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We're developing a cycling training app and looking for beta users

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  • jkosirjkosir Posts: 19
    So after a failed Kickstarter we decided to continue developing our app at a bit slower pace, we'll focus on power based plans first.

    Also now the beta version is available to everyone at http://beta.summittraining.org/, no signup code required!
  • As a coach, I'm not overly sure how such a system accounts for the multitude of variables involved when deciding what training to assign each day.

    How does the system know about local environmental conditions, or the nature of training routes and facilities available, or account for variable psychological responses to training, let alone unique physiological profile and response factors? Then there are rest of life factors for each individual, changes in time available to train, other forms of physical and mental stress and so on. What is the current status of the athlete - have they been ill recently, had a break, starting back from injury or a long layoff? Individualisation of training involves much more than assessing power meter data.

    So I logged in and selected from the few options what on face value would be about right for me. However the very first workout was completely inappropriate, and indeed would be impossible for me to complete. I looked at the first month of workouts and again they were just way off the mark because some fairly basic things about me were not accounted for.

    There is certainly merit in providing a basic level of customisation and then leaving it up to the individual to manage variations, as following a half decent plan is better than being aimless.

    As a coach I will always hand craft training schedules to suit my clients and this will account for a multitude of variables, including an assessment of relevant power data analytics (of which the market is already well supplied) - but analytics is just one part of the performance improvement puzzle.

    I already have my own software to craft an individual's training, what I would like is a better way to deliver the output to clients. I'd use Training Peaks if it were possible to upload training plans to a client's account, but alas that's not feasible. Perhaps Strava is another outlet, although I do want the client's ride (power meter) data to sync with my analytics platform of choice (in this case being WKO4).
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    I just ride hard and often, pretty basic but works really well, put that together with a proper diet and managing your weight, a proper approach to working on the other parts in the gym, take that last bit or leave it, depending on your age and you won't be too far off what the likes of those old pros were doing, for free.
  • jkosirjkosir Posts: 19
    As a coach, I'm not overly sure how such a system accounts for the multitude of variables involved when deciding what training to assign each day.

    How does the system know about local environmental conditions, or the nature of training routes and facilities available, or account for variable psychological responses to training, let alone unique physiological profile and response factors? Then there are rest of life factors for each individual, changes in time available to train, other forms of physical and mental stress and so on. What is the current status of the athlete - have they been ill recently, had a break, starting back from injury or a long layoff? Individualisation of training involves much more than assessing power meter data.

    Simply put, it doesn't, at least not yet. Designing systems that take in count a multitude of different and complex variables is something computer science can do, but there's a huge amount of work to do before we get anywhere near something more useful than what we currently have.
    Current version is pretty much the same as if you followed Joe Friel's Cyclist Training Bible to build yourself a somewhat personalized plan. Our app's advantage to that is simply automated grading and some basic plan adaptation.

    We can get local environmental conditions from maps data, training routes from Strava (e.g. recommend a climb for given workout). Physiological responses can be (somewhat) assessed from power and heartrate data.
    Data about time available to train, status, tiredness, fatigue etc. can be entered by users, we plan on adding such features. However only optionally, as I feel only the most advanced users would take time to regularly enter extra info.
    So I logged in and selected from the few options what on face value would be about right for me. However the very first workout was completely inappropriate, and indeed would be impossible for me to complete. I looked at the first month of workouts and again they were just way off the mark because some fairly basic things about me were not accounted for.

    There is certainly merit in providing a basic level of customisation and then leaving it up to the individual to manage variations, as following a half decent plan is better than being aimless.

    As a coach I will always hand craft training schedules to suit my clients and this will account for a multitude of variables, including an assessment of relevant power data analytics (of which the market is already well supplied) - but analytics is just one part of the performance improvement puzzle.

    Yep, the plan generation itself is pretty basic so such issues arise often. We mainly wanted to roll out a "working" version as soon as possible to gather feedback, especially about workout grading.

    This is of course very far behind an actual coach, especially if coaching and analytics is done on the level you describe.
    I already have my own software to craft an individual's training, what I would like is a better way to deliver the output to clients. I'd use Training Peaks if it were possible to upload training plans to a client's account, but alas that's not feasible. Perhaps Strava is another outlet, although I do want the client's ride (power meter) data to sync with my analytics platform of choice (in this case being WKO4).

    This is actually something we've been thinking about, but it's only an idea now. We could support plan upload, the bonus features you and the client get are automatic workout grading, so you don't have to look at each and every ride manually. Instead you could look at higher-level overview and only comment on rides as you deem appropriate.

    Additionally the plan generation could be used by coaches. By entering the variables you get a half decent plan, which you can then adjust as you see fit, rather than manually planning each workout.

    Is that something that sounds interesting then? Either way, thanks a lot for comprehensive feedback!
  • Thigh_burnThigh_burn Posts: 489
    One tip, I'd get a copy writer / proofer to go through the site. I've just had a very quick look at it and noticed a typo, plus mistakes like lower case text, where there should be capitals etc. This stuff really matters. The site looks very nice, but that's undermined and it exudes a lack of professionalism if there are these sorts of small mistakes on a site - or any printed material.

    That having been said, as someone in desperate need of some formalised training, I'm going to sign up - but that's only because of the rave reviews on this thread. If I'd come to the site cold, those typos would have rung alarm bells and I'd have moved on.
  • topcattimtopcattim Posts: 766
    While I am not going to be able to use this to plan my training (for the reasons cited above), I'm happily uploading my data (or allowing Strava to upload my data) to see if that can help the team with the beta testing. What I just noticed is that where I've done multiple rides in a day, it only seems to acknowledge one of them. Over the Bank Holiday weekend, I did a long ride each day, with two short rides to the start and finish of the event. But as far as I can see, the site only recognises one of them. I ended up with a TSB of -70 after the weekend and definitely needed some active recovery, which the site wouldn't necessarily acknowledge as it is currently built?
  • zefszefs Posts: 484
    Let me know if you need a Graphic Designer for this project. Good luck!
  • jkosirjkosir Posts: 19
    zefs wrote:
    Let me know if you need a Graphic Designer for this project. Good luck!

    Uh yeah, that's the next team member we're planning to hire :D Can you PM me some info about yourself if you're interested?


    We're now starting to work on general user experience, proofreading, graphical interface etc. to make the application seem more professional.

    Also we'll fix the issue with multiple daily rides, rides showing on wrong dates and add options to modify annual plan after it's created and decrease/increase training load for shorter periods of time. Also power plans are coming soon :) (based on the same workouts we have now, but interval prescription in watts and grading based on power)


    Thanks for all the feedback and letting us access training data. While we currently aren't even looking at your rides (we legally can't) we'll be updating our terms & conditions, to allow use to perform analyses and improve our models. Hope you guys are okay with that.
  • jkosir wrote:
    Thanks for all the feedback and letting us access training data. While we currently aren't even looking at your rides (we legally can't) we'll be updating our terms & conditions, to allow use to perform analyses and improve our models. Hope you guys are okay with that.
    IMO you should be obtaining each individual's permission for this. Trust is hard earned but easily lost and there are platforms out there that have lost my trust due to this very issue.
  • topcattimtopcattim Posts: 766
    jkosir wrote:
    Thanks for all the feedback and letting us access training data. While we currently aren't even looking at your rides (we legally can't) we'll be updating our terms & conditions, to allow use to perform analyses and improve our models. Hope you guys are okay with that.
    Fine with me. Happy to be able to help your work.
  • jkosirjkosir Posts: 19
    IMO you should be obtaining each individual's permission for this. Trust is hard earned but easily lost and there are platforms out there that have lost my trust due to this very issue.

    Well each user has to accept the terms individually either way. I guess you're thinking of giving each user an option to choose whether his data is used in analyses and allow him access to the application regardless? We could also go this way yeah.
  • jkosirjkosir Posts: 19
    We're back after a (not so) short break and we've added an option to modify training plans: https://blog.summittraining.org/2017/07 ... hats-next/

    And started this blog to let you know what we're working on :)
  • Harry182Harry182 Posts: 1,153
    Great news. Thank you for the update and continued development.
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