Some noob questions about how Athletica could work for me?

Hi,

I’m interested in signing up but have a few questions, if anyone could shed some light it would be much appreciated. Also, I am one of the minority of people who does not use forums at all so I am blissfully unaware of the etiquette etc, in my life I have posted once before this on Slowtwitch and that is literally it! So, apologies if this in the wrong place, if I should have put it on another thread, if this has been covered already somewhere etc. I am learning!

First, I want to do specific sports on specific days/times to fit around work/family etc. These are rigid and unflexible, I would only be interested in Athletica giving me the content/duration of these sessions, I have no interest in it telling me when to do certain things. Is this something it can work with? I can see there is a beta test going on that seems similar to this, but I’m not on it so can’t tell if it will meet my needs or not. If anyone is on the beta, how is it working? Could it do what I need effectively? Is it working for you?

Secondly, I am an unusual athlete in that I train for events but purely for fun, I do not “compete” in the usual sense, and so I do a variety of events. I could not care less about Kona qualification for example, I want to do as many interesting events as I can in the endurance multisport world. So, picking a single sport/event to build a plan around won’t work for me. My current (provisional) 2025 calendar for example is London marathon in April, Ultraman 355 in August, and a 50k trail ultra in October as my A races. I will also be doing a few tris, trail races, swim marathon events etc as B/C races. Can Athletica handle this, or is it more limited to one main focus event? For example, I don’t want to sacrifice bike/swim training during my spring marathon build.

Lastly, and perhaps most important, what is the training philosophy of atheltica? My current approach, which I believe in, is to focus entirely on drills/technique in the swim as this is the limiting factor and fitness can be built elsewhere, to keep all runs at an easy Z2 pace and do no interval work at all as this builds running economy well for the long distances I do whilst limiting injury risk as much as possible, as hard running is the most common source of injury in triathletes, and to do very hard interval work on the turbo alongside longer endurance rides as fitness gains from hard turbo work carry over well to running and swimming with almost no injury risk. Obviously in a build/race specifics phase I would change aspects of this, but this approach would be the bulk of my year and it’s served me well so far. I’m open to other training philosophies, but I’m 37 so no spring chicken and I want to understand the approach before I jump in so I can understand how it will work for me. I can see the HIIT podcasts and training courses, but the podcasts don’t quite give me the answer I’m after and I’m reluctant to sign up for a training course due to the cost. Can anyone explain the philosophy behind athletica? And please don’t just say intervals, I can see it says HIIT quite prominently so I understand that this will be a cornerstone of the approach but you can’t train just on intervals so there must be more to it than that?

Thanks for any insight/replies, and happy training!

H @BMarks!

I mostly will let others comment on the “training philosophy” of Athletica, but I may be able to help with some of your questions. I have been using Athletica as an athlete for a few months, I coach other athletes, and I am on large triathlon team that has athletes doing all of the types of endurance events you mentioned and more.

To your first question - the simple answer is yes. You can request certain workouts on certain days, and you can put in time constraints. This works great, and should do exactly what you are asking.

For your 2nd question - I suspect that there are many more athletes in your camp than you think! Just like you, a lot of athletes (myself included) do a variety of events, and many athletes are interested in living a happy and healthy lifestyle, not winning their age group. In your Athletica settings you can choose “train to maintain” or training to race. You could choose either, and I think the overarching idea of Athletica will still apply both ways. It will train you to improve fitness and performance across all disciplines you choose in a structured, healthy way. I believe the biggest difference you will find is that if you choose training to race and add races to your calendar, it will train and taper you for your more important races.

If you don’t want to taper, and you are fine training through your races, then I’m sure you could use train to maintain. For big races you may want a taper just to make sure you’re fresh and ready to go. Either way, even if you don’t put in official races you could add your events as workouts on the days they are going to happen and Athletica will plan around them accordingly.

For the philosophy, I think the short answer is the training philosophy is pretty close to what you described (mostly easy, Z1 and Z2 work, and strength/interval work on the bike) with small differences in the swim and run. If you have built good run fitness and frequency, I wouldn’t be too afraid of mixing in some short intervals. You are more likely to get injured by overtraining (which Athletica would help you avoid), or pushing too hard, too often (also unlikely using Athletica) than doing a some appropriately challenging intervals.

You’re in the right spot to ask questions. Fire away!

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To the rigid scheduling question, I haven’t joined the beta so will let others answer, but you can drag workouts around during the week to suit your schedule without using the scheduler.

I only ‘compete’ in swimming, and I don’t use Athletica for that sport (although I let the workouts flow in to capture load, etc), but my other events are generally non-competitive and the tool has been great. The best thing for me has been a lack of injury. Not saying I’m never sore - some workouts are still tough - but I’ve gone two seasons following the plan and not had any serious setbacks. As a late-40s athlete, this is a big plus for me. I usually schedule one A event and a bunch of Bs just to get the most out of the tool, but I’ve used Train-to-Maintain in the off-season and it’s been fine.

Since I’m over a decade older than you I’m not buying your resistance to the odd running interval :sweat_smile: but most of the workouts in my lower-volume running plan have been steady zone 2 with one or two strength endurance days (out zone 2, coming back at half-marathon pace) and one short day with some 30/30s that I usually do on hills.

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Hey and welcome!!!

Long time user as an athlete and coach here.

Once you subscribe you can request to be part of the Time constraints Beta Group and you can tell Athletica how much time and which sport you want to do on certain day. As it is a beta group and not yet 100% perfect, please allow some slack. :smiley:

I would definitely use triathlon plan as it sounds like you enjoy doing multiple sports for your adventures!

Training philosophy is super important! Athletica is a brilliant way to keep doing what you love to do (endurance sports) without getting constantly injured, burned out or overtrained. There is a lot of easy training as in zone 2 (and your zones gets automatically adjusted once you do your initial test week, or every time you engage yourself in harder effort above threshold for a certain time interval), functional strength work as in strength endurance - hill simulations, threshold, tempo and of course VO2max work (we are a bunch of friendly peeps coming together every wednesday morning for a fun session - look up this thread if you want to join us.

It’s a great mix of both high intensity and low intensity and towards your goal races more specific work that prepares you super well to your events - going for the win or not!

What is cool though is that it adapts to you - and what you do. Don’t look too far ahead of the first plan, as it will change depending on what you do. You also need to kind of trust your gut and make changes that make sense to you. For example, I extend my longer rides and runs when I feel I have the energy and I can recover from them without getting injured or sick. So always remember your own context. As a busy mom of three- there are plenty of situations where I need to adapt the plan and make it my own.

I came to Athletica as a 43 year old overtrained female athlete. After trying other platforms that give you 10+ high intensity and zone work- Athletica just works for me like cat’s meow.

But, better try it for yourself and play around with it to see if it suits your needs.

Let us know if you have any other questions.

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Thanks for the responses everyone! Super helpful, I really appreciate it.

Sounds like it could work really well for me! If I’m right it seems that I can essentially override the prescribed days of various sessions and move them around as I like, and Athletica responds by adapting other sessions to make it work rather than just saying no to it, which is what I’ve found with other approaches in the past. Flexibility is the key thing I’m after really so if I can move and adapt things to suit work/family/social etc then that’s awesome. I love multisport and training but it has to fit around everything else!

I was a bit worried about the philosophy as what I’d read seemed to be pushing the HIIT approach in all the branding etc, but it sounds like it is more balanced so that’s great.

Thanks again everyone, really appreciate it!

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Great! As a mom of three kids in sports, business owner and Ironman athlete who loves to train, I agree - flexibility is THE KEY. 100%! I didn’t find the flexibility I was after with any other platform either.

If you listen to the Athlete’s Compass Podcast, you can get a better grasp on the idea of balance, consistency and health in Athletica as we chat with Dr. Laursen, the founder of Athletica. Yes, HIIT is important, and it is a potent, effective training tool, but too much can lead to injuries, illness and overtraining, and that is the last thing we want for you as an everyday athlete! :smiley: Always remember to over-ride any training prescription with YOUR unique context and keep common sense in your training. Feeling tired and exhausted? Probably not the best day to do HIIT…

Let us know here in the forum if you have any questions, we are a friendly bunch of athletes and coaches here to help you!

MJ

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