Things I Learned From my course at TrainingPeaks University and USA Cycling Level 2 Coaching Certification

It was an awesome four days at the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center, where along with a group of peers we were lectured and trained on how to be a better coach. From skill to proper training plan development, it was a great and extensive course to be in.

We had some of the greatest teachers, some of them even work with Olympic and National level athletes. Others were current professional athletes and coaches from the sport. It was a great weekend of learning, and I will be sure to include all of my new knowledge into my athlete’s training plans.

Some of the main points I got were:

TrainingPeaks University

    • Importance of a proper fitness ramp rate
      • Too much and the body won’t be able to handle it
      • At a max, 8 TSS gain per week, with 2-week max on very well-trained athletes
      • Manage training stress balance (TSB)
        • Within +/- 5
          • Gray area, stay out
        • Above 10
          • Good training stress
        • Above 20
          • Overtraining will likely occur
        • Below 10
          • Rest period and tapering
        • Below 20
          • Undertraining likely to occur
    • Importance of proper rest
      • Once per year 2 weeks off minimum, and 1 week off after each A race
      • This will allow the body to be well-rested for the block to come, as well as to allow for hormones and other body chemical unbalances to get back to normal levels.
      • Less is more!
    • Annual Training Plan
      • A tool to help you in creating the structure of your training plan
      • Can track it by either
        • Duration
        • TSS
    • Bike Split
      • To help you find the specifics of an event to apply it to your training
      • Takes a little bit more work to set up but can get great results from it
      • For MTB Race, make sure to consider up to 300% FTP usage and a greater variability index (ex 1.48) for best results
    • Home
      • A place to see a summary of your latest athlete activities
    • Calendar
      • Ability to display one user or one group at a time
        • This can be selected from the top-left corner
      • Ability to use full-screen mode
        • Also, a dual calendar can be used here, and it can be customized to show or not show things like summary, description, etc.
        • Can help if working on a smaller or low-resolution screen
      • Ability to use two calendars next to each other for easier workout prescription, it can be displayed as:
        • Athlete – Different athlete
        • Athlete – Training Plan
        • Athlete – Same Athlete Previous
    • Dashboard
      • A place to see performance chart, and other different charts and tables pertaining to the athlete performance
      • Can see past races organized here, this way a better comparison can be made on the athlete progress
      • Power profile
        • It can be displayed in last 90 days, 4-week or 8-week blocks.
          • This can help to see the progression of the athlete at certain power marks
        • Metrics and Calorie Consumption
          • Helps keeps track of other factors that might affect the athlete ability to perform
    • Training Plans
      • TrainingPeaks gives the tools to create training plans on the platform and store them for future use on athletes.
    • Workout library
      • Store common workouts in the library for later use
      • Make sessions comments not-athlete specific to be more reusable
        • Use pre-workout comment section to post any comment to the athlete, this will not save to a library
      • Invest a minute, save two minutes later on

USAC Coach Level 2 Certification

    • Fuel availability must match demand
      • Think about it like a bucket filled with water, at a low intensity you only poke a small hole to the bucket so usually, you can fill it before it empties out. However, as the intensity raises then you poke more holes on the bucket, which is where usually athletes do not keep up and they bunk.
      • If you do high-intensity workouts, you need carbs on your diet
      • If you do low-intensity workouts, you need fat on your diet
      • For longer races
        • Make sure to keep calorie intake on balance with what you are burning



    • Designing Training Plans
      • Importance of training specificity
        • After a certain level of fitness is reached, it is not about training to get fitter in general but to be fitter for a specific event.
      • Be very specific in workout structure, note exact duration, intensity, warm-up and cool-down process, etc.
      • Teach athletes how to train, how to stay in the zone, do a proper warm-up and cool down, etc
      • Importance of communication
        • Be able to know where the athlete is exactly in both physical and psychological ways.
        • Use the comment section on TrainingPeaks to communicate with the athlete more easily, this allows him/her to respond back and to have a way of tracking all this communication.
      • Things to consider about the athlete
        • Age
        • Gender
        • Development Level (Fitness Level)
        • Health Status
        • Athlete ability or inability to respond to stress
        • What resources does he have? (HR monitor, power meter, etc.)
        • What are his expectations about his training and me as his coach?
    • Energy Systems
      • Creatine Phosphate / ATP
        • Any effort lasting under 10 seconds
      • Anaerobic
        • Any effort lasting over 10 seconds and under 3 minutes
      • Aerobic
        • Any effort lasting over 3 minutes
      • Energy systems never work alone but in combination with other systems.
    • Lactic acid does not cause you to slow down, it is the acidity that comes with it that affects you.
      • Lactic acid can actually be used as another type of energy source
      • Lactic acid normally clears out in about a minute or two



    • Importance of skills training
      • On and off the bike, including things like:
        • Braking
        • Clipping into the pedals
        • How to turn properly
        • How to do a 180-degree turn on a time trial bike
        • How to ride with others in a group
        • How to be ride being safe and proactive
        • Where to position bodyweight balance

Written by:

Gilberto Cortez - USA Cycling, TrainingPeaks & NICA Certified Coach

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