Why, oh why did I sign up for Training Peaks? For someone like me, who absolutely loves data, this was probably not the best idea in the world. I mean, it’s an incredibly useful tool in explaining why my training has gone the way it has over the last few months, but when it comes to using it as a planning tool… well, that’s when it all starts getting a bit obsessive. And I’ve not even had the thing for 24 hours yet!
What The Heck Is Training Peaks?
Training Peaks is basically an on line program that you can sync with your GPS to analyse and plan your training. Here’s a screenshot from the Training Peaks Performance Manager, showing my Garmin activity since December:
Basically, it analyses your workouts to show your fitness, fatigue and recovery over a period of time, as well as enabling you to plan your future training and make sure that you are at your peak for race day.
As you can see from the blue ‘fitness’ line, my training for the first half of this year went really well and, even though I was pretty fatigued about a month before the London to Brighton Challenge, reducing my training over the month before the big day meant that, even though my fitness dropped back down a bit, I had gained enough recovery to get me through the 100K walk.
Of course, since then, my fitness has dropped significantly. Even though, according to the orange line on the chart, I have recovered enough to get back into a regular training routine again, I haven’t really had the energy for the same volume of training that I took on at the beginning of the year, as you can see from the highlighted blue fitness line in the chart below (if you click on the chart, you can see it better!):
The red area shows a steady decline in my fitness level, but now that I am starting to get a few more training sessions in, this is beginning to level off in the orange section. The white box shows where I should be in terms of fitness and recovery for Saturday’s race.
The plan, therefore, is to train enough over the next month to prevent that blue fitness line from dropping any further, while at the same time getting myself used to running regularly again. Then, once I’m back into the swing of things, I should be able to start building up the longer runs again, which is what seems to make the biggest difference in getting that blue line moving up the chart again.
have you used Training Peaks? Do you use data to analyse and plan your training? Please share your thoughts in the comments.