Archived: March 2013 TrainingPeaks University Recap


In early March we held our first TrainingPeaks University. Twenty five coaches came from all across the country to spend a weekend learning more about their TrainingPeaks accounts. Not only was this the first TPU, but it was also the first event held in our new TrainingPeaks headquarters in Boulder, CO. Attendees were treated to a weekend of food catered by Skratch Labs.

TPU kicked off Friday night with a social gathering of coaches and TrainingPeaks employees. Special guests also stopped by, including American road champion and Team Saxo-Tinkoff rider Timmy Duggan, as well as Allen Lim and Chef Biju from Skratch Labs. TrainingPeaks co-founders Gear Fisher, Dirk Friel and Joe Friel were also there to officially get the weekend rolling. The energy in a room full of enthusiastic endurance coaches was invigorating!

Saturday was a full day packed with information. Gear, Dirk and Joe commenced the presentations with the story of how TrainingPeaks began, starting from simply addressing the need for coaches and athletes to communicate better, to growing over the past 13 years into the ultimate tracking, analysis and planning tool for endurance training. We then got right down to business with Melissa Schwartz covering coach account settings, branding your page, best practices for setting up new athletes, and more. Next, our newest Education Specialist and former editor of TRI magazine AJ Johnson led a presentation on tracking data for both athletes and the coach. This included an in-depth discussion on using the Device Agent and integrating it into an athlete’s data upload process, creating the easiest workflow possible. Other means for tracking data were discussed based on different athlete types. We then jumped into discussions about how to motivate athletes and different techniques to do so.

Skratch Labs brought in a great lunch, fueling the coaches for what was to come. With everyone recharged and ready for more information, Dirk led a discussion on analyzing data. Using files from some of the top cyclists in the sport, he showed many examples of different types of uploaded data files and dug into information that a coach can discover through different types of athlete data. He spent some time on the workout graph, showing how to edit erroneous data points, overlay zones, create intervals and more. He then covered some advanced concepts like Quadrant Analysis and the Scatter Graph, both how they work and how to set them up.

Once the discussion of analyzing single files was complete, we moved into analyzing time-periods through using the Dashboard feature. Shawn Heidgen and Melissa worked together to give an in depth look at the Dashboard. There are many different uses for the Dashboard, different views coaches can set, and ways to set up Dashboards for an athlete as well. Some of the more advanced Dashboard charts were covered, including Peak Power, Fitness History and the Performance Management Chart, otherwise known as the PMC. The PMC sparked many questions and further discussion. We have several examples of PMCs from different types of athletes ranging from a beginning Iron-distance triathlete up to a Tour de France top 10 rider. Each PMC tells a different story through graphical representation of form, fitness and fatigue.

We took a quick jump away from and went over WKO+. We covered features that are only available in WKO+ including the powerful Multi-File Range Analysis.

In the afternoon we also tackled the topic of planning and working more efficiently as a coach. This included setting up and utilizing workout libraries, designing workouts for repetition, different ways to use the plans feature, planning for “group” coaching, calendar short-cuts, best practices and more.

We wrapped the day up with a discussion on the business of coaching, selling plans and libraries, and offering other coaching services. And finally, we finished with a review of our support tools for both coaches and athletes.

For as full of information Saturday was, Sunday did not disappoint! Joe Friel led a four-hour discussion on the topic of “Advanced Training Metrics”. Joe started by explaining how he came to write his first book, The Cyclist’s Training Bible, and how he came to the realization that training with power would change the way athletes train. He then detailed the concepts and meanings behind such metrics as Training Stress Balance, Intensity Factor, Acute Training Load and Chronic Training Load. Using files from top cyclists and triathletes, Joe spoke in detail about what each metric measured, what they meant and how they can be used by coaches. This in-depth explanation of some of our most advanced features led to great questions by coaches.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend and we really enjoyed meeting and spending time with some of our best coaches. We thank the 25 coaches who attended our first TPU and helped to make it a great success.

Our Next TrainingPeaks University

We’ve already started planning our next TPU, to be held Wednesday July 31- Friday Aug 2. These are the days leading up to a great race weekend, with the Boulder 70.3 Half Ironman being held on Sunday, August 4.

Registration is $299 and USAT and USAC certified coaches can receive 10 CEUs for attending. Registration will open Thurday, March 21. Sign up early and take advantage of our Early Bird special of $50 off through March 27 (price goes back to $299 midnight on March 28). For any questions, contact Melissa Schwartz

About the Author

Melissa Schwartz

Melissa Schwartz leads the Education Department at TrainingPeaks. In her 3.5 years with the company, Melissa has specialized in educating and supporting endurance sports professionals who use the TrainingPeaks Coach Edition product. She is a former All-American swimmer and water polo player, and now spends her athletic time doing triathlon, running marathons, and harboring a secret love affair with golf. She's also a USAT certified coach and enjoys helping fellow moms see their athletic potential. Follow Melissa on Twitter.

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