Editor’s Note: Drew Geer is an endurance mountain bike racer who has been using a computer training log since 1998 and has hand-written training logs going back to 1972. He’s been an Apple Mac user since 1984. Geer paid retail for each of the products he reviewed in this article.
My initial review of training logs for the Macintosh brought a welcome bunch of email concerning some other products out there. It is great to hear about good software being developed for the Mac. First, PowerAgent from Saris/Powertap has been updated now to version 7.4 and supports uploading workouts to the Cyclops indoor cycles. The Athlete’s Diary (TAD), one of the first Mac training logs is back with a new version that supports the new Mac OSX. RaceDay, a performance prediction software package, also offers native Mac support. Golden Cheetah is an alternative to PowerAgent for downloading from your PowerTap as well as other power meters.
RaceDay is not a typical training log program. It is a more sophisticated performance package, focused on analysis of data. To track all your training details you will also need to use another training log. RaceDay is designed to track & predict training performance for cycling, swimming or running using power, heart rate, time & distance. It is clearly centered on the triathlete as you do not have options to add other sports. Each sport is treated as a different log & uses its own algorithm to monitor & predict performance.
For cyclists, data needs to be input from a power meter. You cannot manually input a ride. It supports direct download from your PowerTap or SRM. You can import files from a Garmin 705. You cannot add comments on the workout, weather, route etc.; information that is very important for me to track my personal performance. Up to five “athletes” are supported on one computer; however each sport — cycling, running & swimming are considered a sport so actually only a single multi sport athlete can use this program without purchasing a second license.
This is more advanced software than just a simple training log. It may be more suited for a coach or seasoned veteran of power training, than a new user. It may be best paired with another program to track all your training performance.
Pros: More performance tracking tools than other software. This is for the high end user looking to get the most out of your power data.
Cons: Not a full feature training log; limited input methods for each sport; only supports three sports.
The Athlete’s Diary 4.0
The Athletes’ Diary (TAD) was my first computer training log beyond using a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. It was a Mac program in 1998 but stopped supporting Mac when Apple upgraded to system X. TAD has now returned with a fully Mac compatible program.
TAD is a stable & simple training log for manual input of data. It does not accept downloading data from any device – no power, heart rate or GPS. You simply set up the sports you do & enter the time & distance for each workout. You can enter any details for the workout you wish. There is a nice summary by week, month and year of your training.
Pros: unlimited sports or activities, easy data entry, great summaries. TAD is a perfect program for the Mac user that does not use power or heart rate downloads.
Cons: Fully manual program. This is not for the electronics user – no power, HR or GPS support.
Golden Cheetah was developed to download PowerTap data to a Macintosh computer before PowerAgent was available. It has now expanded to support other power devices: Ergomo, Polar and SRM. It does not support manual entry of a workout, so you can only track the rides that you used your power meter for. There are nice graphs of your power data that you can customize. This program is now very similar to PowerAgent but also supports non PowerTap devices. It will import Garmin files as well but does not display any map data.
If you use a power meter or GPS for all your training, Golden Cheetah can work as a complete training log. You can add ride notes and comments and export your data for your coach to view in Golden Cheetah or another training program. You may set up multiple users on the same computer. You can easily back up your files, though this has to be done manually.
Pros: Nice simple program to download data from multiple brands of power meters, easy data analysis, several input formats.
Cons: No manual data entry, backup is manual
|Ascent||iSMARTtrain||PowerAgent||Garmin Training Center||RaceDay||TAD||Golden
|Full training log||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||No|
PowerTap, SRM, iBike & Quark though a Garmin 705
|Ergomo, Garmin, Polar, PowerTap, SRM||PowerTap||Garmin||PowerTap,
|Multiple Users||Yes – Limited||Yes||Yes||No||Yes – Limited||Yes||Yes|
|Import Files||Garmin & Polar files||Garmin, Polar, Powertap, SRM, Suunto||Powertap||Garmin||Some Garmin, Polar & PowerTap||No||PowerTap
|Export Files||Yes- multiple formats||Yes – multiple formats||CycleOps format||Garmin format||RaceDay format||No||Yes|
|Ascent File Format||No||No||No||No||No||No|