Products I Love: Training Peaks
Do you like analyzing numbers or pouring over spreadsheets with all your latest stats? Or do you prefer a simpler log it and forget it approach to your fitness and training? Either way, training peaks is the perfect software for you. They have a free and a paid version, and both allow you to be as simple or complex as you like with just a couple clicks.
For starters, training peaks allows easy upload from your favorite device (garmin, polar, etc). Simply plug in your device to your computer, click the upload button, and you are in business. From here you have the option to name your activity, select what sport you just did, and enter things like shoes, bike, etc if you like to keep track of mileage for those kind of things. None of this is required, however, so you can simply hit save and your workout will be put into the calendar.
One thing I really like about this software is its ability to be customized by, and for, each individual user. You are able to set power or heart rate zones in your profile, change the look of the calendar, determine which charts/graphs you want to see on a regular basis, etc. You have the option to give your coach access to your entire account, or you can adjust the settings so he or she can only see certain aspects.
Want to track your weight loss progress? Training peaks also allows you to do this through its metrics page. You can easily enter your weight online (or with the app on your phone or tablet), along with sleep hours, waist size, generally how you feel, etc each day. And again, this software allows you to visually see your progress overtime through various graphics options. In addition, training peaks has a nutrition feature as well. I find this is less helpful then others I have used, such as My Fitness Pal, but this is primarily due to the fact that less users are using it so there are less “meals” in the database. Obviously this will continue to improve over time, as more people enter foods and more users start to utilize these features.
Another great feature of the site is their forums. I am a huge fan of software that also has a forum component to them bc this saves you time and energy. No longer do you have to recreate the wheel or spend time contacting customer service about a feature, it’s highly likely that you can find an answer to your question just by searching the forums. In addition, training peaks has forums devoted specifically to training, not just their software features. If you are looking for a place to talk to others athletes with similar goals, then this is a great resource.
Training peaks is also compatible for many training plans. What do I mean by this? Well, many third party sites that sell training plans, whether for your first marathon or century ride, are in a format compatible with training peaks. This allows you to upload them directly into your account, setting either a start or end date, and your calendar magically becomes populated with all your workouts. Along with 3rd party sites, training peaks themselves sells a huge variety of plans from core workouts to nutrition to 40min cyclocross racing plans. And of course my favorite are the various free plans that are offered from time to time!
Overall, my number one favorite feature has become the TSS and associated graphics. Unfortunately, this is only available as part of the paid subscription version, but it is well worth it if you want to truly take a look at your fitness over a set time frame; year, month, racing season, etc. You can quickly get a feel for how tired your body is, how hard a workout was, or how your fitness is progressing over time. Did you come back stronger after a rest week or did you do too much to see gains? Has that cross training really given you a higher level of fitness or is it just something fun to do in the off season? These are all questions you can answer by using this score (best if based off power data, but still works off HR if that is all you have like me). I think this is especially a key metric for coaches to look at, as it can help you know whether you can continue to push your clients harder, or if you need to dial things back.
Finally, training peaks software is all online. This means it can be accessed anywhere you have an internet connection. No more entering your training log manually into excel (or worse yet if you are still using a spiral notebook!). You don’t have to remember where you saved your files or try to plot the data in some meaningful way. Want to know your total miles for the year, easy, the only question is total cycling, total running, total hiking, some combo, or a total of all activities? Overall, I think training peaks does a great job of improving on other sites out there, making it the most user friendly, but also providing the most in depth analysis of any software on the market. You can tell this was software actually designed by athletes, and they continue to make improvement and add features as athletes and coaches make suggestions.
Posted on August 28, 2012, in Biking, Cyclocross, Great Products, Mountain Bike and tagged athletes, coaching, easy upload, gadgets, great product, heart rate zones, log, product review, technology, training, training peaks, weight loss progress. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.