TrainingPeaks is an online platform that allows athletes to upload training data, record performance metrics, and communicate with a coach. We utilize this software with every athlete at Move Up to schedule and monitor training and events. This article will discuss best practices for athletes working with a coach and tips for optimizing your account’s functionality.
Basic or Premium?
There are two account options for athletes using TrainingPeaks. One is free (Basic), and the other is the paid version (Premium). The best option will depend on your needs as an athlete.
This is free for all users. It allows you to upload rides, connect to a coach, perform fundamental post-ride analysis, and review a limited set of dashboard charts. In our experience, a Basic account is sufficient for most athletes despite the limited account functionality.
The paid version of TrainingPeaks allows for additional account functionality. You can review those differences in detail here: Basic vs. Premium Athlete Accounts.
Here is an overview of the Premium Features we commonly find useful with our athletes.
📆 Ability to plan future availability/workouts
If you travel frequently or work an unpredictable schedule, quickly blocking off time on your TrainingPeaks calendar is beneficial. These adjustments are visible to your coach so that they can build your program.
For example, if you’re traveling for work and only have 30 minutes to train at a hotel gym with minimal weights and a treadmill, you can make that note in TrainingPeaks so your coach can plan accordingly.
📆 Sync TrainingPeaks with your calendar.
The ability to visualize how your training fits into the rest of your work/life schedule can help with time management. If you struggle with time management and prioritizing your training over other daily activities, we recommend utilizing this feature to help you stay on track.
🌦 Weather (Beta as of December 2022)
Adjusting an athlete’s training schedule to the weather helps minimize the need for last-minute adjustments. While it’s not difficult to open a second internet tab and look up an athlete’s weather data, this new feature helps streamline the planning process for coaches with athletes spread throughout the country.
We recommend every athlete utilizes a GPS computer or watch to record training sessions and upload them into TrainingPeaks. These devices will record ride metrics such as speed, distance, heart rate, power, etc. Collecting data over many weeks, months, and years will allow you to see your progress and identify trends in your training.
Step 1 – Sync GPS Device with TrainingPeaks
After syncing your device, training sessions will automatically upload into TrainingPeaks upon completion.
Step 2 – Sync with Additional Apps
Many apps and devices on the market will track additional metrics. While none of these are required to work with a coach, the data can be helpful in certain areas, such as nutrition or sleep optimization.
- Sync MyFitnessPal – This is the only nutrition app that syncs your nutrition data into TrainingPeaks and vice versa.
- Sync Whoop – Daily HRV and sleep tracking data can be helpful for athletes trying to improve their sleep quality and build a better understanding of what factors impact recovery.
- Sync Apple Watch
- Sync Zwift – After syncing, training sessions from your TrainingPeaks calendar will be brought into Zwift. Your Zwift training sessions will also be automatically synced with TrainingPeaks upon completion. After syncing, ensure your FTP from TrainingPeaks and Zwift is the same.
How to Keep a Training Diary Like a Pro
An essential part of keeping a diary is writing post-activity notes about how you felt physically and mentally.
Feelings, RPE, and Post-Activity Comments
After your ride has automatically uploaded, open the TrainingPeaks app and navigate to the day’s workout. You’ll then rate how you felt, rate your perceived exertion, and leave a comment. We recommend getting into the habit of doing all three after every training session. This process should only take a few minutes every day.
How did you feel?
TrainingPeaks uses a “smiley face” system for this. The rating system is intuitive, with happy faces indicating you felt well rested, motivated, and strong, while unhappy faces indicate you felt tired, unmotivated, or weak. While this may seem silly, this is a great visualization tool for you and your coach as you scan through training logs.
Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)
Rate how difficult the session felt. If the session was extremely difficult, rate it a 10. If it felt effortless, rate the session a 1. This rating system helps a coach understand how you’ve responded to a training session’s intensity or duration. If your session RPE is higher or lower than expected, a coach will look for additional data to better understand what/if an adjustment is needed.
Some athletes will write a short story after every big ride, and others will write a brief sentence. It doesn’t matter how much you write as long as you consistently keep notes. Your coach will use these notes and your training data to adjust and optimize your training plan.
These notes aren’t just for the coach to review. They are an excellent method for helping athletes become more reflective about their training. When you write down “felt sluggish, the workout was a bust,” a few days in a row, that is a clear indicator the plan needs to be adjusted (message your coach!).
General tips for post-activity comments:
- Comment on the difficulty of the session, your motivation levels, and any general thoughts about training that day.
- Always note anything that feels off, such as slight knee pain or a lack of motivation during the workout.
- If you have a question that needs a timely response, the best practice is to message your coach directly in Slack rather than put them in the post-activity comment section. We never limit communication for our coached athletes, so don’t hesitate to reach out!
TrainingPeaks is a valuable tool for helping endurance athletes track and analyze their training data, set goals, and monitor their progress. By using the platform effectively, you and your coach can gain a deeper understanding of your training and make informed decisions about improving your performance.