Are you comparing Trainingpeaks vs Garmin Connect?
Trainingpeaks and Garmin Connect are two of the top apps for runners, triathletes, cyclists, and other endurance athletes. Trainingpeaks is great for creating training plans with a coach or by yourself, while Garmin Connect has an enormous amount of features that are helpful if you use a Garmin watch or bike computer.
Each app offers training plans, but depending on what you're looking for, one might be better than the other or possibly neither will work for you.
The main difference between Trainingpeaks and Garmin Connect is that TP is used for creating training plans on your own or through a 1-on-1 coach, while GC is more like a hub for everything you need as a Garmin device user.
In this article, we'll discuss all the pros and cons of Trainingpeaks and Garmin Connect; we'll answer the following questions you might have:
- What are the main features of Trainingpeaks and Garmin Connect?
- What are the pros and cons of Trainingpeaks and Garmin Connect?
- How much do Trainingpeaks and Garmin Connect cost?
- Are Trainingpeaks and Garmin Connect good for beginners?
- What athletes should consider Trainingpeaks vs. Garmin Connect?
BONUS: We'll also discuss our app MOTTIV, which is a good alternative to Training Peaks and Garmin Connect if these two apps don't sound quite right for you.
Trainingpeaks vs. Garmin Connect vs. MOTTIV Summary
Trainingpeaks is an app that can be used on the web or in their mobile application that provides training tools for endurance athletes and their coaches. Athletes can create their own training plans from scratch, purchase template training plans, or work with a coach who will create their workouts in the TP app.
Athletes can connect their fitness devices to download workout data to their devices, and their workout data will be imported into Trainingpeaks where users can review their workout stats and track their training progress.
Compared to Garmin Connect, a Trainingpeaks account is much better for planning and monitoring your training plans. Trainingpeaks training plans are much more detailed and personalized, and there are many more options for what training plans you can find or create yourself.
- Connections: Trainingpeaks connects to more fitness devices and other apps than any training app on the market. If you want to synchronize your fitness data with a less popular fitness device (like Coros or Suunto, for example), Trainingpeaks will work for you.
- Fitness data: Trainingpeaks Premium users can get a lot of performance data when synchronizing their fitness devices. Coaches love the ability to get almost any fitness metric they can imagine.
- Training plan options: Athletes can purchase training plans from tens of thousands of coaches all around the world who have uploaded template training plans for any event you can think of.
- Free version: Athletes don't get much if they're on a free Trainingpeaks account. Athletes can't get a training plan created for them without paying for it, and the stats free users can track are very limited.
- Cost: To get many of the progress tracking features people want to monitor, athletes need to be on a paid plan. In addition, athletes must purchase almost all training plans, which cost an average of $75 for four months of training.
- Ease of Use: Trainingpeaks isn't very self-serve. You typically need to learn how to work the app to get training plans to work for you.
- Training plans: One of the biggest cons of Trainingpeaks is that if you purchase multiple training plans for a full season of racing, the training plans will conflict with each other. You may end up with workouts from four different training plans all on the same day, and not have any guidance on how to train for multiple races at one time.
- Training personalization: TP's training plans are based on templates, and while many training plans allow for some level of personalization, they're still generic templates.
- Holistic training: Many training plans in Trainingpeaks won't have strength workouts, mobility workouts, or workout nutrition advice. These added aspects of training are critical for keeping you healthy and allowing you to get the most from your training.
- Motivation: Trainingpeaks doesn't have many features that keep athletes on track and motivated to reach their goals.
Trainingpeaks Ease of Use
Trainingpeaks is designed primarily for coaches to manage their athletes, so it's not designed to be a self-serve app that you can easily use on your own.
Athletes who like learning about training and designing their own training plans will like learning how to use Trainingpeaks, but athletes who just want a training plan that's prepared for them will have a lot to learn to get comfortable using the app.
Who is Trainingpeaks Best For?
Trainingpeaks is excellent for athletes working with a 1-on-1 endurance sports coach, or self-coached athletes who want to dive into all the data they could possibly want from their training.
- Free: limited features
- Paid: $19.95/month, $49/quarter, or $124.99/year
- Training plans: $75/four months (on average)
Garmin Connect Review
Garmin Connect Overview
Garmin Connect is a web and smartphone-based app that is designed primarily as a hub for everything you might want as a Garmin bike computer or watch (such as the Garmin Forerunner) user. Garmin Connect syncs with a lot of different apps like Strava, MOTTIV, Trainingpeaks, Zwift, My Fitness Pal (and many more), but it doesn't connect with fitness devices other than Garmin (like Polar, Suunto, or Wahoo, for example).
The Garmin Connect calendar displays your activity stats and fitness progress. You can also follow other athletes and create training plans. The downside to Garmin Connect is that it's a little bit of everything but not a lot of anything; whether it's creating a training plan, monitoring your training progress, or keeping track of friends, Garmin doesn't do any of these things very well.
Compared to Trainingpeaks, Garmin Connect has the benefit of being free, so it's a much better app for people getting into training for the first time and wanting to start tracking their data. However, if athletes are looking to track performance improvements or create structured training plans, they'll quickly outgrow Garmin Connect.
Garmin Connect Pros
- Connections: GC syncs to several apps, but the lack of connections to other devices is also a con we'll discuss below.
- Free: Garmin Connect is free and will get you into monitoring your training without any cost.
- Features: Garmin has a huge ecosystem of features (which is also a con we'll discuss below), so no matter what you want to do, Garmin Connect will likely be able to help you.
- Badges, Challenges, and Personal Records: Turning our fitness into a game works, even if you don't think it does. Garmin Connect has many features that increase an athlete's motivation to keep exercising and is fantastic for keeping people consistent.
Garmin Connect Cons
- Connections: Garmin Connect will sync to many apps but only connect directly to Garmin fitness devices.
- Unhelpful features: Garmin is like the Windows '97 of the fitness world; the amount of features, options, and possible customizations you can do with Garmin apps and devices is enormous. This is a con because the user experience is confusing. Also, because Garmin has so many features, it's like a jack of all trades but a master of none. There isn't a single feature in Garmin Connect that we can say it does as well as their alternatives.
- Complexity: Garmin Connect is so big that finding things is hard. For example, even after adding a training plan to my account, I literally can't find the workouts I'm supposed to do several days later.
- Creating a real-life training plan is impossible: Most people enter and prepare for between two and seven events per year, and most like to include strength training and mobility workouts, and want nutrition guidance for workouts. Creating a holistic training plan for multiple events just isn't possible in Garmin Connect like it is in MOTTIV.
- Extremely basic training plans: Garmin Connect plans are limited to several dozen extremely basic plans that aren't personalized to an athlete's goals and abilities (although the Garmin Coach training plans are more personalized). Here's an example of a Garmin run workout:
June 29, 2023
- Warm up, 10 minutes
- Run, threshold pace, 5 minutes. Recovery jog, 60 seconds. Repeat 6 times
- Cool down, 5 to 10 minutes
Compare this to the detail provided in a workout from our free MOTTIV training plans. You can see how much more specific our workouts are:
Garmin Connect Ease of Use
Garmin Connect is very easy to use for the most basic functions, like reviewing what you did in previous workouts or seeing your fitness trends.
But Garmin also suffers from feature creep, where every single feature you could want is added to the app, making the app huge, cumbersome, and hard to know where things are.
As an example of how difficult Garmin is, I have 168 connections I'm following in their system, and it took me two solid minutes to find where I could see their activities. Also, I created a Garmin Coach half marathon training plan, and after two days of looking around the app, I still can't figure out how to see the plan.
Who is Garmin Connect Best For?
Garmin Connect is best for athletes who have a Garmin watch or a Garmin bike computer and want to do some basic tracking of their fitness activities. Once you want to follow a personalized training plan or do anything beyond just looking at your completed workout data, you'll outgrow Garmin Connect.
Garmin Connect Pricing
- Free + the cost of your Garmin devices
BONUS: MOTTIV Review
MOTTIV is an app that can be used on the web or in their smart-phone app that creates a personalized training plan for athletes looking to prepare for any combination of running races, triathlons, cycling events, duathlons, and swimruns.
Athletes just need to enter the dates and distances of their races, how much time they're able to train, and their current fitness abilities, and they'll receive a personalized training plan that gets them ready for all their races at the same time.
Of course, we're biased, but we believe MOTTIV excels at keeping athletes on track to reach their goals. Getting a training plan is one thing, but having the support and motivation to stick to that plan is far more important. MOTTIV keeps you motivated throughout the training process so you always know you're on track and your goals are within reach.
- Ease of use: MOTTIV is designed for athletes who want a training plan that's done for them and easy to follow. All you need to do is input some data, then be ready to show up willing to work and follow the plan every day you have training scheduled.
- Unlimited training plans: Whether you have one race or 20 races to train for, MOTTIV can create a training plan that prepares you for all of them. Athletes with a premium membership can add as many races as they want at no additional cost.
- Strength & Mobility: MOTTIV strength and mobility workouts are full-length videos that you can follow along with to make sure you're doing the right thing.
- Nutrition guidance: Eating the right thing before, during, and after your workouts will make every workout you complete much more effective. Every single workout in the MOTTIV app has nutrition recommendations that are personalized to you.
- Progress stats: MOTTIV tracks and displays all your workout and progress stats for you. You don't need to learn how to work the app or where to find stats to know if you're on track or not. MOTTIV easily shows you if you're headed in the right direction.
- Motivation: MOTTIV has some really excellent features that help keep you on track with your training plan because we all need a little support sometimes.
- Cost: MOTTIV provides all your endurance training, strength training, mobility training, personalized workout nutrition, and stats tracking all in one place for one flat fee. Getting all of these services separately would cost well over $60/month.
- Workout complexity: Some people find that our workouts can be a little hard to understand if they're new to endurance sports, when they first start using the app.
- Device connections: Although you can see all the device connections we support here where you can send out structured workouts (including a direct connection to Garmin Connect), our list of possible connections isn't as robust as Trainingpeaks.
- Lack of flexibility: While most people want a training plan they can just follow for great results, some people want a training plan that they can customize themselves to add, subtract or edit workouts as they see fit. MOTTIV is designed so all you need to do is follow along as closely as possible for the best results.
- Slow interface: MOTTIV hasn't been around for as long as Trainingpeaks or Garmin Connect, so you'll notice some screens take a few seconds to load because they're still being fully optimized.
MOTTIV Ease of Use
MOTTIV is designed to be the easiest app for endurance athletes to use. All you need to enter to create a personalized training plan are your race dates and distances, how much time you can train, and your current fitness abilities.
In addition to it being easy to create training plans, the MOTTIV app has features throughout the app that tell you why and how to perform every aspect of your training, so you're never left guessing.
Who is MOTTIV Best For?
MOTTIV is best for athletes looking for a holistic training plan that includes endurance workouts, strength training, mobility workouts, and nutrition guidance.
If you are the type of person who wants to know what to do and have just a little help to know that you're on track and doing it right, then MOTTIV is for you.
- Free plan
- Paid: $19.99/month, $179.99/year
Trainingpeaks vs. Garmin Connect vs. MOTTIV: Which One is Better?
When comparing Trainingpeaks, Garmin Connect, and MOTTIV, the answer to which one is better is, like most things: it depends.
If you have a larger budget and you like figuring out training on your own, you have a coach, and diving into your training as deeply as possible is important to you, then Trainingpeaks is right for you.
If you have a Garmin watch or bike computer and just want to see the stats from your completed workouts, then Garmin Connect will work well for you.
If you're looking for a holistic training plan app that can create a personalised training plan for multiple races at a time and keeps you motivated to stay on track to reach your goals, then MOTTIV is the app for you.