Recently, TrainingPeaks spoke with Helena Scharf, a student-athlete at Silver Creek High School to discuss her training and how she and her cross country teammates are leveraging TrainingPeaks to communicate with their coaches, keep their scheduled workouts on track, and focus on results.
TrainingPeaks: How did you get started as a runner?
Helena: I started running around age 8, when my family and five other families ran the Bolder Boulder together. We continued that tradition every year up until most of the kids got to be high school age. By then, I had been running middle school track for two years. My cousin had to persuade me to do cross country- can you believe that? I had been planning to try out for volleyball. I think joining the cross country team was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. From that decision, I’ve gained wonderful teammates who are so close now that we’re like family. I didn’t do track until my junior year and just this past year I’ve been getting fitter and training harder. With Coach Kyle and Coach Courtney dictating workouts, this is the most in-shape I have ever been and the best I have ever felt. I knew I loved running when I joined cross country freshman year, but now I know it’s a bond that will never be broken.
TrainingPeaks: Have you ever kept a training log or tracked your training in detail prior to starting with TrainingPeaks?
Helena: I have kept a workout journal on and off, and for a while I used MyFitnessPal. I write big events in my journal — things like PRs, injuries, etc. MyFitnessPal was fun to use because I also tracked my food intake with it, and it was interesting to see approximately how many calories I burned with the exercise that I did. I got sick of keeping track of things like that, though, so I stopped using MyFitnessPal. I like TrainingPeaks because I am able to check for the workouts either online or on the app, and I am prepared for practice the next day. I still journal big occurrences, but TrainingPeaks allows me to see workouts and my own personal fitness stats- which I had never heard of before.
TrainingPeaks: How do you use TrainingPeaks currently?
Helena: I use the TrainingPeaks app to check for upcoming workouts and any coaches’ comments. I download my data on the computer and I am able to look at all of the graphs online as well. I still don’t totally understand all the graph and exercise lingo, but the most interesting graph is the one that shows my fatigue level, fitness level and Training Stress Score (TSS).
TrainingPeaks: What is your favorite part of using TrainingPeaks?
Helena: My favorite part of using TrainingPeaks is that I can see the workouts in advance. I’m very organized and I like to have a plan, so being able to see what’s up for the week is very useful.
TrainingPeaks: How does your coach utilize TrainingPeaks with you?
Helena: Coaches Kyle and Courtney post the week’s workouts in TrainingPeaks so that we can see what the plan is. There are usually values put in for “planned,” such as a specific amount of time, number of miles, TSS, etc. and we can compare our completed exercise with what was scheduled.
TrainingPeaks: Do you feel you will be able to use TrainingPeaks beyond high school? If so, how?
Helena: I will definitely use TrainingPeaks beyond high school. If I don’t get my own watch right away, Kyle said he’d let me keep the one I use now over the summer. So I will continue following any scheduled workouts and continue uploading any data. Even when I have to give the watch back to the school, I will still check the app to see the workouts Kyle and Courtney have planned so that I can keep my fitness level as high as possible. When I’m done following their workout regimen, I will hopefully get a watch of my own and continue to upload all data I obtain.
TrainingPeaks: How has using TrainingPeaks changed the way your team trains/communicates?
Helena: TrainingPeaks has allowed each team member (who checks it regularly) to know before coming to practice what the workout is. This makes it easier for the coaches, because they don’t have to explain the workouts in as much detail as they might have to without the specifics already on TrainingPeaks. We, as the distance team, come to practice knowing at least where to start, whether there’s a 15 minute warm up, or if we should just start on our core circuit, so we get going faster and we can get the workout done without much dilly-dallying and wondering what to do.
Learn more about how TrainingPeaks can help your Cross Country or Track Team improve communication, monitor and analyze performance and motivate athletes to achieve their goals.