Do I need a heart rate monitor or power meter to use TrainingPeaks?

While anyone can use our software to get results, how you use it depends greatly on the devices you own. You don’t need the latest, fanciest device, but the information you gather will determine how detailed your information is and how deeply you can dive into your analysis. At TrainingPeaks we believe in the concept of good, better, best.

Here is a look at how to use TrainingPeaks if you have a speed/distance device, heart rate monitor, or power meter.

“Good”: Training with a Speed/Distance Device

If you have only a speed/distance device, or are simply using a basic stopwatch to input data, you can still track key metrics to help you progress. After adding in your information into TrainingPeaks, you will see your average pace or speed. In terms of deeper analysis and spotting trends, key charts to use in your Dashboard would be the distance per week and/or duration per week. This will allow you to monitor the amount of miles you add per week. Watching this metric is a key to progressing while avoiding injury or burnout.

“Better”: Training with Heart Rate Data

Stepping up to a heart rate monitor adds another level of information and analysis. In addition to viewing your distance and duration, adding heart rate will show a truer accounting of your effort level. Using a heart rate monitor lets you dial in each day’s effort determined by distinct zones. The first thing to do is to perform a Lactate Threshold Test (see link here). With this number you can set your HR zones and make each workout more specific to target the physiological system you need to work. When running or riding you can see if your HR is in the correct zone. After each workout you can download your data and view the time spent in each zone to see if you performed the workout correctly. For in-depth analysis, add in the Time in Heart Rate Zones Chart and Time in Heart Rate Zones by Week.

“Best”: Training with Power

For cyclists and triathletes, adding a power meter will give you the most detailed information and analysis capabilities. Much like a heart rate monitor, a power meter allows you to dial in your effort, but with more accuracy. Again you will want to perform a test session, this one to determine your Functional Threshold Power, and set your power zones. You can go to Threshold 411 to find out more about how to set Threshold and how it operates in TrainingPeaks and go to Setting Zones to view how to set your zones in your account. When out on the bike you can perform intervals or steady state efforts and your power meter will give you immediate feedback. This is especially key for the shorter, harder efforts that are harder for heart rate to accurately track. Again, when you download the data you can look back to see if you did your efforts in the correct zones. Key analysis charts to use with a power meter include the Power Zones by Week Chart, Peak Power Profile and Fitness History, which will show you your peak power values across many durations over the course of several weeks and even months.

Tracking, analyzing and planning allows any athlete to work effectively towards their goals. By using devices to monitor your daily efforts and work load over time you can track your progress to meet your goal. So while some devices offer more details than others, you can use TrainingPeaks with any level or type of data.


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