Words by Flow | Images by Flow

Australian company Today’s Plan have just released a product that we think is incredibly smart and will have huge appeal for racers (of all types), or anyone who’s serious about making real gains in their training.

Today’s Plan is an online ‘coach’ that provides you with a custom training program, based around your goals and other parameters that you can control. There are plenty of ‘off the shelf’ coaching programs out there, but what sets Today’s Plan apart is that each program is completely bespoke and is responsive to your feedback.

The team behind Today’s Plan includes coaching legend Mark ‘Fenz’ Fenner. Fenz has trained, and continues to train, some of Australia’s best cyclists – riders like Jack Haig, Jenny Fay, Josh Carlson and teams like Torq have all been touched by his wisdom – and all his knowledge has been poured into Today’s Plan. Flow recently set ourselves up with an account (it’s free to trial) to see what it’s all about.

After entering all our particulars, we opted to receive daily emails telling us what the next workout in our training plan would be. We were given the option of using either a heart rate monitor or power meter (or both) to measure our effort. This raises an important point; you need either a heart rate monitor or power meter, plus some kind of GPS device, to get the most out of Today’s Plan, or any training for that matter. The system relies on you uploading your training data so it can track your performance relative to your plan.

Select an event from the database as the basis for your plan, or go for a completely custom option.

Select an event from the database as the basis for your plan, or go for a completely custom option.

Next up, is to begin creating our training plan. You can either complete a questionnaire or, and this is cool, pick an event from the event database that you’re training for to get a recommended (but still customisable) training plan to suit that particular event! Of course, not every event is in there yet, but the database is growing, with both mountain bike and road races. Want to smash your time at Capital Punishment? Today’s Plan has the event’s distance, route and profile on file and will create a plan based specifically around training for that race’s conditions.

A number of events are already in the Today's Plan database as the basis for a training plan.

A number of events are already in the Today’s Plan database as the basis for a training plan.

If you opt to create a training plan from scratch, the questionnaire let’s you select a plan from 6-16 weeks in length. You then set the parameters around your usual week on the bike, your goals, your strengths/weaknesses, and then finally you select how many hours a week you’re willing to dedicate to training. The minimum plan is five hours a week, and you can specify how many hours you’re able to train on each day of the week. The exact plan you’re delivered may not 100% match what you’ve specified, but it will work to your daily parameters as closely as is feasible to deliver a workable, realistic training plan.

Setting up a custom plan involves a few basic self-assessment questions.

Setting up a custom plan involves a few basic self-assessment questions.

You can specify how many hours and on which days of the week you're best able to train.

You can specify how many hours and on which days of the week you’re best able to train.

Voila! Your plan is delivered. The system gives you a two week trial, after which you’ll need to pony up some cash, but at $59.95 for a 12-week plan it’s seriously affordable (you try hiring a coach for that little money!).

Your plan is outlined on a clear calendar. Clicking on each sessions will reveal the detail of what that session entails.

Your plan is outlined on a clear calendar. Clicking on each sessions will reveal the detail of what that session entails.

The plan is outlined on a calendar, with the first session a threshold test to set your baseline. Each day is different; threshold sessions, sprints, endurance days, recovery rides, rest days – they’re all woven into your calendar to give you results you’re after. You can move sessions around on your calendar should you need to. For riders like us, for whom training has always been unstructured, it’s a bit of an eye-opener to see what a scientifically sound approach to training actually looks like!

As you complete and upload each session, you're prompted to offer some feedback about how you're feeling. This is used to shape your future sessions.

As you complete and upload each session, you’re prompted to offer some feedback about how you’re feeling. This is used to shape your future sessions.

As you complete (or don’t complete) each session, you mark it as such, then upload the data and fill out a few simple star-rating fields to give your coach some feedback as to how you’re feeling. Feeling too tired to complete a session? Plug in that feedback and it will automatically adjust your training load and calendar to ensure you don’t burn out. #smart

The system is backed up with a lot of analytics power too, which we’ll delve into further down the track.

We’ll be giving ourselves a break over Christmas (we need to be fully fuelled for all our upcoming training!) then hitting the new year with a fresh plan to see how it all works for us. Check it out for yourself: www.todaysplan.com.au

 

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