Quick Start Guide

5 Minute Read

Are you ready to get fit and achieve your goal? Take 5 minutes to learn how TrainingPeaks can get you there.

Quick Start Guide

Four Steps to Success on TrainingPeaks

Achieving your goal is not magic.  We designed TrainingPeaks to help athletes improve using a four-step process:

1. Set a Specific Goal
2. Get Expert Instruction
3. Execute Specific Training
4. Get Immediate Feedback

We believe that any athletes who follow these principles will move from the couch to the finish line of their event.  

Your journey doesn’t have to stop at the finish line.  If an athlete continues to repeat these four steps, we believe they can continue to improve from the finish line to the podium. You don’t know how much you could improve, but with TrainingPeaks you can find out.

Set a Specific Goal

The first step is to set a specific goal.  Your goal could be to finish an IRONMAN™, run your first 5km, finish an event, or just get healthier.  Whatever your goal is, it’s important to pick one because the event or goal you choose sets your training path.

Why?

A specific goal sets a direction. If you don’t pick a specific goal, it’s unlikely you will achieve your desired outcome because all the other steps – Expert Instruction, Specific Training, and Immediate Feedback – won’t have a reference point.  You won’t know if your plan is right, if the training you’re doing increases your fitness correctly, or what performance achievements matter. 

Action Item

Take a minute to decide on your goal.  Once you’ve decided, add it to TrainingPeaks as we outline here.

Get Expert Instruction

Now that you’ve chosen your Specific Goal(s), the next step is to get a plan to achieve it. We call this step Expert Instruction.

Ideally, your plan should be based on the guidance of an expert in your sport because knowledge from an export saves you time- they’ve already made all the training mistakes, researched the best training methodology, and added their own personal insights to their recommended plans. 

TrainingPeaks offers three forms of Expert Instruction: You can purchase a training plan from the TrainingPeaks Training Plans Store, hire a coach, or build a plan yourself.  Briefly, here’s more information about all three Expert Instruction options:

  1. TrainingPeaks Training Plan Store – Our Training Plan marketplace offers thousands of plans from TrainingPeaks coaches.  Training plans are the most cost-effective solution for most athletes; however, they are necessarily generic and not designed specifically for you.
  2. Hire a Coach – TrainingPeaks offers a Coach Match service that pairs athletes with a coach that suits their needs. Coaches deliver the best Expert Instruction because the plan they create is specifically for you; however, coaching is also the most expensive Expert Instruction option.
  3. Self-Coach – TrainingPeaks Premium offers the tools for you to build your own plan. If you’re a student of training you can use our Annual Training Plan feature to periodize your training, the Joe Friel workout library to build your training weeks, and our Premium analysis features to review your workout performance and overall progression. 

Why?

The best way to achieve your goal is to get a plan designed by experts. Expert Instruction is a combination of workouts designed to increase your fitness to meet the event demands and achieve your goals. 

Action Item

Now that you know the pros and cons of the different Expert Instruction offerings, it’s time to decide on what form of Expert Instruction works for you.  Get a training plan, hire a coach, or build your own plan in TrainingPeaks.

Execute Specific Training

The third step is Executing Specific Training.  The key to this step is to actually follow your plan. Often the hardest part of following a plan is knowing what your workout is and how to do it. 

TrainingPeaks makes it easy to know what your daily workout is.  You can receive daily workout emails, check the TrainingPeaks mobile app (available on iOS and Android), or log on to the full site. 

Knowing today’s workout is important, but having clear instructions on how to perform the workout is even more important.  With TrainingPeaks Structured Workout Builder, you can upload your workouts directly to your device and receive step by step instructions as you’re training. 

Why?

With a plan, every workout has a purpose.  The combination of workouts in your TrainingPeaks calendar creates the right mix of stress and recovery to increase your fitness faster than just making things up.  

Action Item

Download the TrainingPeaks mobile app (either on iOS or Android) so you always know what your training is for the day. 

Get Immediate Feedback

The last step is Immediate Feedback. Immediate Feedback answers the two most important questions athletes ask:  “How did my workout go?” and “Am I getting fitter?”.

As you complete your workouts, it’s important to remember to keep track of what you’ve done so you know if you’re improving or not. If you have a device, you can automatically upload your workout files to TrainingPeaks for later so you can track your progress and workout compliance.  If you don’t have a device, you can manually log what you’ve completed. TrainingPeaks also gives you the space to comment on your workouts so you can remember how you felt.

TrainingPeaks provides immediate feedback day to day through workout file analysis, as well as over time through the use of powerful reporting tools like the Performance Management Chart which models your training load.

You won’t wonder whether you’re getting more fit, you’ll measure it.

Why?

If you want to improve something you need to measure it.  Immediate Feedback lets you know if you’re hitting your workout targets and improving your overall fitness. 

If you train and never check to see if your execution is to plan, you won’t know if your training is working.  Immediate Feedback gives you instant, actionable insights to make sure you’re on track. 

The most important aspect of Immediate Feedback is that it helps you progress faster.  If you’re falling short of your target, you’ll know it right after your workout is done and can then change your actions instead of repeating the same mistakes. The fewer mistakes you make, the faster you’ll improve.

Action Item

After connecting your device, go perform a workout in your plan. Upload it and learn how to analyze your file

Once you have a few workouts completed, review your Performance Management Chart and other TrainingPeaks Dashboard charts to see how your fitness increases as you train.

Bringing it All Together

You can achieve your goals by progressing through the four steps of setting a Specific Goal, using Expert Instruction, performing Specific Training, and getting Immediate Feedback.

The four steps only stop when you do.  Once you achieve your goal, you can pick a new goal that’s slightly harder than your last one and progress through the same four steps all over again.  Over time, your fitness builds upon itself and you’ll become unrecognizable to your former self. 

Achievement isn’t an accident.  By following the four steps through TrainingPeaks functionality you can achieve your goals reach your fullest potential.