At Blackzone Coaching we use the long established TrainingPeaks platform and its software to tailor our structured coaching plans for athletes. Head coach Kevin Henderson is also an ambassador for TrainingPeaks after he was recognised for his knowledge and expertise of the system.

To enable us to implement our expertise in utilising the latest analytical tools we require athletes to commit to training with heart rate monitors or power meters. It is imperative that the athlete be able to upload data frequently to TrainingPeaks to allow our coaches to continually adapt a progressive triathlon or cycling training programme.

Although plenty of coaches use the TrainingPeaks platform, not many use the new iLevels system on TrainingPeaks WKO5, developed by Dr. Andrew Coggan, internationally recognised exercise physiologist. We make use of this system in conjunction with the Power Duration model to further individualise training and make sure that we can be as specific as possible to each and every client. It’s a technical part of what we do but we’ve tried to explain it as best we can for you.

What is WKO5?

WKO5 is TrainingPeaks’ most recent precision training software release, launched in the summer of 2019. It offers a powerful analytical engine that uses your data to reveal valuable insights, turning analysis into answers that help us make training decisions. WKO5 allows us, as your coach, to compare subjective feedback metrics from TrainingPeaks with objective data points to discover trends in your training.

What is the Power Duration Curve (PDC)?

The PDC is an estimate of the relationship between time to exhaustion and work rate during both anaerobic and aerobic exercise. The main benefit of the PDM is having a robust mathematical description of your power-duration relationship. This provides quantitative insight into your unique abilities and paves the way for other useful analyses.

What are iLevels?

iLevels are highly-individualised training levels. There’s a well known simple level system of power output levels, known as Coggan Classic Levels, ranked from 1-6 that are often applied to training plans and sessions:

1. Recovery
2. Endurance
3. Tempo
4. Lactate Threshol
5. VO2 Max
6. Anaerobic Capacity

The Coggan iLevels take this to a much more in depth and analytical level when looking at power-duration models, based on the shape of an individual’s PDC:

1. Recovery
2. Endurance
3. Tempo
4a. Sweet spot
4. Threshold
5. FRC / FTP
6. FRC
7a. Pmax / FRC
7. Pmax

How does it benefit you, the athlete?

At the core of power training is a simple system of using basic, quantified data (watts) to develop and track a training strategy that focuses on measurable results. While threshold-based zones are solid, they are a generalisation developed through the review of data from thousands of endurance athletes.The principle of individualisation dictates that training should be adjusted according to the age, gender, rate of progress, and previous skill development of the athlete. The goal of individualisation is to capitalise on strengths while minimising existing skill deficiencies.

There’s a lot of principles that can be quite generic and benefit all athletes, but only to a certain point as once you go above threshold (FTP) everyone is different, and this is where it gets interesting. For example, two athletes trying to do 6x3min at 120% FTP, Athlete A manages this session while Athlete B can’t manage to hold the watts. By studying each athlete’s power curve we would be able to prescribe a wattage that athlete B could sustain for the 3 minute duration. This is an example of individualising the training session to suit the athlete.

Too many coaches are behind in their thinking and using a one size fits all system. At Blackzone Coaching we put the work in on a one-to-one basis to optimise their training levels to their own unique physiology and daily fitness.

The steps of individualised power training in action

1. Power Testing Protocols
2. Use WKO5 to better understand the athletes strengths and limiters
3. Establish training targets
4. Design your training strategy using WKO5
5. Build ‘Smart’ workouts around individualised training levels (iLevels), optimised intervals and power duration curve targeting
6. Monitor your training with WKO5.

Reap the benefits.

As the athlete, you can leave the analytical work to us and just focused on doing the hard work in training and testing. If you want to benefit from this level of granular individualisation when it comes to your training then get in touch with our coaching team today to discuss your training goals and ambitions.