Thanks for the listening ear and willingness to engage with a bit of my constructive criticism. I have no idea how challenging it is to build good software, but I know how thankful I am to have fantastic tools like Today’s Plan to enable me to support athletes while making a living doing what I love. So thank you for all the work you do!
Also, I’ve listed a bunch of my beef with Today’s Plan below, but it goes without saying that there is a ton about the platform that I think is absolutely phenomenal. In short, I’ve spent time laying out my criticisms because I love the platform, and want it to continue to improve.
Here’s a bit of context for my use case and past experience using online training platforms.
- I’ve been using Today’s Plan since January of 2020, before that I was a TrainingPeaks customer for 10 years. I would consider myself a power user for most software I engage with. I love software, love learning how it works, and figuring out how to use it as efficiently as possible.
- I switched to Today’s Plan because I felt that improvements to TrainingPeaks had stalled significantly as they shifted away from the needs of coaches to be a catch-all training app for the mass market (and mostly non-coached athletes).
- My background is as a lifelong educator and coach, not as a former pro.
With a bit of context out of the way, here are the four primary feature sets I feel are most important to a training platform.
Post-workout comments, inbox settings
Workout creation and library functionality
Features athletes are most likely to interact with
More advanced aggregate metrics
Inbox and Notifications
Since athletes pay for varying levels of feedback frequency, it would be great if I could tune the inbox to only show frequent notifications from athletes in top tiers, instead of all workout comments being dumped into one big bin.
Also a feature like “workout upload notifications” would be a huge time saver eliminating the need to log into the calendar view for each athlete to see if they have a new workout uploaded (in the event they uploaded but didn’t leave a comment).
Allow greater control over onboarding emails. I’ve built out my own onboarding steps, but new athletes are still confused by getting the default Today’s Plan onboarding stuff before I can hit them with my own steps. If possible, I would love to have full control over all emails that hit the athlete from the moment they confirm their account.
Selecting an Athlete
The current default behavior for the calendar is that every time a new athlete is selected, you must first deselect the current athlete (or you select multiple athletes).
I would think most coaches are most often engaging with one athlete at a time, so perhaps the default should be one selection at a time unless a key-modifier like “command” is used to make multiple athlete selections.
Another point, the athlete selection from the calendar doesn’t transfer to the dashboard, meaning every time you switch to the Dashboard, you’re clicking and deselecting even more. Seems like “normal” behavior should be for the Dashboard and Calendar athlete selection to default to the same.
The same holds true to switching a dashboard perspective, it still defaults to a previous selection, instead of holding to the same athlete you were just examining.
Current library behavior is to default to each tag toggle being open every time you engage with the library. Navigating the workout library would be more streamlined if the toggle defaulted to being closed, allowing you to see more of your library at a quick glance, without scrolling or manually closing all toggles each time you program workouts.
When using the progressive workout planning feature, the only info displayed about progression is Intensity and TScore, this isn’t all that helpful in trying to pick out which workout in a sequence of workouts you might want to apply for a specific day.
It would be more helpful to display something like interval duration, this info would make the progressive workout functionality much more valuable.
I feel like the “athlete perspective” is often lost in all the power features provided by Today’s Plan. Yes, we coaches choose a platform that best meets our needs, but if athletes are confused and overwhelmed by the amount of information displayed, it’s generally bad for their training and bad for my business.
I want each athlete to engage with the platform, not blow it off because it feels too much like a science experiment.
Having said that, I’ve invested over 100 hours building out custom videos and web tutorials to cover every touchpoint for an athlete, and many of them still engage significantly less with the platform than they did previously with TrainingPeaks (furthermore, many of them still maintain a TrainingPeaks account just so they can get a familiar perspective on their ride data).
Here are a few areas I think are most ripe for improvement.
Any type of intermittent interval is pretty much impossible for athletes to understand with the current workout display. Some sort of graphical interface is badly needed to improve the athlete’s experience of reading a workout.
Out of necessity, I’ve created my own workout graphics to share with clients so they can try to make sense of the Today’s Plan format for displaying intervals. This workout is roughly the same as the one above, obviously, a graphical interface is a vastly better learning tool and improves the athlete experience.
Currently, compliance color grades feel too strict, leading most of my athletes to tune out from the color grading system. Would be great if I could tune the requirements for which workouts get graded green, yellow, or red, or have the option to override the grade myself.
Ultimately, when a good workout gets graded as red because it doesn’t line up with the system requirements, the athlete just tunes out, and the colors are meaningless.
Dates instead of weeks
I think seeing dates (first day of a week for range, or specific date for individual data point) makes graphs much more useful in the dashboard
Parity between load charts
For some reason, the load chart in the activity summary is much more powerful than the one we get in the dashboard. Having an option to layer more data (like bests) would make the dashboard load chart a lot more useful.
Making the season planning chart look more like the load chart would help to cement the connection between planning and execution over the big picture of the season. Also using dates (perhaps the first day of the week) would make it much more useful.
This chart is incredible, but it’s buried in the settings menu. Would love to be able to access some of this info or draw it up from the dashboard view.
Thanks again for engaging with my constructive criticism. If you have any further questions/comments feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.