What can you do with WKO4?

We’ve recently acquired the WKO4 tool from Training Peaks. This article is a brief summary of what you can do with WKO4 and why it’s useful to you as an athlete and a coach. WKO4 allows you to do deep dives into athlete’s data and answer some of those questions you just can’t answer right now. One caveat up front, athletes need to be training with power for this tool to be useful.

Phenotypes

One of the very first things you notice when you load data into WKO4 is what WKO4 refers to as Phenotype. Each athlete is categorised as one of the following based on the data you give it:

  • Sprinter
  • TTer
  • All-rounder
  • Pursuiter

(Actual definitions are here, about half way down the page)

Straight away this gives you value as to what you should or shouldn’t be doing with an athlete. Been trying to get Joe athlete to go faster up long hills, when he’s a sprinter? Maybe a strategy rethink is required?

Power Duration Curve

The PD curve is the next logical step from what is already available in Training Peaks, but fills in the gaps between the time periods so you can see exactly where the athlete is strong/weak on the power curve. This allows you to prescribe training that addresses athlete weaknesses in very specific time periods.

wko4-pd-curve

This chart can be used hand in hand with the strength and weakness chart that shows exactly where the athlete’s strength and weaknesses are:

wko-sw

iLevels

No this isn’t another Apple product, but something that for me personally fills in a big piece of the puzzle. When Coggan and Allen brought in the functional threshold power model they calculated all training zones based on a percentage of FTP. This works really well for FTP and below for pretty much everyone, the standard deviation is in fact tiny for this.

However, where the model starts to fall apart is when you go above FTP and into the anaerobic and sprint zones. This is where athletes start to differ in big ways, so whilst prescribing sprint intervals for a TTer at 150% of FTP is fine, a pure sprinter will not be working anywhere near hard enough. At the extreme end of the scale, a sprinter can produce four times as much power as a TT rider in a sprint, but could have exactly the same FTP.

Enter iLevels, these live above FTP and have been completely revamped by Coggan to cater for each individual athlete based on what they can actually do. There are now nine (yes 9) levels:

  • 1 – Recovery (56% or less of FTP)
  • 2 – Endurance (56%-76% of FTP)
  • 3 – Tempo (76%-88% of FTP)
  • 4a – Sweetspot (88%-95% of FTP) new zone
  • 4 FTP (95% – 105% of FTP)

The next four zones are individual for the athlete and expressed as a wattage range and time period, example times and wattage have been added for illustration purposes only and will be different for every single athlete:

  • 5 FRC/FTP – 265-406w 31:27 to 2:34
  • 6 FRC – 406-753w 2:34 to 0:37
  • 7a Pmax/FRC – 753-1054w 0:37 to 0:12
  • 7 Pmax – 1054w or more 0:12 or less

FRC is a new term: The total amount of work that can be done during continuous exercise above FTP before fatigue occurs. Units are kJ orJ/kg. Basically think of it as a bucket of energy that you can use when above FTP level. However, once you’ve used it, the only way to replenish it is to come back down below FTP for a period of time. The bigger the number, the bigger your bucket of energy is. Looking at our athletes, Sprinters seem to have much bigger buckets than TTers and all-rounders seem to sit between the two.

Summary

These are just three of the main features in WKO4 and there are many, many more to look at. Hopefully, this article gives you an insight into what is possible when looking at athlete data in detail.