This is Blog #2 of my Athlete telemetry design challenge. For background, please read Blog #1.
My RSL10-SENSE-DB-GEVK kit doesn't appear to have been despatched yet (let alone arrived), but I can still get on with some of the research for the project. This involves investigating alternative software to SportTracks that is capable of storing and analyzing training data from both telemetry (RSL10-SENSE-DB-GEVK) and my Garmin Forerunner 220 GPS/HRM sports watch. There are various candidate programs that I am aware of, including Golden Cheetah, MyTourbook or Traininglab Pro. In this blog post, I'll take a closer look at those. Actually, I'll spare you most of the details as it would otherwise be very long and boring both for me to write and for you to read!
Just to replace SportTracks, the software needs to meet the following set of minimum requirements:
- Operate on Windows 10 PCs
- Import historical data from SportTracks (I have daily data going back to 2006).
- Import activity data from a range of devices including the Garmin Forerunner 220. Activity data to be imported includes date/time, heart rate ("HR"), GPS location, cadence.
- Store its data on local/cloud storage systems such as OneDrive, DropBox etc. so that I can choose to run it on any of my Windows 10 computers (laptops, desktops).
- Maintain a "training diary", showing each activity in a calendar as well as list format.
- Analyse and present the imported data, including speed/pace/heart rate charts and plotting the routes taken (on Google Maps).
- Support both metric and Imperial systems of measurement.
In addition to this, of course, the software needs to offer some way that I can integrate its own data with data from other sources (i.e. wherever the RSL10-SENSE-DB-GEVK is stored - which I haven't decided yet).
Candidate 1 - Training Lab Pro
I downloaded and installed TrainingLab Pro. I was somewhat wary of this program as the website is written in German (with a Google translate button to provide a "rough and ready" idea of the content). However, the program itself is written in English and is fairly straightforward to understand. Helpfully, it has a "wizard" for new users to get started quickly. The first step is to create a "user" and configure their data (e.g. age, height, weight). You can configure the software to use imperial or metric units, which is essential for me as I think in miles, not km. After trying out the software for a few days, I decided that it would not work for me (either as a replacement for SportTracks, or for this project). The user interface is very cluttered and (crucially for this project) I couldn't see any way to integrate additional environmental sensor data into the data base.
Candidate 2 - MyTourbook
Next, I downloaded and installed MyTourbook. This has the pre-requisite of Java 8+, so I installed the latest version of this first. After doing this and trying to run the program, I was confronted with this:
There are some types of error that I don't mind getting to the bottom of and sorting out. However, if this is the first thing I see when installing what should be a relatively simple program that I am only evaluating, I really can't get motivated to fix it, so it's goodbye to MyTourbook.
Candidate 3 - GoldenCheetah
And so on to GoldenCheetah. I downloaded the latest stable version (3.4) and all looked good until I tried to load any route maps.
I am familiar with this error, which arises because Google now require you to enter an API key if you want to use their mapping api. I couldn't see a way to enter my personal Google Maps api key into GoldenCheetah. In GoldenCheetah there is an option to use OpenStreeMap instead of Google Maps, so I tried that but strangely I still got the error! After a bit of Googling, I found that GoldenCheetah has a version 3.5 under development (downloadable at your own risk) that allows you to enter your Google Maps api key (which I already had), so I tried that. Result!
After spending some time looking at the software, it looked like GoldenCheetah would potentially meet my minimum Requirements (just to replace SportTracks) as set out above. The next step was to do some testing. (Once again, I shall spare you most of the details).
Initial software testing
The first test was simply to attach my Garmin 220, import the data, and see how it ends up in GoldenCheetah. I'd already imported a few activities when testing out the mapping function but I was interested to see what analysis and reporting I could get from those activities. Here's an example screenshot of a summary of a single activity.
and some of the charts
It is clear from this that:
a) The GoldenCheetah people love statistical analysis. You name it, they've got it!
b) The software is very cycling-oriented. I don't mind this, but I had to look quite hard to see how to make the reports on running activities more meaningful for me (e.g. I want pace to be measured in minutes per mile, not miles per hour (which is what cyclists use). The good thing is that you can configure different units on a "per activity" basis.
Importing SportTracks data
Next, I wanted to check that I could still use my old training data (12 years' worth!). I carried out a test import of one month's data. To do this, I had to get the data out of SportTracks and into GoldenCheetah. Fortunately, they have made this very easy. I just needed to export my chosen data from SportTracks - this uses a proprietary xml format (*.fitlog) which GoldenCheetah can read. Having imported the test data, I compared the data in both programs. My initial import wasn't satisfactory because GoldenCheetah likes to call running activities "Run", whereas I had called them "Running" in SportTracks. It was quite easy to recategorise them in SportTracks and reimport them. This also affected my "Rowing" (indoor rowing machine) and "Cycling" ("Bike" in GoldenCheetah) activities.
Most of the key data was imported successfully, although some data (e.g. "equipment used" - e.g. which running shoes were used) was ignored by GoldenCheetah because the data structures don't match. I'm not too bothered about this, as the data is mostly of historical significance only (e.g. I track the running shoe miles so I know how many miles I get out of a pair before they need replacing).
The next steps
So far, it's good news. At the very least, I have found a reasonable replacement for SportTracks.
Hopefully my RSL10-SENSE-DB-GEVK kit will arrive soon, and I'll be able to explore the various ways of getting data out of it. As well as On Semiconductor's own "Sense and Control" app I have started to look at the Atmosphere IoT app, and this is looking quite promising. But I also need to think about getting the data off the mobile device and into GoldenCheetah. That will be the hard bit. Look out for Blog #3.
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