Suunto became compatible with TrainingPeaks this spring. We got in touch with Canadian ultra runner Rodney Buike to learn more about the service.
Rodney Buike started his athletic career as an alpine ski racer and a mountain biker but has since evolved into an endurance athlete covering longer and longer distances. First he competed in duathlons and triathlons, but has recently started to run ultras, too.
Buike has been using TrainingPeaks as his main tracking application since 2011.
“I initially started with the free version of TrainingPeaks but soon switched to TrainingPeaks Premium for some of the added capabilities,” says Buike.
“For me the best feature is the Performance Management Chart. It gives me a real ability to manage my fitness and fatigue levels over the course of my racing season.”
TrainingPeaks’ Performance Management Chart (PMC) tracks chronic training load (CTL based on activities older than 15 days) and acute training load (ATL based on the last 14 days of activity). These numbers are based on the athlete’s thresholds which allows TrainingPeaks to calculate the intensity (IF) and Training Stress Score (TSS). This is then used to calculate Training Stress Balance (TSB). All this data can be used to monitor progress and ensure a smooth steady build up and then taper to main race or races.
Here’s Buike’s own PMC starting with the beginning of training for his first 50K race.
Rodney Buike’s 180-day Performance Management Chart
“The first vertical red line is the peak of training with the longest run before tapering began for the race (the next vertical red line). Then you can see the recovery period and the final vertical red line indicating when training began again,” Buike explains.
“There are a few important things you can see in this graph: First off you can see a long slow steady build with the gradual increase in the CTL (the blue line). There are smaller spikes along the line, which individually identify the key long runs followed by short recovery periods – but an overall steady climb. The TSB (orange line) moves into the positive as I recover and taper for the race while the ATL drops as training load is decreased.”
Over the course of time the Performance Management Chart can help you plan your taper and recovery to ensure you are doing just enough to maintain fitness while recovering properly to ensure your best performance on race day.
SET YOUR ZONES FIRST
While this all sounds very complex there are a few very basic things that all athletes can take advantage of immediately.
“The first thing I recommend is to set your zones. If you are using HR based training you can set different zones for all activities. For specific activities you can also define additional zones. I highly suggest runners to set their pace zones, which can be done using the results of a recent 10KM running race. Cyclists, who have a power meter, can input their functional threshold power (FTP) and use that to build power zones.”
In addition to the Performance Management Chart, Buike highlights the premium version’s advanced charts that you can use to drill deeper into the data (power analysis, scatter graphs, etc.). He also finds the planning tools very useful.
“With the premium version you have the ability to plan out your upcoming week, month or longer and have that sync with your calendar in Outlook, Gmail, Apple iCalendar or any calendar tool that supports ICS files. When you upload activities they will automatically populate the related activity in your TrainingPeaks calendar,” says Buike.
So how does your own calendar look for the coming weeks?
“I have decided to move into the ultra running world and completed my first 50 km and 80 km races recently. In May I have a 130km race coming up.”