I’ve found the collection of precise data about my swimming habit has been helpful for at least keeping me reassured that despite the fact that I am way short of my main goals, I am making progress. As such, if other people were wondering whether it was worth their while even though they can barely swim a length, and sure it’s a bit of overkill, isn’t it, I’d say, if you have the money and a smartphone and a computer, get it.
The problem is around what to do with the data in terms of analysing it. There are no perfect solutions.
Currently, my swim watch populates 4 data outfits. Obviously it feeds Garmin because it’s a Garmin watch. I also send the data to Swim.com which tells me how I rate compared to other swimmers in my pool (this is great when I am swimming in Syrdall because I’m top of all the rankings but have no competition at all. Even in dCoque, for distance I rate 10th out of 11 swimmers although the top 6 I will not catch unless someone stops them swimming), to Sporttracker.mobi which for various reasons I slightly prefer and as of this week, and therefore missing two months of data, Speedo’s brand new tracking site at on.speedo.com
As a special aside, I also log how I feel about the swims in a notebook because I feel better writing it than typing it. But that does very little number crunching.
For the number crunching software it is hard to say what’s best. Swim.com has some really nice features, and it taps into the population of swimming pools which is handy because it also means that you can find swimming pools in strange places. However, the guidance in terms of setting up the data transfer at the outset wasn’t clear and in the end, I have no idea how it comes to be working because I didn’t do anything the site told me to do.
Speedo has some really nice features – its goal setting feature is user friendly compared to the Garmin one, for example, which focuses on challenges involving other people. And Speedo has monthly challenges. It also has a paid option which allows you to feed into coaching. On the other hand, you’d need to be sure you wanted all that stuff, plus, the site advertises Speedo gear that might support your training – you may or may not find that good.
Desktop wise, I tend to favour Sporttracks although I haven’t nailed down how to get goals into that system, it tends to be a bit better for adding notes to workouts and certain information is easier to find in the summaries than it is on the Garmin site.
Mobile access wise, I’ve not found Speedo to be great in how it displays my data – my rest periods confuse it and to be honest, Garmin is probably the best for that. What’s a little bit frustrating I guess, is that in real terms, I’d like to be admining just one of these accounts – this is what it boils down to at the end of the day. I’d prefer to be swimming than operating 4 separate accounts which all basically describe the swimming. But because none of them cover all bases, it’s not really easy to decide which of them to let drop at this point. I will be revisiting this later, I think.