Training for a Race Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

You can spend thousands of dollars preparing for a race. If you’re training for a triathlon, you need a bike, running shoes, the right apparel, and a wetsuit if the race is wetsuit legal. If you’re new to triathlons, cycling races, and running races, consider borrowing the equipment or buying it used. I purchased one of my first bikes on Craigslist. Then pick a shorter race to get a feel and find out if it is your thing. If you get hooked, then consider investing little-by-little.

If you’re hooked on racing a triathlon, cycling race, or running race, you’ll get bit by the speed bug. You want to get better and crush last year’s record. Training like a pro can become expensive and time-consuming. You may think about a coach, getting some lab tests completed, and consulting with other professionals to make sure you have the right form. In the ideal world, it would be awesome to set up a team like a pro. In my world, this just wasn’t a smart investment financially, and it didn’t fit my time budget. But I wanted to get faster and more methodical with my training. After months of research and years to create the ATP app, I found an expensive way to make training like a pro a lot easier.

  1. There were three ingredients that I needed to train more efficiently. I needed an adaptable comprehensive training plan.
  2. Inside training for those nasty days.
  3. A quick and inexpensive way to measure my data.

Adaptable Training Plans

Since an adaptable comprehensive training plan didn’t exist, I needed to create a solution. ATP was born. In the physical therapy clinic, I was asked daily about how to train for a race. How to train for a race is a loaded question that can’t be answered adequately in a short conversation. ATP became the answer and a tool to safely guide athletes to racing.

Training Inside

Zwift has been a tool that I’ve been using since it was made public. I like to be consistent with my training, but some days I just couldn’t train outside because of my schedule or weather. Riding a virtual course inside on my bike was a perfect solution. Zwift does an excellent job qualifying training. Zwift is so good that I included uploadable Zwift files in the ATP app. It was a perfect blend of planning the training plan and execution of consistent training.

Measuring Data

I love data. When I first started training using a heart rate monitor and then a power meter, I became obsessed. After the novelty wore off, I began to look for quick ways to evaluate my data instead of being fascinated by all of the numbers. I wanted to find usable data. Besides, there are only so many hours in the day and analyzing data didn’t fit well into my schedule. I needed a quick way to analyze my training data.

When I first started to look at ways to collect and measure data, it was a bit overwhelming and could get expensive. Then I came across Golden Cheetah. Golden Cheetah is free software that measures much of the same things as expensive training programs measure. Did I say free? It also automatically syncs with Strava.

Now when I evaluate my training data, it only takes a few minutes a week to know if I’m on the right track. If my body is getting stronger and faster while properly recovering, then I continue to follow my plan on ATP. If my body is fatiguing and I’m overreaching, then I can quickly pick a replacement training session from the ATP’s database without much thought. I now could focus on my training without wasting time evaluating unusable data.

If you want to see my data analysis process step-by-step, check out the video below. I’ll show you exactly how I blend ATP, ZwiftStrava, Sweetbeat’s HRV app, and Golden Cheetah to make an expensive complete training system.