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Today's Plan

Review: Today's Plan

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We Liked

Recently we were contacted by Today’s Plan, an Australian cycling data analysis, and cycling workout training plan generator web site. After spending a significant period of time analyzing their services, and watching the site evolve in front of our eyes, here is what we think. Our first impression is Today’s Plan is an excellent site for the cyclist who is not quite ready to get a private coach, but is looking at the next step for new challenging workouts, or a place to analyze all the data that the power meter generates. There are four reasons to love this site if you are a data driven cyclist: great pricing, excellent customer support, challenging training plans, and awesome graphics or the breaking down of your workouts.

Today’s Plan is Australian based, and I am not sure if it has to do the really good US dollar vs. Aus dollar exchange rate, but I found Today’s Plan’s pricing to be really good for the data analysis and training plans. If an athlete just wanted to use Today’s Plan for its in-depth tools to analyze data it will cost just $79.95 per year which is significantly less expensive than two premium services that I have used in the States. The true bargain is when you purchase the unlimited training plans and analysis combination for $149.95 a year. User’s would pay nearly that much money for the annual analytics of a data plan, plus a 16 week training plan which is $63.95 ($143.90 to be exact), so chipping in extra $6 unlimited plan makes lot of sense.

The second favorable aspect of Today’s Plan was the excellent support I have received from the Today’s Plan staff. The funny thing is, I work evenings on the west coast, on a number of occasions, I had been reviewing my training data, which generated some questions, so I shot their customer support personnel an e-mail and I was amazed that I often got a response within 10 minutes! I do not think it ever took more than 2 hours to get my question answered. Also the when using the training plans, Today’s Plan did a great job of outlining the individual workouts and describing the how’s and why’s of the training session for improved cycling performance.

Personally, I found the Today’s Plan training plans to be quite challenging! Why was it challenging? For starters the workouts were more structured and required more hard riding than I was accustom to, and to some degree they demanded some pre-determine routes to compliment the intervals that were assigned. Since it was time to build a base I chose the endurance 12 week training program. The program was designed to bring my fitness from chronic training load (CTL) of about 60 up to 77 after the 12 weeks. The program had an average weekly T- Score or total stress score (TSS) of 480 and range from 360 to 722. Most weeks the program involved 2 rest days and five days of riding, with 2 of those riding days being easy short rides or mellow endurance rides, and two really hard days with either short sprints or 3 to 8 minutes intervals at 1.0 to 1.1 times my functional threshold power (FTP), and an endurance days included various tempo intervals thrown in to keep one from getting bored. Here is example of two of the tortuous workouts from Today’s Plan that was in a typical week. One of the hardest workouts that Today’s Plan devised was called the Endurance Mix Up. The total time of the ride was 2 hours and 50 minutes and ended with a T-Score or TSS of 196. The workout started 10 warm up, followed by a 15 minutes at the interval at function threshold power (FTP), followed by 5 X 5 minutes at 1.1 to 1.25 times of FTP, followed by another 15 minute interval at FTP and then finished it off with 5 X 30 seconds at 2.5+ of FTP. All I can say is by the time I got to the sprints I was seeing double, worse yet, after finishing the intervals, I still had another 45 minutes of riding. All I can say is, I was zombie that evening at work! Still I think the hardest workout I finished during that first 12 week program started with a 10 minute warm up, followed by a 5 minute interval at functional threshold (FTP), followed by a set of 16 X 20 seconds @ 1.25 to 2 times of FTP, with 40 second rest in between, followed by another 5 minute interval at FTP, and followed by five minutes of rest and then having it done all over again. Somewhere in that one hour and forty five minutes of work, I set the highest watts of the year for 1 hour. The workout was made all the more challenging by the heavy rainfall that started about halfway through the workout, but on the positive side there was no wind! Today’s Plan definitely has some sadistic workouts, yes the workouts were challenging, but overall they do balance that with some easier workouts as well…After those 12 weeks my chronic training load had risen to 76, my function threshold power (FTP) had improved by 12%, I had lost 10 lbs., and I was feeling pretty good when I completed the program.

What I can say, my poor wife married a data nerd… Is that I can spent nearly as much time reviewing a workout as I did riding it! With that said, without a doubt my favorite web site for looking at data is Today’s Plan! I have used Training Peaks, Strava and few others and none of those sites compares with the amount and quality of the data of Today’s Plan. The number one aspect that I love about Today’s Plan graphics is their size. All graphics can be expanded to a nearly full screen, so users can see all the details. Reviewing rides riders have the option to look at almost 30 graphs from the graphs toolbar including such power graph, cadence, 3D power/time or a fascinating 3D view of power balance/power/time graph. The Today’s Plan ride reviews includes a power tab that has 17 Peak power time points, plus adjusted watts, critical power and many other data points. Today’s Plan has similar data points for heart rate, training load, hr/power and ride graphics. In this instance, ultimately a picture or pictures are worth a thousand words please take a look at the graphs I have included as Jpegs and I would strongly encourage try reader to try the Today’s Plan free 14 day trial.

We Didn't Like

I have a couple minor issues with Today’s Plan: the first being the training programs do not give you parameters for telling you it is time to back off and take a few days of rest. The second issue is the site is a bit one-dimensional at this time.

Midway during my first 12 week software generated training plan with Today’s Plan it was hard to determine when to back off. During that period of time Portland was receiving its first really hot weather, and I did not quite feel right during a few hard workouts. I noticed that my power numbers had dropped by about 12%, compared to a similar workout a week earlier. I eventually contacted the Today’s Plan personnel and pointed out how I was feeling and they suggested backing off a little bit. They explained to me what Total Stress Balance from my dashboards Load and Performance chart would be a good indication of how fatigues I was. I guessed I learned that it is still importance of knowing delicate details located within the graphs.

My only current issue with Today’s Plan is that it is a bit one-dimensional. It is one-dimensional in that currently Today’s Plan only handles cycling data. Prior to reviewing Today’s Plan, I was lifting weights, doing some running and swimming, so I am using multiple sites to track other workout information. Today’s Plan will change that during 1st part of 2016, when it will begin to support swim and run files.

The Final Say

If you are either a newer racer, a rider new to using a power meter, a coach looking for a great tool for analyzing your athlete’s workout data, an athlete looking for a new training challenge, or a cyclist seeking science to maximize performance, you need to give Today’s Plan a try. The combination of data and graphic charts will be standard by which all other cycling data analysis web sites will be judged! At $79.95 for a year’s worth analysis or $149.95 for the entire package for year is worth it for any data driven athlete! What the abbreviation mean: ATL: Acute Training Load basically measure short term training fatigue. Essentially it is the yesterday ATL + {Today’s TSS- Yesterdays ATL}/7.

CTL: Chronic Training Load is a measure of training fatigue over 42 days or seven weeks. Essentially it is ones total stress score TSS divided by 42.

FTP: Stand for Functional Threshold Power which is the maximum power measured in watts that can be ridden for 1 hour.

IF: Intensity Factor which is ratio of normalized power to the riders functional power threshold. For example if a riders functional power threshold is 300 watts and a rider a one hour ride at a normalized power of 280 watts the IF would be 280w/300w= .933

NP: Normalized Power is an algorithm that determines how many watt of effort that was put out by a rider if they were riding a perfectly flat course.

T-Score: Is essentially another name for Total Stress Score. TSS = (second x NP X IF)/ (FTP X 3600) X 100

TSB: Total Stress Balance is the difference in value between the CTL and ATL or essentially ATL-CTL= TSB. If the number is significant negative the athlete will be fatigue, if it is a positive number the athlete should have greater fitness.

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