Trainerroad launched its new Workout Calendar 6 weeks ago. Here’s an overview of that calendar, along with comments. They’re not my comments, rather those from a number of Slowtwichers who’ve used the Trainerroad Calendar. Mind, Slowtwitchers are famous for liking nothing new, and that tracks with human nature: We don’t like change; we don’t like the unfamiliar. That said, there are some detractors, but also a lot of new fans (as you’ll see).
The Calendar isn’t designed to be a full-service training software. Trainerroad says it “long-felt that current calendar options for cyclists are either too complex, too rigid,” or, "not powerful enough.” The Trainerroad Calendar wasn’t designed to replace Training Peaks, rather to be an alternative for those who don’t want the complexity of a program that powerful. (Perhaps a better comparison would be to Training Peaks’ free version.)
Or, the Slowtwitch Training Log, and that would be fair and square. What does the Trainerroad Calendar endeavor to do?
• All workouts, inside or out, auto-populate on your calendar (outdoor rides via sync with Strava and Garmin Connect).
• Run and swim workouts from TR's training plans, or workouts you schedule yourself also appear in your calendar now.
• Add TR's training plans to the calendar and indicate which days you usually work out. The plan then auto-populates onto your calendar on the appropriate days for your schedule.
• Schedule outdoor rides, indoor rides, custom workouts and other activities and see their future implications in your Training Stress Chart.
• If you have to adjust your plan, drag and drop workouts, or push all of your training out one week, or pull it back one week.
• Add annotations to provide context when looking at your calendar. This is really helpful for when you get sick, or have travel that interrupts your training, etc.
Many Slowtwitchers are avid followers of TR's podcast, and here's a bit from its podcast where TR's principals explain the Calendar:
Okay. All sounds super. How have Slowtwitchers taken to the Calendar?
One user, flynnzu, wrote, "That TR Calendar was really a swing and miss by TR in my mind and a surprisingly tone deaf response to the current market. 90 percent of their customers who have any interest in that level of tracking and monitoring are already using TP which specializes in just that functionality."
I question highly this 90 percent metric, and a user responded to this post saying, "Speak for yourself. I love the new Calendar and so do most of my friends. You have to remember triathletes and TP are a very niche market. It's not the primary focus. Primary focus is on the masses - everyday Joe rider - who uses TR."
Another wrote, "I love it and it'll be perfect once it syncs with google cal. Don't have to subscribe or pay for anything else."
In fact, flynnzu wrote back later, saying, "Fair point - I was failing to take into consideration the limitations of the free TP functionality. My perspective was actually pretty limited in the way I was thinking about it now that I reconsider - I withdraw my comments!... I am a huge TR fan so I hope this does work out for them. They are still ironing out the Calendar and improving it pretty regularly so I am sure it will continue to get better. Their customer service and interaction is top notch so I am sure the product will continue to evolve based on what the customers want."
Here's a candid statement from STP on our forum that seems to sum it up for a lot of users: " It seems a lot of folks just want a basic calendar and were either struggling with the free version of TP (which is pretty worthless) or had nothing like a calendar at all. Now can get a decent calendar with just a TR subscription. TR's analytics and calendar suck compared to the paid version of TP, but if you had nothing before, it is a very significant improvement."
I traded a lot of private messages with TR's Calendar users, and STP's comments are a succinct distillation of what I heard. (Thank you to those who indulged me questions.)
The paid version of Training Peaks goes well beyond TR's Calendar's mission. But, that's the point of the Calendar: to appeal to those who don't want to go down deep and stay down long in training analytics. The images above are screenshots from a desktop and an iPads; I have Android and iPhone screenshots too, but landscape images show best on our architecture here. Besides the functionality, one must admire Trainerroad's Calendar from a strategic perspective, reminiscent of Wahoo. It's hard not to applaud clever and unpredictable companies, that color outside the lines - our own industry's versions of Apple - and it makes one wonder what we'll see next.