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Which Training Program Has the "Best" Analytics?

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Which Training Program Has the "Best" Analytics?

Old 03-29-21, 01:00 PM
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Cycletography
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Which Training Program Has the "Best" Analytics?

For those who are familiar with the various training platforms (i.e. Trainer Road, Training Peaks, Strava, etc.), which one has the "best" analytical tools?

I currently have the paid version of Strava as my only cycling platform. It's been good for the price. No complaints, but the analytic tools are pretty basic. Perhaps that's all I need; not sure. Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Background: I do 99% of my riding outdoors and have limited ability to plan workouts ahead of time because of the dynamic Florida weather. Therefore, following a rigid training plan based on pre-planned workouts is not a good option IMO. Yes, it could be done by doing more on my trainer. However, I hate the trainer (aka "the torture machine") and really only see myself using it on days when the weather totally prevents me from riding outside.

At the end of the day my greatest need in a training platform is ride analytics and fitness tracking. I'm open to the possibility that needs will change over time, but for now I really want to do my own thing and be able to analyze and track the results. Doing my own thing has been good so far. In less than 2 years I've gone from being completely off a bike for 10 years due to disc herniations and chroninc sciatic pain to consistently riding 300-400 miles per week (mostly pain free). I don't race, and I am not concerned with getting my FTP to a particular number. For now, I just want the best analytics.
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Old 03-29-21, 01:55 PM
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asgelle
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Originally Posted by Cycletography View Post
I currently have the paid version of Strava as my only cycling platform. It's been good for the price. No complaints, but the analytic tools are pretty basic. Perhaps that's all I need; not sure.
What questions of yours are not being answer by Strava? Knowing that, it will be easier to point you to a platform that adresses them.
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Old 03-29-21, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
What questions of yours are not being answer by Strava? Knowing that, it will be easier to point you to a platform that adresses them.
If I knew what Strava was not providing relative to the other platforms and how/if those differences would benefit me I would not have had the need for my inquiry . Perhaps you can help inform me as to what Stava is not providing that might be helpful if my goal is better, more comprehensive analytical tools.

And to be clear, I'm not just looking for a list of features. I'm looking for feedback from folks who have used other platforms and found their analytics to be "better". If better, please share why you think it's better or why you think it might be better for me based on what I shared in the original post.

Pretty simple inquiry. No need for anyone to make it more complicated than it is. Thanks.

Last edited by Cycletography; 03-29-21 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 03-29-21, 02:18 PM
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different programs have different things that I like, I've actually even made my own app where I download my ride data from strava and I get myself a performance management chart, power duration curve and ride analytics. Strava is fine for basic stuff, Trainerroad is a bit better, I can select a portion of the ride and get average power, normalized power (Strava doesn't provide anything but a basic average of data selections). Intervals.icu is great too for analytics and there's a ton built in, though I'd argue too much stuff to really be actionable for most regular folks. It's all good, the key is what you want to do with the data and how you think it'll change how you train and respond to the data you're seeing
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Old 03-29-21, 02:43 PM
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Cycletography
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Originally Posted by hubcyclist View Post
different programs have different things that I like, I've actually even made my own app where I download my ride data from strava and I get myself a performance management chart, power duration curve and ride analytics. Strava is fine for basic stuff, Trainerroad is a bit better, I can select a portion of the ride and get average power, normalized power (Strava doesn't provide anything but a basic average of data selections). Intervals.icu is great too for analytics and there's a ton built in, though I'd argue too much stuff to really be actionable for most regular folks. It's all good, the key is what you want to do with the data and how you think it'll change how you train and respond to the data you're seeing
hubcyclist : Thanks! I think my biggest (current) obstacle is knowing what I want to do with the data and how I will use it to change my training going forward. My goals are simple: increase fitness, increase my ability to perform under stress (i.e. long distance, extreme heat), have more fun.

I've made lots of progress on all fronts with no formal training plan, so I'm already heading in the right direction. For now I just want better tools for analysis. My expectation is that add'l alaytical tools will provide better understanding of current results, and that better understanding might inform next steps that aren't currently on my radar.

In other words, tools that help me to know what I don't currently know might also help inform changes to my training that otherwise would not have happened. <-- That sure was a mouthful.
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Old 03-29-21, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Cycletography View Post
In other words, tools that help me to know what I don't currently know ...
That would be this
https://www.amazon.com/Cyclists-Trai...s%2C228&sr=8-2
and this
https://www.amazon.com/Training-Raci...s%2C203&sr=8-1
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Old 03-29-21, 02:51 PM
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asgelle : Thanks! These books look like really good resources. I know of Joel Friel, but haven't read any of his books. I also got a power meter recently. Will check them out.
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Old 03-29-21, 03:43 PM
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Get the second book, and Golden Cheetah, and figure out everything GC gives you.

Just remember to take a break every day or so and go for a bike ride.
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Old 03-29-21, 03:59 PM
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Golden Cheetah is free, open source software for recorded power meter analysis.

It has a ton of charts and data screens to analyze a ride and to track trends over short and long time periods.
I found it pretty easy to get started, mostly using the default settings, and ignoring a lot of the charts.

Then each chart has a settings icon, which is usually quite easy to try different options.

I don't use it for "training", just for "review" of what the season is like, and comparing to previous years. It would work with some of the training books listed on previous comments.

~~~

To get started:
install it. fill in your profile info. Edit it in Tools-->Options
load some recorded rides in the Activity tab.

Now look at individual rides in the Activities tab.
You can edit the ride's name, description, keywords, comments in the left sidebar.
Standard "intervals" show under the ride. Selected peak power time ranges, laps if you have any, climbs. Click the "hamburger" menu icon and select "find intervals" to do custom ranges. Or drag a section of the Ride Stack graphs to make than an interval.

See these charts to start:
* The Map chart with the route displayed. Selected intervals, like climbs or best 5 min power, can highlight on the route line.
* The CP chart, the current ride and seasonal best power numbers for every time interval from a few seconds to the longest ride you've done. See how the selected ride compares to your recent best efforts on short or longer time intervals
* The Ride Stack, with the power, W', heart rate, speed, elevation, etc charts stacked above each other. (I think I changed the setting here to "stacked" instead of "overlay")
* Power-Time scatter. It's a dot for every second of the ride, averaged over a few seconds. Interesting to see the wide range of power numbers changing from second-to-second.
* HrPw Heart rate trends vs power over the course of the ride. It's interesting, but more technical than I need.
And many more charts to explore.

~~~

Also, the Trends tab. A "season" can be just a month or two, or even more than one year.

* A summary page of averages and bests for the season.
* Performance Manager Chart of short term and longer term "training stress". This 2015 PMC youtube video explains this chart (It's based on an earlier, simpler version of the chart, but it's still relevant.)
*Aerobic Power graph. A different color for the best 5,10,20,30,60 minute power numbers for each week. I show multiple years on this.
*Anerobic Power graph. The same thing, for best 5,10,15,20,30,60 second power each week.
And many more.

Last edited by rm -rf; 03-29-21 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 03-29-21, 06:25 PM
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rm -rf : Many thanks for the recommendations and the very thorough quick start instructions. Much appreciated!

I've heard of GC, but had no idea it is a free program. Based on your description it sounds like it would meet my needs. I'll definitely check it out.

UPDATE: Just finished watching the video you linked in your response above, and it really helped put the data into perspective. This trend analysis graphing functionality is exactly what I'm looking for. I'll be downloading the program and giving it a try. Golden Cheetah for the win! And I'll also be picking up the Joel Friel books.

Last edited by Cycletography; 03-29-21 at 06:43 PM. Reason: adding additional comments
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Old 03-29-21, 07:50 PM
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I use WKO4. The PD curve, residuals, vo2 max charts (for each ride), and MMPs chart are pretty much all I use it for at this point, but I've played around with it a lot more in the past trying various methodologies with targeted intervals and analyzing races/workouts and all. I barely use a fraction of what it offers.
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Old 03-30-21, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by hubcyclist View Post
different programs have different things that I like, I've actually even made my own app where I download my ride data from strava and I get myself a performance management chart, power duration curve and ride analytics. Strava is fine for basic stuff, Trainerroad is a bit better, I can select a portion of the ride and get average power, normalized power (Strava doesn't provide anything but a basic average of data selections). Intervals.icu is great too for analytics and there's a ton built in, though I'd argue too much stuff to really be actionable for most regular folks. It's all good, the key is what you want to do with the data and how you think it'll change how you train and respond to the data you're seeing
FYI there is a Chrome plug-in for Strava that will show things like normalized power for the parts of the ride you select. I can't check what it is on my work PC, but I think it's called "Sauce" or something like that.
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Old 03-30-21, 12:28 PM
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first, congrats on getting on the bike. :thumbs:

Originally Posted by Cycletography View Post
For now, I just want the best analytics.
To do what? What are your goals? You don't want anything structured, so things like TrainerRoad, Golden Cheetah, TrainingPeaks, hell even Strava are just numbers anyway. You're kinda saying "I don't want to make beer, but I'm looking for the best brewery kit"

It starts with a goal. Even if it's just "raise ftp 10w" or "lose 10lbs"

All the numbers and analytics in the world don't mean anything unless you're using them to progress towards something. If you're looking to just track information, paid Strava is good enough. The rest will be overwhelming (and again, kinda meaningless without a structured goal that you can then apply those numbers to).
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Old 03-31-21, 08:59 AM
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Congrats on the 300 to 400 miles per week of riding. That is a lot of time on the bike and a lot of Kjoules.

First, I use an Apple platform OSX software such that some client based software will not work. I use Cycling Analytics that is cloud based software using a Safari or equal browser as the client software / user interface. My Garmin 830 uploads the ride results to Garmin Connect via my WiFi and Garmin Connect interfaces with Cycling Analytics and Strava (free version).

I use the free version of Strava to get average power per lap and lap times on a local 4.1 mile time trial course. I could use CA but Strava is more convenient.

Cycling Analytics has a lot of features including charts and graphs and offers a programming language called Flexi Charts that allows the user to create custom charts for data over months and years. Want is my best 30 second interval for the last 5 years?

CA determines FTP from the data using different methods and provides the typical performance manager for power or heart rate based metrics.

And Garmin Connect is not bad. My coach has me load my workouts to Garmin Connect that he uses to review my workouts.

Is it CA the best? It is competitive with Training Peaks and may be less expensive over time.
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Old 04-01-21, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
FYI there is a Chrome plug-in for Strava
There is a plugin for Strava called Elevate which does a lot of interesting things. You can read about it here:

Elevate Chrome Plugin for Strava

Edit to add that the above link is to the developer's project which is converting the plugin to a standalone app. The below describes the existing plugin

Updated Link to Elevate Plugin

Last edited by Quiglesnbits; 04-01-21 at 06:29 AM. Reason: Update
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Old 04-13-21, 05:12 AM
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I have found more and more that analytics doesn't give you much. Feeling is far more important, and looking at basic data from your rides, e.g. if you have a 1-month block of Vo2 specific work, and again say 3 months later, you can see if you are putting out more power for fixed durations or not. You can feel if in one day your legs held you back, you don't need fancy analytics for that, before even looking at any data you will know if it was a good session or not. You can learn yourself which HR zone is your Vo2 max zone and from that and your rate of breathing if you are in it during a session or not.

I do use Strava (paid) and Golden Cheetah, but more to track the bigger cycles and help me see some numbers, a few of which I copy into Excel for long-term tracking.
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Old 04-13-21, 07:25 AM
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I can't really say unless we know what you're after.

Cheetah/Elevate for free is great if all you care to see is advanced ride data. TP and WKO are going to be fitness tracking geeky stuff.

I use Ttrainingpeaks and use it to stay honest on time in zones per week, total KJ's, track power PR's, track weight, etc....
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Old 04-13-21, 01:44 PM
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I came across https://intervals.icu/ the other day and like the features after playing with Elevate and GC in the past. Similar to the other applications, it pulls from Strava activities and provides a quite a bit of info.
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Old 04-13-21, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by oris View Post
I came across https://intervals.icu/ the other day and like the features after playing with Elevate and GC in the past. Similar to the other applications, it pulls from Strava activities and provides a quite a bit of info.
Wow that is impressive.

When you sync Elevate it takes minutes to do it. intervals.icu did it almost instantly. Looks very cool.
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Old 04-13-21, 04:02 PM
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I agree that without some kind of goal in mind, focusing on analytics isn't useful.

Golden Cheetah is a lot to bite off. I do have it, but I don't pretend that I'm getting a lot out of it.
I find Training Peaks useful, but mostly for creating/executing/monitoring a training plan, which you're not doing. It doesn't barrage you with data, although a lot is in there if you pop the hood. One nice feature it has is that it will estimate TSS based on heart rate, which is something intervals.icu can't do. If you're getting a power meter, that's moot.
Just to muddy the waters, you can also look at Cycling Analytics, which seems pretty slick. I haven't actually used it.
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Old 04-13-21, 05:18 PM
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Cycling Analytics has a 30 day free trial period. I played with it and Wattsboard at the same time; both follow the same format of a free trial before subscription. I personally like the format from Cycling Analytics since it's clean and still provides a good amount of data. Wattsboard also has a clean GUI and display. Both will allow you to upload files without a subscription but what you're paying for is the ability to deep dive into a specific ride and figure out what's happening. What I like with Intervals.icu is being able to dive into a specific ride, since it pulls from Strava, you're able to see your efforts by Strava segment.

There's a lot of good options but if you're looking for free, Intervals.icu, Elevate and Golden Cheetah would be what I'd recommend. I would say that GC is not really user friendly but has a lot of features that I'm sure that I haven't discovered.

I don't know if it was covered but these tools work best with a powermeter and HRM; it's the only way to see what's going on and if you're making progress towards a specific goal or training plan.
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