athletes it gives you a much longer duration to focus on.

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Next, you’ve got the comparison components.  But to compare you’ll need to create seasons – or ways to compare against past chunks of time. Sure you could just create a season for the whole calendar year, but most people don’t train that way. They could have 2-3 ‘seasons’ within a year, such as a triathlon season that went to June (early Ironman race), and then a cross season for the fall.  Or, just a given build to various races.  Here’s a few random ones I created:

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Once I do that, I can select date ranges to compare and then start slicing and dicing:

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But this does expose one issue (which is mostly my fault): Bad data.

As you see above, there’s a Feb 9th ride titled ‘Quick Calibration’.  That ride on a problematic trainer still ended up on Garmin Connect, and thus was sucked in here.  It’s #FakeNews from a data standpoint, as you can see.  And this isn’t the only ride to do so.  At present, I can go ahead and delete this ride, but there’s no method to remove individual data points as there is on TrainingPeaks, Golden Cheetah, and Xert (among others).  Nor is there a method like on Today’s Plan to put a cap on data points (i.e. 1,200w, discard everything above that).

Take for example the below graph when I added in ‘All Time’.  You’ll see values upwards of 2400w.  Those are also fake. I know that more or less my max is about 1,000w. Is what it is.

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That all gets a little bit into the personal records section, which tracks your overall records (power curve bests):

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The cool part is that it’s easy enough for me to know exactly where this data came from. I can highlight any point and then go and click ‘View details’ on the ride to see the offending file.  At this point, I could delete it for now.  TrainerRoad does agree that this problem probably needs a bit of detailing.  Of course again I could manually fix a file through a tool like FitFileTools.com, or others, to remove the data spike.

[Update: TrainerRoad has also added a checkbox on a given workout so that you can remove it from PR’s, which semi-solves it until they can add removing a given data point within the workout. A good first step though!]

And what’s cool here is that I can select any point on the PR graph (be it more common times like 5 minutes, or uncommon times like 3mins 55 seconds) and then find out my PR’s for that timeframe:

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Of course, in looking at all this, my data is pretty messy – it’s not as easy to see the trend lines that are far more obvious on someone that’s got a super structured training plan and a clear goal for the season.  For example, if you take a look at one of the TrainerRoad guy’s stress graph, it paints a much more clear picture (mainly, that he spends more time on the bike than I):

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All of this is definitely a good start, and something that competitor Zwift is missing.  It’s certainly not a replacement for platforms like TrainingPeaks, but it does take things in the direction of being able to properly account for outdoor rides while indoors.

That’s more interesting once you start to look at having your indoor rides based on your overall level of fitness.  Because TrainerRoad has all of their workouts structured as % of FTP, if it doesn’t know your FTP is actually higher than it is (because it’s not seeing those outside rides), then you’re potentially undertraining.  In a nutshell, this aims to resolve that.

The New Arms Race?

Now anyone who’s been around the training platform game long enough can see the massive shift in the market.  Back when I first started getting serious into triathlon, it was all about TrainingPeaks. And thus to this day that’s still my ‘training platform of record’, meaning the one that is ‘in theory’ the true that has all my rides dating back to the beginning (to which my coach is undoubtedly chuckling at my lack of data de-duplication there).

But there’s tons of new platforms, and really solid ones at that.  For example, both Xert and Today’s Plan are pushing the boundaries of what we think of as a traditional training platform.  In the case of Xert, they have a component that controls your trainer dynamically based on how you’re responding to that workout, mid-workout. Sorta like having a coach there that’s controlling the wattage on the trainer based on how he thinks you’re handling it.

And they aren’t the only ones.  We’re seeing other startups like Final Surge start to expand, especially towards triathletes (which Today’s Plan also just recently announced support for).  And then we look to trainer platforms (versus training), such as Sufferfest going in slightly different directions with more customized training plans, including areas like accounting for recovery workouts like structured Yoga sessions and even mental conditioning components.

Sure, not everything will stick – but it shows a lot of companies are working fairly hard at finding ways to be unique.  How TrainingPeaks (or Zwift for that matter) will respond to these remains to be seen.  In the case of many of these platforms (including TrainerRoad), they license the terminology (such as ‘TSS’, ‘NP’, and ‘IF’) from TrainingPeaks, but the underlying algorithms aren’t really protected.  Sure, TrainingPeaks could revoke licenses if they feel a partner becomes more of a competitor (as they’ve done in other technology areas), but I’m not sure that’s TrainingPeak’s best bet.

I’d think that focusing on why these other companies are gaining ground is probably a better use of time.  Beat them at their game, not through lawyers or contract folks.  Certainly, TrainingPeaks is the behemoth for largely good reason. It supports an incredible number of sports and an equally high number of athletes and coaches.  With that comes a lot of baggage.  And as any training platform will tell you, one of the biggest challenges is satisfying coaches – whom often have very specific views and routines that they’ve long since established.  In the case of TrainerRoad and to a similar extent Sufferfest, they don’t have to deal with that.  Whereas companies like Xert and Today’s Plan have mostly been able to start fresh without the baggage.

In any event – definitely interesting times ahead.  Though I’d caution that like cheap activity trackers, there isn’t quite as much market as the number of companies that want to get into the space believe.  Eventually, you reach a saturation point of the number people willing to pay $10-$15/month for something, especially if that something isn’t providing significant value over what they already have.  But at present, I’d argue that companies like TrainerRoad are doing a solid job at adding new value to their platform, all without increasing prices. Because nobody likes increased prices.

With that – thanks for reading!

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93 Comments

  1. Thanks for the review Ray! You can remove a ride from your personal records by drilling into the ride and unchecking the “Personal Records” option (see pic).

    We’re also working on a way to remove just specific points, so if you have a good ride but you just want to remove a few points we’ll do that too.

    • Ahh perfect, good to see. That’ll address it for the interim.

    • It’s the three “…” menu once you hit your ride page.

    • BTW, we’re also working on a way to remove specific ride points from your workout where you might have bad data. The use case would be you did a great 3-hour ride, but your power meter freaked out and gave you a 1500 watt spike where you didn’t have it.

    • Chader

      That function would be very nice and welcomed.

      I get an odd spike on occasion when I swap P1 pedal batteries mid-ride. Would be nice to clear the one spot and not remove the entire ride or workout.

  2. Brian

    Since TrainerRoad also has triathlon plans will this track TSS for swimming and running too?

  3. Jeremy Churcher

    Ray I feel your pain, My wife has just asked for an audit of our outgoings and I have to admit to more active subscriptions than I need or use. As a long term Training Peaks user I am satisfied but as I am seeing innovation in other areas they appear to be largely standing still. The guys at TrainerRoad are clearly evolving steadily however as a long term subscriber, both to the platform and podcast, I deeply regret the Sufferefest divorce as the combination was great. Zwift is currently a fairly unique offering however the workout aspects are somewhat messy and I prefer to use other tools for my structured sessions so Zwift in parallel with either Sufferfest or TrainerRoad or Today’s Plan or Xert all work. The reason I have struggled with TrainerRoad is that I lack the discipline to stick to their structured plans Sufferfest provides some enjoyable entertainment but after a while the videos do become stale. I really love the adaptive training advisor in Xert and if it played well with other sports I think it would be the clear winner for me. In summary I am on the fence right now but if forced to rationalise would probably keep Zwift, for the distraction, racing and social aspect, with XERT as my training mentor based on its adaptive functionality, which takes away some of the thinking and does a good job of telling me to take a break when I do too much, although combining running (with power) and cycling in one account would be good. Just my thoughts.

  4. Anthony LoSasso

    I train primarily indoors, switching between Trainerroad & Zwift; everything goes to Garmin Connect. So in theory TR will pull everything I do on Zwift via GC? This would really be a big help, assuming the tools TR is providing are useful. Thanks for the review!

  5. Lars

    Another option would be for some of the larger players in the field to do buy up some of the niche players and integrate them.

    I am especially interested in what Training Peaks and Strava will do. TP is a you say a behemoth with all the baggage it brings. Strava is primarily a social media based training platform with very limited analysis and planning options.

    For me f.ex. I think Xert brings a very unique and interesting perspective on analysis and planning. That being said, implementation is far from finished. They seem like a smaller player at this time and perhaps someone may want acquire them?

    • Yeah, it’d be tough for really anyone to acquire Strava at this point (outside of an Apple). Training Peaks certainly doesn’t have the capital to do it. That realization on the part of Strava is why you’ve seen them add legit features over the last year or two. Their valuation has gotten too high for a typical acquisition in this industry, especially with Garmin being very clear they see no benefit to acquiring Strava (they get everything they want with exclusive partnerships instead…at essentially no cost).

      Now an acquisition of someone like Xert would be viable, and I think actually makes a lot of sense for a number of players in the industry. I would have said (and still do), that even a TrainerRoad acquisition of Xert makes a ton of sense, they largely compliment each other fairly well. Some minor overlap (slightly moreso with today), but the two companies both actually tend to trend towards the ‘train smarter’ side of the realm, and both are heavily power focused.

    • Graeme

      I think the market needs a mass consolidation, or a Spotify type model where you can consume all you want for one flat monthly fee across all the various labels. To think if I want to use TP, Strava [premium], TrainerRoad, the occasional ride on Zwift and the odd Sufferfest that is a huge monthly outgoing. Much more than Spotify, Netflix etc. etc.

      It’s good that each of these companies are competing and therefore driving innovation, but there’s only so much money to go around and I can’t see them all lasting under the current pricing structure. But we shall see…

    • Lars

      I still think we are very much in the early growth phase of the market for online training platforms. As long as growth rates are huge, consolidation will probably be driven primarily by larger established players acquiring niche vendors to close gaps in their offerings.

      As the market approaches maturity and growth rates start to decline we will surely see a greater degree of consolidation. It might take a few years, though.

    • Chader

      @Graeme, I don’t think you are comparing apples to apples.

      Sure, you can listen to all the music you want on Spotify, with the paid subscription. But you don’t also get videos from Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime YouTube Red, etc. Each one is a separate platform, with it’s own offerings and it’s own subscription fee. You still have to choose one or more of the options within that entertainment spectrum.

      That is essentially what we have now with TrainerRoad, The Sufferfest, Zwift, Training Peaks, Strava Premium etc. Each platform is it’s own offering with various emphasis. I agree that there are many options, all with good reasons to consider them.

      TrainerRoad was (up until the current release) heavily focused on workouts and plans. It
      has the largest library of workouts and training plans of any I have seen. The addition of broad analytics takes them into a new direction that helps make them more relevant and a better choice. They deliberately leave entertainment and distraction as an option for each user. I applaud that choice as you can’t please everyone in that sense.

      The steadfast dedication is something I admire from Nate. He has a very focused goal, “We want to make you faster.”, and they seem to check all of their road-map goals against that directive, to determine if it is worthwhile for them. I think we have all seen some great starts grow beyond their abilities and fall apart as a result. TrainerRoad’s focus seems to plan expansion with very deliberate choices and a laser focus that hopes to give people what they can really use, and nothing they don’t need.

      The Sufferfest is a blend of TR’s workouts/plans (but much smaller) and entertaining and motivating videos. The experience is a bit canned and somewhat repetative, but they continue to expand their video and workout offerings. The addition of the yoga and mental offerings is also interesting.

      Zwift is largely about community, entertainment, racing and an experience that make riding indoors MUCH more tolerable.

      Training Peaks has about the largest range of analysis tools and ability to pull data from many activities. It’s a gold standard and used by many for a reason.

      No need to go deeper on these options really, since you all probably know about them (or can look at Ray’s great info on each one). But suffice it to say, that there is some overlap, but also worthwhile uniqueness to each one.

      IMHO, Expecting to have a single payment for a service that covers ALL of the needs that one might have is a bit much. There are so many aspects to each one of these options, that it seem a very large task to have a single company to cover all those bases
      (entertainment, training workouts, plans, analysis, community, etc.).

      Those types of all-inclusive projects seem to suffer from a problem of trying to be everything to everyone, and not doing enough of it well. It’s not impossible, but there are also very real challenges to making that type of massive app.

      Personally, I use a blend of TrainerRoad for the superior workouts and plans. I also pay for Zwift to get motivation and the general enjoyment that it offers. Then I pay for Napster music.

      I dropped subscriptions to Strava Premium, and Training Peaks with the addition of the new analytics tools. The future addition of a custom calendar will be a good expansion.

    • Graeme

      @Chader

      Yes interesting point you make and I didn’t really have the time when I posted to convey fully what I meant. But take Amazon Prime, they have taken very disparate sectors – tv [entrenched in subscription based structure – particularly in the US], movies, same/next day delivery, kindle books etc. You get all of that for less than £100 a year. Spotify where the first to get all of the individual music labels catalogues and put them all in one, easily accessible place – costs £10

      Then look at all the cycling based subscription services – they are fundamentally the same, get on your bike and follow whatever programme they create. Each one costs between £5-£10 each per month, you can easily spend £50+ a month just on cycling subscriptions. Are they really worth £500+ a year when compared to what else that can get you? I really think for long-term sustainability they need to consider a Spotify type model or a ‘humble bundle’ where you can get shared access to every platform.

      I am a long-term TrainerRoad subscriber – since the first Kickr came out [2014?] and have paid continuously for that. I dip in out of Zwift during the winter to break up the monotony and the Sufferfest, I have never paid for as it doesn’t offer me enough to justify the cost – when I can use that same money to pay for TR. So I do support a premium paid option.

      But in the wider context where every service, across all aspects of life, is now seemingly subscription based – they all add up and something has to give. I think I’m probably ahead of the curve on this one, but each one being standalone doesn’t work for me in the long-term, particular when it would be relatively easy for TR to copy Zwift or vice-versa.

      I wish all the companies well and as I said, the competition between them leads to fantastic creativity, it just comes at the cost to the consumer…

    • Boris Lewandowski

      +1 great post

  6. Phil

    Ray how does SportTracks fit into the training log/ analytics? Sort of like you with TP, I have been using ST since my triathlon beginning so all of my data is there. ST mobi is petty user friendly and fairly powerful for analysis. It lacks some planning features that is like to see but otherwise it’s reliable.

  7. Ismo

    Hi Ray and Nate,

    Does the Ride Sync pull all workouts from Garmin Connect/Strava etc.or is there some limit for the number of the workouts? The Ride Sync description for Garmin still says that only 30 days will be synced, but is this just old information on page?

    Ismo

    • Mine pulled in from seemingly the start of time. I’ve seen the 30-day limit oft mentioned from various platforms from Garmin, but in most cases for platforms that are pulling data in, it seems to go back to forever. My bet is that the 30-day limit is about setting some sort of expectation.

    • It’s a little confusing but I’ll try to explain.

      Strava Sync: We’ll pull in all of your rides
      Garmin Connect: We will pull in 30 days of rides after your next ride. So if you synced today, then did a ride on Friday, we’ll pull in any rides from that Friday ride -30 days. That’s how their API works.

    • Chader

      According to the live cast this morning, Nate said the 30 day limit is from the Garmin Connect side (not a TR issue). So that seems to be still in effect.

      The Strava connection is fully open, so if you have rides there, they should come in from that direction, even if older than 30 days.

    • Ismo

      Thank you for this. I can then add the sync with Strava to get all my rides. My Garmin and Strava are already synced with each other.

  8. Womble Hunter

    I might be being a little anal about this, but being on the TR beta program got me thinking

    I’ve been a long time TR fan, and love the structure (and it’s made my faster) I originally setup the Garmin \ TP link to so that all my training data was in one place (Training Peaks)

    Then I discovered the TR was downloading the Garmin Data, and even if the ride was Private, the thumbnail was available in their history, and it became easy to track a user, disusing the issue with a user on FB, I was able to locate where he lived (and work out from twitter what he rode .. was nice) which scared him a little, this could be countered by marking the profile as private, but even still, I can’t quite work out why TR had to download my location info, when it’s only interested in the power data

    But it got me thinking about who do we want having data that can locate our pride and joys, and to some degree where and when it will be at certain locations, and to think about it a little, I gave the data to Garmin, and by ME not taking enough care with it,it ended up in TR

    I also raised the issue with TR, but didn’t get a good response, and as I work in IT and Security, thought the best thing to do was delete my account

    • Hi Womble.

      I think I remember you contacting us. The same thing happens with Strava today. If I don’t set my rides as private or enable privacy features you can see where I live.

      I believe you were shocked when you looked at other public users’ rides and could see where they lived (just like other platforms).

      If you set your account as private, everything is hidden. I don’t know why you thought this was a security hole and deleted your account.

      We’ve also included more language on the sync setup that makes it super clear that we’re bringing in private rides and that you can make your career private if you want (with a link).

    • Womble Hunter

      To be fair, I should have been clearer in my post, I deleted the account as I didn’t want you having my location data and the only way at that point was to delete the account (400 or something outdoor rides I think, to much to delete individually)

      But it was made clear to me about making my profile private

      And my post was more about making people think about there data and how it can be used, bit of a scare article, but is what I did to a couple of people from their TR data (as their profiles were not private) to prove the point a month or so ago

      link to news.sky.com

    • Womble Hunter

      Um when i said “I did a month ago” all I meant was “locate the rider” not all the other stuff 🙂

    • Bsquared

      Womble Hunter – no offense but I find it a bit odd for an IT/Security type to a) not review privacy options and set appropriately, and b) be surprised that syncing ride data between any two fitness platforms by default means syncing the original data file.

      Rather than nitpick on TR folks, help us understand the broader implications of media giants like Google/Facebook/Amazon/etc gathering all kinds of data to profile our behavior and preferences. Or why I can meet someone, and then look them up the Internet and find address and relationship information within a minute or two. Seriously, my wife and I want a “delete account” button for all of the Internet. My private accounts on GC, Strava, TR, and TP appear to be the least of my worries 😉

    • Womble Hunter

      That’s fair, which is why I contact TR off record (note Nate said “I think I remember you contacting us”) and i do slightly regret posting on here, as Nate said “We’ve also included more language on the sync setup that makes it super clear that we’re bringing in private rides and that you can make your career private if you want (with a link).”

      But my original concern was that my Strava\TP and Garmin account are all private, my TR wasn’t as that didn’t contain my name or any personal data, only workouts that are done within TR, and they only think you can tell from that is that I have a FTP of xxx, so as a security IT person, I deemed that there was no risk in this ………. and then it contained other data, and was public even though the data is marked as private in other accounts, so was briefly public to other beta users (although for existing users, has the change been made prominent, yes it’s on the sync screens, but have you been asked to review this or your terms and conditions ?

      Yes there are other things of greater security concern, but never forget about the pennies, they make up the pounds, yes “Google/Facebook/Amazon/etc gathering all kinds of data to profile” but that isn’t the subject of this thread, and posting that down would be spam

    • simon

      I agree with Womble Hunter

      all my GC/Strava rides are private and now TR seems to have made them all public – I wouldn’t even have known about it if I hadn’t visited dcrainmaker – why didn’t TR email us to let us know ?

      pretty poor

    • Boris Lewandowski

      I think it’s a valid point: Privacy settings should be respected/synced across services. If something is marked as private in and synced to another service, it should stay there private too.

    • Womble Hunter

      Just to be clear Nate

      “I believe you were shocked when you looked at other public users’ rides and could see where they lived (just like other platforms).”

      If you look back at the e-mail that to your support, I wasn’t shocked that you could do this, I was shocked that you could do this with rides that are marked as private in Strava .. yes if you click on the ride you are given the “this private” but there is still as lot of public info in the thumbnails that appear in the workout history .. unless the user marks their profile as private

      Again I have no problem with this, but it is a breaking change (ish) from previous behavior where the account only contained power data, not location data, and therefore users may not be aware of the implication

      Also your support indicated the the sync setup screen and TC’s had been changed,. but again this seems to be a case of go back and look, cus it’s changed since last time you were here

      Sorry for bringing this up again, I’ve already e-mail support and i’ve added nothing new since then

      i’ll kill the womble now

  9. Aaron

    I’m a bit puzzled by the direct integration pulling workouts from Strava, since that is expressly prohibited in the Strava API terms of service.. at least when I last checked. Perhaps TR and Strava have some special partnership? Curiouser and curiouser! 😜

    • We know Strava has ‘special’ relationships with certain companies, but especially so trainer app companies that can upload/tweak the formatting and display of the workout picture and how it shows when uploaded. You’ll see Zwift, TrainerRoad, and I think Sufferfest is on this too.

    • Aaron

      ok, that tracks… interesting. I was suspicious of maybe some tighter partnership, as it seems like such an obvious move for Strava to gobble up an indoor training platform

  10. Craig

    This question may be more for TR, but I prefer my indoor ride data get into GC from my Garmin (935). That way it has cycling dynamics, etc. In the past when a file got corrupted and I exported from TR and imported to GC only limited data was there (no cycling dynamics).

    All of that to say I would like to feed my GC outdoor ride data to TR, but would prefer to continue getting indoor ride data into GC as I have been (and not pushed from TR). Is that an option if I connect the accounts?

  11. David C.

    Great post Ray – thanks.

    I’m a big Training Peaks fan and have been for quite a while. I mostly swim and run, not too much biking, so I personally don’t see much use in these developments. It’s cool to watch etc, but until someone can present a clean way to plan and capture any activity, TP is king. These other tools seem to be just nibbling at the edges.

    Is the biking market so big that it warrants all these platforms striving to integrate your data, when TP seems to have them all beat?

    • Yeah, my guess is that there’s virtually zero tangible swim market (outside of triathletes), and in the grand scheme of things, my guess is that triathletes are a tiny segment in relation to cycling.

      The tricky duck is running. See, while there are undoubteldy more runners in the world than cyclists, the vast majority of those people are happy with MapMyFitness/RunKeeper/etc level apps. So it’s the data driven (or however you want to define it) type folks that appreciate Training Peaks and such, and that’s where I don’t know how that compares to the cycling in terms of size.

    • Chader

      As a 2.5 year long TrainerRoad user, and knowing a bit about it’s history, TR was one of the pioneers of the home indoor cycling training. Before it, most of the training was done by watching Training DVD’s (thanks coach Troy), using a stop watch and workout plan, and other various options (with limited capabilities in general).

      TrainerRoad provided a training platform that gave access to individual workouts but more importantly, structured training plans, that were easy to follow. Simply start at the Base phase, work through that into the Build phase and finish in Specialty. It gives a 28 week outline for the progression with a goal A event. Most of the other options were much shorter in duration (6-12 weeks max for many) and didn’t offer the wide variety of cycling discipline specific plans as well as the 3 different volume levels.

      From a cycling perspective, it is only recently that newer options even come close to what TR offers (IMHO, as a biased TR fanboy). Those are approaching what TR has, and some offer intriguing options, but can still lag behind depending on a person’s focus.

      TR added tri info a while ago and is useful for my duathlon training, but lacks the depth for running and swimming that is available in TP, for instance. All this is because they started with a main focus on cycling, but their continued expansion to include more tri related support, leads me to believe they will add more to it over time. TR is a leader in cycling specific options and has room to grow for the run/swim side.

    • David C.

      Yep – good point on the data geek front. I like the numbers quite a bit while my wife, for example, just likes to run and is fine with what’s presented in Garmin Connect and a piece of paper for planning. That being said, I did get her a TP account (that she mostly ignores), and whenever a threshold change notification comes through she’s pretty pumped 🙂

      Thanks Ray

    • Mitch W

      @David C. If you are interested in trending your multisport data and determining traditional cycling metrics like form, fitness, and fatigue for running and swimming, check out the Chrome Strava plug in: Stravistix:

      link to thomaschampagne.github.io

      It greatly expands Strava’s functionality, provides additional metrics and data, and the multisport fitness trend tool is really cool. Super easy to download, and begin using immediately (if you have strava).

      As an aside, there is a metric this plugin provides called 75% quartile speed that I find super useful. It provides the speed for your fastest 75% of your activity rather than your average speed. Its incredibly useful for things like a bike ride with a dozen or so traffic lights, each of which cause you to decelerate then re-accelerate, reducing your overall average speed, or a fast ride that includes a really slow section (such as a pedestrian filled path). Those sections are cut out, giving you a more realistic view of the speed held during the bulk of an activity.

      @Chader – That is a pretty glowing review…Not that I disagree, but is this a plant? Chad Timmerman is that you?

    • Chader

      @Mitch, LOL… Fair to question, but I assure you that I am not a paid plant (or MR. Timmerman in cognito 😛 ).

      I am just an average rider (with the same first name as the Coach) who happens to be a very happy user/fanboy of TR. Their direct product and podcast have been great resources for my riding over last couple of seasons and I sharing my experience.

  12. Tiim

    I stopped reading when I saw that Ray rode a bike without a power meter!!!!

    • Haha!

      Yeah, at Sea Otter I had three days of no power meter rides. Shame! Big ol’ hole in my training log!

      I’m not super convinced on how to convert my commuter bike to power. I suppose I could take an extra pair of P1’s sitting around here and stick them on there, and then I saw at a convention somewhere flats that can attach to pedals. But not sure I want to risk that.

      I suppose I’d probably first consider just adding a head unit to the commuter bike (I just use my phone and a Quadlock case). I’d actually love to get something like the RPM Speed on there, but have it keep total distance metrics cached, that’d be cool. Right now I really have no idea how far I ride on that bike in total each month. I figure on average I ride 6-8 miles a day on it here in Amsterdam, but I only occasionally upload those rides to Strava if they’re interesting.

  13. Steve M

    Great review Ray!

    So to be clear, can I now upload the GPS file of a course (e.g. my next race) and ride it on TrainerRoad with my smart trainer?

    • No, unfortunately not. This is more about pulling in the training log data, rather than riding it. Sorry!

    • Craig

      BestBikeSplit is your friend – allows you to do exactly that (upload a course and create a TR export)

    • Chader

      I think you can ride/workout from a GPS file using a Garmin or Wahoo head unit. It’s not directly integrated with TrainerRoad, but it will still upload assuming that you have the file set on one of the linked Ride Sync options.

  14. That’s nice to have as part of the training platform, sure. What I’m interested in in 2018 is the use of this data to prescribe a personalised schedule to take my fitness to where I’ve been in the past, or beyond.

    eg. My personal best 5/10/20min powers were all set back in during my 2015-16 season. After throwing every ride/activity at ‘the system’, I’d love to see it analyse my response to each session and give me a set schedule of what I need to do on the bike today, tomorrow, next week that’ll give me the best chance at hitting those numbers again. If I have to skip a session it should then update the schedule on the fly, just as your coach would previously.

    I love a good 5x5min TT interval session – so there will be a ton of those in my data. With a few queries on that data the system should be able to determine my optimal cadence, recovery between intervals, etc. Further on this, that data already includes time of day, temperature, and elevation (if done outdoors)… so it will know I respond best to 5×5 intervals in the mornings, in cooler conditions, on a rolling course, at 88-90 rpm. Or it could just tell me to stay inside and crank out sessions on my beloved LeMond Revolution. 🙂

    Taking this to the next level would be to loop in data from other athletes of the same age, training schedule, even location, to provide an optimal training plan that could even tell me what local roads people are using for similar intervals/rides. A 40km TT simulation can be hard to find… even harder when you’re travelling. With a query on speed never dropping to 0km/h for that distance (really basic example), it’d be possible.

    In short – There’s so much untapped potential with the data we’re feeding into these systems. Manual/visual analysis of past rides can be interesting, but it’s just noise for the majority of us who have 45mins-1hr a day to cram in rides around other life things. I’m very interested to see where this will be in the next 5-10 years. A.I. Coaching = The TrainerRoad third leg? Bring it on!

    • Jeff Butler

      Further to this point, I think a great step in this word of automated plan tailoring/coaching would be the program being flexible to you stepping outside and compensating the next sets of workouts to adjust back towards the purpose of the plan. For example, you have a 3 hr Z2 bike ride scheduled on Sunday, your friends want you to go Mountain Biking. Rather than sticking to the plan, the plan should take into account the off-piste ride, re-evaluate the stress (versus the plan) incl Cadence, Power, TSS, IF, time-in-zones etc and modify the next few days/week to bring you slowly back to the planned line. In this case it might modify a threshold session on Tuesday back to a Z2 session to deliver more time in the missed zones.

      Similar algorithms would work to cater for missed training days (with some bounding of max adjustment).

    • @Shane Miller – this platform is going down the route of a personalised schedule and automation based on your actual performance. I’ve not used it personally. link to vitfor.com

    • Jeremy Churcher

      But isn’t this exactly the space that Xert is occupying?

    • Boris Lewandowski

      Maybe something like this? http://www.tacittraining.com

    • Lars

      Yes. I think this is exactly what they are trying to do.

    • Chader

      Nate, you tease!

      Do we need to get more bubbley so you can spill even more info on the future tools???
      😛

  15. Stephen

    Find it strange that there’s no automatic TSS value using heart rate date. A while back I set up a small calculator on excel whereby I would input the time spent in each heart rate zone and it would spit out a TSS value, so it’s not hard to do to get a decent estimate value. I was hoping these new features would cover that but no, just a load of rides with a big fat zero value and I’m sure there’s plenty out there in the same boat.
    Using the ‘estimate stress’ option just doesn’t cut it for multiple historic rides.

  16. Cooper

    +1 for Stravistix.

    • Kalle

      Stravistix is great but since it doesn’t let you save historical FTP values the Fitness Trend chart gets skewed. Asked on GitHub if they had any plans to fix it but I got a clear no.

    • Aaron

      Yeh. This is a bug in Strava as well that has been there since day 1 and I wonder if since Stravistix is just a layer on top that would limit the fix.

      link to support.strava.com

      It basically makes the performance modeling tools completely useless for seasonal analysis, as well if you’re making FTP improvements during the year.

      Changing your FTP today will literally corrupt your historical performance data. 😱

  17. MarcSA

    Will this new feature calc virtual power if one does an outride with a cadence / speed sensor, like it does on an non-smart IDT.
    Also surely TSS can be automatically added to outrides where heart rate is recorded. I see you need to select how the ride was before it will update the TSS score.

  18. I don’t think that Xert has any way to edit data points either. This came up recently when I did a long ride where the power meter glitched and reported 2400W, and all of Xert’s metrics for me were broken after that. They manually fixed things up on their end, but there didn’t seem to be any way for me to do that except by deleting the offending activity (and presumably fixing with fitfiletools and uploading it again).

    • RobertBB

      XERT also doesn’t cope well with rides/training where effort is predominately *under* FTP. In other words, it’s really not so good for endurance riders. Hopefully this will be resolved soon.

    • Hmm, I’ll have to dig a bit on editing. I’m pretty sure I did it last fall on a workout when it was all wonky. Unless I’m thinking of the signature, which is definitely easy to overwrite.

    • Dave

      There’s not anything else that handles rides below FTP well. Xert gives you LTP at least.

    • Bsquared

      @RobertBB as you say, Xert doesn’t cope well with say sweet spot base training where the work is primarily under FTP. The reason is that Xert assumes you have maximal efforts.

      Earlier this year I followed the TR 6 week sweet spot base high volume 1 plan:
      link to trainerroad.com

      Thats all sub-ftp work and Xert got really confused and kept lowering my FTP. In reality my ftp went up 15 watts.

      At the time I ignored Xert, and recently stumbled on a workaround. The Xert folks allow you to change Signature Decay to “No decay” and provided you do some other stuff, it should work better if you enter a period of sub-ftp training. Details here::
      link to baronbiosys.com

  19. Ryan DJ

    I’ve been using the analytics beta for a while – very good way of keeping track of bike training!

    I don’t have a power meter, but for my outdoor rides I look at them on Strava in Google Chrome with the Stravistix plugin. It gives a “power stress score” that is a good approximation for TSS for inputting into the TSS estimator on TR!”

  20. Todd Tannenbaum

    I feel like I’m missing something obvious.

    It’s nice I can now have TR show me weekly TSS numbers that include both indoor and outdoor rides. But what I really want to do is substitute an outdoor ride for an indoor ride on my training plan. Ie if my TR training plan has a ride scheduled on Saturday with a TSS of 120 and on Friday or Saturday I end up riding outside instead (and purposefully accumulate a 120ish TSS outside), how do I substitute my outdoor ride for the scheduled indoor ride on the plan?

  21. Declan

    One flaw for me at the moment is that TR limits you to a single FTP value. On their podcast the TrainerRoad guys talk about up to 10% difference between their road and TT bike FTPs but yet there’s no ability to define separate road and TT powers in the app (I asked TR support to check I wasn’t missing something). It was a bit of a hassle to go and manually update all the FTPs on my outdoor road bike rides synced from Strava, since TR has my TT ftp and I do all my trainer rides on the TT bike. Given that I define on Strava which bike I rode on, it would be an improvement in future to link an FTP in TR to each bike I have on Strava. Having said that, once I’ve fixed all the old road bike rides I do like the new stress tracker platform on TR but it took a bit of work!

  22. Gerald

    I am usine Trainerroad in winter, Strava Premium for social and ride analysis and this site for power analysis: https://power-meter.cc -> veru easy to Check your power Profile and its progress. Free and very Nice UI.

  23. Nate

    Long term, TR is a feature not a product. It’s been a stagnant platform relative to Zwift and most or
    all of the functionality will be vertically integrated into other platforms like Zwift. It’s cool and very useful but not “special.”

    • Ismo

      You must understand that not all riders want to have the social/gaming/etc. features offered by Zwift and other similar services. I am sure there are many riders like me that like the TR just because it does not have all those.

      I have my ten year anniversary with Trainerroad this fall and cannot see any reason why I would like to switch to some other platform.

  24. With all the focus on training websites its interesting that partner apps are less spoken about.

    TrainingPeaks/WKO is quite a powerful combo, and used extensively by coaches and coached athletes, largely for the ability to communicate back and forth.

    We found in our GoldenCheetah survey back in 2017 that there are over 164 combinations of technologies with these other websites. Folks still use an array of tools, from Zwift to Excel. This drove us to offer deeper integration with many of the training websites to enable richer analysis and modelling etc. Almost all of these sites are surprisingly open to deeper integration with GoldenCheetah.

    The desktop is not going away any time soon and I will be interested to see what analysis functionality leaks into the TR desktop app.

    Mark

  25. Ed

    So many choices now, so little of my wallet left to give…Whichever platform comes up with the BEST holistic approach to my training will end up winning my long term $$s. I long for that Utopia that tracks EVERYTHING fitness related and helps me program accordingly – strength training, running, cycling, etc… It’s easy to become overloaded with 3 or 4 different apps tracking different aspects of overall fitness.

  26. Rob B

    The TrainerRoad manual import function from Training Peaks has not been working for me and one of my cycling friends.

    The data imports, but the metrics are wrong. Anyone else having problems?

    (Nate, I’ve been trying to get this resolved but without success ((Request 121610)) )

    • Thanks for pointing this out. I’ve escalated this and we’ll figure it out. I’ve also got some more people looking into your direct ticket. You’ll receive a response shortly for that ticket.

    • Rob B

      Thanks for the quick response. My cycling buddy, Mike and I have been chomping at the bit to use Performance Analytics, especially after listening about it on the Ask a Cycling Coach podcast.

    • Rob B

      They did a patch so that the Training Peaks data can be imported, processed and the metrics displayed. I’ve still got some concerns about the metrics, and will be updating my ticket so your guys can look at it.

  27. simon

    worryingly – I notice that TR isn’t respecting removal of Garmin Ride Sync permission.

    Mine still pulls in the data from Garmin even though it’s now disconnected in TR ….and I’ve also removed permission in my Garmin account.

    It must be caching this somewhere.

    So much for TR respecting our data privacy wishes – I’ve logged a ticket, let’s see what happens

    • Hi Simon, this sounds really bad. If this is going on, then both Garmin and TrainerRoad have a pretty big bug. Could it be that you have Strava synced too? Thanks for putting in the support ticket, we’ll look into it.

    • Update for you Simon: We looked into your ride. It is coming from Strava which you have synced. We have a display bug that left the “Garmin” tag on your workout, so that’s why it looks like it’s coming from Strava. We’re creating an issue to fix this.

    • simon

      yep – I do have strava linked as well, but in the ride page it says…

      “Imported from Strava and Garmin Connect”

      and if you click the Garmin Connect link it takes you to the (private!) activity

    • simon

      no that’s not it…..

      if it was just a display bug how come that you have a hyperlink to my garmin activity ?

      you shouldn’t even know it exists !

  28. simon

    ^^^^ fwiw I’d replied to Nate as he was replying to me, hence the posts are out of order :).

    just to reiterate.

    there is a problem here that is NOT just a display problem – TR still have access to your Garmin account even with ride sync disabled. I’ll post back with an update when I get one.

    I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t had to remove Garmin rides sync as TR doesn’t support physio trueup, the only solution is to record TR on a garmin device.

    FWIW I also have another ticket open as TR doesn’t calculate NP accurately (wildly out on shorter rides) and hence outdoor TSS is a mess too.

  29. Vincent Pargney

    Hi Nate, Analytics has been working fine for me – I find it very helpful. I came across a bug: on June 16, I did the FTP ramp test and a Zwift ride. All my Zwift rides are normally imported via Strava, but this one won’t show up on Trainerroad (Wincent22), even after a GPX manual import. Regards & Keep up the good work.

    • Chader

      Assuming that you have the Ramp Test in place, TR should likely not import a Zwift ride that occurred at the same time? Why would you want 2 imports of the same ride/workout/effort?

      Ultimately, you are probably better to contact support@trainerroad.com to better address your questions.

    • Chandler is correct on this. If you record the same ride on different platforms we only bring in the one ride (whichever is first). Our view is you don’t want to have both rides in the system because you’d get double the TSS.

  30. Jonas Johansen

    I really like the programs of TrainerRoad, however. Much of my training is outdoor and not indoor. I am really missing a feature of putting the workout onto my Garmin Edge, in order to still easily do the workout also outside.

    At the moment i am skipping TrainerRoad due to this. I spend 99% of my workout outside now, and it was too complicated to create the workouts in Garmin Connect and then sync it.
    Now i just took a Garmin Connect training plan, pushed “Sync” at it was available on the Garmin. – Much easier, but not as great training plan.

    Any suggestions?

  31. Bruce L

    You comment that “Because TrainerRoad has all of their workouts structured as % of FTP, if it doesn’t know your FTP is actually higher than it is (because it’s not seeing those outside rides), then you’re potentially undertraining”. Does that mean TR calculates FTP changes based on recent data, similar to Xert?