Now that you’ve recorded and saved a workout, you can analyze the data. Your watch should come with included software that displays your workout data on various charts and tables that take advantage of larger screens. The software may also enable you to plan a calendar, engage with other athletes, and track equipment (such as the milage on a pair of running shoes). These are all helpful features to have, but the central goal of the software that came with your watch is to keep you as a customer of that specific manufacturer’s hardware.
You may need to connect your watch to a computer, either with a supplied USB cable, or through a wireless connection (if your watch supports it). Once you’ve figured out how to upload your workout, spend some time exploring the software. Keep in mind that much of the power of fitness software comes into play when you have several workouts loaded, so you can cross analyze your efforts. This process is especially helpful when you’re training for an upcoming race.
Many athletes find that they’re not satisfied with the software that came with their watch and seek third-party options. SportTracks is a popular choice for this purpose, because it offers powerful (yet easy-to-use) analysis tools, innovative calendar planning tools, compatibility with all computers and mobile devices, and built-in coaching. It also automatically uploads workouts from Garmin, Suunto, and other major watch manufacturers. Plus, if you decide to try a different brand of watch in the future, all of your past workout data will be present and accessible in SportTracks alongside data from your new gear.
If signing up for a race was one of the motivating factors that drove you to get a GPS sports watch, you will appreciate the Training Load features in SportTracks, which is something you don't get with the free software that came with your watch. Training Load predicts your overall performance level based on previous and upcoming workouts in your calendar. Being able to accurately determine this is incredibly helpful, especially in the days, weeks, and months leading up to a race. It helps you put forth your best effort on race day, without unnecessarily overexerting or injuring yourself during training.