WELCOME TO PERFORMANCE COACHING!
I’m super excited to begin working with you and get you crushing your goals! As with anything new, there is a bit of a learning curve with the new software and some of the terminology you will be seeing. To help ease that burden a bit I put together a quick little guide for you to reference so we can both be on the same page. Ready? Let’s dive in.
SYNCING YOUR DEVICE WITH TRAINING PEAKS
Life is super easy for all involved when you set your device up to sync with Training Peaks automatically. Your data gets thrown up to the app, you don’t have to think about it. I review it. Win-win. It’s pretty simple to setup, just follow this guide from Training Peaks to setup any Garmin device: Garmin AutoSync
Don’t have a Garmin? It’s not quite as worry-free but still pretty easy. You can use the TrainingPeaks Device Agent to accomplish the job, or you can sync with services like Strava, MapMyRun, etc. with a fancy little app called Tapiriik. Both great.
Not sure if your device is compatible? Double check that here: TrainingPeaks Compatible Devices
You will notice a place inside of each workout for pre and post-activity notes. Oftentimes I will utilize the pre-activity notes to add additional thoughts and comments regarding the workout.
The post-activity comments below are extremely useful for both of us. It serves as a workout journal that you can look back on for you, and it is incredibly helpful feedback for me as a coach. It really helps me to create a truly individualized plan for you – I strongly encourage you to use them.
Sidenote: I typically check the post-activity notes throughout the week (Monday-Friday) and take a break from my technology on weekends. If you have something more urgent or important over the weekend, please text me: 330-465-3498.
You will hear me talk about training zones A LOT. And you will see it in your plan and workout descriptions a bunch. They’re kind of a big deal. Training zones are important because we want to be as focused as possible on your goal which means the intensity of your workouts needs to match the type of efforts you’re training for. For example, I’m not going to make a sprinter run countless hours of zone 2 endurance work when the goal is short, explosive power. That just doesn’t make sense!
There are a myriad of approaches to training zones. Personally, I use a 5 zone approach most of the time. For cycling I may break zone 5 up into three parts as you will see in the chart below. To give you a better idea of what I’m talking about, here are some quick descriptions:
- Zone 1 – Active Recovery: Super low effort. What you will do on easy days to help you get fresh for the next workout.
- Zone 2 – Endurance/ Aerobic Effort / Base Pace: The bread and butter for long distance athletes, this is all day kind of pace.
- Zone 3 – Tempo / Sweet Spot: Working in this zone tends to hit a sweet spot of benefiting both endurance and power.
- Zone 4 – (Lactate) Threshold: This zone is where it starts to hurt pretty good and be pretty challenging. Think of doing your best effort for 20-30 minutes. That’d put you in this zone. Challenging but doable.
- Zone 5 – VO2 Max/Anaerobic Capacity/Neuromuscular Power: This zone is basically your maximal effort and works to improve both maximal oxygen consumption and muscle recruitment.
At the heart of these training zones is the idea of having measured ranges of intensity. There are several ways to measure this that you will see in your plan.
RPE (Rating of Perceived Effort): For those not employing any tech, and for the swimmers, RPE is just based on your perceived effort with 10 being brutally painful and 1 being nap time.
Heart Rate (HR): Your heart rate correlates very well with your output and your oxygen consumption. I will often note heart rate zones as HRZ. Only downside to using heart rate is that it lags behind the effort somewhat. It’s best to use it in combination with RPE, Power, or both.
Power/Power Zone (PZ): On the bike with the use of a power meter we can read your absolute output in watts. Power doesn’t lag, which is nice. You know how hard you are or are not going at any given moment.
Zone: As you will see in the chart below, heart rate and power zones should match each other so you may simply find myself referring to them just as zone 2 or zone 3. I may also refer to them by name/effort type (i.e. endurance, tempo, threshold, etc.). The bottomline is that they are all interchangeable for a given zone.
HOW DO THESE ALL RELATE?
Great question! I have a handy little chart just for this occasion. Take a look. The “how does it feel” section is aimed primarily at cyclists but should still give you an idea of what the perceived effort feels like.
OTHER TERMS YOU WILL SEE
Training Volume (Duration vs Mileage vs Yardage): Whenever I talk about training volume, or just volume in general, I’m referring to the total amount of time or distance covered in a given period, usually a week or a month. I keep a very close eye on this as we progress you through the season.
Annual Training Plan (ATP): The ATP is the backbone of your plan. Think of it as a road map for each week of training. It is the result of taking everything we discussed and putting it on paper. TrainingPeaks makes it super easy to plan out how each week will look throughout the whole season with the ATP and helps keep us both on track. If you have a Premium TrainingPeaks account you will have access to it. If not, I will send it to you several times throughout the season as a PDF.
Cadence: How quickly your legs (or arms) are turning over. Think revolutions per minute (rpm) on the bike or how many times your feet are striking the ground each minute when you are running.
AMRAP: As Many Reps as Possible. This one is pretty straightforward. When doing strength work, AMRAP is your effort (with good form) to failure.
BSE: Best Sustained Effort. This one is a little trickier because it is one the endurance side of things. An example will serve me best here. Let’s say I give you 10 x 1:00 BSE. Over that minute interval, you will hold the highest output you can sustain for the whole minute. In a perfect world, you will hit it and hold the effort pretty level the whole time – not blow up at the end. I typically use this with shorter efforts, but BSE can also apply to longer intervals, too.
Once I put together your Annual Training Plan (ATP) I will either go over it in person with you, or do a screencast that I share with you over email. I will also review this every 4-6 weeks with you so we both stay on point and on the same page. In this overview you will hear me talk about different training phases that you will travel through over the course of the year. I’ll do my best to describe them in the review, BUT I will also leave the definitions here for you so you can brush up on them any time.
Endurance training during this period concentrates on improving the endurance characteristics of the heart, blood, and lungs referred to collectively as the cardiovascular system. This period is also when we spend time preparing your bones, tendons and ligaments for the impact of future training sessions. Cross training is an option during this period, especially when poor weather interferes.
During this period, developing endurance is the primary focus. We also work on speed-skills that will help you to increase leg turnover for phases when workouts become more intense.
This phase is an extension of Base 1, with endurance workouts becoming longer and the inclusion of some moderate intensity work to develop muscular endurance. You may see small amounts of tempo work in this phase.
Training Volume reaches a maximum in this phase, with the primary focus continuing to be on developing endurance, speed skills and muscular endurance. There is yet again a slight increase in intensity, meaning you will see more tempo work and maybe some threshold efforts.
Build 1 and 2
In the build phases the volume is decreased slightly from the base phases and remains steady week to week with more intense workouts entering the picture. These two phases are when you will see a lot of intervals to help you develop power and anaerobic endurance. You will often hear me talk about sharpening the sword. We worked to built a great, aerobic base that allows you to peak at a high level. The build phases are the next steps towards that top end performance and are where you will see the most tempo, threshold and best effort type workouts.
This is typically when we will start tapering your volume back, allowing you to recover and reach your peak fitness and freshness. Think of this as harvesting all your gains from all the work you’ve put in.
For you A-level races, this is race week and the last week of your taper. Volume is very low with the focus on developing freshness, and preparing mentally for the challenges ahead.
WORKING WITH TRAINING PEAKS
Training Peaks is pretty intuitive, but if you have any problems they have a great help center. While I am happy to help, I may not always be available when you need me on the tech side so I’d suggest checking out their FAQ first.