Kicking the Tires on Training Peaks

Continuing on my journey to get a broad exposure to structured cycling training, I downloaded my first Training Peaks program.

Now, I’m just learning about Training Peaks, so some of my information might be wrong. I’ve been using Trainer Road for several months now, and have been completely impressed by its programs and its focus on things like proper pedaling form, aero riding position and even breathing (from the diaphragm!)

But I saw an interesting YouTube video by Dylan Johnson the other day, and it made me interested in Training Peaks. In it, Johnson took Trainer Road to task a bit, claiming that its programs are too focused on intervals, which can lead to plateaus, burnout, and other negative aspects of over-training.

I’m a fan of Johnson’s videos, because he talks a lot about the science of training. And it’s pretty brave, actually, to take on a cycling training giant like Trainer Road. He’s stepping very near (or maybe on) some landmines here. But I find that refreshing.

Note that I’m not saying he’s right. To be honest, I’m not competent to judge in this area, since I’m new to training. But Johnson cites various studies to back up his opinions, and that always appeals to me. I’m confident that Trainer Road has science that backs up their approach as well, but I found Johnson’s evidence and presentation compelling.

Different Training Strokes…

This isn’t a knock in any way on Trainer Road, which has been a fantastic tool for me. I’m very happy with it, and have no plans to abandon it. However, I’m also keen to try Training Peaks, and see how it differs in its approach to training.

Johnson is a coach on Training Peaks, and has created a number of plans. Training Peaks gives you the option of buying training plans in an a la carte way. So I searched on Johnson’s name, looked at his plans, and chose “Raise your FTP 10 hours.” Since increasing my FTP is a key goal of mine currently, I went for that one.

The plan, which covers an eight-week period, was $79.99 (i.e., it’s $80. This is a pet peeve of mine—I guess there are studies that show this, but have you ever bought anything because it was one cent less? Do you really see $79.99 and think “hey, this is a bargain at $70!” When I see $79.99, I think “is this worth $80?” Maybe it’s just me, though).

I’m going to start the Training Peaks plan next Monday. Of course, I’ll report back on how it goes.

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