Although not the first in this arena, Today’s Plan offers a range of unique features promising to take online training and coaching to the next level. This is done through two avenues. The first is a computer-generated training plan that, based on your riding history, fitness level and time available to train, is tailored towards your event or training goal. The second is through analytics, with easy to use graphs and summarised terminology guiding you through the multitudes of data captured and displayed.
Their founding team includes a qualified sports scientist, two leading software development engineers and two business people with extensive experience in Information Technology and the cycling industry. Apart from professional qualifications, they are all avid riders.
Creating a tailored training program is an easy task that only takes a couple of minutes. You have two options when first setting up a training program: 1) Pick an event you would like to train for or 2) create a fully custom training plan based on a questionnaire about your goals, health and general fitness, and time available.
If you'd like to select an event-based training program, you will need at least five weeks between your start date and the event. Once you have selected your event, the program will tailor a training plan for you based on the event's course profile. For example, a 100km Fast One training program will look completely different to a 100km Cape Town Cycle Tour program.
Good news is that several leading South African and international events have already been loaded. Wines2Whales, Cape Classic 380, Coronation Double Century, Desert Dash and Attakwas are just some of the upcoming events you can pick from the list. Even better yet, if your race is not there simply email support and they will add it for you usually within 24 hours from logging your request.
Selecting to train for the Trans Baviaans, Today's Plan will ask you whether you will be racing Solo or Paired and what your event priority is.
If you opt to create a training plan from scratch, the questionnaire lets you select a plan from 6-16 weeks in length. You then set the parameters around your usual time on a bike, type of riding you do (Commuter, Road, MTB, Indoor Trainer, Single Speed, Time Trial, Track, etc), your goals (weight loss, target specific event, improving a specific cycling skill), your strengths & weaknesses, accessories you're planning to use and then finally you select how many hours a week you’re willing to dedicate to training. The minimum requirement is five hours a week, and you can specify how many hours you’re able to train on each day of the week.
It also asks several crucial questions that I wasn't sure of such as your anaerobic threshold or threshold watts (if you're using a heart rate monitor or power meter). Thankfully where answers are not known it provides an average based on other parameters. This data is later automatically replaced following results from training tests.
You will need a cycling computer or training tracking device (GPS head unit or cellphone with GPS) in order to upload your data to Today's Plan for analysis and fine tuning. Although not needed to use their analytics or to complete a training plan, it is highly recommended to use a heart rate monitor and a power meter as they are great tools for cyclists looking to better track their training, monitor their performance and objectively measure their improvements.
Once you've gone through the quick process of setting up a training program it only takes a couple of minutes for Today's Plan to have your training program up and running. The plan that was worked out for me did not match what I’ve specified 100% in terms of training per day (first couple of rides were shorter than I specified), but it worked to my daily parameters as close as possible to deliver a workable, realistic training plan. There is still room to move some training sessions around and edit where needed and, should you miss a day, you can move that training session to the next day.
Every session has a warm up and cool down portion to get you in and out of the swing of things. The aim of your session (Endurance, SST, Threshold, Test, etc) is noted and if you're unsure what it means there is a YouTube video for everything. And, with videos covering Using your Inbox to Calibrating your Stages Power Meter, I mean everything. Accessing the videos is quick and easy, as there's a play icon on just about every screen. Hitting that will open the video and give you a quick rundown of what you need to know. The tutorials are short and to the point. I have to compliment Today's Plan on these. If you're new to the world of coaching and training plans these videos will be of great help and takes all of the doubts and unknowns out of the experience.
I used the Today's Plan app on my LG G4 most of the time to control my training. Syncing it with the Wahoo KICKR took seconds and I only had an issue with the RFLKT + bike computer causing the app to crash. Although not technically an issue on Today's Plan side, they solved the issue within days and it worked 100% from there. The app offers several layouts and you can choose what you'd like to see in each block on your screen and this also automatically updates the layout on the RFLKT +. Nifty.
You can choose to receive an email on training days as a reminder. If you'd like you can access that day's session straight from there or view it online in your calendar. To get going I would open the app, select the day's ride and by the time I had put on my shoes it would be waiting for me to get going. Click start and you're off.
Once going the app takes full control of the indoor trainer adjusting resistance as needed - all you have to do is hit those targets and stay within the parameters in order to get the most out of the day's session. When the day's workout has been completed and uploaded, you’re prompted to offer some feedback about how you’re feeling. This data is used to shape your future sessions.
This is where the real fun starts. You can now start tracking your training and improvements. Your online dashboard is fully customisable and allows you to add or remove widget or graphs to your heart's content. I found it best to start with the bare minimum and to then add as my knowledge and confidence grew. It obviously also helps to have a good couple of rides in there to populate the graphs.
Good news is that you can import .fit, .gpx, .ant, . srm and several other file formats or the option to enter ride data manually. You can even import data from TrainingPeaks and yes, there is a video for all of this too. While I was busy with my program, it was announced that they have integrated with Garmin Connect. This allows WiFi uploads to Today's Plan on 510/810/1000 head units. Alternatively, every time a user loads to Garmin Connect the data will go to Today's Plan so no need to plug into a computer to upload your rides.
To highlight the extent of data and analytics available: Shimano integration will give Di2 riders the ability to analyse time spent in and choice of gear. This will allow you or your coach to work out where you could be more efficient through better gear choice.
I was, and still am, amazed at how much can be done using an online training program and your cellphone. Incredible day and age we live in. Creating an, almost living breathing, online training program takes only a couple of minutes and it adapts to your results all the way through. Using it with a Wahoo KICKR indoor trainer takes it to another level where all you have to do is show up and give your best.
Several features and updates were added in the three months I used Today's Plan. The online dashboard, mobile app and training program in general is very mature, but it's great to see the developers aren't sitting still basking in their glory. By their own admission their training program does not replace a real-life coach, but it will get you 95% there and if you do use a coach you can give them remote access to your data to help steer you in the right direction.
As it is Today's Plan has almost no equal - certainly not one that I'm aware of and certainly not for nearly as little as their yearly unlimited plan including full analytics. If you're serious about your cycling, working on your fitness or (finally) busting that gut, I can't think of an easier, cheaper, more interactive way than this.
Best yet, if you're a coach Today's Plan offers a powerful and easy to use tool to manage, motivate and keep track of your athletes and their progress.
- Ease of use
- Tutorials on every possible topic
- Excellent support
- Value for money
- Help videos and tutorials are very helpful and to the point
- This is online - you need to show up motivated and stay focused all by yourself
- To get the most our of it you will need to invest in some proper gear (Power meter, Indoor Trainer will built in power meter, Heart Rate Monitor, etc)
Options and Costs
Check out the latest plans and pricing here: https://www.todayspl...g/?currencyId=1
From Today's Plan
Today’s Plan is an affordable online virtual coaching program with full and easy to read analytics. The programs are targeted at cycling specific for riders spending 3-4 days a week riding and suitable for all bike types (Road, MTB, CX and commuters). Our training plans are scientifically based on the methodology of our Sports Scientist, and are fully tailored (by the user, via the web) to the rider’s current fitness level, time available for training, goals (also event based!) and their strengths/weaknesses.