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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:

Monday
Sep252006

Interbike 2006 update, booth #3259

What happens in Vegas…hopefully doesn’t stay in Vegas!

This year we have a lot of great things to talk about at the largest bike industry show of the year, Interbike 2006. We hope our news doesn’t stay in Vegas. But if you happen to be going, stop by our booth, here is what is going on:

  • Launch of our new Virtual Coach Re-branding
  • Retail Affiliate Program Launching – if you are a retailer, stop by and find out how you can join and make money by not ever having to spend any money or keep inventory.
  • Everyday at 11:00 Hunter Allen and Joe Friel will do a WKO+ demonstration using Tour de France power files.
  • At 2:00 on Thursday come meet Jeremiah Bishop, 2006 NORBA Mountain Bike Pro and Hillary Harrison overall 2006 Ultra 100mile MTB series winner.
Not like others that go to Vegas, we will fill you in on all the "Interbike exclusive announcements" – I believe there are a couple up our sleeve so stay tuned.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Sep242006

Redesigned: web sites and value-proposition


It was only just back in February that we did a complete overhaul of our web sites (the front-end that is.. we're always working on the functional "back-end"). Since then, we have hired a new marketing director, Katie Schoeben. Katie is the real-world customer us product engineer types really need. She pointed out several things about how we have been confusing the message we were trying to deliver to the world. We argued, battled and soon realized, she was right.

We started re-tooling our marketing message and that translated into re-tooling our website design. Not a total overhaul of all the pages, just mainly the home page and some product pages. Which brings me to the next "a ha" moment.

Back in 2000, when we launched, our focus was that of prescription. We had Joe Friel and his brilliant coaching mind wrapped up in several features on the site. Basically, our value proposition was that you any athlete could have the benefit of Joe helping them do their own self-coaching. That's been his mantra in his TrainingBible book series, and it's what he is amazing at: taking a ton of science, boiling it down, and then telling athletes how they can guide themself to a successful goal.

Since launching, growing, hiring and just generally busting tail for 6 years, we had started to drift away from that core offering: prescriptive advice for self-coached athletes. We had gotten ourself into a rut of being a "training log".. and oh by the way, we had this amazing intelligence built-in, but we lumped ourself with much of our competition: just a plain 'ol training log. There are a zillion logs out there, software that lets you laboriously enter data after numbing data, and it collects it fine, but it doesn't tell you what to do, how to go faster, or hardly even give you any help with your training. Well, no more.

Our Virtual Coach solutions actual prescription, "just tell me what to do" information that has helped thousands of athletes over the years reach their athletic dreams. Oh, and by the way, we happen to have the absolute most fully featured, powerful, useful "training log" in the business too. Nobody else supports uploading data from so many devices like heart-rate monitors, GPS devices and power meters. Our planning calendar is second to none with incredibly powerful features like move, copy, insert workouts, by day, week or month. Integration with Outlook, instant "plan vs. actual" feedback .. on and on and on. But I digress.

At TrainingPeaks.com, the Virtual Coach (tm) is really a personification of the planning tools that we offer. We have three categories of products:

  1. Self-Coached subscription with Joe Friel's ATP Wizard (we used to just call that the VC)
  2. Get a Pre-Built Training Plan loaded into your workout calendar
  3. Find a Personal Coach. A true professional coach to motivate and guide you.
In the past, we just tried to sell a training log with these things lumped on top. In reality, it's these things we sell and each of them comes with either our premium training log, or our free, basic log-only training log.

We also have a version of TrainingPeaks for coaches: The Coach Edition. Designed to help coaches maximize efficiency and communication with their clients. Hundreds of coaches use these tools, it's like Adobe Photoshop for an endurance Coach.. your workouts, your methhodology, but our software tools.

You'll soon see many new features, like an improved ATP Wizard, better device upload support and many other things along the way. Our team is passionate.. repeat, passionate about what we do, I hope it shows, and we all appreciate your willingness to come along on the ride. We are proud of what we've done, and excited by what lies ahead.

At CyclingPeaks, our bread and butter is WKO+. With features like the new Performance Manager, there is amazing intelligence to help you better understand your training. Our other products, ERG+, CRS+ and Real3D are all designed to help you get the most out of your CompuTrainer. They give you graphical, drag-n-drop editing and design capability that truly makes your CompuTrainer an invaluable tool

Need some help with your training? We got that. We can help.

From novice to olympian, to world-champion (!!) we have software that can help you reach your athletic dreams (oh, and a training log too).

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep222006

Training Peaks user Kristen Armstrongwins World Time Trial Championship

Salzburg, Austria (September 20, 2006)—Training Peaks user, Kristin Armstrong won the Elite Women’s Time Trial event today at the UCI Road World Championships in Salzburg, Austria by 25.57 seconds. Armstrong becomes the third American woman in history to win the world’s time trial.

Kristin is coached by Jim Miller, Director of Endurance Programs at USA Cycling. Miller manages Kristin’s training and race data through software developed by TrainingPeaks.com. Training Peaks is the official software supplier to USA Cycling and allows USA Cycling team coaches to monitor, analyze and plan workouts easily and efficiently through a web-based platform. In addition to Training Peaks web-based products coaches and athletes can analyze power, heart rate and GPS files using CyclingPeaks WKO+ software.

The combination of desktop and web-based software allows USA Cycling coaches the ability to easily track day-to-day fitness and modify future training in a timely and effective manner.

“USA Cycling uses the best heart rate and power meter devices, and now with TrainingPeaks.com we use the best software available for the benefit of our athletes,” said Miller.

It has obviously paid off for Kristin – and many of the U.S. Cycling Team athletes.

As Reported by USA Cycling: “The performance by the U.S. Cycling Team Wednesday clearly illustrates the consistency and depth of American women at the international level. The 2006 world championships mark the second consecutive year in which three American riders have landed in the top ten – a streak that follows the 2004 Olympic Games in which the U.S. placed second and fourth.”

Training Peaks is proud to be an official supplier to USA Cycling and is helping the organization and its athletes reach World Class results. We are proud of their accomplishments and congratulate Kristin on her victory today!

For the full story on Armstrong’s winning race, go to www.usacycling.org

Saturday
Sep092006

Vegas Baby!

Vegas, here we come! On top of hiring two new folks and working like mad to enhance our products, we're getting ready for Interbike 2006. We've been to Interbike several times, and it's always been a great show for us, we usually go and cruise the aisles and meet with industry folks, but we've never had an actual booth before. This year, we do! Booth #3259 is where we'll be demonstrating tons of downloadable hardware devices, launching a new retailer program (details coming soon) and meeting lots of customers and partners.

We are even going all-out and staying at the Venetian Hotel, which is connected to the Sands convention center. In the past, we've stayed at the Imperial Palace.. lets just say, we've been saving our dollars so we can avoid that lovely establishment forever more... that smell in the hallway has left an indelible mark on my brain that I really don't want to experience ever again.

It should be a great time, busy and full of exciting new things in the industry. Not to mention our cool new retailer program. Nearly the entire TrainingPeaks team will be on hand: Donavon, Gear (me), Dirk, Joe, Hunter, Stephen & Katie. So come on over and say hi if you're there, we'd love to meet you!

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Sep092006

CyclingPeaks WKO+ 2.1 is a hit!


It's been a while since I last posted.. sorry for the delays. Fortunately, it's cause we're swamped! WKO+ 2.1 with Performance Manager has been huge for us, people have been really receptive to its launch. Don't take my word, here's some unsolicited user quotes:

"Just got mine. Lots of nifty new features above the v1.1 that I was using before, and $48.50 is darn reasonable. Great work guys, and keep it coming!"
FG- San Diego, Calif.

"I've been putting off upgrading from v1.1 to v2 until now, but it looks like I'll finally be upgrading afterall, if for this feature only."
KS- Portland, OR

"Bingo, me too. Many of the new features looked really neat, but I was fine with CP 1.1. This pushed me over the edge..."
JW- London, England

"This is most excellent. So if I follow the curves and made sure I have put in all the correct inputs it means if I tapered now I would hit peak form on the 8th of September? I have been training hard to lose weight and am probably digging a big hole that will mean a lighter me (taking care not to do a Levi) and will have to rebuild power from there. I notice that a couple of the others I coach will hit their peaks a lot sooner and are not training as much as me."
Hamish Ferguson
Cycling Coach
New Zealand

"Truly, if it wasn't for WKO+ I don't think I'd be getting anything useful from my PowerTap! I first came upon CyclingPeaks when I bought "Training and Racing with a Power Meter". I have read it cover to cover at least 3 times and continue to use it to increase my understanding of the data. May I suggest that you consider writing a book specific to Cyclingpeaks? Thanks again."
DG- Virginia Beach, Va

"WOW, another improvement to 2.0?! And it's Free to upgrade to 2.1 from 2.0?! Are you guys nuts? I would have gladly paid for this upgrade! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for Performance Manager. Dr. Coggan has been talking about it for months now and finally we get to use it! You guys just ROCK!"
TR- Richmond, Va.

Thanks for all the great support folks!

You can learn more about Performance Manager here


Click to read more ...