Training Peaks has just released Version 3.0 of their WKO+ software. I am excited to dig into the new version, both for myself and for the athletes I coach.
My biggest issue has been that I and several triathletes I coach use the Garmin 310XT, a device not fully supported by the previous version of WKO+. You could import the Garmin files, but there was a discrepancy in the distance of the workout and hence a discrepancy in the pace. This seems to be a problem of how the raw data is parsed, but I digress.
WKO+ Version 3.0 is now compatible with the 310XT, so I will be blogging on the experience here.
I am able to run Version 2.2 and 3.0 concurrently which is nice when comparing the two interfaces.
There is a nag screen in the trial version of 3.0, so I will soon need to upgrade to get rid of that. (edit Dec 18, 2009 – Thanks to the helpful support people at Training Peaks, I purchased the upgrade) Great that users will have the ability to try before they buy though.
There is an included utility for migrating your existing data. Note that any Garmin 310XT files that migrate over will still show the incorrect distance and pace, but read on.
Upon importing Garmin 310XT data directly, the distance and pace (and everything related to it) is correct. This is good news!
Case in point:
My hilly run on December 13th was 12.6km in a time of 1:12:05. WKO+ 2.2 reports this as 5:55 min/km, but the run is actually a 5:41 min/km. WKO+ 3.0 reports the pace correctly as 5:41 min/km. More importantly, if you train using Normalized Graded Pace (NGP) and Run Training Stress Score (rTSS) and Intensity Factor (IF) those numbers will be correct and therefore more relevant.
I used this hilly run to show how using NGP with the new software version can help in getting the actual intensity of a workout. Version 2.2 showed NGP=5:31 while Version 3.0 showed NGP=5:27. This difference is significant and on certain workouts is even more pronounced.
So far, so good.
Overall, I am finding the interface similar to the previous version from a visual standpoint. The main change is the location of the view tabs.
I think I hit on an important improvement in the first post with regard to Garmin 310XT compatibility.
The next improvement I see is that there is now one version of WKO+ for everyone. I previously had an “unlimited” version designed for coaches who want to look at data from more than one user. The pricing for that version was $149, so from that perspective, the new version is cheaper. I was able to purchase the new version for an upgrade price of $64.50.
Related to pricing is the new “Flexible Licensing” which will make it easier to move WKO+ to a new computer when you upgrade or temporarily want to use a different computer. You are allowed to install on two different computers which is also nice for those who want to look at their data in two places.
Should you have a computer crash and you didn’t get the chance to deactivate the software on that computer, you can still get it registered on a new computer provided you don’t do this more than once a year.
Overall, that is flexible enough for most people without opening it up to people misusing open downloads to get the software for free.
In WKO+ there has been a feature whereby you can compare your 1 minute, 5 minute and functional threshold (or one hour) power with that of a database of other cyclists from untrained to world class. One click gives you this information. In WKO+ 3.0 you can now also look at a 20 minute window. This correlates with the usual *FTP test that uses a 20 minute time trial.
With regard to calculating your power zones, if you want WKO+ to calculate them for you, you no longer have a choice between Coggan, Cycle-Smart or Richard Stern zones. The only choice now is Coggan. Not a bad thing unless you liked those other choices. Andrew Coggan tells me that “the Cycle-Smart zones calculator was deleted because it was redundant, i.e., they use(d) the percentages of functional threshold power that I suggested, just renaming the levels to correspond to their heart rate-based approach. OTOH, Ric’s zones are non-discrete, i.e., they overlap with each other, which is why that calculator never worked properly in WKO+ 2.2.” Makes sense. Thanks Andrew.
I am starting to get some workouts into the new software for analysis. I did notice one anomaly. I have one run workout with data imported from my Garmin 310XT and the distance is correct, but the time is longer than on the watch. During this workout, there were a few stops for traffic lights where I paused the watch. I believe that WKO+ calculates the total time including the stops, while Garmin’s software does not.
I would like to get some fresh cycling data for analysis in the next installment which will give me a chance to look at Multi-File/Range Analysis, Scatter Graphs and Quadrant Analysis. Here in Vancouver, I may actually get some good enough weather to get outside for a ride even in December.
The next new feature I am examining is Quadrant Analysis. By extracting pedal force and pedal speed data from the power meter file, a graphical representation is now available which displays data points in four quadrants. Quadrant 1 represents high pedal force with high pedal speed. Quadrant 2 represents high pedal force with low pedal speed. Quadrant 3 represents low pedal force with low pedal speed. Quadrant 4 represents low pedal force with high pedal speed.
You are able to fine tune the view to include the entire workout or only peaks with ranges from 5 seconds to 60 minutes.
What does this all mean? The advantage of using Quadrant Analysis is that you are immediately able to see whether a workout is developing the target pedal force and pedal speed. For example, if you were working on the ability to sprint, you would want to see several data points in Quadrant 1. Conversely, if you are a triathlete doing a long steady ride, you would not want to see data points in Quadrant 1, but rather Quadrant 3 (and some Q4, but not at a cadence more than 10 rpm above or below self-selected average cadence. -edit Feb. 3/2010), with some Quadrant 2 on uphills.
For an athlete or a coach, this gives an objective view of whether the workout hit the targets. It also keeps the athlete honest. Imagine that you head out on your recovery ride and later analyze your data to find that you spent two percent of your time in Quadrant 1. Clearly, you need to hold back on your sprinting during that ride. There are many different permutations based on the workout goal. You will find a good technical overview of Quadrant Analysis here.
Related to Quadrant Analysis is the Scatter Graph. What this allows you to do is look at other “channels” (speed, heart rate and cadence) in the same manner as power. For a given power output you would be able to see a correlation in the other channels. Bear in mind that there is a lag in heart rate response to changes in pedal force and pedal cadence. An introduction to Scatter Graphs is found here.
The final new feature I looked at is Multi-file/Range Analysis. In a nutshell, this allows you to take several workouts and overlay them for comparison. This feature is great for tracking progress between similar target workouts. You can also take several segments of one workout (such as hill repeats) and compare them. More info on how to do this here and here.
The additional ability to analyze workouts is great to see in WKO+ 3.0. I have really only scratched the surface of how you can use these new features. For me as a coach, being able to “see” what an athlete did during a workout in addition to what they tell me about that workout is very beneficial.
Nice work from the folks at TrainingPeaks. WKO+ 3.0 is worth the price of admission.