Trainsweet… Now Supporting Training Paces for Speedsters

Standard

Here’s a short video showing how to use the integrated sprint max effort percentages.

One of the great things about Trainsweet is we’re always listening to coaches (and athletes) and making improvements.  Not long after we launched, both Mike Gipson at Cal and Michael Reid at American River College & AUC Elite told us they really wanted sprint percentage charts to be integrated into Trainsweet.  If we had hundreds of thousands or developers, like Google or Facebook, that would have been a request we could have knocked out in a week or so.  But… as a true startup with a tiny team (for now!), we’re a little slower working though all the things we want to build.  So I’m glad to announce Trainsweet now supports sprint max effort interval percentages for seven max efforts, ranging from 30 – 800 meters.

Now that we’re supporting sprints, we’re not just sitting around celebrating.  There are a lot of coaches who use other tests & training zones we don’t yet support… yet!

But integrated sprint paces isn’t the only update we pushed live…

  • Status stream updates – When you’re posting a new update or something on a friend’s page the text now wraps. (This has been a major pet peeve of mine!)  Additionally, the text boxes support html.  We know we have a lot of work to do to make the social network experience more engaging and fun to use, but we’ve felt it’s more important to create great software for coaches, first.
  • Training Plan Goals – Coaches and trainers can now create unlimited goals/targets per meso/microcycle.
  • We’ve removed all size restrictions for your profile picture.
  • Athletes – All running, swimming and cycling distance based Personal Bests can now be added.  We haven’t forgotten about the field eventers, hurdlers, steeplechasers and divers… we are working towards supporting any sport and any personal best you want to add.
  • If you’ve used -Create New- to add your own Session Types and exercises, we fixed how the reps are displayed.

And we have a new batch of fixes that we’ll be pushing live later this week…

  • Improved behavior of the Huddles buttons.
  • Fixed how some sets & reps are displayed on the coaching printout.
  • Corrected an issue where the Roster feature was not activated when “I Write Workouts” wasn’t selected.
  • Fixed the scrolling issue in the Workout Builder.
  • And we’re hoping to fix the issue where “Warm-up” is displayed when you create a new Session Component, which makes you refresh the page to see those new Session Components.

Leave us a note and let us know what you’d like to see us fix or add this year.  Or take our short 2013 Kickoff survey.  And know we’re thrilled to continually improve the Trainsweet experience for you!

-Sean

Top 12 Trainsweet Updates of 2012…

Standard

My son, Kian, was born the week after we launched Trainsweet — way back in April.  So I guess you can say I’ve been raising two infants at once.  It’s been an amazing year watching them both grow (and watching myself get slower and slower)!

Post ITU Auckland Triathlon

Father and son, after Auckland Age Group World Triathlon Championship. Anyone know a good physical therapist to help me work out that crook in my neck?!

For both infants and startups to develop, they both require considerable love and attention.  I wish Trainsweet could develop as fast (and on it’s own) as Kian.  But… Trainsweet requires a bit more money and a “hands on” approach for its development.  Even though we’ve constantly been making tweaks to improve everyone’s experience on the site, since we haven’t sent out emails or communicated changes, the only way to know something had changed was to log-in and notice something was different.  So as we wrap up 2012, I thought it would be great to recap twelve of Trainsweet’s “developmental milestones”.  So here we go…

  1. “How To” video banners on each page.  Using Trainsweet is easy, once you figure out a few basics.  But figuring out those basics was a challenge.  So in December we added banners on almost every page with short videos to help you understand how to use specific features of Trainsweet.  You can hide the banners and view them next time you come back.  Or dismiss them forever when you don’t want to see them again.
  2. Improved Pace Display.  This was a biggy.  We realized early on our initial attempt to display individual training paces was a HUGE #FAIL and we worked hard to completely revamp the entire experience.  Now you see a combination of your pace per mile, total time, and pace per interval.  If you’re a KM user, it’s on our roadmap to let you toggle and choose either KM or Miles as your default view.

    Trainsweet's New Pace Display

    Trainsweet’s New Pace Display

  3. Easily Invite Friends.  Just click “Invite Friends” on the navigation bar at the top of any page and send an invite email to friends, colleagues, your coach or trainer, or add people to your roster.
  4. Search for people using Trainsweet.  Now there is a search bar at the top of every page so you can search for friends and other people who are using Trainsweet.
  5. Improved display of sessions on Training Plan and in Training Log.  Some of you may not have noticed but if you were one of the people who usually had more than three training sessions on a single day you had to switch to week view to see each of them. We updated so you can now have 5-6 sessions displayed — just mouseover to see the details of each.
  6. Copy & Paste for building Training Plans.  This dramatically speeds up the time it takes to build plans.  It’s as simple as click & drag.  If you aren’t using this, watch the video because it will make building plans easier!
  7. Added Session Component Favorites.  Another major time saver for coaches.  The easiest way to think about this is — it allows you to save each interval set, or drill Set, flexibility routine, or whatever so you can instantly insert it into a session you’re building with just a click.  If you aren’t using this yet either… watch the video.
  8. Roster Tab + Printing on home page.  And yet another add for the coaches…  Once you activate your roster, on the homepage you’ll see all of the active training sessions for that day.  Just mouseover and you’ll see the session details + the athletes attached to the training program AND you can print it out.
  9. Personal Bests not display all your PBs.  When I tried to add my marathon PR to my Personal Bests, I noticed it didn’t show up. Well… we corrected that.  I know we still need to make further modifications to allow hurdles, field events, better triathlon support, and more.  Let us know what events you need to have accessible.
  10. Added “ghost” account for rosters.  For coaches who activated their roster (in Edit Profile, make certain you have “I coach – team or group -OR- others whom I charge… – selected to activate your roster) but don’t yet have confirmed athletes, the Ghost Athlete allows you to begin setting up your roster with the training groups and custom headers you’ll want to use with your athletes.
  11. Added sprint percentage pacing.  OK… this is actually one of our last updates for the year and its not quite ready just yet.  But sprint coaches and sprinters will love this.  Just like with our 6:00 time trial for endurance running, this is going to help sprinters see, and begin learning their individual paces to develop their energy systems.
  12. Allowing ‘ in names.  Yep.  If you’re name is O’Reilly, way back in June or so, we caught an issue that wasn’t allowing people to save their name in the system the way they would write it.  Soooo… we zapped that bug.  This wasn’t necessarily a big update–unless your name has an ‘ in it–but we want you to know we’re focused on things both big & small.

We feel those updates were a great start in helping us move up to being a “toddler”, but we have a lot of growing to do! — which we want to be a collaborative effort between you and us.  So  leave us a message on the Trainsweet Beta Feedback page and let us know your suggestions for how we can improve and provide you the tools to h

Wishing you many PRs (both your own and athletes you coach) in 2013!

The Trainsweet 500 Swimming Time Trial and YOU

Standard

Hello and welcome to the swim-side of Trainsweet.  I’m Clark Campbell, a co-founder of Trainsweet and the head swim coach at the University of Kansas. (Rock Chalk, Jayhawks!)  Our initial swimming blog post is regarding the “what and why” of the 500 Time Trial.

First and foremost, let’s examine why do it.  The beauty of Trainsweet’s swimming training paces is the test is simple to execute and provides us with valuable information.  I believe in establishing training intensities off a maximal aerobic effort instead of a sub-max effort (e.g. 500 vs. T-3000)Going fast for 5-10 minutes is a heck of lot more fun that going 30+ minutes.  Put simply — our testing gets pretty close to revealing your velocity at maximum aerobic power – vVO2max.  And training above, at, and below your vVO2max is what ultimately helps you get faster in the pool.

Most of us in the USA have access to yard pools.  The 500 Free is a standard event in swimming competition that takes the best athletes between 4-5 minutes to complete, perfect for determining max aerobic power.  Don’t worry if you can’t swim anywhere close to that time!  If you’re under 10 minutes, Trainsweet’s Training Paces will help you become a better swimmer.  If it takes you more than 10 minutes, I’d recommend sticking with technique based workouts (e.g. easy swimming with awesome technique/drills) and shorter intervals.  This routine will help you develop more efficient swimming technique—which is vital in swimming.  Test every 2-4 weeks and once you crack the 10 minute barrier, you probably have transitioned from a beginning swimmer to intermediate.

For our international or domestic friends who only have access to a meter pool, you can still use Trainsweet’s test and pace charts – just choose either SC or LC meters, plug in your 500 meter time trial result, the system will calculate the training paces for you.  And a great thing for coaches – Trainsweet also converts an athlete’s training paces based on how you input the sessions.  For instance, if your regular pool is 50 yards, but you’re doing a spring break trip and have access to a meter pool – you don’t have to retest.  Just build those workout sessions specifying either SC or LC meters and the system will convert the training paces for you and each individual athlete.

The test is simple to do.  After logging into Trainsweet, you can find a session template in our 30-day fitness swim template.  Once you are ready to go, here are a few hints:

  1. Start smart.  Go too fast, you’ll die too soon.  Start too slow, you might not achieve your max result.  Proper pacing is key.
  2. Make sure you breathe.  You would be surprised of the number of athletes I’ve seen try to no breath the first 25 and die off.  Air is good!
  3. Get your time.  If you are keen at reading a pace clock, no problem.  If not, have a coach or friend put a watch on your effort.  One only needs the ‘whole’ time (e.g. 6:34).  No need for tenths/hundredths in the Trainsweet world.
  4. Once you have that piece of information, you can plug it into the pace calculator and training paces are set for V1, V2 and V3 intensities.  Coaches – Remember to have your athletes save the result to their “Bests & Tests”.  After they do that, the result is automatically updated in your roster.
  5. Re-test every 4-8 weeks, or once you are comfortable with your performance level.

Once you have your results and subsequent paces, you are ready to train!  Later blog posts will discuss the various intensities and how to effectively train to be fast.  Right now, get with your coach and train specifically for YOU!

Swim Smart!

Clark is also a former professional triathlete (1986 national long course champion) and is a co-author of Swim, Bike, Run and has created a number of triathlon specific technique videos.

One Key to Running Faster – The Six-Minute Time Trial

Standard

Hi everyone.  I’m Bryan Jilka, a co-founder of Trainsweet and the head cross-country and track & field coach for Laguna Creek High School (just outside Sacramento, California).  Soon after I started coaching, I began looking for a simple test I could use to assess the current running ability of my distance runners (800 meters and up).  If you’re in the endurance sports game, I’m certain you’re aware of the VO2max test or the Lactate Threshold test in evaluating the aerobic potential of athletes.  Unfortunately these tests are location sensitive, expensive, and the idea of testing an entire team (especially if you’re talking about a high school track & field team vs. a national team) is simply out of the question.

However, training my team at an appropriate pace to maximize training benefits was (and is) important.  And even though relative accuracy of results was important, the other major consideration was finding a test I could use throughout the season without  taxing my athlete’s ability to perform regularly scheduled workouts.  After a fairly significant number of hours in the library and researching online, I ran across a book written by Dr. Own Anderson called, Lactate Lift-Off.  Through that research, and specifically Lactate Lift-Off, I learned about several ways to leverage field-testing methods (vs. a lab setting) to assess an athlete’s ability and then create workouts that lead to improved running economy.

The field test which made the most sense to me was a six-minute time trial.  It’s easy to perform for both my top athletes and freshman runners new to running.  The test is four easy steps:

  1. After about four weeks of consistent running, my team heads out to the track (400 meters).
  2. I group my eager harriers according to ability or age, they toe the starting line and I blow the whistle.
  3. The kids take off running, building to the fastest pace they can sustain over the six minute time limit.  I blow the whistle again at six minutes and all the runner’s stop where they are at on the track.
  4. I measure the distance each athlete ran (distance ran would be an indicator of aerobic capacity); then, convert the distance covered in six minutes to velocity per 400 meters (this velocity is the running economy component).  The result of the six minute time trial distance converted to meters per second (velocity) gives a value called vVO2 max or — velocity at maximal oxygen capacity.

What this means to you…

Trainsweet’s six-minute running time trial test does not directly measure aerobic capacity of athletes – but it does give a coach the most important data of all:  the running velocity at which there is a “shift” in how energy is being produced – a threshold, if you will.  With that information and Trainsweet’s six energy system specific training pace zones, you now have a powerful tool to create workouts allowing athletes to train “at” their personalized vVO2 pace, train “above” their personalized vVo2 pace, and train ‘below” their personalized vVO2 pace.  And that simply means – athletes are effectively training the appropriate energy systems needed for successful distance running.

Over the years I’ve continued to refine the pace chart based on my observations using the training velocities with my athletes. And I doubt this is the final version of the chart.  I’d really like you to use the test and training velocities and provide feedback to help refine it and make it perform even better.  So try the Trainsweet Six-Minute Time Trial and training paces (velocities), and let us know what you think.  One of the best things about our time trial is it’s price…  A lab-based VO2 test will run between $100-300 each time.  But Trainsweet’s vVO2max test and training pace calculators are free, so you can use them throughout the season and continually refine your athlete’s training paces as they improve!  (and there is also a roster management feature built into the system to help you manage and keep track of both test results and whatever other athlete details are important to you.)

Obviously, the time of season, phase of training, and an individual athlete’s reaction to training stressors will dictate the volume and mix of each training velocity. So even though we’re providing you with a tool, how you use the tool is a component in the art of coaching… and that’s up to you!

Today is the day…

Link

Yep… today’s the day. We’re excited to invite you to join us on Trainsweet.  We know it’s not perfect, but we’re not going to stop improving until… well — we’re just never going to stop improving.

If you don’t know us personally, our story isn’t one of several guys who woke up one day and decide to be internet entrepreneurs.  We’re pretty much unlike any traditional Silicon Valley startup.  But like most coaches and personal trainers, we do wake up every day planning, building and sharing training programs for our athletes and clients.  And as athletes we wake up every day, get our training sessions in, and log our results.  All of this is done with the goal of seeing people — either the ones we coach, or ourselves — become faster, stronger, fitter and healthier.

So we decided to build Trainsweet because of a shared feeling there had to be a better way for coaches, personal trainers, and athletes of all abilities to do what they do…  Why were we using spreadsheets, word processing software, or pen & paper?  We’re living in the Information Age.  Everything should be at our fingertips.  But to find that single training program file among hundreds on your computer, or to compare the workout you did today with the same workout from a year ago, is not as simple searching Google and finding the answer to almost any question you can imagine.   So even with the technology explosion which has been reshaping almost every aspect of our lives, there is one aspect which has been overlooked — and it’s the one aspect many of us are most passionate about.

After over a year of incubation and development, what you begin using today is the first building block of what we envision will be a grand coliseum one day.   So use us, share us with other like-minded people, be critical and send us feedback about what you want us to be — because just like the athlete in all of us, we’re striving to be the best.

Citius, Altius, Fortius, Sanior.
-The Trainsweet Team

Today is the day…

Link

Today is the day…

Yep… today’s the day. We’re excited to invite you to join us on Trainsweet.  We know it’s not perfect, but we’re not going to stop improving until… well — we’re just never going to stop improving.

If you don’t know us personally, our story isn’t one of several guys who woke up one day and decide to be internet entrepreneurs.  We’re pretty much unlike any traditional Silicon Valley startup.  But like most coaches and personal trainers, we do wake up every day planning, building and sharing training programs for our athletes and clients.  And as athletes we wake up every day, get our training sessions in, and log our results.  All of this is done with the goal of seeing people — either the ones we coach, or ourselves — become faster, stronger, fitter and healthier.

So we decided to build Trainsweet because of a shared feeling there had to be a better way for coaches, personal trainers, and athletes of all abilities to do what they do…  Why were we using spreadsheets, word processing software, or pen & paper?  We’re living in the Information Age.  Everything should be at our fingertips.  But to find that single training program file among hundreds on your computer, or to compare the workout you did today with the same workout from a year ago, is not as simple searching Google and finding the answer to almost any question you can imagine.   So even with the technology explosion which has been reshaping almost every aspect of our lives, there is one aspect which has been overlooked — and it’s the one aspect many of us are most passionate about.

After over a year of incubation and development, what you begin using today is the first building block of what we envision will be a grand coliseum one day.   So use us, share us with other like-minded people, be critical and send us feedback about what you want us to be — because just like the athlete in all of us, we’re striving to be the best.  

Citius, Altius, Fortius, Sanior.
-The Trainsweet Team

An Ode to Training Logs…

Standard

When I ran track in college, I was religious about logging my workouts.  I kept detailed notes in volume after volume of notebooks about how I felt.  Highlighted days when I felt unusual pains.  Celebrated when I had an amazing workout or set a new personal best.  It was my diary.

A few years back, it crushed me when I dumped the moldy smelling notebooks in the recycling bin.  Gone were my records of those glory days and all my personal bests.   Gone were my split times to benchmark against.  Gone was my history of injuries.  And instead of notebooks, I started using Polar Personal Trainer — but have never been really happy with it.  And when I started working with my coach, Kelly Liljeblad, and needed to let her know how I was doing with my workouts… Polar was a complete fail.

Last year, I was completely shocked when one of my favorite ITU triathletes, Kirsten Sweetland, (she was oh-so-close to making the Canadian 2008 Olympic Team) tweeted a picture of her training log — which she graciously allowed me to re-post.

Image

Courtesy of @K3Sport


What shocked me about her picture?  Well… here is one of the world’s best athletes.  She travels around the world racing and training.  She will (I have faith in you Kirsten!) one day race on the world’s biggest sporting stage–and probably even make a good living off of what most of us do for fun.  And she was using the same type of training log I used over 15 years ago, and probably the same thing Roger Bannister was using in the 1950s.  Wow!  It was crazy to think about how she keeps such detailed notes, yet there was no easy way for her to look back and compare session notes or pinpoint events leading up to injuries — so old school!😉

But all of this also served as inspiration for us as we worked on what training logs would do in Trainsweet.  We wanted to create–what we consider to be–the perfect training log.  Perfect is something we’ll always keep working towards… but here’s a sneak peak at what’s coming.

  • Secure.  This is important, since it may be your diary as well — I wrote some pretty deep things after finishing up a 2.5 hour training run!  You can provide coaches & trainers access — so there’s no more emailing spreadsheets or dropping off copies of handwritten pages.  But you’re in control over what,  if, and with whom you share.
  • Attach today’s workout to your log.  As you can see in Kirsten’s log, she was meticulous about recording what she did.  Well… with Trainsweet, when you have a workout scheduled, we’ll allow you to do the same thing with a single button click.
  • Make it fun.  Not every workout is fun, but we think your training log should be.  So we’ve included emoticons so you can visually display how you feel.  To me, fun is also watching progression, so we’ve set it up to keep track of everything you ever do — your lifetime totals.  Hmmmm…. I wonder who will be the first people to join our 100,000 mile running club,  500,000 meter swimming club, or perhaps 1,000,000 kilometer cycling club?
  • And even though we have a lot of options to help you track whatever detail you want — you can record as little or much as you want.  This is, after all, your training log.
  • Searchable.  To me, this is going to be a very sweet feature.  We’re still working on this, but we’ll let you search everything by keywords, results, race names, workout names, route names, etc.  How cool is it to search, then compare your Yasso 800s over the years, with a simple search?

And of course… you’ll never have to dump this into the trash!

We can’t wait for you to try it out yourselves… and it won’t be long now!  Register, so we can let you know when Trainsweet, and the “perfect training log” is ready to try.  And talk to us on our Facebook page about what you would want to see in the perfect training log.