Coach Jack "Beta" - Custom Plan Creator

So we have created a new plan creator (available to all premium members NOW). We have termed it “Coach Jack,” to be clear it is not a human coach.

Below, I am showing the creator below, but actually Coach Jack can review your Strava history and ask some assessment questions and suggest a plan for you. Once the intial plan is created, you can tweak it as much as you want using the screen shown. This is not using our community created workouts or plans. This is 100% custom workouts and plans, each workout and plan desiged exactly for you.

This creator is the first of its kind. I would call it the “Starbuck’s” of plan builders, meaning the goal is to allow you to have it “your way” yet still guiding you in the primary fundamentals of effective and safe training.

One of the key features is this first ramp rate slider. If you don’t know, Ramp Rate relates to your week after week hourly (training stress) increases. Seasonal increases is a critical component of peak performance. I would say virtually all or at the minimum most top performance riders seasonally increase their hours and training stress. For most dedicated long term performance riders that means a big increase from winter to spring.

Again the goal of the Coach Jack plan creator is to allow you to dial a plan to fit perfectly within your constraints which is a key component of top performance. This is just the first version but it will continue to be improved and expanded, we are exited to start getting feedback and improve it to meet the needs of a wider group of performance cyclists. It has been designed with a few top coaches reviewing it and providing suggestions.

Next on the list of features is setting an event date as well as annual training plans. Also we want to give more visibility to training stress aspects of the plan but for now as soon as you push to TrainerDay you will see that.


This looks like a great development Alex!

We’re heading into spring/summer down under so 80% of my riding will be outdoors but this will still be an awesome tool. Interface looks very user friendly too.

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Wholly … Really looking forward to having a look at this, I partically like the fact that you can select the days, and the long days seperatly, looks like something that was writen by a user

Question, if you say you can ride monday/tuesday/wednesday/thursday/friday/Saturday/Sunday … does it auto make friday a easy day ? Can you save the training plan and then tinker with it …

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Thank you. Acutally it automatically makes every 3rd day in a row a recovery day, so in this case it would be Wed and Saturday. Now that gets tricky if you say Saturday is your only day for a long ride. By Monday it some cases it will make the 1st day of a 3-day block the recovery day. Fri-Sat-Sun with long ride Sat-Sun then Friday will be the recovery day.

We are working right now to improve this logic and make it even smarter, so in the next month+ it should get really smart but on Monday it should be good for most 3-5 day a week riders out of the box.

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Nice, glad to hear that it’s not just “slap” a training plan on a calendar, and there is some logic behind what it produces, looking forward to seeing it

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Ok Coach Jack is live!!!

I am sure people might like the interface but some guys will want more TrainerRoad style or generally super hard plans that include workouts like 2X20. I personally believe the Coach Jack Plans interface is so nice and convienient I would assume people will want more plan options and I am open to it even it it is not the style I like or think is the best choice, it’s not about me :slight_smile:

I repeat this over and over but “my mentors” don’t believe this style of workout (2X20’) is important and guys have won the the grand tours not doing interval sessions like this (and not doing drugs) so I am sure it is not required but some people will believe it is or they like it so that is fine too :slight_smile: My goal is to get people to have more fun. If that is 2X20’s then so be it. I just hear of people killing themselves because they think they have to get faster, I hope to dispell that myth.


Had a little play with it last night, great piece of work, defiantly interested in where you take it

Fully onboard with the not going down the TR, every ride has to be a hard ride (think that product has done me more harm than good, and wish I didn’t keep going back) but as a > 50, and having read Friel’s book, do feel the need to have ONE or two hard workouts in my weekly plan (if that’s right or wrong I’m not sure, but I do enjoy doing 2 x 20 || a race)

I’d be interested to know what you are gathering when you look at strava, not to sure if I going to follow the plan that it has created (although 95% of what it has generated looks like my normal week), am interested in the polorised plans, have you thought about having a “hard day” option

As the other big brands (TR and WH) have used DCRainmaker as their advertising platform, it’s a shame that you couldn’t do the same, this is a interesting piece of work, that like you intend, could help dismiss the “every workout has to be hard” myth that is growing and make riders faster

Nice work

I love this feedback, thanks for the review. My pro-coach friend and I both have a lot of respect for Joe, so I also believe it’s not against the “rules” to have a minimum of one hard day a week all year long. Now I did coach a 75-year old and convinced him to do 3-months of pure base and following that he had his best (senior) season ever and won is age group state championship in the US and qualified for US senior olympics.

My belief is if you are serious about peak spring performance you need to make sure early winter sets you up for being hungry for a solid build/peak period so you are going into mid-late January rested. I would think most won’t feel this rested after 2-hard days a week. One shorter HIIT session you likely would. Depeneds on the individual I think.
I do agree with your thinking/approach though, just giving my 2-cents.

If you feel really strong but not very tired a the end of your build period and did a fairly big build then you likely did it right.

So as we launched this tool, I now realized it could be useful for someone like you or me. Originally I thought it was more for the cyclist that did not know how to create a plan. Now I realize it could generate the plan I like but much faster than any traditional method. Or use this to generate the plan but then slighly tweak it in TrainerDay when it is done.

I have been sick followed by busy launching this and want a new “base” plan which I planned to create manually but I want to do 15-minutes a day 7 days a week with 4-Z2 rides 2-recovery rides and 1 Tabata HIIT ride. I can still do this much faster using this Coach Jack tool taking 6 days a week of base and adding the HIIT in TrainerDay. So yes your idea of “hard-day” option is a good one.

I would love to hear about what changes we could make to make it so you use Jack to create the core part of your plan. I do realize for the self-coached cyclist this may not be that important but I would still love to hear it to get ideas. Polarized will have 1 hard day but again your idea of a selectable hard day is a super great idea. We could offer like 10 or more different types of hard days. Meaning different types of workouts and different types of progressions of those hard days. Super good idea. I think we will do this.

Yes, DCRainmaker avoids the smaller brands but as we improve Jack’s plans this is so different I might be able to convince him. I have more hope for getting GPlama (Shane) to do this soon as he said he already wants/plans to review TrainerDay.

Thanks again. You got me even more excited :slight_smile:

Here’s a nice article on Lactate and the 2x20min workout. It is comprised in the article but clearly nat as a favorite…

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Ok I just did some major improvements in the way long days and recovery days work @Jeremy try it again:) now if we just add a bit more variety to the 5+ days a week plans I think it will be solid. But you guys have more good ideas for improvements that I want to include.

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Regarding one or two hard workouts a week. Based on my talking with my pro-coach friend and I repeat myself one of the top science based coaches in the world (including being one of of the few with $10 millon plus labs…). His belief is that it is primarily about managing volume and seasonal progressions. Again in his opion you don’t need to do 2X20 regularly most of the year but seasonally you could build up to 2X20’s.

This slow and gradual seasonal building up causes adaption more than just jumping in the deep end. Now that said if you want to treat a 2X20 as an period race that can be beneficial. Basically everyone he coaches has some very hard efforts fairly regularly (mostly races). So these really hard efforts are not necessarily part of the plan but just something that happen. This is where more dynamic planning is important to factor in these “races” into the plan.

We might be saying the same thing. I am just saying our plans are designed around the structured part of the plan and the great efforts are something you optionally add in at the level you are comfortable with and ideally you find to be fun. I would love a great simple way of stating this in Coach Jack :slight_smile:

I think this is a key part of the post, with the hard efforts not being part of the plan, you have to presume that everybody following you plan is doing some hard efforts outside the plan, and therefore, it’s unwritten part of a (incomplete) plan, and that simply might not be the case, I add to my plans with a commute on a single speed, which is zone 2 at best, I don’t race (at the moment) so would like my hard efforts to be part of my plan

Now my experience is that when I did 10 hours of commuting and a long 5 hour ride at the weekend, I was a 17 mph guy, I started adding intervals to my training (after reading Adam Topman’s book on TTing) and I became a 21mph guy, my experience was that I would be fast in March / April. replace the intervals with racing, and get slower (although I was a terrible TTer), and looking to back to 1990’s/ early 2000’s when I was at my fastest on a mtb, I was going loads of miles commuting to work then doing accidental intervals on a Saturday jump farming, it’s amazing how sprinting to a jump was a accidental interval

Now I agree, the TR system of nearly every ride has to be a big interval session, is BS, but my gut feeling is that a hard workout some where in the plan (either in the plan, or mentioned by the plan) helps (me), and it certainly doesn’t have be 2*20

Happy that I might be talking rubbish, I only have my experience to go on, although my best mate was a 20 min 10 mile TT guy, until he got a coach who made him do lots of Z2

PS … not trying to talk you into being my couch :slight_smile:

I love this discussion :slight_smile:

Actually in asking Andrea (my coach friend) he is confident the hard efforts are not required to get high performance IF YOU DO THINGS RIGHT but the hard efforts will give you that extra edge and a required to be at your very top. Most cyclists belive it is the hard efforts that are making you fast but I would argue based on discussing with Andrea that actually the hard efforts are required because most people are doing it wrong when it comes to performance.

If you correctly manage your volume, recovery and progressive overload then the painfully long hard efforts become optional. Also their is this great tendency these days to over do the hard efforts (TR style) that it is giving reasonable performance but at a high cost. I belive that what Dr. Seiler proved with his studies is not that 80/20 is the best but that 80/20 is better than too much hard effort. So my conclusion from that is that the theory of maximizing your TSS/CTL is secondary to do the right training and the right recovery. So do it right first, focus on CTL secondly (and optionally).

So I am not trying to say that hard efforts won’t work I am just saying their is an alternative approach that is safer and in many cases will produce better results.

If you look at Coach Jack’s Serious Italian plan, this plan does it “right enough.” It could have some enhancements but it is good.
It provides the right fundamentals to doing it right. For one is a solid variety of complimentary core workouts (SFR, Threshold PROGRESSION, and a long ride) other days are Z2 or recovery.

Not sure if you have done SFR or 35-45 rpm Zone 2 intervals before but they will build your leg strength like crazy but don’t cause so much stress other than muscle stress. They are hard enough that if you started at the end of the progression without doing the beginning it would be dangerous.

Also the threshold build slowly to eventually doing this workout.
2 X (3m@70% + 4m@80% + 4m@100% + 5m@40%)

Obviously this is nothing compared to a 2 X 20’ but it provides the stimuous you need to seasonally move forward to your peak. Assuming you started rested after ideally a couple months of base.

Now if you are commuting 5 days on a single speed which is probalby Zone 4-5 at least from stop lights :slight_smile: … you might not be getting the recovery you need to optimize your gains or you need a more advance program to make sure you are :slight_smile: You need to turn some of those commutes into pure Z1 at the minimum.

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I think you meant coach not couch :slight_smile: I proably am a better couch than coach… Really I am only repeating what Andrea, Joe Friel, Dr. Seiler, Dylan Johnson and many other reputable folks are saying… I am not a real coach by any means.

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These days my commute is very very short (as in I’m a software developer and work from home since pandemic) but even before then, and when when I get out in the mornings before work, my single speed is so under geared that I can’t get to Z3, Z2 is hard enough (120 rpm) and it’s all cross country, so no stop start. According to 82% of my riding is @Z2, I pretty much follow what Dylan Johnson says in his fast on 10 hours video, just a little more Z2 with commutes

Sorry about calling you a couch :slight_smile:

Yes I have had this same commute for the last 15 years or so before that was 15k each way down trails on the Thames to Richmond on the Thames, a very nice commute.

No problem on the Couch. I am not a great speller and tend to make a lot of mistakes.

Yes I like Dylan and agree with most of what he says. I don’t know how great of Coach he is because he tends to leave out a lot of details, I assume trying to get more students for himself or CTS. Those details matter but since he seems to have the big picture right in our opinion he likely has reasonable details as well. Obviously he is way more knowledgeable then me but not my guru :slight_smile:

The big take away I see from everyone that contradicts the TR story is that maximizing TSS does not produce the best results but following the fundamentals (overload, recovery…) followed by maximum volume/stress produces the best results.

Wow, this looks great. I have been a member for a bit now and have been loving all the new features and this is just the type of thing I was looking for for the upcoming winter months. I’m kind of a weekend warrior and its tough picking from the library of workouts and plans, but this looks great.

I just wanted to say I appreciate it and keep up the good work!

Hello, so happy. I would love to get as much information from you as possible :slight_smile: meaning we have a lot of features planned that will make this much better but the more target customers (like yourself) feedback can get the better for you and us. If you are willing you can use our forum or direct message in forums or email me generally now I trying to design the optimum (Zwift or other outdoor simulation) and outdoor versus engaging ERG or mixed ERG and free-ride workouts.

Just got a premium membership and I have been trying to build a plan with Coach Jack. :slight_smile:
Based on my criteria I ended up with the Crunched Power plan.

Looking at the plan vs the description of it there seems to be a discrepancy regarding the sweet spot training.

The description says: There are three key workouts in the Crunched Power plan: one or two progressive HIIT workouts, a progressive sweet spot workout , and possibly a long ride every week.

But the actual plan includes 2*HIIT + long Z2/Z3 ride + recovery. No Sweet Spot.

Sweetspot for me means intervals at 84 to 97% of my FTP. Do we have the same definition?

Two things. We are currently including sweet spot progressions in our plans which are not the same as sweet spot intervals popularized by TR. We are creating progressions that build to sweet spot intensities as our “main work” but secondary work is still lower than sweet spot and generally the main work gets longer and longer progressions but overall much easier than TR’s type of sustained sweet spot. But you also found a bug that this sweet spot progressions is missing in this plan.

Our belief is their is a re-education process currently going on including Dr Seiler’s Polarized and Dylan Johnson’s youtube videos and a general long history of training fundamentals that TSS as the primary goal is not the best practice.

All that being said, we are open to others beliefs and don’t belive the TSS focus is 100% wrong for all people (just most) and feel that in order to represent what many people likely want due to the plan ecosystem that Coggan/TR and others have created we will need to add some more “traditional” sweet spot interval workout progression plans. Those will be coming soon.

We base our plans on long standing fundamentals and science proven training. HIIT has been been science proven effictive for time crunched individuals. Lower TSS (polarized for example) has also been proven more effective. High TSS plans have not been scientifically proven so we have not included them. I know lots of people say it works for them but that is not science or does it show that it is more effective then more tradtional plans. Sorry this stuff gets me excited… :slight_smile:

I fixed it. So you either get a long ride or a second HIIT now. See below

You can see as the plan gets longer you do have a main work progression that gets longer so more time at sweet spot but still not like TR.

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