Using WKO4 to Gain Faster Insights

Friday, August 19, 2016 | By Eric Griffin
 
 
 
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Using WKO4 to Gain Faster Insights

WKO4 is a powerful tool for tracking and analyzing data from triathletes and cyclists. Guiding the training of multiple athletes can be complex and time consuming, and WKO4 has several key features I find extremely helpful. Optimizing workflow and increasing time efficiency are useful to every user, and this is easy with proper use of a tool like WKO4.

WKO4 also helps self-coached athletes get a better, more detailed understanding of where their fitness is, where they need to improve, and how their training is (or is not) creating the right stimulus. For athletes that have hit a fitness plateau, WKO4 can help identify what is holding them back.

Historical Data

Whenever I start working with a new athlete, I initially gather a wealth of qualitative and quantitative data from him or her. For the purposes of this this article, I am focusing on the quantitative data. I get all the historical data I can, whether that is two months or five years. The more data that’s available, the easier and more complete the initial analysis can be.

Once I’ve imported the historical files (which could be directly into WKO4 or syncing WKO4 to the athlete’s TrainingPeaks account), I make sure the Athlete Details tab is updated with all the metrics I have like weight, reported Functional Threshold Power (FTP), HR, etc. using information reported from the rider.

The Five Best Charts to Get Started

With all the data and metrics correctly entered into WKO4, I can then begin to look at the charts that give me insights into an athlete's current fitness, strengths and weaknesses, response to training load, and more. Here are the five charts that I like to use when starting with a new athlete.  

Power Duration Model

The first thing I look at once WKO4 has crunched the data is the Hero Bar and the Power Duration Model (PDM) chart, seen below. This one chart gives me a quick overview on a ton of useful information. Looking at the past ninety days and the past year gives me a good sense of the athlete’s current fitness level, and I can start to understand what level of training has been going on. I also make a quick note of the Modeled FTP (mFTP) versus the athlete reported FTP.

Using WKO4 to Gain Faster InsightsFor athletes, this can also give you a better understanding of what you have been doing. Many athletes struggle to be objective when they lookat their training, so using data is a good way to get an unbiased view into what you have been doing.

Modeled FTP Chart

I next look at the historical mFTP chart. This gives me a nice idea of any changes in fitness the athlete has experienced. The ebb and flow of fitness and training load tells me how much the athlete has worked and how the response to training has impacted his or her fitness.

Using WKO4 to Gain Faster Insights - 2Again, for athletes, this chart can really point out your progress, or where you stopped improving. A chart like this can be a great motivation to focus on a good training block, or help you look back and see what you did in the past that resulted in a nice jump in fitness.

Classic Watts per Kilogram Chart

I then take a quick look at the classic W/kg chart, which is always useful to determine what level the rider is at in the various energy systems. Toggling between time ranges and seeing the differences also helps quickly identify areas of emphasis (or lack thereof) that may have been done in the past training. Along with the phenotype that WKO4 assigns every athlete, this helps me understand very quickly an athlete's strengths and weaknesses, both currently and in the past. Changes in those areas, both positive and negative, are very useful to know.

Using WKO4 to Gain Faster Insights - 3

Power Duration Versus Mean Maximal Power

My favorite chart is the PDM versus actual Mean Maximal Power (MMP). One look at this chart enables me to make lots of interesting conclusions. By looking at the curve and where the model shows gaps above or below the actual data, I can see what sort of efforts have been under-tested or under-focused and what areas are clearly strengths. I can also deduce from this whether or not the mFTP data point is reliable. If I see some odd gaps or a lack of maximal efforts for certain time periods, it is safe to say these would be good places to focus on right away when working with the athlete to ensure the PDM gets fed better data and becomes more robust.

This chart may be the most important for the self coached athlete. It can quickly tell you if you are properly prepared for your specific event. For instance, a criterium racer would want to see high values at shorter durations while someone focusing on a long time trial or an IRONMAN would not be concerned if their sprint power fell below the model as long as their numbers for the FTP were encouraging.

Using WKO4 to Gain Faster Insights - 4

Performance Management Chart

Lastly, I take a look at the Performance Management Chart (PMC) to understand work and consistency. Sometimes I see nice charts with blocks of Chronic Training Load (CTL or Fitness) rising, and other times I see something that looks more like random noise. Either way, I gain understanding into how the athlete has been training and how structured (or not) the training has been before he or she began working with me.

Using WKO4 to Gain Faster Insights - 5For a self coached athlete, the PMC can give incredible insights into how much you can train before you crack. It can also show you when you’ve had your best performances so you can replicate those training blocks for the future.

These five charts allow me to identify a great deal about a new athlete in just a few moments. All of these steps are, of course, dependent on how much past data is provided by the athlete. Several years of data is ideal, but even a few months can be extremely useful. This initial review doesn’t take the place of deeper analysis that especially involves qualitative measures and talking with individuals. However, it does help set the stage for good questions and can become the starting point for developing a training approach as I learn the athlete’s goals and objectives, which empowers me to generate specific training ideas. The great thing about WKO4 is that can help with that too, as it is capable of helping develop the training strategies and proper workouts specific to each individual athlete.

For self-coached athletes, gaining more objective insights into your past training will help you better understand how your body responds to training, what you have done correctly in the past, what you can do better, and help you answer the questions you have always had about your training so you can reach your goals. 

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