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Q&A with Hal Higdon

Each week, coach and author, Hal Higdon answers your questions about running. Here's the latest:

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Sunday
Jan012012

Gear's thoughts: PR's and Podiums

Well it's that time of the year again, it's our busiest month of the season. That might sound a bit surprising, but we follow the typical "health club" schedule where our busiest month is always January. It's all part of "dreamin' season" that we often talk about and love, it's the time when we set goals for our target races in the coming year. Now is when we commit to doing the training to get us there. Sure, call it New Year's Resolutions.

It's also a time when we get a lot of new customers visiting our website. With all those visitors, I thought it would be a great time to talk about just who our customer is? Who uses TrainingPeaks? Why? What's it good for? We welcome everyone to take a look and see what we have to offer. You'll find we're not elitist, we love customer feedback, and our forums and social channels are incredibly helpful to newbies and experts alike. Oh, and we make some killer software.

But who makes up our core customer? What is that common thread among our members? We rolled all these questions into our re-launched website about a month ago, and I hope it's pretty clear who our customer is: endurance athletes and coaches looking for results. Sound like you? When our team boiled it all down to that sentence, we got excited. It's not easy to encapsulate a million ideas to just a few words, but it felt so right.

Lets go another level deeper. While other companies target the large audience of all active people that ride, run and do multisport, we readily admit that our product really isn't for everyone. I'd like to take a minute to explain to all of our new visitors just who TrainingPeaks is, and what kind of people make up our amazing community.

Perhaps it's easiest to tell you who we're not, and I'm going to be blunt. We are not the place you come looking for a pat on the back for parking 8 spaces further away from the supermarket entrance. We are not the cute, puffy-clouds and rounded corners Web 2.0 social fitness site promising amazing results by making "easy" lifestyle changes. We do not hand out badges and pins and encourage you to level-up by counting steps. In fact, if counting steps is what you're all about, we probably aren't for you. We are also not interested in getting you 8-minute abs or buns of steel. I'm not being critical, I'm just telling you like it is. There's a lot of other places to go that service those needs. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of great benefit to those consumers that need that level of help and motivation. But that's just not us.

We are about setting personal records, podium placements and beating the clock. We build decisive software to help you reach your athletic dreams, and quantify it along the way. We can help you plan, track and communicate with a coach better than any other tool on the market. We are an 11-year old company with over 30 people dedicated to endurance athletes and coaches seeking results.

If this sounds too "hard core", I don't mean for it to sound that way. But if you came looking for a gimmick that gets you fitter or faster, we don't have it. Here's a secret: there is no secret. We're all about competition and pounding the pavement. Putting in the hours, the early mornings and the sacrifices that come with the commitment. Sweating and doing intervals. Hill repeats and track sessions. We actually think it's fun. We rely on science and physiology to guide our training. We ask questions and test different techniques. If working your butt off to achieve your goals isn't what you had in mind, literally and figuratively, we're probably not the right fit.

But, if what I'm saying is resonating with you, boy would I like to introduce you to some amazing people and some amazing software. Our community of customers is made up of age-group athletes, seasoned pros, weekend warriors, newbies and nervous middle-aged guys and gals looking for an edge. We like to race. We like to put our bodies to the test. We like to time ourselves and see if we can beat it next month. Our social motivation is beating our friends in a sprint, and bragging about it over beers. Are we all elite athletes and Ironmen? Nowhere close, but we love to dream about it. Sure, the athletes on our homepage are Olympians, World Champions and elite athletes, but the majority of our customers are a little more like me. Heck, I'm a very regular 40-something guy with about 20 lbs to lose struggling to balance work, family and fitness.  Sound familiar?  But I love the process, the training, the racing. We're certainly not all fast, we just want to be faster.  We love the competition.

If this makes sense and you're looking for a PR or a podium placement this year, you've found the right place, the right people, and the right tools.  Welcome! Here's to getting serious about your results this year. Lean on us, you won't be disappointed.

Thanks for reading. Happy New Year, and best of luck in your own training and racing.

- Gear, CEO

Reader Comments (6)

Thanks for all you do for the sports community seeking to excel (and us data geeks as well!) Here's to a great 2012 filled with amazing achievements by all!

January 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNicole Drummer

Great, I am with TP 15 months, and I am very happy with the fit. A 44 yr old cyclist, training for 2 yrs now, recently qualified for entry to Veteran racing league.

January 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFaizel

President and CEO of a manufacturing company in Arizona ... 45 years old ... have been logging for 3 years now. I really appreciate the online and remote app functionality, since I travel a lot to visit customers and the factories we have in 3 other states. I'm a trail-runner, recreational triathlete up to half-iron distance, and avid cyclist ... and mainly using TP for monthly planning, comparing race results from year to year, and staying engaged in my own fitness and health. I average about 375 hours of swim, bike, run, and strength training per year ....5 years ago I weighted 220 and got winded racing through airports and now, with some help from you guys, I'm steady at 175 and finishing top third of most of my races. I'm sure I'll be using TP for the rest of my life. I hope I'll look back years from now and laugh at how slow I used to be!

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterScott

TP is a great tool. My 2011 training last year resulted in a 7 Hr 10 Min finish in The Deer Creek Challenge in Littleton Colorado. This 106 mile bike event has 12,750 feet of elevation gain. TP gives one the tools to systematic push beyond normal boundaries. At age 56 my improvement compared to my best climbing event in 2009 was 17%.

January 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterL Madden

Thanks for putting so much effort into a data geek tool that is easy to pick up and run/cycle/swim with for logging. Every time I start to think about 'man, I wish TrainingPeaks would do [insert here] functionality' it seems you are right around the corner of releasing it. From the infancy of Outlook calendar synch in TPv1 to merge multiple device files it's been right there. Keep up the good work.

And if you could point me to that buns of steel DVD it'd be much appreciated. Sounds rad.

January 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterspokejunky

Thanks everyone - it never fails to amaze us how supportive our customers are and the cool stories you all have. @L Madden: whew! That is one heck of a ride!!! Nice work!! @Scott - "I hope I'll look back years from now and laugh at slow I used to be." Many of us would heartily agree with that sentiment ourselves :)

January 13, 2012 | Registered Commentertrainingpeaks

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