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WKO4: Insight Accelerated

BY Hunter Allen

Learning the strengths and weaknesses of each athletes is a critical component in coaching. Co-developer Tim Cusick explains how using WKO4 will provide you with those insights faster than ever before.

All great ideas start with a challenge. Our challenge came when the WKO4 development team kicked off the project with a planning session. One early goal in the session was to brainstorm and list all the charts and reports that users wanted to see. We got out a large planning pad, furiously wrote down each idea, and then taped the sheets of paper to the wall. It took us less than thirty minutes to entirely cover our 2000-square-foot warehouse meeting room, and we’d only just begun. It was then we knew we had a challenge.

A Data Challenge

The discussion about what charts or reports people wanted to see got complex fast. Why? Mainly because sports data collection continues to evolve, and we continue to need more improved analytics. There are three key factors driving this:

  1. Data complexity is ever increasing, with new mediums, channels, platforms, and devices appearing continuously. And there will be more to come.
  2. There is an increasing fragmentation of data sources, with very little true standardization in format and taxonomy.
  3. We see a trend toward (and need for) extracting insights from increasing granular data, at the performance level in particular.

Data is everywhere. Both the demand and the complexity of analyzing that data have grown exponentially. We knew we needed to go outside the box and focus on something new; a new solution that was not a group of descriptive reports constrained by the software. We needed something more robust and flexible.  

We Did It

What did we do, exactly? We created WKO4, the first analytics engine ever created specifically for endurance sports. In our very first meeting our focus shifted as we realized we needed to evolve away from being a highly descriptive reporting system to truly branch into analytics if we were going to able to keep up with and get ahead of the demands.

Why did we do it?

Analytics has evolved quickly in the last ten years. Utilizing modern computer robustness, it is possible to do deep and advanced analysis at the desktop level, but the endurance sports were struggling to find a great way to harness this. Data analysis has been stuck in a descriptive stage while other industries have progressed.
Predictive Analytics

With all this data available, we need to progress the analytics from:

  • Descriptive Analytics (What happened?) to:
  • Diagnostic Analytics (Why did it happen?) with the goal of achieving:
  • Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics (What will happen? How can we make it happen?)

To accomplish this we needed two things. The first was a powerful and fast analytics engine that could analyze data in a full, flexible way and incorporate the ability to utilize such data against a broad array of functions, algorithms and math. The second thing we needed was a way to look at performance data in a highly granular way; for this we turned to the idea of performance model and introduced the WKO4 Power Duration Model. The combination of these two gives us insight into the athlete at a level never before achieved.

The Power Duration Model

Developed by Dr. Andrew Coggan and the WKO4 development team, the new Power Duration Model is the most accurate human performance model ever created, driven by this fully robust analytical engine. The introduction of the model gives us the right granular data to complete both diagnostic and predictive analysis while utilizing an array of new metrics to not only better describe performance but truly develop diagnostic insights and predictive conclusions. Learn more.
Power Duration Curve

How This Will Help You

Analytical models exploit patterns found in historical data to identify opportunities and pitfalls. When paired with robust analytics, models help us capture the relationships among many data channels and factors to allow assessment of potential and limiters to achieving a specific outcome or goal, supporting and even guiding the decision-making process. Put simply, WKO4 was designed to support the prescription and measurement of movement toward your performance goals in a more diagnostic and predictive format.

The WKO4 Analytics Engine transforms how coaches tackle data challenges to achieve breakthrough performance by increasing both the speed and depth of insight.

Peaks Coaching Group President Tim Cusick contributed to this article.

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About Hunter Allen

Hunter is a USA Cycling Level 1 coach and former professional cyclist. He is the co-author of ‘Training and Racing with a Power Meter’, co-developer of TrainingPeaks WKO+ Software, and is the CEO and Founder of the Peaks Coaching Group. He specializes in coaching cyclists with power meters and is on the forefront of coaching with cycling’s newest tool. You can contact Hunter directly at www.PeaksCoachingGroup.com.

Visit Hunter Allen's Coach Profile