TrainerRoad Starts To Tackle Running Support

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Back a few weeks ago, TrainerRoad staff posted to their forums that they were opening up a public beta toggle to get initial running metrics within the TrainerRoad platform. Up till now, it’s only been cycling focused in terms of data processing – though, the company has long had triathlon plans as part of their mix, which included running (and swimming). The only catch though was that the run/swim portions weren’t actually shown in TrainerRoad as a platform afterwards.

That starts to change now though, at least, for users that sign-up for the beta. Once toggled, it’ll start to import running workouts from your data sources, such as Strava & Garmin Connect. After which, you’ll be able to view them within the platform, with some of the same tools that you have on the cycling side. Notably, as you’d probably expect for TrainerRoad, they do indeed support running power within their platform.

Lastly, it should be noted that approximately forever ago, when TrainerRoad first came onto the market, I remember asking co-founders Nate & Reid if they thought they’d ever approach running within the platform. Even waaaaaay back then, I remember them slyly saying that was their eventual goal. So, looks like we’ve reached that point, a decade or so later.

In the Beginning:

In any case, I’ve been poking at it a little bit the last few weeks, so I figured I’d quickly show you where they’re at. First up, you need to get this toggled within your account. As noted earlier, I’d recommend reading all the caveats on their beta thread here (which also acts as a support channel). And again, remember, this is beta. It’s not finished. TrainerRoad tends to keep things in beta for a heck of a long time, and it tends to change a fair bit during that time.

With that noted, on your profile you’ll go to Early Access, and then to ‘Import and Display Runs’, which is located quite a bit further down. I’ve composited the two portions here into one screenshot, so I skip past and not show all the secret e-bike, and TikTok integration features.

TrainerRoadEarlyaccess

Then, you’ll want to double-check that your accounts are connected under Ride Sync. This is how the runs get synced to TrainerRoad, even if it’s currently listed as ‘Ride Sync’. Again, I’m sure at some point later in beta this header will get changed to ‘Ride and Other Junk Sync’:

RideSync

With that, any runs you complete will automatically show up on your calendar. If you had a run workout scheduled that day, it’ll merge the scheduled with the completed together just like it would for cycling. Note, while Adaptive Training will now re-schedule runs that are missed, it won’t analyze the performance of those runs to re-think your run workouts (whereas it’ll do that on cycling).

So, over on the calendar you’ll see the runs show up just like a cycling workout would. Up top is a chart of the workout, with the elevation shown as well as summary stats. Below that you’ve got your run title, date/time, and source. And then below that are the laps as recorded in the file. In my case, this was just every 1KM laps.

Part1

Scrolling down further beyond the intervals, you’ll see the map and any notes you’ve set. The upper chart portion stays put the entire time as you scroll through the rest of the page.

Part2

Here’s another workout from today on the track, a slate of intervals. In the below one, you don’t see power, because of the four watches I was using, this one didn’t have power connected, and won the sync race to TrainerRoad. I could re-upload the right one, but afternoon coffee and other analytics are calling my name.

IntervalRun

And just like with cycling you can zoom on in to various chunks and get details about that specific chunk:

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Now, at the moment, that’s pretty much the extent of things. There’s a slate of nuances and caveats that I’ll list below, but are only accurate as of today. They could well (and probably will) change tomorrow, or 12 minutes from now.

A) Only ‘run’ types are imported currently, so that includes trail runs, but not walks
B) This only shows up within the web platform, not on the mobile/tablet apps, nor on your TV or Google Home Hub
C) You can view this from your phone, but you just need to be on the site, not within the app
D) You can indeed manually import older runs to TrainerRoad, if you want to build up that base of data (they won’t automatically sync over)
E) You can manually assign an RPE (perceived effort), which will then generate a TSS score, but it doesn’t happen automatically
F) Remember that if you have any privacy zones on Strava, they don’t apply to TrainerRoad. Your TR account is private by default, but do double-check that you haven’t toggled it to public over the years if you don’t want that.
G) TrainerRoad isn’t generating TrainNow or similar run workouts at this point, this is basically one-way from run devices into TrainerRoad

I’m sure there’s plenty of caveats, but that’s a good starting point.

Going Forward:

SpingTriathlon

Ultimately, it’ll be interesting to see where TrainerRoad goes with this. Or more specifically, how long it takes them to get there. At present, the beta doesn’t really add much for most TrainerRoad runners. However, it doesn’t take much to see where the next steps could be. If we look at how to get parity to their cycling side, they’ve got the following to-do list to check-off:

A) Full in-app support for running analytics that mirrors their cycling bits
B) Creating a catalog of running workouts with exact pace/power structure/steps (versus just perceived effort today)
C) Executing indoor (treadmill) in-app, blue bars and all
D) Pushing to Garmin/Wahoo/etc… for outdoor workouts (like they do for cycling today)
E) Integration between cycling and running training load (since it’s just your one body, having those two be cohesive is key)
F) Broader support for running devices. They need to connect to platforms like Suunto, COROS, Polar, and Apple Health (since Apple Watch soon has running power too).
G) Integration of Adaptive Training features for running

Once all that’s complete, they’ll have themselves a running version of TrainerRoad. After which, they get the fun task of marketing it.

Given September is just a couple of days away, and given their current state of the platform, they’re obviously not targeting the popular fall running race season. I’d imagine instead they’re going to work their way through my napkin list above over the course of the winter, and then launch with a blend of running and triathlon support for next spring as the triathlon season warms up. In fact, I could even see them adding swimming support in beta by late fall, again, in time for people to start spending more time in the pools – putting them in position to launch next spring for both the triathlete and running audience.

It’d be easier for TrainerRoad to break into the triathlon market than the running market. Triathletes are largely already aware of TrainerRoad via their cycling aspects, whereas most pure runners wouldn’t have any awareness of TrainerRoad. Not to mention that for the most part, running focused training apps/plans/platforms are kinda a dime a dozen these days. Most of them aren’t really any different than anything else out there, no matter how many times someone tosses in the words ‘AI’, ‘Cloud Based’, or ‘Machine Learning’.

Which isn’t to say TrainerRoad shouldn’t try that, but rather, I wouldn’t start there. It’s far easier to start with cultivating and converting existing TrainerRoad triathletes, than it is to try and convert clean-sheet runners.

Either way – interesting times ahead.

With that – thanks for reading!

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