AI Training Plan – Phase 1

Welcome Early Adopters!

Today we start testing our AI training plan. Consequently, you will now find a “Generate Training Plan” menu item in the drop-down menu of PerfectPace (where you also find e.g. your athlete settings). Below, you will find a detailed description of what you can do, but first …

TL;DR
  • Ensure that your athlete settings are complete (height, weight, gender, max HR and bike FTP)
  • Place one or more triathlon competitions within the next 12 months
  • Hit the “Generate training plan” button and wait a bit
  • Bask in the glory of your first personal triathlon training plan
  • Tell us about your experience
  • Delete the training plan again if you don’t need it

With that out of the way, lets review how you can get the most out of the new training plan functionality.

Cyclist on wind trainer
Athlete Profile

The first thing you should probably do is review your athlete profile. In order to be able to generate a training plan, you need to set your height, weight, gender, maximum heart rate and bike FTP. To improve your experience with the training plan, we recommend that you also set your swim and run times, so that the training stress of all of your workouts is calculated properly.

Available Training Time

The training plan is calculated according to your personal circumstances. One aspect of those is when you are available for training. You can set your possible training times by using the “default available time slots” function accessible from the drop-down menu, and, for specific days, in the calendar. The earlier you set up e.g. vacations, the better your training plan will adapt, because it gives the AI more freedom with respect to the training phases and recovery weeks can be lined up with your vacation.

Manual Workouts

Like the time you have available for training, your planned workouts also influence the training plan. Therefore, if you already know for example that you will visit a training camp, you can add activities representing your workouts at the camp. Important for the AI are the expected stress, the duration and the type of activity. A rough estimation is still better than no information at all.

Competitions

Without competitions to train for, you can’t have a training plan. You need to set at least one competition in the next 12 months. Competitions later than that will not be considered for the training plan. Depending on the length of the competition (sprint, olympic, …), your plan will contain different workouts to optimally prepare you. If you set up multiple competitions, the plan will prepare you for the longest upcoming competition. That means if you plan to compete in a sprint and then in a long distance triathlon, you will train for the long distance triathlon. If you do it the other way round, i.e. first long distance, then sprint, the plan will prepare you for the long distance until the date of the competition, and then for the sprint.

Generating the training plan

By now, you have set up everything perfectly and are ready to generate your training plan. After using the “Generate training plan” item from the drop-down menu, you will see a dialog allowing you to create the training plan.

There are two pieces of input you can give at this stage. The first one sets the maximum training hours per week the training plan will contain. It is important to note that this is a maximum, not every week will contain as many training hours as you have set up here. Additionally, the maximum value you put here is not a hard limit. Some weeks may (slightly) exceed the time budget, if it benefits the training plan overall. The second option is only relevant if you have already started your training for the upcoming season. In this case, set the date when you started, so that the AI plan considers your completed workouts. Otherwise, the plan will start at the date you press the “generate training plan” button.

Once you have pressed the button, the AI will calculate your personal training plan. This may take up to five minutes. Then your calendar will fill up with the planned workouts of your training plan. The performance management chart will also show you your predicted fitness development if you follow the plan.

The “generate training plan” button can also be used to refresh the training plan. Once you have changed something (added a new manual training, changed the training time per week, …), just hit the button again and the AI will update your training plan, incorporating the new information.

The dialog also features a “Remove” button to delete all planned activities of the training plan. You can use this to generate a new training plan from scratch, instead of updating the existing plan.

Structure of the training plan

Your training plan will be structured as you would expect, i.e. containing macro-, meso-, and micro-cycles. Surrounding each competition you will find a taper and a recovery phase.

The three macro-cycle phases are the general preparation phase, the specific preparation phase and the competitive phase. During the general preparation phase, your plan will contain low to medium intensity workouts to build your aerobic base and endurance. Transitioning into the specific preparation phase, the planned workouts will increase intensity and duration to approximate competitive loads. This will be the most challenging part of your training. During the competitive phase, your training will focus on high intensity workouts, but with slightly reduced loads.

The meso-cycles will contain 2-3 phases of progressively increasing load, followed by a recovery phase containing low intensity workouts. Each phase is about a week in duration. The actual duration of each phase depends on your available training time, i.e. the recovery phases will be put at times where you don’t have time for training anyway. Each meso-cycle has a focus on a specific sport. In one cycle you will focus for example on your swim technique, while you work on biking skills in the next.

The micro-cycles are the weeks in your training plan. Here we make sure that you get enough recovery days between your training sessions.

The training plan contains a taper phase before each competition. Its duration depends on the competition and spans from a few days to a few weeks. During the taper phase the training volume is reduced and you will find only a few key high intensity workouts planned for you. In this phase, you lock in the fitness you have built with your training while getting rid of accumulated fatigue, so that you reach your top form on the day of your competition.

After the competition follows a recovery phase, allowing you to heal from the physical and mental stress of the competition. The length of this phase again depends on the type of competition. The training intensity will be ramped up slowly, until normal training for your next competition resumes.

Feedback

We are very interested to hear about your experience with the AI training plan, and if you read the preceding wall of text doubly so. In particular, we would like to know what you think about the exercises, whether you would follow the plan as a whole and how much you would be willing to pay for this.

Current State / Limitations

Since this is the first phase of our evaluation, some features of the AI training plan are not fully fleshed out yet.

First and foremost, generating the training plan is a one-shot feature. That means that you can generate it once, and the plan will utilize all information available at that time. It will not yet automatically adapt to future developments. If you want to refresh the plan, you need to “generate training plan” again.

Second, we don’t officially support athletic training (“Strength”) yet, that’s why the AI plans activities of type “Other”.

Third, the exercises of the training plan are not localized, so their description is always in German.