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Frequently Asked Questions
How does Athletica work to determine my training plan?
Athletica plans your training using the principles outlined in HIIT Science. Simply put, by entering in details of your context (sport, fitness level, training history, etc) and race date, a logical plan can be formed — one that will maximize fitness and minimize fatigue prior to your event. For detailed information and education opportunities related to the process, visit HIIT Science.
How does Athletica make adjustments to my plan?
Athletica makes adjustments to your training plan based on the principles outlined in HIIT Science. The detailed methods are described in Chapters 8 (Training Load) and Chapter 9 (Training Load Response).
Training load: Described briefly, when you perform any form of exercise training, we consider this as a form of stress. The amount of exercise stress, formed as a product of your training intensity and duration, is called the training load. To keep you on track with your training, we want to give you just the right amount of training load on any given day. Some days you will perform too much training, some days not enough, and some days you’ll be right on the money. By monitoring your training with your devices (GPS, power meter, HR) we can accurately determine the training load you completed, and from this, determine whether or not tomorrow should be adjusted or not to build your fitness appropriately.
Training load response: We are all individuals. Just because two individuals look the same on paper, and get the same training load prescribed, inevitably they will respond differently to the training stress. So we need to determine any individual’s response to that training load. As we describe in Chapter 9 of HIIT Science, we determine this by three main ways.
1. Your heart rate response to exercise (HR monitor)
2. Your neuromuscular response to exercise (GPS, power and accelerometry)
3. Your mind’s perception of the exercise (comments, rating of perceived exertion, feel)
We combine these responses to determine how well you are responding to the exercise, and adjust tomorrow’s exercises accordingly to keep you on track.
What devices and platforms are supported?
We currently support both Garmin Connect and Strava platforms for data upload. Any device that links to those platforms is supported. For best results, we recommend using the Garmin Connect platform.
What happens if I do not know my threshold and fitness values?
If you don’t know your fitness value numbers, Athletica will make an estimate of this through your answers to a series of questions concerning your training and fitness history. If you don’t know your threshold values, Athletica will determine these for you using prescribed tests occurring in your training at appropriate points in your plan. Threshold values include your functional threshold power (FTP) for cycling, functional threshold speed (FTS) for running and critical swim speed (CSS) for swimming. As you continue on the program, Athletica uses a modified version of Banister’s training impulse (TRIMP) formula to understand further your level of fitness, fatigue and freshness.
What if I do not have a clear objective (Race A) but I just want to get better/healthier at the moment?
Not a problem. Simply select “Train to Train” and the date in the future you wish to do this for. This is a great strategy to select in the winter or off-season.
Can I move the sessions in the plan to another day?
Yes you can. While we recommend that you perform the plan as it is laid out, you can shift most sessions to alternate days as may be more appropriate for your daily schedule. Our logic will continue to adjust the planned session accordingly.
Can I delete or remove a session?
You can delete any session in the plan where you know you aren’t going to be able to complete it. Our logic will continue to adjust subsequent planned sessions accordingly.
What happens if I do not have the time for training to the length of time recommended by Athletica? Can I change the duration of a session?
In this situation, we would recommend two options: 1) shorten the session yourself logically by shortening the warm-up and cool-down portions of the session and focusing on the main set, 2) move sessions of the same exercise mode in the week yourself so that the time durations suit your schedule.
How will I get notified about session updates?
The moment your data from a session is uploaded, and feedback is submitted, Athletica begins to compute advice concerning your next session. The work of the computations takes longer than you might think — it’s not instantaneous. However, session changes will be made within 6 hours of providing your session feedback, and you will be notified accordingly (Email, SMS or pop-up notification).
Can I use Athletica for free?
I'm a beginner. Can this guide me towards my first race?
It sure can. We have both a beginner program for those who have at least once raced before, as well as a first-timer program for those looking for guidance towards their first ever race.
I'm a professional athlete, and I have a coach. What advantages could the platform offer for me?
There are a number of advantages to using the program as a professional athlete. Ultimately the same advantages afforded to all athletes using Athletica are gained. These include:
1. Optimal training session prescription (Athletica gives you what you are missing out on),
2. Training session response monitoring (Athletica tells you when you should pull back in training and focus on recovery),
3. The speed at which Athletica can update to make these recommendations for you is likely faster than your coach’s ability to — while it is still early days for Athletica, this ability will only improve with time,
4. Your training zones, which change with changes in fitness, naturally stay on track with Athletica. This offers you precision in the training prescription and helps keep you on track.
5. No more secrets – simply first principle advice. Train as your body was meant to.
I'm a coach, how could I use this to help my athletes?
There are a number of advantages to using the program as a coach. In fact, the reason that Athletica was developed was due to a need for a better, more streamlined training prescription, and one that took more athlete context into account. How can even the world’s best coach consider every single detail, for every single athlete? We personally found this to be an impossible task. We recognized that we needed to be better.
Therefore, Athletica can also be used in a coaching capacity (coach version in development) to render more advantages for athletes and coaches. Using the Athletica platform for your coaching means that you don’t miss the obvious as a coach. Advantages include:
1. Optimal training session prescription (Athletica makes recommendations for what appears the athlete may be missing out on – you as a coach have the final say on whether or not the prescription is implemented, as you appreciate the context best),
2. Training session response monitoring (Athletica makes recommendations for the coach as to when training should be pulled back to allow the athlete to focus on recovery),
3. The speed at which Athletica can update to make these recommendations for you as a coach is likely faster than your ability to complete these computations (at least this is the case when you have a number of athletes to handle),
4. As a coach, do you ever get questions from athletes about their training zones and whether you’ve got them right or not? Indeed, these are affected by test session protocol, training status, and other factors. Missing out on these means that the training load calculations are inaccurate. After a few weeks on Athletica, we’ll have grasped a solid handle on these zones, even when they may change subtly. This feature as a coach offers you precision with your training prescription and the monitoring of your athlete’s training loads.
5. The final and perhaps most important feature for coaches? You know the industry. But with Athletica, there are no more secrets – simply first principle advice. We put it all out there for everyone. Join us, learn, connect with your athletes, and be part of their experience as they reach new heights. There’s nothing more rewarding than that experience as a coach…
How many days/hours will I need to train?
The daily and hourly commitment you make to your training is entirely up to you. However, Athletica’s recommendations for full and half-distance triathlon are in line with the level of athlete you initially declare yourself to be as follows:
• Beginner: 7-14 hours/week
• Intermediate: 8-18 hours/week
• Advanced: 8-24 hours/week
If you can’t hit these training duration targets, Athletica adjusts your training intensity in key sets so that your training load remains appropriately aligned with your goals.
What if I don't have time on a certain day for training?
No problem. You can either move or delete the training session. Athletica will update your subsequent training plan accordingly.
What does VT2 mean?
VT2 is an abbreviation for the second ventilatory threshold. This is a point on the exercise intensity spectrum that in fact defines high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Training above this point (often called your red zone) is hard and unsustainable for long durations. When we gain endurance fitness, we often see higher levels of the intensity associated with VT2. Other terms used to describe VT2 include the maximal lactate steady state, functional threshold power (FTP), and critical velocity or critical power. In Athletica, we use an algorithmic derivation that approximates the VT2.
What does Training Capacity refer to?
When we ask you for your ‘Training Capacity’, we are asking you to reflect on a time in your life history where you trained the most. If you considered that period of time, and then also reflected on the present day, how much are you training now as a percentage compared to that time?
What do fitness, fatigue and form mean?
When you observe these terms in Athletica, they take on a meaning in reference to a mathematical formula for managing training stress (load) developed in the 1970’s by Banister and colleagues. Fitness is the accumulation of training stress over a long period of time. Fatigue is the accumulation of training stress in a short period of time. And form (or freshness) refers to how much relief you have from training. The aim of training is to maximize fitness and minimize fatigue just prior to a performance. Your Athletica training program does precisely that for you on a daily basis.
What is a good value for fitness/fatigue/form?
It’s hard to give ‘good’ values for fitness, fatigue and form as they are very much context dependent. For example, triathletes training in 3 disciplines tend to have higher values of fitness than single sport athletes as a result of managing training load across three disciplines as opposed to only 1 or 2. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that a triathlete is more ‘fit’ than a runner. Additionally, the higher the level of athlete, the higher the training status or fitness level we tend to see generally, although there are many elite athletes that manage successful performances with much lower levels of fitness (i.e., they train less and this works better for them). These fitness, fatigue and form values help guide us, but due to various factors, they should never be taken as gospel.
Is there a cheat sheet for the terms used in the sessions?
There sure is. Download our Athletica training terminology PDF sheet here.
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