December 14, 2021

How We Work: Training Plans

This article is the second in a new series I’m calling How We Work. Here, I share our process for developing our training plans for our athletes.

Related Articles

How We Work: Season Planning

How We Use Season Planning To Improve Performance

How To Enjoy Your Running (And Any Other Exercise)

This article is the second in a new series I’m calling How We Work. I’ll post these periodically to share how we work with our athletes and run our business. I hope you enjoy these. 

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Ten years ago, I used to write training plans manually. They’d take an hour or so each to craft, which significantly limited the number of athletes I could help, which was a bummer. 

Most coaches use some form of template system when they create training plans – volume tables or workout libraries – which they customise to suit the requirements of each athlete.

After several years of programming for athletes and testing hundreds of runners and triathletes in our lab, I realised that we had enough data and experience to create a software programme that could automate that process even further, to build a high-quality training plan in a matter of minutes. 

This approach has several advantages for a coach. 

  1. It significantly increases the number of athletes a coach can work with.
  2. It frees the coach up to spend time on other things such as communication, reading or attending courses to learn more about their craft, creating content, or coaching in-person sessions. 
  3. The plans can still be adjusted manually to address use cases with unique requirements. Ultrarunning is an excellent example of this where the distance and terrain vary significantly between events and are hard to automate fully. Our coaches always make manual changes to our automated plans for the ultrarunners on our team.

This approach also has benefits for the athlete.

  1. It allows an athlete to access and benefit from the experience of a renowned coach at a fraction of the price of the traditional coaching model.  
  2. It gives athletes more control over their training because they can easily edit or modify their training without input from a coach (although it is always available if they need help). 

After investing significant time and money, we developed the Coached training platform that we use today. 

At the heart of Coached training platform is the training plan. The training plan provides the day-to-day structure our athletes need to achieve their goals. 

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

Racing at your potential and enjoying training is easy when you’re following the right programme.

Training Plan Types

Inside Coached, we offer our runners and triathletes two types of training plans.

  1. Performance plans 
  2. Fitness plans 

Performance plans are progressive, polarised, and designed to bring an athlete into peak shape on a specific date. Volume and intensity increase over time, and the training moves from a general focus before becoming more race-specific and tapering down into the race. 

Fitness plans are not progressive. Instead, they’re a repeatable weekly volume that includes a mix of aerobic and anaerobic training. These programmes are great for anyone who wants to train effectively but without a race goal. They’re also fantastic in-between race training cycles.

Athletes Build Their Training Plans

After working with a coach to determine a season plan and map out the training cycles, the athlete then builds the recommended training plan inside Coached themselves. 

Building a training plan in Coached is a straightforward process. The athlete answers a series of questions that allows Coached to determine their goals, profile their training history and current fitness level, and recommend a weekly schedule that they can further refine to suit their lifestyle. 

Once done, our coaches review it and make any necessary manual changes.

Computer screen displaying training plan builder

The Training Plan

Once built, the training plan provides everything our athletes need to know to execute their training with control and purpose. 

All our training plans specify session volumes, intensities and specifics. We also add coach notes for each session, linking supporting videos, articles, and other resources.

Our training plans are simple yet comprehensive.

How Coached Athletes Feel About Our Training Plans in 2021

Towards the end of each year, we send out an annual survey to our athletes to ask for feedback about our services and how we work. Below are some of the responses to the questions relating to our training plans from our completed 2021 survey.

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As you can see, Coached athletes are happy athletes.

Get Coached For 2022

We’ve been doing this for a long time and are confident we can help you achieve your goals.

If you’re interested in trying Coached, we offer a 14-day free trial to all our online coaching services.

If you use the code HELLO2022 when signing up for an annual membership, you’ll only pay for nine months and receive twelve months of coaching.

It’s a great deal.

Related Articles

How We Work: Season Planning

How We Use Season Planning To Improve Performance

How To Enjoy Your Running (And Any Other Exercise)

Ben Pulham

Ben Pulham is the founder of Coached, a personalised training programme that helps runners & triathletes optimise, track and enjoy their training.