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Using TrainerRoad’s virtual power data on Strava for better accuracy.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

February
26
2013

Last week a friend of mine on Facebook sent me a link to a very helpful blog that is focused on providing information and tips for Strava users. From that blog I picked up a fantastic tip for Strava users who also use TrainerRoad (like me!) This morning I’d like to pass on this excellent advice to the JSF crowd. This information applies to people who use Strava and TrainerRoad, but don’t have a power meter.

When it comes to indoor training sessions, TrainerRoad’s virtual power data is an order of a magnitude more accurate than Strava’s power estimate. The main reason TrainerRoad’s indoor trainer power estimates are so much more accurate than Strava’s is because TrainerRoad has put a lot of time and effort into dialing in accurate power curves for the various indoor trainers that they support–this is especially true for the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine (my full review of the Kurt Kinetic can be found here), which produces virtual power results nearly identical to an actual power meter.

So in the past when I uploaded indoor training data to Strava direct from my Garmin Edge 500, the power estimates were computed by Strava and always way off. The inaccurate power data also negatively affected other estimates, such as Energy Output and Calories burned. The solution to this problem is simple, and I’m a little embarrassed that it never occurred to me.

Simply download your workout’s .TCX file from TrainerRoad…

Download the .TCX file from TrainerRoad...

Download the .TCX file from TrainerRoad…

 

…and then upload that file to Strava.

...and then upload the .TCX to Strava.

…and then upload the .TCX to Strava.

 

This method will allow the much more accurate TrainerRoad power data to be used by Strava. Check out the difference between Strava’s workout data as read directly from my Garmin, and the same workout as seen by Strava using the method outlined above.

Here’s Strava’s interpretation of the data (click to enlarge):

Strava estimates that my average power for this workout was 138w, which is way too low. Also note the estimated energy output of 500 kJ, and the estimated calories burned of 557.

Strava estimates that my average power for this workout was 138w, which is way too low. Also note the estimated energy output of 500 kJ, and the estimated calories burned of 557.

 

Here’s the exact same workout on Strava using the much more accurate TrainerRoad power data (click to enlarge):

The same workout using TrainerRoad's power data on Strava: 239 Weighted Average Power, 777kJ and 866 calories. Also note the power graph (in purple) which is much more accurate than Strava's.

The same workout using TrainerRoad’s power data on Strava: 239 Weighted Average Power, 777kJ and 866 calories. Also note the power graph (in purple) which is much more accurate than Strava’s.

 

This method of supplying my indoor training session data to Strava will greatly increase Strava’s usefulness to me as a training tool. In fact, based on this tip alone I’m going to upgrade my Strava to a premium account once again, as those premium features are much more applicable to me now.

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