As with last season, 2013 has title sponsor Sixcycle hard at work providing coaching and technology for the team. Earlier this month they released a major update to the Sixcycle Training Platform, the web-based and mobile training center developed by Sixcycle and used by the team to manage it's training. This new update brings new training file evaluation features and brand new charting capabilities. The list of new features in the new version of the Sixcycle Training Platform is too long to go through in it’s entirety here, but there are a handful of standout additions the team is using at this time of the year that we think are worth review.
Sixcycle has included a number of new tools for evaluating training files including the calculation of Calories, Kilojoules, Smart Power and Intensity, but three new metrics are particularly useful to the team as we make our way through the early season Base cycles:
HR Drift - The team’s early season training often includes workouts that specify extended periods of time at consistent, aerobic intensities. One means of evaluating aerobic fitness is by measuring heart rate response to this sort of effort. Heart rate drift (or “decoupling”) is the slow, steady increase in heart rate at a consistent intensity and can in some instances be an indicator of aerobic weakness (it’s also a good metric to keep your eye on to evaluate hydration and cooling, particularly indoors on the trainer...). The new HR Drift metric shows how much (or hopefully how little) this is occurring in our workouts.
Variability - As mentioned above, many of our Base cycle workouts involve consistent pacing. The Variability metric shows how evenly paced a workout is. For steady-state workouts this is one way in which to evaluate how well we executed the workout.
Stress - The Stress metric assigns a single value to a workout that represents the “difficulty” of the workout. In conjunction with the reporting of Calories and Kilojoules this value helps guide nutrition and recovery practices, and is integral to how we track training stress week to week and cycle to cycle, as discussed below.
Perhaps even more important than the evaluation of individual workouts is how we track the structure of our training over time. The long term evaluation features in the new Charting section are designed to do exactly this:
Stress and Form - Managing training stress and recovery is central to any structured training program. Understanding how cumulative stress is building and when to rest is critical to training at this time of the season, as it is throughout the year. The Stress and Form chart shows the affects of training stress (as reported by the Stress value discussed above) and Recovery on Form, a predictive measurement of fitness. One and Six week Stress Balance metrics show near and medium term cumulative stress, and one can see the inverse relationship between increased stress and decreased form, and the positive affect of Recovery on Form - driving home the basic tenant that training stress sets up the potential for fitness, but actually weakens you. You must recover to get stronger. This chart helps us keep tabs on our training and helps to schedule recovery as effectively as possible.
Hours by Month - The early season Base cycles are high volume cycles. Having the ability to track volume (typically in hours) over time is critical to understanding how well our early cycles are going.
Time in Zone - If there’s one thing we know, it’s that you gotta hit your training zones. The Time in Zone chart shows how much time is spent in each zone over time, and ultimately how diligent we are being at hitting our zones and doing our workouts as designed.
Cadence Distribution - The team typically does a good bit of cadence and pedal stroke work in the early Base cycles. The goal is to increase naturally selected cadence and smooth out the pedal stroke so as to improve pedaling efficiency and encourage aerobic energy usage. Tracking cadence distribution allows us to evaluate the effectiveness of this work over time.
Mean Max Power - Understanding strengths and weaknesses is key to shaping a structured training program. The Mean Max Power chart shows an all time look at your best training numbers by duration, helping to identify how training time should be spent.
While much more can be written about the new Sixcycle Training Platform, we hope this gives you a sense of how Team Sixcycle has been using the technology to measure, track and improve our training throughout our early season Base cycles. We’ll be sure to post additional examples of how the platform is used over the course of the season.
For more information on Sixcycle coaching and technology, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sixcycle is a performance management and technology company founded by Matt Richards to support his coaching and the development of new training technologies. Sixcycle’s sixty five athletes now race for many teams regionally, and span all ability and fitness levels from recreational riders up through the competitive categories.
Sixcycle is also the developer of the Sixcycle Training Platform, a web-based and mobile training center. The platform was developed to aid in the design and implementation of training plans, the assignment, tracking and evaluation of workouts, long term performance tracking, the administration and reporting of performance testing and the management of client correspondence, among other functions. It continues to be the performance management platform used for all athletes, and is under continued development and deployment.