I often find people use software for a fraction of its potential, i.e. some people still use smartphones just to call and text! Many TrainingPeaks users fall victim to the same mishap. For example, some athletes only use it to dump and store their training data, directly from Garmin Connect or some other third party. On the other hand, many coaches only use it to set training, occasionally comment on a session and/or glance over metrics. Sometimes they solely use the calendar view, or they aren’t using the dashboards in their full functionality.
In order to hopefully rectify these inefficiencies, I am happy to share some personal knowledge generated by years of TrainingPeaks usage. Please keep in mind this is not intended to be a TrainingPeaks user manual. But if it helps you think more deeply about how you use your account, discover ways to save time and more extensively analyze workouts, then we’ll call it a win. After all, if this is your primary business, time is money!
The Cut/Copy/Paste Function
This function does precisely what you would expect. Within the calendar view, you can cut or copy everything from a single workout, a complete day (with multiple workouts), to an entire time range of several weeks that can then be slotted into future weeks. Each workout and day header has it’s own hamburger menu icon (☰) to copy those items. To copy an entire time range you can click on the day header of the first day, hold down the shift key, and then click the day header of the last day in the range that you want to copy. This function is excellent for an athlete who executes a similar workout each week (e.g. a commute or an efficiency-factor-focused run), or for copying entire weeks or training blocks that may only need slight adjustments or to create progression.
It is also useful if you want to copy one workout to another athlete using the dual calendar or group calendar functions. It is worth reviewing any pre-activity comments, as they should also be appropriate for the chosen purpose and will also be copied. This function saves re-writing a session or a key section of a training plan over and over again. Here is a short video for clear how-to instructions of the feature.
These can be recorded by the athlete in the calendar view on a laptop or through the app. They can be viewed most effectively in the “metrics” chart of the Dashboard chart library. TrainingPeaks integrates with many other third-party platforms where athletes can record their metrics (HRV, weight, sleep, fatigue and more!) This gives coaches a simple way of looking for trends.
With the subjective feedback feature, over time you will establish standards for each athlete. For example, some may express a wide range of reactions to different workouts, while others may remain super steady throughout their training. It’s important to take note of these patterns and use them to inform the workouts included in your next training block. When your rock-solid athlete drops from their standard happy face, or their assessment of how hard a workout felt doesn’t match how hard you intended it to be, it’s time to jump in and reassess.
The search function allows coaches to find a session by searching for a phrase or title. Coaches can review older sessions and compare their contents to their more recent workouts. For example, you may prescribe a functional movement screening session every year. You can search for, “Functional Movement Screening,” and find any sessions or comments that include those keywords. This is an effective feature for performing race result reviews or for digging up a specific session to compare previous efforts. You can then scroll through them all and easily compare similar workouts (e.g. easy runs for efficiency factor gains or 5km park run times.) The advanced search filter also lets you sort and filter results by sport type, date range, duration, TSS, elevation gain, speed, power, heart rate, and much more.
Annual Training Plan
The Annual Training Plan is one of the most important places to start after you have set an athlete’s goal. It is one of the first screens I have open when planning the next round of training. The more time you invest in creating an ATP that works best for you, the more efficient you’ll be later on. 2020 and COVID-19 interruptions aside, usually, the more time you spend building a sound ATP with contingencies, the less time you spend planning the meso or microcycles.
Adjust your layout settings to display relevant information from the ATP on your calendar-view like target TSS/week or hours, limiters, macrocycle focus, and an event countdown to save time from flipping back and forth between the calendar and ATP. With the CTL or TSS-based training plans, you can predict how the prescribed training will impact fitness levels going forwards and then adjust accordingly. The more time you spend here to begin with, the more efficient your scheduling will become.
The Race Report Function
The Annual Training Plan combined with the race report function enables a straightforward goal setting and review process for events. As we know, races are invariably different, but how you compare to others is a good indication of your personal improvement (race standards aside). This chart in the Dashboard lets you review how your athlete has progressed in finish and/or split time and position. It’s also useful if you want to quickly remind yourself how an athlete did in a specific race several seasons ago. Results entered in Events on an athlete’s calendar will automatically populate the race results Dashboard report.
Home View for Athlete Comments
If you are like most coaches, and don’t have hours on end to look at TrainingPeaks, then efficiently using the home screen can be a source of major time savings. You can quickly review and respond to athlete metrics and comments using the feed on the right side of the Home view. It also kindly flags Peak Performances, bad metrics or comments which can help you delve into the detail when necessary. You can filter the feed by a specific athlete by clicking their name in the center pane of the Home view, and you can filter by a specific type of information (like comments, metrics, or threshold changes) by using the filter icons at the top of the feed.
There are almost certainly other ways of saving time and increasing your output. You may have your own – we’d love to hear about them. In the meantime, I hope these help.