It’s true that many factors determine the success of a coach-athlete relationship. Still, when we talk to coaches about what matters the most to them, it’s evident that workout planning and analysis don’t determine the success of the relationship, but communication does. For a coach to show athletes that they care, their interpersonal connection has to go beyond just workout comments. If athletes feel like their coach cares about them and their goals, then they have a higher rate of success.
Facilitating the Coach-Athlete Connection
Historically speaking, TrainingPeaks coaches and athletes have used the ‘other’ workout type to communicate essential training details normally excluded from the contents of scheduled workouts. This workaround served some users, but it was not the original intended use for this function as it lacks efficiency and can cause reporting issues.
Introducing The Notes Feature
With the latest update, this workaround is no longer necessary. We’d like to introduce you to the new Notes Feature! This feature allows a coach or athlete to easily communicate all aspects of training, beyond just the workouts and goal-setting. This includes scheduling clarification, reminders, education and knowledge sharing, and even humor. Here are a few examples of how to best use this new feature.
Athletes are busy, and many coaches spend too much time trying to keep up with their athlete’s ever-changing training availability rather than coaching. Now athletes can use the Notes Feature to quickly clarify their training availability on the TrainingPeaks calendar. This saves time and confusion for both the coach and the athlete.
When mentally preparing to take on a new week of training, athletes often wonder: Is it a rest week? A build week? Coaches can add a note at the beginning of the athlete’s training week, informing the athlete of the week’s focus. This ensures that both parties are on the same page and fully understand the current progress status.
To some, thorough and detailed communication may seem frivolous and unnecessary, but it can be an essential driver of a high-quality athlete-coach relationship. For example, an athlete has a vital and difficult block of training ahead of them, and you know they’re likely to put down a few post-work beers. By leaving a friendly, unexpected note at the beginning of the week asking them to skip happy hour, you show them that their success means as much to you as it does to them. Anticipating external factors that might limit their success and documenting them in the Notes Feature helps streamline communication and improve the quality of your relationship.
Add Value to Training Plans
In addition to using the Notes Feature with your coached athletes, you can also add notes to the training plans you sell in the Training Plan Store. Notes add value to your plans and can lead to more training plan sales. Here are a few ways to incorporate notes into your plans.
Personalize it. Training plans can feel less personal than a one-on-one coaching experience. Add notes into your training plan that tell a story so the athlete feels like it’s a guided experience rather than just a sterile series of workouts. For example, add a note before a testing day giving them some encouragement and praising them for the work they’ve done so far in the plan.
Add Clarity to your Training Plans. Add a note to the beginning of each week touching on the training theme of the week. Highlight the key workouts and include extra information to ensure the athlete is well prepared for the workout. For example, “Saturday is your long workout. Make sure to bring plenty of nutrition along so you don’t bonk.”
Keep athletes coming back for more. You can add a note at the end of a training plan, encouraging the athlete to purchase another plan. For example, if they bought the build phase of a plan, you could then link them to the next section. You can also call out additional offerings such as webinars or private consultations.
Remember that effective communication is thorough but efficient. Constant upselling or annotating every detail in the plan can overwhelm your athlete. Take time to brainstorm a notes strategy that feels seamless with the style of the rest of your training plan.
Another great use of the Notes Feature is to share content, like articles or case studies, with your coach or athlete. Previously, coaches have added URLs to a workout description, but this leaves the workout looking cluttered and unclear. The Notes Feature is a much better way to connect your athlete with content.
For example, maybe an athlete has an upcoming high-altitude training camp and you want them to read some quick tips about making the most of training at a higher elevation. Alternatively, maybe an athlete needs to execute a long ride in a hot environment and wants to discuss an article covering hydration strategy with their coach. Whatever articles you want to share, the Notes Feature offers an efficient, seamless experience for both athletes and coaches. If you’re looking for an excellent library of training content with helpful advice from expert coaches, the TrainingPeaks Athlete and Coach Blogs are great resources.
Lighten The Mood
Lastly, one other excellent use for notes is to add humor to an athlete’s TrainingPeaks calendar. Sure, straight-forward, no-nonsense training may be very effective but it doesn’t necessarily fuel a healthy, well-rounded relationship. For example, the holidays are a great time to take the foot off the gas for a moment. You can do this by tricking your training-obsessed athlete into thinking you want them to perform a five-hour trainer ride on Christmas Day. Add the workout, and then directly below it, add a note that says something to the effect of, “Just kidding! Anything you do this week will not affect your July A-race unless you choke on a candy cane.” You’ll make the athlete smile, for sure. Thoughtful, anticipatory, fun communication between athlete and coach is essential to a great long term coaching relationship.
Using the TrainingPeaks Notes Feature will not only improve training plan efficiency and clarity but perhaps, more importantly, it will improve the coach-athlete relationship by opening up an additional way to communicate.