A Bit Sciencey

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:

2014-07-01_TP-Year

25/12/2014 – 31 July 2014

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!):

25/05/2014 - 31/07/2014

25/05/2014 – 31/07/2014

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.

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10 responses to “A Bit Sciencey”

  1. Kerrie says :

    Wow that seems pretty statty! 🙂 Its pretty good the modern techy stuff we have now! I think I’ll stick with my Garmin and spreadsheets (which I have forgotten to update 😦 ) for now 🙂 Hope your running is going well! 😀

    • theblogrunner says :

      I know, it’s terrible. I use spreadsheets all the time too. In fact, since I’ve started running, I probably spend more time in front of the computer than I ever did before. 😉
      Still, the running is going well, thanks. Hope you’re still having fun! 🙂

  2. Running Betty says :

    Wow! I’ve never heard of training peaks but it looks pretty cool! I can see how it could be addictive. I am obsessive enough with analyzing my runs on my Garmin connect account!

  3. artisticsharon says :

    Wow, that’s pretty cool and it’s a ton of information! I love data too – I’m just getting started with Garmin Connect so I think that will keep me busy for a little while 🙂

    • theblogrunner says :

      Yes, I love analysing my splits on Garmin Connect, and I’m loving it even more now that they’ve updated the site. Have you tried the segments feature yet?

      • artisticsharon says :

        No, I haven’t tried segments yet; I keep getting a message they had to turn it off due to issues. I’ll be interested to see it when it’s available.

  4. LeAnn Cady says :

    Wow! Now, that’s some impressive running data, Blog Runner! Holy Moses — where did you come up with something like that? I really have no idea where I’m at with my recovery since my marathon 1.5 weeks ago. All I use is my itty bitty Garmin Forerunner 10 connected to Garmin Connect. For a data-oriented girl like me — do you recommend training peaks? I’m gearing up for training for my second marathon in October. Good luck to you!

    • theblogrunner says :

      Hey LeAnn. I read about it on someone’s blog a while ago and signed up for it, but wasn’t overly impressed; then I paid for the Premium version and got the lovely graphs.
      I’m not sure if I’d recommend it yet, as some of the features seem a bit complicated, but you can get a free trial (for 7 days I think) which is definitely worth doing, if only to keep an eye on the post-marathon recovery.

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