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Tech & Wearables

4 Online Training Platforms You May Have Not Heard Of

Long gone are the days of a simple online training plan. Today’s multisport training programs use real-time virtual feedback, online guides, and even artificial intelligence.

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Few triathletes lack drive and ambition—otherwise they’d have chosen a different sport. Still, many struggle when it comes to knowing how to channel that ambition. Often, hard work without rhyme or reason leads to disappointing results, injuries, or even illness. While a fully customized training program from a personal coach is ideal, it isn’t practical for all triathletes. Nowadays, customizable, well-designed plans are available online at a fraction of the cost of a coach. We take a look at four training programs/platforms you might not have heard of yet—outside of the long-time standards like TrainingPeaks—each with very different and novel approaches to help you get the most of your training.

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$20/month, $190/year

Focuses on: Cycling, with programs geared for triathletes, road, off-road riding, and bike “enthusiasts”

If you’re searching for a methodical, customizable training program to up your cycling game, TrainerRoad is worth a hard look. Its programs utilize trainer-based workouts on its app, based on your Functional Threshold Power (FTP)—which you can determine via their testing system. The training plans are broken into three phases—base, build, and specialty. Rather than utilizing a traditional low-intensity, high-volume base phase (which can be impractical for triathletes), TrainerRoad focuses on “sweet spot” training at 85-95% FTP to build your base. Next, they use a build phase—where the goals become more specific—and then the specialty phase, where the work becomes even more focused on race goals—including various types of road and mountain bike races, centuries, or triathlon.

TrainerRoad is particularly effective for Erg mode workouts, in which your connected smart trainer keeps you at the wattage prescribed by the day’s program. Many of the workouts also have cues, tips, and encouraging messages that pop up on your screen throughout the workout.

For those accustomed to the interactive, game-like, and social aspects of Zwift, TrainerRoad may seem a little vanilla, but if the goal is a methodical, customizable, and smart plan to build your power on the bike, then it’s an attractive option. Also, considering the limitations of computer-generated training programs, TrainerRoad still allows thorough customization based on your goals, history, and time constraints.

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The Sufferfest

$15/month, $130/year

Focuses on: Specifics for swim, bike, run, and holistic multisport programs

The Sufferfest also offers customizable training plans based on your goals and logistical concerns, but has a few differences: Rather than relying solely on FTP to determine appropriate training intensities, The Sufferfest uses a proprietary protocol they call 4DP (Four Dimensional Power) which examines your “Neuromuscular Power (NM), Maximal Aerobic Power (MAP), Functional Threshold Power (FTP), and Anaerobic Capacity (AC)” to better determine your physiological profile, and then bases your training and workouts on that. Sufferfest subscribers also have access to a robust offering of yoga, strength, and mental-training videos, making it a more comprehensive option.

Though the name may evoke visions of day after day of grueling, unrelenting workouts, the training programs are in fact quite well thought out with appropriate recovery and rest days—which may be why the company, bought by Wahoo in 2019, has toyed with renaming its plans and coaches “SUF.”

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Today’s Plan

$18/month, $180/year (Active Pass members get free access.)

Focuses on: Specifics for swim, bike, run, and holistic multisport programs

Primarily known as an online training log and app used by coaches and athletes, Today’s Plan also features a variety of customizable training programs for triathlon, as well as duathlon, cycling, and running. Triathletes can choose anything from a short-course beginner plan to an Iron-distance podium plan with foundation, base, build, peak, race, and transition phases. Once you choose the appropriate plan and desired start date, Today’s Plan populates your online training calendar in the platform. The initial week includes testing followed by prescribed workout sessions with guidelines for heart rate, power, and pace. Each day’s entries are accompanied by a video demonstrating and explaining the key points of that type of workout.

While Today’s Plan lacks the polish and bells and whistles of some of its competition, the seamless integration with the built-in workout log and calendar and the videos are both great features.

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$30/month, $280/year

Focuses on: A cohesive multisport program built using AI and your parameters

Compared to some of the more established brands, HumanGo’s setup is more time-consuming and work-intensive for the user. For better or worse, it also allows the athlete more freedom to create their own program. For instance, rather than HumanGo telling you how many hours you should dedicate to an Iron-distance training program, you tell them how much time you have each week, how many sessions you can do for each discipline in a given week, what days you want to do them, and they develop a calendar for you.

It also takes a more holistic approach to the athlete than most other computer-generated programs—along with asking about your experience and skill as an athlete, it asks about illness and injury history, as well as sleep habits. HumanGo is far from the simplest program to set up, but the deeper dive is valuable for customizing an effective program with AI.