Coach Jack - Creating a better outdoor experience

Many people struggle with a good outdoor structured training approach. The way Coach Jack’s workouts are designed I believe that can be improved.

I know each rider has his own preferences. Here are the main ideas I am focused on.

  1. Outdoor text based
  2. Garmin
  3. Outdoor app (for example using our app outdoors)

Because Coach Jacks workouts are composed of 4 components. Warm-up, main work, secondary work, and cool down. Really only the main work should be followed closely. In many cases the main work might only be 15-25 minutes of a 90 minute ride for example.

#1 - Outdoor Text Based (could be called top tube sticker)
90m training
15m - warm up
20m - main work
Secondary work (Zone 2/3)
10m - cool down

Really that can be written as
90m total - main work 3 X 1m@240w + 1.5m@rests

You could have an email just sending you this main work and once you got used to it you could almost memorize after a quick pre-ride glance. No need to follow your garmin or an app.

Many pros use this method of following a workout. I think it is is a good one.

#2 Garmin
So currently people can send their entire workout to Garmin but if you want to do your main work at a certian location (nice hill), it’s hard to time it right. We could do the lap button feature for warmup so you start and press lap to get to your main work… But we also could just create a workout that is only comprised of main work. So 3 different Garmin options (current solution = strict, lap button, main work only)

#3 our app. So I know most cyclists don’t want to use a phone on their bike but slowly it seems people are moving in this direction. We are planning on enhancing our app to record GPS (outdoor mode) and also considering this “Garmin lap button” functionality so you can focus on main work.

All these features would and can work when you design your own workouts as well.

My point here is just to get a discussion going that people give ideas on either how to improve the outdoor experience or feedback and deeper discussion what what I am presenting here.


This same approaches could be applied to Zwift. Meaning I think minimizing the amount of time in ERG mode in Zwift the better the experience.


#3 - Top priority !

I noticed that the app auto-pauses the workout when I stop pedaling. Could that feature be adapted for the outdoors workouts, when you have to stop or are going downhill where it’s mostly impossible to reach the power target !?

#2 Please don’t forget us Wahooligans! God ideas though.

Don’t worry, I won’t. I use Wahoo as well. Just they don’t have any good integration solutions yet.

Alex, I find these ideas of yours very interesting especially for garmin, which is clearly what I use, a little bit mirroring the requests I made in the other topic just posted. I am very pleased to see the continuous progress even though I have just arrived, I appreciate it very much.

good evening, i just created the first training plan with coach jack, and i would like to ask a few questions:
in my previous programs, the jobs to be done uphill or on the flat were always specified.
for the works proposed in the plan, is it not specified whether they are uphill or on the plain? Will there be routes within the same training session that include both the plain and the climb?
furthermore, the recommended cadence number is not specified? (except for the SFR) and that everyone can then adapt to their needs.
I tried to search a little in the forum but I could not find anything about it.

Great questions. Yes our product is still in beta and we are launching new features all the time. Both climb / flat suggestions (better outdoor experience in general) as well as more cadence work will be launched before we are out of beta.

We have agreement discussions with my coaches, that cadence work can help but is not the most critical thing (other than SFR due to it’s totally different neromuscular quadrant that it targets). But still we do feel it is important enough that we plan on adding it. The consensous is you don’t need to do a lot of RPM work but some cadence work each week can definitly help. We would put cadence work almost in the skills category.

A few examples we will add is Z2 short 30s intervals of 125-130 RPM work, as well as hills or harder efforts with 95-100 RPM work for longer intervals, most likely with RPM ramps starting 70-75 and building up to say 2 minutes at 95-100 rpm and then slowly increasing those durations. Generally 1 workout a week that includes some cadence skill work is enough.

Regarding flats or uphills yes this is definitly best practices, meaning sounds like you had a good coach or good recommendations. We will start to add this information to each of our workout descriptions. This will be starting to come soon (within a few weeks). Hopefully completely finished in 2-weeks.

See below this small indicator will say if it is better/easier indoors vs out and we will describe even if recommended for indoor how to do it outdoors. SFR is best done on 5-8% grade, either shorter with repeats or longer if possible.

thanks Alex for the reply which suggests that you are already working on these improvements which is great and good for the site. I would also add another request that for people like me who hate doing the roller and prefer free exits, the coach jack should ask during the preparation of the plan, the preferences of the cyclist, in order to privilege the workouts proposed in function of the cyclist’s wishes. It is clear that in this way everything becomes complicated, but a plan is useful if the cyclist does it, otherwise there are only beautiful tables. once the plan has been made according to the wishes of the cyclist by jack, in the event that it is not possible to go out due to bad weather, it would be enough to always convert the 5 hours proposed for the original training plan through the jack coach to indoor. it being understood that in an outdoor outing, all the more than 50 phases will not always be necessary to complete training. however the site is very interesting and allows many excellent solutions. I hope these suggestions are shared by the athletes of the forum. thanks again Alex for what you are doing. compliments.

Thank you!!! :slight_smile: I agree with your thinking. I just moved this into this other thread as it is so closely related. Can you give an example of questions for riders preferences? I can see from Strava if they like indoor or outdoor for example. I am not using all this data yet but right now I am just trying to understand what people need/want.

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I think your ideas are very good, and I have noticed that you really enjoy listening, I am sure that in the end you will be able to do what many would have liked or have not been able to do. looking around if I have other requests or doubts you will hear me. for now thanks.

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Yes, that is interesting idea. Not sure how it would work but the idea makes sense. Basically like Dynamic workouts that adjust as you ride and deal with interruptions.

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hello Alex,
as regards the Garmin, as you have suggested and which I was already using in my ordinary outings, to marry the right path with time, I use the lap key, putting it every time I need to change the scenario and the time of the program does not it’s my time to get to that scene. I hope to read these operational changes as they arrive at their destination soon. I’m sure I made a good choice to join this site, and I’m promoting it to my racing friends.
good job.

mi scuso per il mio inglese tradotto, spero che sia comprensibile,
ma credo che sarebbe lo stesso per te se dovessi farlo tu in Italiano. :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Yes, this is exactly what I was hoping to hear :slight_smile: Meaning this is how people want to do workouts outside. I think I should do warmup as one interval with lap button press, main work has each timed intervals, and secondary work could be just a couple of timed intervals with zone focus the last secondary interval could be lap press to cool down or just skip the cool down outdoors. Thanks so much for your compliments we are very pro-italian here :slight_smile: Really I am pro-every country but I have very good Italian cycling coach friend that helps me a lot.

The English seems like a great translation :slight_smile:

Hi Alex,

here are my thoughts on the different suggestions:

1# Could work only for super simple workouts, but as soon as I need to count to more that three intervals, remember the wattage/duration/rest in between I am sure I’ll mix things up.

2# That’s my preferred option as I have a edge 530.
Suggestion: make warm-up as easy as possible, use the lap button as much as possible.
I am not sure what else can be configured on the Garmin workouts.

3# I’ll never do that. I tried at the beginning of my cycling journey but phones are not made for that purposes. Especially when the weather conditions are challenging (wet = unresponsive touchscreen, cold = kills the battery life). While Garmin should be ashamed of themselves for marketing 90’s looking technology that is slow af for such a hefty price tag, it still better meets my needs than a phone.

Yes I plan on doing #2. Just looking for all ideas possible. See below what I am thinking for Garmin experience.

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I guess my next question would be would more people like to see simplified indoor secondary work also? TSS is the main target of secondary work, so it could be simple or complex for the same training objective. I hate to add too many options to Coach Jack plan creation screen. I am going to improve secondary work though.

I really like the suggestion above for Garmin!

IMO, regarding indoor simplification, it depends whether you use ERG or not. With ERG, no need, without, maybe, to watch the screen a bit less.

By using TD I got used to ERG mode so from my perspective no need for simplification.

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