Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Review: Training Peaks

Site: TrainingPeaks

Score: 62/100

 Summary: The biggest player in the field, but as a free tool it’s not very feature laden. The ‘all new’ view has been all new for a while now, but it’s still missing several features. The ‘classic’ version has a lot to offer, but no scheduling capability, which is a big strike.

Layout (25)
  • Logical Flow: Looking at the ‘Modern’ view, everything is driven by either the Calendar, Profile or the charts. While this streamlines things quite nicely, there’s a lot of real estate that could have been used for other things. 
  • Feature Location: Frustrating to say the  least. In the classic view you can easily create Routes, but you can’t even find the feature in the new version. Also missing is the ‘Plan’ purchase option, plan application option, workout library, friends…strange. I’m not sure anything made it to the new version. The ‘Classic’ view makes it much easier to appreciate where everything is, as well as what you don't have access to in the free version. 
  • Feel: It feels solid, but with the lack of all the features in the new version, I find myself wondering why it hasn't been fixed yet. Having two 'live' versions of the same tool looks very unprofessional.
  • Performance\responsiveness: Page performance is good, no evidence of third party libraries causing unnecessary performance issues.
  • Mobile conversion: The site itself actually can’t render on a mobile device. All you can see is a portion of the calendar, with no ability to enter classic mode, your profile, etc. Considering how standard this is with css these days, this is pretty bad. To be comprehensive, there is an app available, but that's out of scope for this evaluation.
  • Creating a plan: You can create a planned workout, but you can’t actually schedule it unless you pony up for the full version for a whopping $20 a month. Even then, you can’t create blocks or plans, you can only buy others plans. Coach mode ($99 license fee and $49 per month!) allows this, but since I’m evaluating the free side of things only, this is a no.
  • Creating a workout: Again, you can create workouts but you can’t schedule them in the future, so a no.
Score: 10 : It looks nice, and if you use the ‘Classic’ mode, a lot of the features are easier to find, but so much of this site is driven by the pay side, it’s a rough score.

Analysis Tools (20)
  • Charts are time variable: Yep
  • Heart Rate: nope, only in paid version
  • Fatigue vs. Freshness: nope only in paid version
  • Duration: Yep
  • Distance: Yep
  • Zones: nope, only in paid version
  • Personal best calculation:nope, and to clarify what I mean, there's no reason with all of the data stored that all of these sites can't find your best 5K, 10K, swim at various distances, FTP, etc. It's a simple algorithm to write! 
  • Zone calculation: Yes, and quite good, in that they allow many different methods to calculate the zones. My only beef is that it’s not based on the incoming data, it’s just entered as part of your profile
Score: 15: A lot of what you want is there. Training Peaks has a copyright on the Performance Manager chart, their version of Fatigue vs Freshness. By not including it in the basic version they take away their own points.

Activity Detail display (10)
  • Time analysis – graphed yes, but no zoom in basic version
  • Maps - yep
  • Overlays – can’t turn things on or off in basic version
Score: 8: A lot of information, just a few features limited in basic version.

Coaching features: (15)
  • Follow athletes – not in basic version
  • Provide feedback– not in basic version
  • Scheduling tie in– not in basic version
Score: 0

Device Store Connectivity (15)
  • Garmin - yep
  • Suunto - (edit) yes, this was added in March 2015.
  • Strava – nope
Score: 10

Import (10)
  •  Manual entry - yep
  • .fit –yep
  •  tcx –yep
Score: 10

Help (5):
  • Well written: very much so. Arguably more work went into the documentation than the site!
  • Clear term definition: couldn't be clearer. The principles are Joe Friel's, Andy Coggan's, and others, all published works. Terms are their calling cards.
Score: 5 – This is a big feature of Training peaks – very detailed help menus, FAQs, term definitions, videos, and more

Extra features (bonus, 2 points each)
  • Email reminders – workouts: nope, premium only
  • Email reminders – equipment : nope
  • Workout text messages – nope, premium only
  • Sync with online calendars : nope, premium only
  • Allow messages with other athletes: nope, premium only
  • Allow tracking of consumables – chains, shoes, etc :yes
  • Metric\imperial conversions\Time zone\Clock\Calendar: yes
Score: 4 bonus points

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