I am just starting to use PC Coach Elite. I opted not to spend the extra money on the "coach." It may have saved me some time though. I'm new to cycling and am training for MN Red Ribbon Ride
. There's already training tips, schedules, and rides posted on that site that I decided to use them instead of PC Coach's "coach" software. My guess was that it was going to tell me to start slow, increase x% a week, and taper off near the end.
SSP is right about a couple of things. The data is locked in their proprietary format and the interface is clunky.
Their definition of a "report" is usually a graph. Sometimes I'd like to see data in a report
and so I could numerically see a percentage increase or decrease instead of graphically.
A few things off the top of my head.
1. If you purchase using the download, you do not get an executable file!! You get an executable key and must install the software from their website. I find this bad practice. What if my hard drive crashes. I don't have the executable unless I pay them an extra $15 for a CD. It costs them nothing to let me download the file. Maybe it's their poor way of preventing piracy. It's aggrevating.
2. You cannot view how many miles are scheduled or remaining in a self-created plan. (I don't know if it's possible if you buy their Cycling Plan. I'd send them an e-mail and ask.) I'd like to know this information to determine how far along in training I am. For instance, if I create a plan that says I must ride 1000 training miles, I'd like to know if I've ridden 250, 500, 999, or 1200. I haven't found a way to show this yet.
3. The "Planner" only shows intensity zones (intensity based an your heart rate -- you configure this). It does not show how many miles a planned ride is. Even on the Overview of a completed ride you cannot see how many miles a ride was. You have to either open that specific workout or run a report (i.e., graph).
4. You cannot uninstall the program. There isn't a shortcut installed with the software that allows you to uninstall it. Additionally, you cannot uninstall it from Add/Remove Programs. If you try it relaunches the Installer, but you can't install the software because the executable is on their website and not on your computer.
5. Their online help is OK. Much better than the online help in PC Coach Lite -- thankfully.
6. There are no tooltips. Tooltips would be especially helpful for the cryptic buttons or the buttons that have a different (and standard) meaning in virtually every other Windows program I have ever used. Tooltips are sorely needed.
7. Regarding the intensity zones again. Yes, you set them, but when you run a report, you are only shown colors. You do not have any numbers associated with the different colors. Not even a legend. Again, a usuability issue.
8. Creating your own plan is difficult. They even acknowledge this fact in their online help, which makes me think it is their way of trying to get extra revenue.
9. If you import data from one machine to another (e.g., home/work), when importing it creates a duplicate(!) of the workout instead of realizing that the workout has already been defined! Use the Remote Coaching feature judiciously!!
10. You can create custom workouts, but you have to use their Workout Editor, which if you are not technically-inclined will probably be too hard to use. And if you are new to the program, you will likely struggle with it, too. I work with high-tech software all day and had used the PC Coach Lite for two months so I was able to figure it out, but even that took me some doing. Finally, the Workout Editor has some usability issues (cannot delete a row, hard to find existing workouts to modify, not clear if you can insert a row inbetween others, and more). The upside: the online help in this area is fairly decent.
11. As mentioned by SSP, you cannot export data.
12. There are other usability concerns that I won't mention here, but I provide this as a line because there are enough of them to warrant knowing that although this is version 4.0, the interface is something I would expect from a 2.0.
As I said I've only begun to use PC Coach Elite (after two months of using PC Coach Lite). I'll post my reactions after using it awhile longer.