This morning I received a notification on my TrainAsONE dashboard, congratulating me on completing 2000 activities. Out of interest, I decided to take a look to see when I signed up to the service. It was 2016-07-16 09:43. I've been a paying member of the service since 2018-03-23 20:01.
So, what has TrainAsONE helped me achieve in all this time? I thought this would be a great opportunity to look back through my training, and see what I've accomplished with my AI-powered training partner.
What is TrainAsONE?
Well, rather than give you a terrible explanation. I'll unashamedly copy their wording from the FAQ's:
TrainAsONE ® is the first intelligent training app. Forget the generalised stock training plans and the ubiquitous training logs that simply tell you what you have done - TrainAsONE ® tells you how best to do it.
TrainAsONE ® is your very own personal trainer that assesses your fitness, monitors every step of your training, continually calculating and adjusting your unique personal training plan (according to the time you have available to train) in order to achieve your desired goal. Every workout produced by TrainAsONE ® is specifically designed to stress a specific body system (or systems) an appropriate amount to provide the optimal training effect.
To achieve this TrainAsONE ® will continuously calculate important facets of your performance (such as Velocity of VO2max, Lactate Threshold Velocity and Heart Rate Variability). Making these and other complex calculations enables TrainAsONE ® to continuously assess your progress and adjust workouts and overall training plan as required - whilst reducing the chances of over-training and consequent injury.
If you are returning to training following a planned or unforeseen break. No problem. TrainAsONE ® will automatically calculate the appropriate volume and intensity of training to get you back on-track in the shortest possible time.
Phew, that was easy. I'm glad I didn't have to come up with that! But really, what is it? It's a service that tells me what run to do, how to do it, and how long to do it for. It removes the requirement for me to think and plan my training, making it as "easy" as slipping on my trainers, and putting one foot in front of the other.
How do you use TrainAsONE?
I tell it how many days a week I'd like to run, and how long for. It will also let me specify a particular type of workout for a certain day if I so desire. After that, each day, it will tell me what run I have scheduled and provide a breakdown of how to do it.
Above is a screenshot of what it thinks I should do on Thursday, based on the training I've been doing. As you can see, it gives you simple steps to follow. Of course, trying to remember all of this information while you're running would be incredibly difficult (for me, anyway). There's a few ways you could use this information.
For those of you that have read some of my previous rants, you'll be aware that I was an avid Polar fan. My love for them came to an unfortunate end after a less than stellar experience with their GritX model. This was a real shame, as I loved the device. In the end, however, I managed to return the device for a full refund to purchase another device (hint: It wasn't Polar).
Anyway, back to the point. TrainAsONE and Garmin integrate fantastically. So, if you're of the Garmin persuasion, you can download the workout in an appropriate format to send to your device. This is rather manual, though. Over the years, TrainAsONE has improved the options here.
- You can connect directly to the Garmin Training Service to push your scheduled workouts to the device
- Use the TrainAsONE Garmin App on supported devices
- Use the new TrainAsONE phone app if you don't have a wrist-based device
Once your run is over, you can be guided via pace or heart rate. I always used to use pace-based. For most people, you can stop here. But I've made some extra additions over the last year, which I have found to greatly improve my experience. But I'll go through these at the end.
Has TrainAsONE made a difference?
The short answer here is, yes. If I take a look back at a run with TrainAsONE after almost a year in, and compare it with today's, there are some definite improvements.
On 2017-07-21, my 5-minute warm-up segment was supposed to be around a 13:06 min/mi. Even back then I couldn't do as I was told, and my average was 11:08, with a max of 10:44. My heart rate during this was 132bpm average, with a max of 142bpm.
If we compare that to today's (2021-08-17) 5 minute warm-up, those numbers are incredibly different. See below.
The stats for today show me averaging 9:14 min/mi, with a max pace of 8:14. My average heart rate during this segment was 125bpm, with a max of 132bpm (same warm-up route as 2017).
My average heart rate became my max while shaving almost 2.5 minutes off the max pace. That sounds like an improvement to me!
Now, I'm not exactly breaking records here, and yes, I probably could have improved much more over the years had I not experimented with different methods of training, and smacking an Ironman and an ultra marathon in there too, during which I followed a specific plan and didn't use TrainAsONE ... Naughty.
It's important to take into account, that I'm not just a runner, I have other interests that I pursue and enjoy. But TrainAsONE is always there, adapting if I happen to skip a run because I went for a ride, or a long walk in the hills.
How about those 6 Minute Assessments, how are they looking? Well, back on 2017-07-19 my average pace was 6:23min/mi with an average heart rate of 177bpm, and a max of 188bpm.
One of my most recent efforts finally saw me break through a plateau I had been at for quite some time, hovering around the 6:00min/mi mark. On 2021-06-24, I produced a 6-minute assessment of 1.07 miles, with an average pace of 5:35min/mi. My HR average was 182bpm with a max of 187bpm (the humidity has been killing me →95% for the majority of my runs for months).
Again, not breaking records with these, but I was ecstatic with that time. And, returning to the short answer I gave at the beginning. Yes, TrainAsONE absolutely makes a difference to my running.
People often ask how I run practically non-stop year round - this is why. So far, I have not sustained a training based injury during my run training since using TrainAsONE. I've been knocked down by a van that was too close and smacked with me its wing mirror, taking me out of action for a few weeks (could have been worse), I've come off my bike (almost taken it over a cliff too ...), and injured myself through other misdeeds, but so far, not from training. I'll continue to pray to the running Gods that this continues to be the case.
How do you use TrainAsONE differently?
The biggest change I have made is that I no longer use pace or heart-rate based zones for my workouts. I use power. With the uneven terrain I have to work with, pace is incredibly difficult to keep in line. Likewise, so is heart-rate, which is also heavily dependent on the weather and other conditions. It's also incredibly slow to respond to certain stimulus. This doesn't mean I completely ignore heart-rate, though. When used properly, it can provide an incredible amount of information for what's happening to you.
I've owned a Stryd foot pod since ~ March 2020. I spent six months just gathering data, trying to figure out how best to make use of it with my device at the time (Polar). If you read the Polar post, you'll notice that power-based training targets was a feature that had been lacking for far too long. I was having to take the pace-based info from TrainAsONE, and convert that to relevant power zones, find the average, and then create phased targets with a guesstimated number as the description on the screen. It was a nightmare, and probably delayed my progress greatly.
However, since moving to Garmin, I have the ability to use the Stryd Garmin IQ app. Combined with TrainAsPower from an incredible member of the Stryd community, I'm able to take the structured workout from TrainAsONE, let TrainAsPower do it's magic, and have it appear in my Stryd Workouts, ready to use on my Garmin within seconds.
So, how did that look for this morning's repetition run?
And how does that come over to the watch while you're on the run?
So simple, even I can understand it. Green is good, red is too much, blue is "try harder wuss".
In summary, I have the perks of TrainAsONE's adaptive AI training plans, combined with power-based targets, which takes things such as hills and wind (if you purchase the Stryd pod that supports wind detection) in to consideration with your power output.
Would I recommend TrainAsOne?
Given how I've gushed over the service thus far, I think you know the answer. TrainAsONE has been with me, pushing me to new PR's month after month (when I do as I'm told!). It's taken me from a pretty humble beginning, to multiple podium 5KM, and 10KM performances. My first half-marathon, my first marathon, and so much more.
If you enjoy running and want to improve, check out TrainAsONE. They have a fantastic free tier which gives you more than enough to get started. And, if you like what they do, jump in and splash the cash. At £60 a year, it's worth it.
- TrainAsONE Website: https://www.trainasone.com/
- My Referral Link: https://beta.trainasone.com/register?referrer_token=9lCMVtLMHtbsr2SFGbQ3
I get a small discount on my membership fee if you use my link. This post was not sponsored in any way, shape, or form. I just felt like talking about it.
If you want to know more about any aspect of my training, let me know!
The post image was "borrowed" from https://www.flockworks.co.uk/portfolio_page/train-as-one/ - as I simply couldn't find a decent sized TrainAsONE logo, or find a suitable way to screenshot the service that did it justice. This did.