TrainingPeaks is an online service that allows riders to track their runs, strength workouts, indoor & outdoor rides with GPS data, heart rate and power (watts).
- Track by hours & GPS: at minimum, riders can access TrainingPeaks to see workouts and record their activities with a GPS / smartphone to have a training log. Riders comment on their rides to describe how they felt, make notes, and then coaches can use this history to inform decisions about how to train for their goals.
- Add Heart Rate: TrainingPeaks uses heart rate zones and heart rate monitor data from your workouts to analyze how your body responds to the stress of your workout. This is your “training stress score” (TSS) and can be generated from heart rate or power data. Heart rate monitors can sync to your GPS or smartphone depending on the technology. We recommend something like a Garmin 510 with a compatible heart rate chest strap.
- Optional to record Power: because power meters don’t work on all bikes and are much more expensive than heart rate monitors they are an optional addition for juniors who are training seriously for national competitions. Power meters measure the instantaneous output of the rider rather than measuring their response to the load with heart rate. Power is what one does, heart rate is how one responds, but the training score is approximately the same. We recommend Stages cranks on your road or cyclocross bike. It’s possible to put them on mountain bikes but there are fewer options.
How to set up TrainingPeaks: for our XC / ALL MTB Team Riders — talk to Coach Bill if you want to start tracking your rides:
- Sign up for a Free Athlete Account with the athlete’s email — it might come with a 30-day preview of premium features but you only need the free account.
- Then click this link to associate your account with Coach Bill
- Download their app for your smartphone APPLE or GOOGLE
Sync Your Activity:
- You can use many devices to record your GPS and heart rate or power data. Google is your friend there! Every device has a unique way to sync.
- I recommend using a Garmin head unit on the bike and sync it to your phone through the Garmin Connect App, which can push notifications to TrainingPeaks. Garmin Sync explained here.
- You can also use your phone to directly record Strava for GPS and use a bluetooth heart rate monitor or other fitness tracker watch to sync the data. Again, Google it or start here.
- There are many other ways to do it but you’ll have to search out the answers yourself: start here to learn more.
- Now you have to remember to do it on as many rides and activities as you can in order for the software to be useful 🙂
Record Your Notes on the Activity:
- There’s a comment section on every workout. Use it. Click the workout you are completing and choose “Edit” to record your ratings for “Feeling” and “Effort.”
- Add a comment, too.
- You will not remember things more than 24 hours later so put down your initial impression — this is your training log so make the information useful to your future self.
Review with Coaches:
- If you do opt to pay for a premium account you can see more charts and receive notifications, but under the free account the coaches will have to manually notify you if we make a comment on your activities in the system.
- Coaches will be checking the data for certain things weekly but it is NOT something we need to monitor daily because that is not helpful.
- Our primary review of the data will be to determine if you are Building, Holding or Declining. Those are the three phases of a training cycle and with good data we can ensure that you’re on the correct side of the peak for your upcoming racing and training goals.
- If you have specific questions about the workouts please email your coach or find a time before or after practice to review the data together.
- Not enough data or didn’t record a ride — that’s OK, just add a workout manually in TrainingPeaks at once least weekly so we can track your overall health! Put in notes about how you felt in general or how many hours you rode total for the week.
- Over Analyzing Data — maybe when you turn Pro at 19 you can start worrying about the data…. No pressure! Don’t over analyze the numbers. It’s YOU — your body, mind, rest, effort, health and strength — that are the most important factors and the numbers or curves you see in TrainingPeaks are only there to offer reassurance or insights when necessary. They are not for daily workouts to hyper-control your activities so you turn into a robot on a program. Go ride your bike and look at the scenery, not the data.
- Making Comparisons — please only compare your data to your former self, not to other people. Every time you train you learn more, you become stronger and you make a gain, even if it’s the worst ride in your life you’ll still learn something from it. While some metrics can be used to compare individuals, the intention is that you monitor your numbers for yourself to reach your goals.
- Setting the Wrong Goal — “I want to beat Jimmy at Nationals,” is a cautionary goal. What if Jimmy is injured and cannot race? What if you do race him but he’s grown 2 inches and gained 200 watts? Another cautionary example is, “I want to have an FTP of 300 by spring.” That type of metric-related goal can distract you from listening to your body (getting enough rest or eating enough food) and it can take away from the fundamental concept that riding bikes is supposed to be fun and if you learn the skills to go faster you’ll have more fun 🙂 Set goals for health, skills and growth. Not hard numbers or comparisons to others.
- Expecting Personalized Workouts Every Day — you’re on a team with a proven record for proper periodization of seasons and coaches who look out for your health and well being. Do the workout as the Coach desires unless you have a question about it. If you have a question or concern you must always address it, but the default is that we do the same things together to learn from how each of us experiences the ride under the supervision of the Coach. On rare occasions we might prescribe specific workouts instead of our team rides, but that can lead to isolation and a feeling of pressure to perform if made too frequent.
Things we can learn (sometimes):
- Coaches primarily use this data to see if a rider is “going up” or “needs rest.”
- We can see your cumulative improvements over weeks and months and years as a result of being an active and healthy rider — this confirms that you are indeed improving, which might be hard to know on a daily basis.
- We can see if you have been training harder than expected for too long and might need to take some extra rest. Without rest the training is not effective.
- We can identify patterns that can help you with race prep, nerves, nutrition, sleep, etc. if you take good notes and are honest.
Updated Feb 2020