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In 2021 I was fortunate to connect with Matt Rowe, head coach at Rowe and King training and he began helping me reach my potential as a cyclist.  To do this, TrainingPeaks was used as one of the primary methods to set workouts and to monitor progress.

What is TrainingPeaks? 

TrainingPeaks states that “it provides the complete web, mobile and desktop solution for enabling smart and effective endurance training.”  To simplify, it is an app that can capture your training data, from your fitness wearables and apps, including Apple Watch, Garmin, Wahoo and Zwift.  That data is recorded in one place, a “Workout Calendar,” where you can view your fitness activity as well as use powerful analytical tools to easily understand your current fitness levels.  The essence of TrainingPeaks is that it is a modern version of a training diary, but with additional features to allow you to analyse your training data, that helps you to measure your performance and chart your fitness levels.

Origins of TrainingPeaks

In the late 1990s, Joe Friel’s coaching business was expanding as a direct consequence of his Training Bible book series. However, it was evident despite the internet, coaches and players continued to rely on antiquated manual logbooks, email and fax machines.

At around the same time, Gear Fisher, an engineer and cyclist, and Dirk Friel, Joe’s son, who was himself a former professional cyclist and coach, discussed these problems.  Gear believed he would be able to develop a web-based training record that would allow Joe and Dirk to effectively coach athletes anywhere in the world. In less than a year, the first online training log was created and effectively, TrainingPeaks was founded.  Soon after “TrainingPeaks became a neutral platform allowing any coach to deliver their own methodology, or any athlete to train intelligently and effectively according to a plan of their choice.”

Since then, the app has developed and it could be suggested to be one of the most powerful training platforms available.

Key features

Key features of the online app include:

Training Plans – You can create your own training plan in the app, including individual sessions which can be downloaded to apps such as Zwift, where you can undertake the relevant training and the data is uploaded back into TrainingPeaks for you to analyse.  Alternatively, TrainingPeaks has an extensive library of plans that can be used, some are free to use but others require payment.  Each plan has a detailed description that outlines what is involved.   

Workout Calendar – The Workout Calender is a key feature and is effectively a training diary that records your training sessions but allows you to see your upcoming workout.  There is the functionality to move workouts around to suit your schedule, helping to ensure that you fit training into your life.  There is the added functionality where at a glance, you can see how you have stuck to your plan and as TrainingPeaks states “feel the instant gratification of turning your workouts green.”  The Workout Calendar allows you to reschedule missed workouts so that you can stick to your plan.

Progress tracking – TrainingPeaks have a range of data analytics to help track and measure your fitness, helping you feel in control.  One of which is the Training Stress Score (TSS), which is an estimate of the training load created by a workout which is derived from the intensity and duration, and indicates how challenging the session is.  Others bits of data include the Fatigue (Acute Training Load, or ATL), Fitness (Chronic Training Load, or CTL) which when combined, calculates your overall form.  These metrics help indicate your fitness level which can be tracked to show you the full picture of your progress. 

Coaches – Via TrainingPeaks you have access to accredited coaches.  If you need that extra level of support, it is easy to find one.

How TrainingPeaks works

To use TrainingPeaks is simple.  Start by signing up for the TrainingPeaks app here.  There are two levels of accounts, Basic and Premium. 

Similar to a training journal, the Basic account allows you to view basic session details like length, distance, and your training stress score (TSS), which is a measurement of the strain an exercise imposes on your body. If you sync the app to Zwift, your data is uploaded after each ride.  The Basic account allows you to use a training plan, but it’s the Premium account, where the added value it.

The Premium version allows you to reschedule missed sessions so that you have greater control over how you schedule your workouts.  The key points are that it allows you to:       

  1. Plan future workouts and reschedule missed ones.
  2. Build your own workouts and gain unlimited access to the TrainingPeaks workout library.    
  3. Track your fitness progress via the Performance Management Charts.
  4. Analyse your fitness trends with power, HR, pace, distance and other charts.

Building workouts

On of the key features of TrainingPeaks is that athletes and coaches can quickly and easily design structured training sessions based on distance or length and intensity utilising power, heart rate, pace, or perceived exertion using the TrainingPeaks Workout Builder. 

This useful tutorial from TrainingPeaks takes you through the simple process, step by step.

These structured sessions can then be undertaken on apps such as Zwift, if you have synced your TrainingPeaks account.

How to Sync your account to Zwift

Syncing your TrainingPeaks account with Zwift is simple and allows you use your workouts (which you may have built).  To set up the sync with Zwift follow all you do is:

  1. Log into
  2. Ensure your account is linked through the connections page.
  3. Log into the Zwift app
  4. Select workouts.
  5. Under the TrainingPeaks dropdown menu will be the activity for the current day (this is updated automatically).
  6. Upon completion of your session, your workout data will instantly upload to your TrainingPeaks calendar.

The workout will only be available on the day that it’s scheduled on your TrainingPeaks calendar.

Analysing workouts

There is a wide range of data to be viewed and interpreted, including access to historic measurements such as power, which enables you to compare yourself fitness across the years and displays the information in different formats.

Other simple piece of information that is valuable is the tracking of your accumulated training hours each week, this is particularly useful if you have targeted a set amount of training you want to achieve.

A weekly pie chart, which is coloured red, amber or green is derived from your programmed training sessions and give you an indication if you are meeting your plan.  Red indicates missed sessions, amber partially fulfilled objectives, both over and undertraining in that particular session and green signifying it was completed correctly.  This certainly keeps you honest. 

The one set of data that I can’t help but keep looking at is the Performance Management chart, that that comprises of Fatigue, Fitness, Form and is designed to give you a measure of your current status.

Fatigue (Acute Training Load, or ATL)
Calculated by taking a weighted average of that stress from the past seven days, TrainingPeaks calculates your Fatigue. 

Fitness (Chronic Training Load, or CTL)
TrainingPeaks uses each day’s TSS to calculate the Fitness score. Fitness is weighted average of the last 42 days of training and reflects the training you have done over the last three months.

Basically, Fitness minus Fatigue equals Form.  By subtracting yesterday’s Fatigue from yesterday’s Fitness, TrainingPeaks derives your form. A negative Form would indicate that you are carrying a lot of fatigue and are therefore not on form. 

Summing up

Personally speaking, I find using TrainingPeaks very simple.  For those new to the app, the Basic edition is an excellent starting point for tracking your progress. However, it won’t be long before you will want access to features that are only available in the Premium offering. The functionality I find most useful is the ability to move training sessions to fit my schedule.  This enables me to complete my training in the most pragmatic way and having this level of control over my training is satisfying.  Equally, the data analytics are useful because it allows me to access a range of information.  Currently, as my training intensifies in an attempt to reach my previous levels of fitness, it is useful to be able to compare my power output from previous years. This data is inspiring me to continue to trust in the training process that I have embarked upon with Rowe and King and fills me with positivity and confidence.