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How to Introduce Your Athletes to TrainingPeaks

BY Mackenzie Madison

Follow this outline to help get your athletes get set up and understand how to use TrainingPeaks.

When taking on a new athlete, one of the first steps is to welcome and introduce your new athletes to the TrainingPeaks platform. A streamlined process (including a step-by-step informational checklist) can help tremendously. This outline can be customized to your coaching information and used as a general email to athletes. Or if you can be there with your athlete, you can help them start by following these steps. 

Create and Link Account

The very first step should be to have the athlete acquire a TrainingPeaks account and connect you as their coach. Suppose they already have a TrainingPeaks account with a previous coach or links to other individuals. In that case, you’ll need to discuss with your athlete how the connected accounts should be removed and who will mainly host your Training Peaks platform.

The best recommendation for coaching is to have a premium account and host the athlete yourself within their monthly coaching costs. To connect, make sure you have the correct email to request as a connected coach and send your athletes a link to TrainingPeaks.com. 

Connect Training Devices

Second, have your athletes sync their training devices to upload to TrainingPeaks automatically. Almost all fitness recording devices can be synced under the settings in their account under “manage devices.” (You can also send them to this page with connection instructions sorted by device to supplement if needed!) 

This is also a perfect time to review what data recording values you want them to focus on. You can talk about which fields they like to see on their device and which metrics they prefer. You can also go over how you want specific segments, laps, intervals or data distinction points to be recorded from their device. 

Get the Mobile App

Have your athlete download the TrainingPeaks app to their mobile device whenever possible. It makes it easy for them to check on any workout information and their current and past stats on the go. The app also creates the ability to automatically upload their training data directly to their smartphone or tablet. Creating seamless, automatic upload transfers makes it easy to post all the information you need along with what they need to perform their workouts and understand the analysis. 

Set Training Zones 

For your athlete to be hitting the correct efforts and pacing for their training, it is essential to discuss zones, even if they are unclear on the concept or haven’t performed a test. To start, use your best-estimated zones from their old data and their races, or ask them if they have any general idea of what is easy, hard, race pace etc. This way, your athlete can assimilate to their training before performing a full-on threshold test.

If they’re new, help your athletes understand that their beginning training zones will most likely fluctuate as they gain fitness and experience. It’s also good to note that some training devices and applications can change their threshold from data that may not always be accurate—so their TrainingPeaks zones should always be their go-to for guidelines. 

Home Screen vs. Calendar View

The TrainingPeaks home screen view is automatically set up to feature the calendar layout, with an overview of the workouts planned for each day and the appropriate icon for quick sport diversity in a monthly format.

Whenever possible, ask how far in advance your athletes like to see workouts — sometimes, they’ll prefer you provide a week at a time. In this case, you can hide future workouts to streamline your planning.

It’s also helpful to ask your athletes to place notes on specific days when restrictions like travel or limited time are expected. This provides the athlete with a customized structure to complete the necessary training and also helps you plan. 

Uploading and Understanding Data

The next step is to discuss what items to input into TrainingPeaks post-workout. Typically, smart training devices and applications automatically upload into the correct planned workout. Still, if more than one application is synced, you may need to review how to avoid creating duplicate uploads of the same training. It can be helpful to compare the two uploads from different data collection sources, but you’ll want to ensure your athlete can eliminate double uploads where necessary.

Additionally, go over what post-workout comments you want them to include about their training after completion. When analyzing their laps/intervals, as their coach, you can also have any interesting data in the post-workout comments so your athletes can understand at a glance how they performed—and if they feel comfortable analyzing their files themselves, they can add data they’d like you to notice in these fields as well. These options help connect the athlete and the coach for better and more precise communication.

Understanding TrainingPeaks TSS and More

Lastly, and maybe after some time, discuss the Training Peaks Training Stress Score (TSS) and how it plays into workout compliance and planning. You can go over how they can use Chronic Training Load (CTL), Acute Training Load (ATL) and Training Stress Balance (TSB) to understand fitness and recovery.

Other important data points, graphs or information you’d like your athlete to understand from the TrainingPeaks platform can also be provided after completing all the previous steps. This part can be an ongoing process; you want your athletes to understand the dynamics of training, but always at a good pace. 

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About Mackenzie Madison

Mackenzie Madison is a professional triathlete and USAT certified coach. She has been competing in triathlon for 18 years and coaching for 15 years. Mackenzie acquired her B.S. in Kinesiology & Coaching and Masters in Exercise Physiology. She is also a former D1 runner and elite cyclist. Mackenzie is also an instructor at the University of Oregon. Learn more about Mackenzie at www.kenzmadison.com.