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Maximizing Your Use of the TrainingPeaks Calendar: A Coach’s Guide

BY Jamie Blanchfield

If you're going to spend a lot of time working on your athletes' training plans, you might as well stay organized and efficient while you do it!

As coaches, we know the value of time management, and we preach it to the athletes we work with daily. Coaches also know the value of managing their time, especially in this climate of constant distraction and access via social media and instant messaging! 

As a coach, I like to plan. My plans are flexible and adaptable and often change on a day-to-day basis, but they are plans and overarching guidelines nonetheless. I also like organization in terms of knowing when an athlete has time to train, knowing how a session went or what aspect of fitness we need to work on specifically in an upcoming training block. 

For me, the Training Peaks calendar is such a great tool to achieve this. There are a wide variety of options to add to the calendar when you hit that plus sign. Let’s discuss some ways of maximizing your use of the calendar as a coach!

Maximize the Post Activity Comment Function

This is up at number one for me. Post-session feedback is crucial to the training process, and when working with athletes remotely, this is often neglected. Jotting comments into the workout is invaluable to our understanding as coaches of how a session went. Request your athletes to do this after the majority of their sessions. 

Add Key Events and Races

Target events, training events, life events, whatever! Adding events to the calendar provides you insight into what exactly you or your athlete is training for, how many weeks you still have remaining, a description of what it is and the ability to add goals within this event tab. Adding events will help you get a clear sense of timing and, as a result, will help you gauge exactly what your athlete needs to focus on at a given time. 

Use the Goal Function 

Adding weekly/ monthly/ quarterly goals into the calendar and ticking them off is an excellent way to ensure coherence within a plan and sustain motivation. As a coach, you can also add training goals into the mix here to bring your athlete closer to the process and increase engagement.

Attach Helpful Workout Files 

Files can be attached to workout tabs; this is very helpful when wanting to upload something like a strength and conditioning program via spreadsheet or adding in extensive notes after a block of training or racing. 

Athlete Availability Feature

Listed under the “Add Other” when you add a block to the calendar is a button called “Availability.” This is limited to Premium Athlete accounts, but you can have your athlete add these to their calendar when they have limited availability or no availability. An example is a triathlete who’s going on vacation, they can note what sports they will be able to do and on what days. Say they don’t have a bike, but they can run and swim at the hotel, you will be able to adjust their plan accordingly to maintain as much as possible in their training.

Both TrainingPeaks Premium athletes and their attached/shared coaches can add/edit/move/delete an athlete’s Availability/Limited Availability block.

Make Use of Notes

I use these quite a lot. I add various notes on training response, what we’re focusing on, reference links and a multitude of other details. You can utilize the ‘hide’ function if you do not want the athlete to see notes that you are jotting down. Alternatively, if it serves you, you can add notes that let the athlete know they need to do something like “check resting pulse this morning” or suggest best practices for a long-haul travel day! 

You can add an attachment like a PDF or document to a note as well, making it easier to reference for the athlete than separately in an email. You are only limited by your imagination here, and I have seen some excellent use of this strategy as a means to improve coach-athlete feedback. 

BONUS: Weather 

This is another feature for Premium users and coaches, where you can turn on the weather forecast so that if you’re coaching remotely and the weather is going to be problematic, you can adjust the training calendar in advance and avoid as much disruption as possible.

Teach Your Athletes How to Use the TrainingPeaks Calendar 

As coaches, we should strive to make athletes independent thinkers and ensure they are autonomous in their actions. We understand the training process needs to be moldable and flexible. In the real world, athletes simply do not hit every single workout perfectly every single time. Teaching them how to use the Training Peaks calendar (how to move workouts/add workouts, add goals etc.) is an excellent way to help them respond and adapt to a missed session or a tough day. It can also cut down on your workload too! 

The above are just a few strategies I implement with the TrainingPeaks calendar as both a coach and an athlete. While this is not an exhaustive list, these are what I have found helpful for maximizing time management and aiding in the coach-athlete relationship!

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Jamie Blanchfield Premier Endurance
About Jamie Blanchfield

Jamie Blanchfield is the founder and head coach of Premier Endurance – an endurance support provider based in Ireland. Jamie’s main role is a coach to road cyclists from beginner right up to professional while also working in a consultancy role with Cycling Ireland. Jamie possesses a BSc in Sports Coaching and Performance and is a certified Cycling Ireland coach. Premier Endurance’s philosophy of coaching revolves around the development of self-sufficient athletes by aiding and educating them in every way possible along their journey.

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