This article talks about the differences between a training platform like TrainingPeaks and INSCYD performance software. We also show how teams like Alpecin-Deceuninck combine both tools to prepare their pro athletes for key races.

TrainingPeaks vs INSCYD

*Although we compare INSCYD with TrainingPeaks, the same is true for other training platforms like Today’s Plan, AZUM, etc.

Prefer watching above reading this article? Watch how Alpecin-Deceuninck combines a training platform with INSCYD performance software in our INSCYD College virtual lecture. 

Get to know your athlete

Similar to a doctor or physiotherapist, you first need to know who’s in front of you before you can help someone. A medical professional starts with an examination, a coach uses a performance test to get to know the athlete.

The INSCYD software allows you to analyze such a performance test in detail, providing you with actionable metrics (e.g., VO2max, VLamax, FatMax, Carb combustion, etc.).

By implementing this test & analyze approach, you understand the underlying mechanism that defines the performance of an athlete. It “discloses” the physiological difference between someone with an FTP (anaerobic threshold) of 300W vs someone with an FTP of 350W. In other words: it shows how athletic performance is composed.

Once you truly know the (metabolic) profile of your athlete, you can continue.

Decide on the direction of your training program

Now it’s time to have a look at the goal of your athlete, and compare it with his/her current metabolic profile.

INSCYD helps you to decide which direction you need to go, by showing the limiting factors of your athlete. It allows you to identify which “knob” you should turn by training in order to increase the performance.

Athlete and coach, deciding what to work on based on INSCYD data

A software feature that really helps is the INSCYD Performance Projection. This feature allows you to create a virtual athlete (of the future) and predict performance outcomes before a training program is prescribed. It answers questions like: “How much faster would I be, if I increase VO2max by 3%”, or “What needs to change, if I want to climb the Alpe d’Huez 10 minutes faster?”.

Now that you know which metabolic processes you should improve – or “knobs” you need to turn – you can start thinking of key training session.

Create key training sessions

Before we start rolling out a training program in TrainingPeaks or similar, we should first think of some key training sessions that will get our athlete into the right direction.

With INSCYD you can set up a highly individual interval training, based on the metabolic profile. It also lets you determine the exact training intensity to, for instance:

INSCYD coaches can learn from the world’s best coaches via our education platform.

TrainingPeaks vs INSCYD
TrainingPeaks vs INSCYD

Roll out and communicate training program

Once you know your athlete, decided which knob to turn to improve performance, and created some key training sessions, you’re ready to roll out a training program for the next ~4-6 weeks.

This is where a training platform like TrainingPeaks comes in handy. You can put the key training sessions in TrainingPeaks and create a program out of it. You can also use TrainingPeaks to communicate with your athlete.

Analyze training sessions

Although you can add training files to the INSCYD software, it’s probably not where you analyze or log all training files. You’re more likely to do that in TrainingPeaks (or Today’s Plan, AZUM, WKO5, Golden Cheetah or even Strava).

Minor training program adjustments

During a training program, you probably need to adjust the training plan every now and then. For instance because of weather conditions, illness, work stress or other factors that influence the well-being of your athlete.

A training platform helps tracking fatigue and enables you to do quick training program adjustments on a daily basis.

Alpecin Deceuninck uses TrainingPeaks and INSCYD
Alpecin Deceuninck uses TrainingPeaks to monitor fatigue and INSCYD to check if their training plan is heading into the right direction.

Follow up training program adjustments

Besides minor adjustments, it’s also likely that you need to do some fundamental training program adjustments and follow ups. For instance when you start a new macrocycle. In this case, you want to be able to answer 2 questions:

  1. Did the previous training program cycle result in the preferred adaptations?
  2. What should I focus on next?

INSCYD answers both these questions. Here’s why tracking FTP or power-durations only, is not enough:

Imagine your athlete’s goal is to ride a long distance event like La Marmotte. Your training program seems to work: after 5 weeks of training FTP increased by 10%. Perfect! But what if FTP increased because the training program improved the anaerobic energy system? FTP went up, but carbohydrate combustion and lactate production went up as well. And fat combustion went down. This kind of “improvement” will probably not help your athlete during La Marmotte: you need to adjust the training program.

Without INSCYD, you would look at the FTP and continue the training program, which could lead to even worse results.

With INSCYD you’re able to know exactly how your athlete is adapting to the training program. This takes the guessing out of your work.

Here’s when and how often you should re-test to make sure you keep heading into the right direction.

Prepare for a race

Finally: race preparation. The last thing you want is a bad result after weeks or months of dedicated hard work. Even when you didn’t use the INSCYD software so far, this is where you can make a big difference with little effort. Let’s look at 2 important aspects of an event or race:

1. Pacing

Whether your athlete is running a marathon or riding a Cyclosportive/Grand Fondo, it’s important not to start too fast (or slow). With INSCYD you can easily learn what the highest intensity is, that your athlete can sustain. Also in events with intermittent intensities.

2. Fueling

In many endurance events, fueling can be a limiting factor. The fat- and carbohydrate combustion graph shows exactly how much energy your athlete burns at any given intensity. Use this in training and racing to create fueling plans. You can also use the Training Zone Builder to understand how much energy is burned in a specific training zone.

Fat & carbohydrate combustion graph
INSCYD's fat- and carbohydrate combustion graph.

Webinar: how to create efficient training programs using INSCYD

This article shows why INSCYD is not a substitute for a training platform like TrainingPeaks. Our API collaboration with training platform AZUM is a good example of how combining the tools makes your life as a coach much easier.

Webinar: create training programs with INSCYD and AZUM
Webinar: how to set up efficient training programs

Continue learning about creating efficient training programs with INSCYD and a training platform, via this webinar: