This post outlines a few ways to use TrainingPeaks.com and HRV4Training to add more depth to your (likely) automatic training file uploads.
One of the biggest sources of friction in coaching is communication. It is clunky to communicate through apps and training devices but things have improved greatly over the last few years with automatic file/data uploads and better phone apps and communication between applications.
Comments – Tell a story about your workout.
I like to give the example of two mountain bike athletes that both do similar 300-watt 2 x 20-minute threshold intervals. BUT one athlete is alone, indoors without a fan (overheating/dehydrating), and not fueling their workouts. The other athlete is riding up a beautiful mountain on a mountain bike, with a good friend, and eating lots of food to fuel and recover from their workout. Which athlete would you bet on? Who has a ‘richer’ training environment? What action can a coach take in each case? Does each athlete need similar intervals or feedback?
WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY, HOW MANY, HOW MUCH, HOW FEEL YOU?
Telling your coach (or your future self) what you did on that day, where you rode, who you rode with, how many reps, what strategy/goal did you have, how you felt, and any other things that are relevant like gear, stops for lunch, blips in your device files, or saddle sores and other ‘niggles’ that might be important for future injury/illness decisions.
Top athletes plan what they will do and then reflect on how it went. It doesn’t go perfect … most of the time. 80% is a passing grade and what you decide to do is ‘perfect’ … the deciding and the finishing are huge wins. Reflect on this!
How did You feel?
Many people do not like to answer this question and an even greater number of people respond ‘fine’ without thinking about the session. A big part of training for sport is honing our ability to reflect on how we felt. Was today a great day, a normal day, or a below-average day. Training peaks does a great job with smiley faces to reflect this. You have 5 options ranging from super smiley (strong!) to sad face (weak).
Smiley faces are presented when you go to log your training along with the Session RPE (perceived exertion) on a scale of 1-10.
Go with your ‘gut’ on these ratings. What are your initial feelings about the workout?
RPE … how hard was the workout
You can also rate Session RPE (sRPE) after you finish your workout using the sliding scale from 1-10. There is a lot of range between 5 (hard) and 10 maximal and there are no wrong answers. I find the biggest thing is being comfortable with endurance rides being 1-4 (lots of room to go longer and harder) and trying to push the 1-2 days of intensity into the 7+ range (anything over the aerobic threshold so tempo, threshold, vo2 or zone3 and higher).
A common mistake is to perform most workouts in the middle of the range and never touch the ends of the scale (1-4, 7-10). This suggests that endurance is too hard and intensity too easy which is opposed to the commonly accepted practice of training mostly easy with some ‘hard’. (learn more about polarized training).
In the above image, the athlete did a 90-minute endurance ride but it seems it is harder bu RPE (6/10) … so they may learn something by reducing that RPE in their endurance rides, especially if power or heart rate area is also into those middle ranges rather then zone 1/2 (endurance).
Use HRV4Training to get resting HR, HRV, subjective measures/metrics and add quick notes to Training Peaks
A final way to get more information into training peaks is using an app like HRV4Training. (http://www.hrv4training.com/ ) which syncs to training peaks automatically and allows users to take a resting HR and HRV measurement and add subjective measures (e.g. soreness, sleep, motivation, etc) that get synced to a ‘metrics’ window in training peaks.
The Annotations portion at the bottom of the daily ‘survey’ allows for ‘notes’ to be transferred to training peaks and these are something I have found really help some athletes (including myself!) get comments into training peaks regularly.
Link to Itunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/hrv4training/id686923970?mt=8