Using SportTracks program for exercise analysis

SportTracks by Zonefive software is a very interesting program. I use it with my Garmin Forerunner 305 (FR) sport watch and my Garmin Oregon 400t handheld GPS (as a backup). The FR comes with a nice program for downloading exercise/training logs (Garmin Training Center) but SportTracks (ST) is far more detailed and flexible. Does it help you in your exercise regimen? I think so. Whether you are exercising to lose weight, to just tone up a bit, or to get ready to run competitive races it gives you useful data.

The purpose of this article is not to teach you how to use it (I’m still in the learning curve) but merely to share some of the unique features. For the big picture there is a comprehensive “Activity Documentation” report (link is a PDF file). Road CR330 11-19-2010, Activity Documentation.  It wraps a LOT of information into a single report. But for more detailed analysis there are individual report components, and each component has a variety of available charts. The “components” include a summary, splits, speed, elevation and workout. If you are cycling and have a cadence sensor on the bike, the FR records cadence which, with the other collected data, allows ST to calculate and report on cadence and power output (in watts).


Splits (but none on this ride)

The detailed reports start with an overall summary for a quick glance at the session. For a workout that has splits, the split analysis can be viewed many ways including the speed, heartrate, elevation, etc.

Typical data table

Speed over distance

Each data component is shown both in a table format (and the columns are user-adjustable) and in graphic format with many different charting patterns available. These two graphics show the speed over the distance ridden. The graph is charted in one of many available ways. Other graph options include: speed/time, speed/zone, speed vs avg./zone, and a couple of others. The point is that you can look at your data graphically in many different ways.

Elevation / distance

Heart rate / distance

On the left you see the elevation plot which I find interest to understand why I got so darn tired at certain points. You will notice the heart rate chart on the right tends to spike about where the elevation rise is steepest! Of course it does.  Again, there are many variations to be obtained in each type of chart.  Elevation “zones”

Here is an interesting chart of elevation showing how much of the distance was spent ascending, descending, and on flat terrain.  Since we returned to the point of origin, the total ups and downs even out. I found it interesting that the distance flat equaled the sum of the ups and downs.

Elevation “zones”

WeatherRoute map

Route map

The last two “big picture” graphics are the weather plots and the route map. The weather data is obtained upon uploading the data into ST and it uses area weather facilities to plot the weather data against the time plot of the activity.  It’s a very busy chart, but could be quite useful in understanding for long activities why performance was especially good or bad for portions of the event. I did this same ride on Wednesday as the cold front was coming in and could see when during the ride the front arrived. You guessed it:  in time to give me a headwind both outbound AND coming back!
Lastly, there is the activity log.  Here is a screen shot of a portion of the log.

Log segment

There is so much more that can be done with ST that it would take volumes to fully understand how to use it. The current version is 3.0 but I am still using 2.1.  The other thing to know about, and use with, ST is that there are numerous 3rd party plug-ins that enhance and expand the utility of the programs.  The best group appears to be those by “Old Man Biking” whose webpage also has a lot of good information about ST itself.

OK, confession time:  part of the lure of the program is the “geek factor” but it truly does help understand what you are doing.

About Gil Jones

CPA/Attorney/Judge by training and trade. Hobby nut at heart with BMW m/c, computers, ham radio, kayak fishing, photography, hiking and, starting in 2010 some semi-serious running and bicycling (road and mountain bikes). Retired after 16 years on a Texas District Court bench and since 2013 have been mediating cases. I am a Credentialed Distinguished mediator (TMCA).
This entry was posted in Bicycling, computing, hobbies, Running and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Using SportTracks program for exercise analysis

  1. Pingback: For my 67th year I … Uh, WHAT was I thinking? | Musings of Captain Justice

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  3. Pingback: Bertram Loop 28.5 miles — so much data, so little time | Musings of Captain Justice

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