Fun Times with Training Peaks and CTS

TrainingPeaks interviewed and filmed Matthew (AlphaDog Cycling)’s participation in Levi’s GranFondo as part of a feature promoting their coaching program, and the result is really inspiring. I also use Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) for running through TrainingPeaks, and have found it to be really helpful. Prior to signing up with CTS and TP, I was not being consistent and ended up developing a back chain and hip imbalance (glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors). These weaknesses caused me serious pain, including IT band sydrome and piriformis syndrome and made me scale back the mileage; it got so bad that I had pain after just sitting for work. Structured strength training and cross training has helped me start to resolve those issues, even if my coach and I argue about pool running, which is just annoying for so, so many reasons.

Metrics are at the heart of TP. I am a great believer in metrics and expert advice to drive training and learning (and decisions in general). In fact, in my real life job, I specialize in developing metrics to demonstrate quantitative change and program impact. Because of this background, and because I have been working out in one way or another since I was 15, I figured I could do it all myself. But no amount of downloading and cobbling together programs floating about the Internet helped me ramp up at the right speed and build a solid base for the higher performance I am targeting. While running metrics are evolving (for instance, see DC Rainmaker’s discussion of Stryd, a running power meter) and sometimes it isn’t exactly clear how we should use some of this information to drive change, I think if we build ways to measure individual performance the population implications will become clearer over time through a Big Data approach.

Both of these companies are really the best at what they do. I think expert counsel and good tools are especially important when you are an older athlete and recovery can be longer and the impact of injury is higher. Of course, sharing metrics with a benevolent coach means being honest about your (soooo slooow) pace and your particular hangups (like I really really hate pool running), but hey, that’s ok, it builds character. Right? Hello?

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