Training Peaks - Worth it?

A lot of talk about TP goes on in here. I have a rough understanding of these discussions from simply reading them all, but have never delved into it properly myself.

So a few rough questions:

  • Would it be worth it for someone who is only really running at the mo (though i will one day return to tri when time becomes less expensive).

  • What are the main differences, in the real world, between free and premium?

  • Is it that much of a step up from the ‘Elevate’ strava extension that you download from Chrome? I assume that the fitness, freshness and fatigue metrics in there correlate roughly to what TP displays as TSS, CTL and the like?


I don’t have TP paid but I have noticed that Elevate and TP TSS scores differ for the same activity. Not sure if it’s my athlete settings or different calcs.

I only have TP free account, but the TSS is generally the same as my Garmin number. Strava is real ‘wet finger’ stuff in my experience.

I have the premium account but it is heavily discounted by BC, if you train by plan and simply follow then the free version is fine. With my work and travel arrangements varying then the premium version allows you to move things around and provide feedback to a coach etc.

Sorry i should’ve explained that the elevate extension is not ‘strava’ in so much as it just pulls the raw info from strava and then, i assume, uses its own algorithms etc to calculate the TSS type stuff etc. Can’t remember now if they call it something else or not. I just assumed (rightly or wrongly) that this may be less in depth than TP as it’s ‘just’ a single developer project as opposed to a tried and tested product. But i may be wrong, hence the qu.


Don’t have a coach or a training plan at the mo. more interested in tracking trends as i move towards my A race at the end of the year when i will have a more focussed approach. Not quite a rigid plan, but i’ll have a rough idea of load/progression/recovery etc balanced and caveated by life getting in the way.

I have a free TP account and use an excel file off here (well tritalk 1.0) to calculate TSB, CTL, etc. from the TSS TP gives me. I don’t have a coach so it’s fine for me. My sister-in-law has a coach and those sessions are through TP but not sure how much she uses it other than that and whether she gets to look at charts and graphs I don’t have with a free account.

Training Peaks is awesome, if you’re doing all three sports and can understand it. And have even more time to devote to training (on the laptop, even when you’re not training, you’ll be doing this. Which you shouldn’t be.)

Strava is :jeans:. Do an interval run and it’s tells you it’s easier than your usual efforts. Erm…no. No it wasn’t. It might be average the same, but I’m smashed, pal.

Elevate is great. You do need to feed it correct data.
It will only work on one version of Chrome at a time.
Unless you Fart around exporting and importing settings.
You can’t use it to plot weeks to ensure you arrive at the correct TSS etc come race day, but you can sort of do that yourself in Excel (week by week)
After a while, you know your interval session is 55TSS and your long Run is 240TSS (made up numbers) etc.

Do you have a link to the spreadsheet? I use the free version as I don’t feel I can justify paying for the premium.

No problem. I can’t do it from work so will do it as soon as I can/get around to it. But the formula is straight forward.

CTLtoday = CTL yesterday + (TSS today - CTL yesterday) (1/CTL time constant [usually 42 days])
ATLtoday = ATL yesterday + (TSS today - ATL yesterday)(1/ATL time constant [usually 7 days])
TSB = Yesterday’s CTL - Yesterday’s ATL

I don’t use a coach any more, However, I try to maintain a consistent training program, I try to swim, cycle and run on the same day (weather depending) each week. I vary the intensity, distance and duration, depending on where I am in my program and what my own time commitments are.

I find TP a really good tool to stay honest, it is useful to avoid going too light, or if I go too hard, I can adjust my next workouts accordingly. Earlier in the year, when ramping my training, it worked really well to monitor my progress, but also to avoid ramping too fast.

The other feature I really like is that it adjusts the TSS based on your current level of fitness, so it incorporates my current ftp and LTR, therefore there is no hiding, as you get fitter you need to run, ride and swim faster

But then how do you get those mammoth CTL figures people keep posting on IMJ? :rofl:

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I’ve been using the premium version for a few months now. TBH, I’ve only just started scraping the surface of what it can do but I’m finding I’m using it more and more to guide my future workouts. It’s taken me a bit of getting my head around but the sheer amount of data and graphs that can be generated are pretty amazing. Have to say that the comments on TT have helped me with this.

I’m not sure I’d need it if I were only doing running, simply because I’d find it easier to plan and adjust the training load. With three disciplines to juggle, it’s been useful to me to work out where most of my training stress is happening.

I like being able to plan a few weeks ahead and move things round as I need to, which you can’t do on the free version.

I am not 100% sure, and it did happen to me as well. When I started using TP, I was getting huge numbers for my run… I thought that I was a hero getting a TSS of 100 for a 22min 5k run, it was only when Stennard pointed out that this was somewhat unlikely that I went into TP and made sure all my zones were set correctly, since then my zones all update automatically, although whenever I get a notification of change in ftp or change in LTR I do tend to go in to check

I have a pretty high CTL, which is mainly due to cycling to work 3 times per week - it is 35km each way, and my TSS for an easy ride is 55. for a typical ride 70 and a hard ride 85 - I can easily get a weekly TSS of 420 for my commute, add on a 2.5 hour hard club ride on Saturday, a couple of swims and 50km running and a daily TSS of 135 can be maintained

@gingerbongo As you mainly run, use runalyze. It’s free. Lifts your workouts directly from Garmin like Trainingpeaks, and actually gives you a bit more functionality for run specific stuff than trainingpeaks. Some of the race analysis and interval options it provides automatically are pretty good and better than trainingpeaks. It has its own equivalent atl/ctl/tss charts.

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I shall check that one out - thanks!

Holy shit @stenard thanks for that. I thought i knew a bit about training data … turns out i don’t!! That’s a lot of numbers and tables and graphs. Time to get my head around it!

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Haha, yep. In a run specific context, it’s way better than TP. It’s like Golden Cheetah for cycling. The thing TrainingPeaks excels in is a simplistic way to visualise swim/bike/run both combined and separately. And of course the coaching integration, which is why that’s my main platform.

The race predictor stuff on runalyze is really quite good. You used to have to upload everything manually, and I moved away from doing so last year once I got a coach and was using TP, but before that, the predictions around HM times are pretty accurate. I always tend to do a bit better than it expects, but the visualisation of how your optimal potential and “race shape” fitness begin to converge is really rather neat.

I’ll probably backfill that gap in data at some point. See how the 1:19 I ran last year lines up with what it would have predicted.


…goes to get personal laptop to look at the witchcraft of runalyze

It’s German in origin I seem to recall, so some of the terminology is a bit quirky. But the basic info you can get from it is still decent. And I actually think the weekly/monthly calendar summaries are really good too.

This is an example of my overall dashboard for anyone that’s interested…

On the race files themselves, the two things I specifically like that I’m not sure anyone else does is automatic positive/negative split timings…
eg: Capture
…and an overall “moving average” line on the pace graph. It’s also the site most hooked into running power data that I’ve seen.

Oh, and it pulls out data from your Garmin that even Garmin themselves don’t reflect on Garmin connect, like what the recovery advisor time was after a session, your calculated Garmin vo2max after each session, etc. I don’t really pay any attention to those things, but they’re available to view which is more than the company that included them in their device offers! :man_shrugging: