Data, Data & Data – How I store and maintain my workout data

image1I generally use Garmin watches to track my running because prefer running outside.  I started with the Forerunner 110 and have loved feeling the vibration on my wrist whenever I crossed another mile.  But since the addition of the Fenix (starting with Fenix 1) series to my wrist I became increasingly frustrated with the bugs and connectivity issues.  The issues with the Fenix are well documented and I won’t go into them here.  Garmin makes great watches that are amazing (when they work and assuming you are vigilant about updates).  This constant need to be checking and double checking motivated me to look elsewhere and I ended up loving the navigation on the Suunto Ambit series.  The natural problem of Data arouse.  How can you manage training data from multiple devices that play on different platforms?

The answer is the “.tcx” format.Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 8.21.57 AM

The major players in GPS performance watches (Garmin, Suunto) use this standard format for their data because it allows users to sync with 3rd party sites.  These third party sites are generally for advanced triathletes or nerd-ish guys like me who like looking at data and comparing past efforts to create better training plans.  These sites include DailyMile (syncs with Garmin & NikePlus), Strava (syncs with the big boys), TrainingPeaks, NikePlus (no syncs with Garmin), etc.  Many people ask…why do I need a GPS watch?  I run with my iPhone/Android and it logs my miles.  100% agree phones work well and are excellent choices for most people.

For me…But, I sweat like I just got out of a pool fully clothed and prefer the trail where GPS signal from my phone will be worthless and if I am running at night in a not so safe neighborhood I don’t want the Apple logo tempting the locals.  Anyhow…solution?  –

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 9.01.00 AMThe site allows me to sync data from Garmin, Strava, Dropbox, Runkeeper, SportTracks, TrainingPeaks, Ride With, Endomondo, Motivato, VeloHero, TrainerRoad, Smashrun & the Epson RunSense.  The way it works is by pulling data from various sources and equalizing data across all of them.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 8.21.13 AMFor example, the run on this Garmin Connect screenshot was actually run with my Suunto Ambit3.  The way it got there was MovesCount (Suunto’s site) sync’d to Strava which via Tapiriik sync’d with Garmin Connect.  MovesCount obviously would not play well with GarminConnect all on its own, but with a little creativity all the data ends up in both places so any PR’s or goals get matched up with each other across the devices and platforms.

My favorite part of the process is the sync to DropBox because if there is any maintenance or major update on MovesCount or GarminConnect I know that I can upload all my data at once and start fresh without loosing a run.


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