Training planning and analysis platform
If you've followed my content for a while, you know that I prescribe to using data to drive effective training planning and decision-making (not at all at the exclusion of qualitative inputs, to be clear).
Training Peaks is hands down the best and most all-round tool to use for any triathlete that wants to use a data-driven training approach. A lot of the data that is now de facto standards in endurance sports (like Training Stress Score, Chronic Training Load, Training Stress Balance, Intensity Factor, Normalised Power, etc.) were first implemented in Training Peaks. Which is perhaps why no other platform has immplemented these concepts anywhere near as well as Training Peaks.
With Training Peaks you can effectively plan your training on both a macro (annual training planning) and micro (workout-level) level. You can analyse your workouts to see what went well and what to improve for next time. You can track your Peak Performances, your training load, and get a ton of other (often very relevant) training metrics. In a nutshell, Training Peaks gives you all the tools you need to plan your training effectively, check if your training is progressing well, and change direction if needed.
Training Peaks comes with free and premium account tiers. The free account is a good one to get started, but if you really want to benefit from the platform, you should upgrade to the premium account. It is an invaluable investment
The Worlds most advanced Physiological Performance analysis software.
We offer the ultimate in cutting edge physiological testing using INSCYD to ensure your training is optimised to your unique physiology, meaning maximal training adaptations combined with the best use of time. In real terms this means for the first time you can make every single second count of your training.
Performance isn’t random. It can be predicted and completely broken down to elements, In this way we can identify those blank spots you haven’t been able to see before. Make informed decisions on the sessions that are prescribed, manage and control the outcome and project future performances
INSCYD tracks every single metric and projects future performance outcomes, provides coaches & scientists with a holistic & detailed insight into their athletes’ physiology and explains how physiological metrics interact and compose an athletic performance
It’s not just for the Elite or Pro’s, INSCYD is for all athletes. It will benefit your training schedule and performance with both a scientific foundation and precise predictability
As a certified member of the Stryd Power Coaching group, i find this tool invaluable in progressing my athletes safely through their training. Training with power opens up a whole new way of training accurately and effectively. Runners will use STRYD for a wide range of reasons from those simply wanting a more accurate running pace to those wanting form improvements right through to triathletes who understand training-with-power and want to expand how they already do that with cycling into running as well.
Stryd is a small shoe-worn pod that clips effortlessly onto your shoe laces a bit like a marathon race-timing chip. Inside the lightweight, 10g carbon-fibre enhanced pod are sensors that measure the acceleration of your foot horizontally, vertically and laterally as it strikes the ground. This information is crunched by a clever algorithm and used to provide your running power, in watts.
While Stryd is mainly about power it also provides pace, distance and speed to a highly accurate level without using GPS. Unlike a GPS watch that can struggle with some built up urban runs and those dreaded tunnels, Stryd won’t drop out. There’s also no need for calibration, it works straight out of the box.
Post-run you can also dig into a range of other running form metrics such as, cadence, leg spring stiffness and running form power. Alongside that Stryd will assess the stress load of your run, a stat that can be used to monitor overall training load.
You can add third party heart rate sensors into the mix too, to bring another layer of useful data to the Stryd stats. There’s a detailed web-based training tool, the Stryd Powercentre that lets you dig into your training and race data more deeply, create power-based training plans, set your power training zones (these work just like heart rate in terms of structure).
Why should I care about power?
Cyclists have long been using power as a way to monitor workrate and provide a consistent measurement for training and racing. While there are debates about whether it’s even possible to measure running power in the same way, new devices such as Stryd are giving us new stats that tells us much more about the actual workrate we’re putting in as we run as opposed to the body’s response to that work (heart rate) or the effect of that work (pace).
This means we now have a tool that can help us run smarter, for example, running at a consistent effort over hilly courses. It can also help us see more instantly whether we’re hitting the right workrate in training sessions. Whereas heart rate suffers a lag, power responds in real time making it easier to hit the sweet spot on intervals sessions.
Perhaps most importantly though, and the thing I like best about Stryd, was that it can help improve race pacing and stop you going out too fast, running hills too hard during races and helping you to run your true potential by keeping you moving just under that threshold line. And that means no blowing up at mile 20
Power-based race planning software
I never let my athletes go off to race an important race without having a race plan. And an integral part of this is their pacing strategy for the bike.
It is one thing to have done the training and be in top-shape, but getting it all out there and tapping into all of your potential on race day is quite different.
Best Bike Split takes the incredibly complex, multifactorial problem of bike pacing and spits out race power plans that result in new best bike splits time and time again. Never again do you need to get a new all time best average power, only to see on Strava that your frenemies that outrode you by 10 minutes actually used less power than you did.
Best Bike Split has a free account option that is a great way to get started with the platform, and it allows you to do most of the things you'll want to do. The premium tier comes with more bells and whistles (like adding more bikes, more race plans, omparing race plans directly, etc.). Note that Best Bike Split relies on you or your athletes having a power meter.
As a coach, Best Bike Split premium is one of the lines on my expense sheet that I would never get rid of, as it allows me to give my coaching clients so much additional value from being coached by me.
Advanced training analysis (for coaches)
WKO5 is a tool I love and use pretty much daily alongside Training Peaks when analysing my athletes' training and progress.
I want to make clear, however, that I don't necessarily recommend it for athletes, unless you have a lot of extra time on your hands. But I can't recommend it enough for my fellow coaches.
WKO5 has use cases across the board in swimming, biking, and running. But cycling is what it was first developed for, and where it really shines. Most of the most useful functionalities (in my opinion) require a power meter, but not all.
To give you an example, WKO5 can model an athletes's entire power-duration curve and give a very good estimate for their FTP. Often, I don't need to give my athletes a new FTP-test, because I can see from WKO5 what their actual FTP is currently, based on the number-crunching the software does after every single workout.
If you are using Stryd, all the more reason to invest in a coach using WKO5. A lot of the really cool analysis Stryd allows you to do (like looking at Running Effectiveness and Leg Spring Stiffness charts) is not yet implemented in any other software than WKO5. This includes Stryd's own Power Center and Training Peaks.
82% of female athletes reported that they never discussed their menstrual cycle with their coach
Despite the growing recognition of the significance of the menstrual cycle as a driver of performance in female athletes, barriers to awareness and education still exist. Our recent global survey of active females, conducted in partnership with Strava and St Mary’s University Twickenham revealed that:
· 74% reported their menstrual cycle negatively affected their performance
· 82% had never discussed their menstrual cycle with their coach
· 72% received no education regarding exercise and their menstrual cycle
We found that the lack of discussion is often driven by the fact that there is little education for athletes and coaches about the menstrual cycle or how it relates to exercise and well-being. Female physiology is unique, and training and nutrition can be adapted to optimise performance.
Why the Menstrual Cycle?
Ovarian hormones travel in the blood and can influence a range of physiological processes throughout each phase of an athlete’s cycle. They can affect response to training, metabolism of food, general wellness and risk of certain types of illness and injury. For example, the risk of ACL injuries is increased when oestrogen peaks just before ovulation. These changes can alter the requirements for an athlete’s training, nutrition and recovery.
As part of our female athlete programme we developed FitrCoach – an education and monitoring platform for coaches and their support teams to understand the different stages of the menstrual cycle and help advance the way female athletes train in order to sustain peak performance at the highest level. FitrCoach is used by world-class organisations around the world
Overtraining leads to injury, illness and diminished performance. The body can endure just so much continual physical stress before it begins to break down.
So how do you know when to train and when to rest? By using ithlete the answer is heart-rate variability which measures the time-gap between your heartbeats when you’re resting. The heart, in fact, speeds up when you inhale, and slows down when you exhale. The difference is known as heart-rate variability (HRV). A healthy, well rested body will produce a wider gap than a stressed out, overtrained body.
Most endurance athletes are familiar with heart-rate monitoring during training and racing. But measuring your heart-rate variability is something you do at home, usually right after you wake up. HRV is not unlike the morning ritual of taking your resting heart rate to determine fatigue, overtraining or approaching illness. But measuring and tracking heart rate variability presents a more precise picture of your overall health.
A high reading combined with a normal resting pulse is good news– you can train hard that day. A low reading means you should take it easy, providing you with a guilt-free rest day. And while your body is in recovery mode, your muscles are busy getting stronger.