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Learning Golden Cheetah

Posted September 19, 2015 06:15PM by Skye in the Cycling Forum

Skye
Skye Skye Nott
@TheStaminist   Skye Nott
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Joined: 3 years ago   Posts: 519

I've been learning Golden Cheetah 3.2 over the last few days to do some analysis of my 2015 rides and I'm blown away - the software is incredibly powerful. However, the interface is quirky and it crashes once in a while, but considering what it can do and the fact that it's both free and multi-platform, I don't really mind. As they say in the Science section (recommended reading):

"Wherever possible we choose to use published science. Science that has been developed with the academic rigour demanded by the scientific method; evidence based, peer-reviewed and original. This means we are able to provide the best analysis available, but at the cost of a steep learning curve for new users."

http://www.goldencheetah.org/#section-science

There are big gaps in my power data for the year, and Golden Cheetah is very power oriented, so if you don't have a big data set with power, a lot of the features in GC won't work (such as Stress scores and trends). I save a copy of all my Garmin .FIT files to my Dropbox once in a while, so I have enough rides to make a few trends visible. I wish now that I'd put my G3 hub on my new Trek earlier so I could go back and look at the power data over the winter. Hard to analyze data you haven't collected.

As I said before the UI is a bit quirky, and it's NOT beginner friendly, you have to learn a lot of terminology and methodology to understand what the charts and tables are telling you. I found this video series by Paul Savala really helpful to get started - it explains Critical Power (CP) and the power profile chart, W' (W prime) and interpreting W' over a ride, comparing intervals, and a bunch of other basic features. And this is just scratching the surface of what Golden Cheetah can do.

I recommend watching these tutorial videos in full screen and HD, so you can see what he's doing.



Recommended reading: Training and Racing with a Power Meter by Hunter Allen & Dr Andrew Coggan

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Skye
Skye Skye Nott
@TheStaminist   Skye Nott
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Joined: 3 years ago   Posts: 519

Here's the 2nd video in the Golden Cheetah video tutorial series, this one is about long term analysis, including maximizing your form for events and understanding the Performance Manager Chart (PMC) which will be familiar to anyone using Coggan methods, TrainingPeaks, or Strava's Fitness and Freshness feature.

Pretty cool how you can analyze your training load and response, and compare your aerobic and anaerobic training. Note that you need a good set of long term power data (months or years) to use these features.

I recommend watching these tutorial videos in full screen and HD, so you can see what he's doing.



Recommended reading: Training and Racing with a Power Meter by Hunter Allen & Dr Andrew Coggan

Skye
Skye Skye Nott
@TheStaminist   Skye Nott
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Joined: 3 years ago   Posts: 519

Part 3 in the Golden Cheetah video tutorial series goes in depth with the Performance Management Chart (PMC) and how you can use it to train to your peak performance in a season. It explains the Acute Training Load (ATL or Fatigue), Chronic Training Load (CTL or Fitness), and Training Stress Balance (TSB or Form) and how it relates to the Training Stress Score (TSS) for your activities.

If it doesn't interest you, go ahead and skip the first 6 minutes of math, you can understand the chart without it just fine. But you still have to learn Fifty Million Acronyms (FMA). It's worth the effort to understand how to reach your maximum form during a season though, impressive that you can actually quantify and predict this kind of stuff. Again, you need a lot of activities with power data (over months or years) to use this feature, since the ATL and CTL stress scores are exponentially weighted averages (7 days and 42 days respectively) of TSS. So you also need to know and periodically measure your Critical Power (CP) aka Functional Threshold Power (FTP) as well, to get accurate TSS scores for your activities.

I recommend watching these tutorial videos in full screen and HD, so you can see what he's doing.



Here's the Coggan Performance Management Chart (PMC) explained on TrainingPeaks:

http://home.trainingpeaks.com/blog/article/what-is-the-performance-management-chart



Recommended reading: Training and Racing with a Power Meter by Hunter Allen & Dr Andrew Coggan

Skye
Skye Skye Nott
@TheStaminist   Skye Nott
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Joined: 3 years ago   Posts: 519

The 4th and final video in the Golden Cheetah video tutorial series is all about identifying your strengths and weaknesses (phenotype) using a Power Profile Chart, training/preparing for races, performing in a race, and choosing races that suit your individual talents. Also covers some basic race strategy if you want to do better than just finishing in the pack.

More information on the Power Duration Model and cycling phenotypes on TrainingPeaks here:

http://home.trainingpeaks.com/blog/article/4-key-uses-for-the-power-duration-model

I recommend watching these tutorial videos in full screen and HD, so you can see what he's doing.



Recommended reading: Training and Racing with a Power Meter by Hunter Allen & Dr Andrew Coggan

Skye
Skye Skye Nott
@TheStaminist   Skye Nott
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Joined: 3 years ago   Posts: 519

A few charts that I found useful....





Skye
Skye Skye Nott
@TheStaminist   Skye Nott
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Joined: 3 years ago   Posts: 519

A few observations as I've been exploring my data with Golden Cheetah -

1. You need a "sufficient number of maximal efforts in the extended aerobic range" in your data set for the Critical Power model to predict your CP/FTP values correctly, otherwise the "95% of 20 minute test" or "90% of 2x8 minute test" FTP test guidelines aren't going to agree with the "CP Ext" model estimates in Golden Cheetah.

2. It looks like my stationary trainer setup, a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine using Virtual Power with 2.5 turns of resistance from contact on the back 100psi 23mm road tire, has been overestimating my power output. Looks like my FTP is around 20-30 Watts less than what I thought it was. Going to do some steady-state power comparisons with Virtual Power vs my PowerTap G3 hub today, and when the weather gets better, do a proper 20 minute TT out on the road with the G3 to compare.

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