Make Your Data Count
For those of us doing Ironman, triathlons, cycling or running, collecting data can be an integral part of your workouts. For some, it’s a direct link between them and their coach; a way of establishing exactly what has and has not been done, for how long and for what intensity.
Training Peaks does a fantastic job of collating all that data. Using their Training Stress Score (TSS) functionality you can get a reasonable idea of how much training load you are accumulating and your coach can use that information to plan your training.
But, here’s the kicker, you have to get that data presented in the correct way.
There is only one way that Training Peaks knows how much training load you accumulated over a given workout. It looks at how long you were working, and at what intensity. It then gives a TSS figure based on that time vs intensity.
Take a look at this example run workout. It is 1 hour and 20 minutes long, with an average pace of 5:04 per km. The training load has been calculated on the average pace (5:04 per km) and the time (1 hour 20 mins) and gives us an 82 TSS
All good so far. You are happy, your coach is happy.
But what happens if we take that easy run, and make it an interval based workout. With easier and harder elements.
This changes the landscape dramatically. Your workout may still only be the same overall time and even the same average pace (because you are doing easier and harder efforts), but the intervals mean the overall session has a much greater physiological toll.
Here is an example. In the workout pictured below, we are still doing a 1 hour 20 minute total run, but I have split that into 2 x 50 minute intervals.
Our last workout gave us a TSS score of 82. But, in this workout the effort is significantly harder for the second portion of the run, and results in a much higher TSS score of 102 for that extra effort.
Even though the average pace for the workout is exactly the same for both workouts, you have two different intervals for this workout. So, Training Peaks is able to weight your TSS figure accordingly.
Here is the deal ….
It is important that you hit ‘LAP’ on your device to register those two intervals as separate parts. Why? Because Training Peaks will give each part a TSS figure instead of averaging out the TSS over your whole workout.
By looking at all the individual LAPs you created on your watch, you enable Training Peaks to understand how hard you were working for each interval, and for how long. It can then give you a weighted TSS figure for the harder intervals, resulting in a much better representation of your Training Load than by simply looking at one single LAP with ‘average’ totals.
For more accurate data, ensure you use your lap button to register different intervals, recovery intervals, toilet breaks, fuel breaks stops etc. Any time that you change pace or power significantly for whatever reason.
Allow Training Peaks to understand what you did on the run, and weight the TSS figure accordingly.
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