Our mission at Purple Patch is to give you the tools to thrive and truly integrate sport into life. Life is dynamic, and your approach to training needs to be dynamic as well.
This is a long article, we know. Read it all anyway ;) It contains critical information to help you make Purple Patch training work for YOU.
First we'll talk through the tools you have available to customize the training and integrate it into your life -- then we'll look at how to use them.
- Time-Rich vs. Time-Starved sessions
- Workout Priority: KEY, Supporting, and Optional
- Movable Sessions
- Optional Workout Library
Time-Rich vs. Time-Starved Session Options
Nearly every workout contains a longer Time-Rich (TR) and shorter Time-Starved (TS) version. Choose what works for you based on your schedule, fitness level, health status, and familiarity with multisport. You may well end up doing a mix of TR and TS workouts in a given week -- that's okay!
- Time-Starved sessions are ideal if you are:
- Pressed for time
- New to multisport or to a specific discipline (e.g. a novice swimmer)
- Struggling to retain great form throughout an entire session
- Returning from a break in training
- Fatigued and/or recovering from injury or illness
- Time-Rich sessions are ideal if you are:
- Able to maintain higher training volume without it negatively impacting other aspects of your life including sleep, work, supporting habits, or family commitments
- An experienced multisport athlete
- Healthy and uninjured
- Able to complete sessions without compromising your form/technique
KEY, Supporting, and Optional Workouts
We break your workouts down into three tiers so that you understand which sessions to prioritize in your week:
- KEY sessions
These are your most important sessions. They are labeled KEY in the title, and highlighted with colored bands around the session in Today's Plan. If you can only do a few sessions in a week, prioritize these above all, and really come into them ready to execute well. You'll typically have 3-4 KEY sessions each week.
- SUPPORTING sessions
SUPPORTING sessions make up the bulk of your week's workouts. These are beneficial, but are designed to amplify the overall yield and effects of your training rather than being core performance-drivers themselves. Supporting sessions typically won't 'leave a mark' or cause lingering fatigue. SUPPORTING sessions are lower priority than KEY sessions.
- OPTIONAL sessions
You'll see these sprinkled in, either as standalone sessions or "Optional Add-Ons" listed at the bottom of another workout. They're always labeled OPTIONAL, and they are your LOWEST priority. When you need to reduce your training volume, these are the first workouts you eliminate.
- So: if you need to remove a supporting session, how do you decide what to keep?
- Stay Strong: It's a Pillar of Performance and critical for long-term success, so we recommend retaining at least one, and ideally both, of your Strength workouts.
- Focus on Technique/Development: If you have an area that could use extra work -- perhaps your swim isn't as strong as you want it, for example -- then you may want to prioritize your supporting swim and skip a bike or run.
- Adjust for Energy Level: Pay attention to the intent of the supporting sessions. If you're scaling due to significant stress or fatigue, you might keep a recovery-focused run but cut a physically/emotionally tough bike.
- An important caveat: As with anything, these suggestions are fluid and based on your unique needs. One notable example: if you have a history of running niggles and are highly focused on improving your run resilience, you might prioritize the add-on Run Project runs to help build tissue integrity, even if it means cutting a Supporting swim or bike session.
Moving & Deleting Workouts
- You can easily move sessions around in your calendar to fit your schedule -- for example, it might be easier for you to get to the pool on certain days.
- When moving sessions, try to keep them in the same relative order, and don't put KEY sessions on the same day or back-to-back days unless we've set them up that way on purpose.
- To MOVE a session in the desktop version of Todays Plan: hover over the workout in the calendar view, then click and drag on the four-sided arrow that appears underneath. To MOVE a session in the Today's Plan app: click the three dots to the right of the session name and select the day you want to move it to.
- To DELETE a workout, hover over it and click the trash icon that appears underneath (on mobile, click the three dots to the right of the session name).
The Optional Workout Library (TRI SQUAD)
- The Optional Workout Library contains additional sessions curated for the current phase of training, that you can add/swap into your plan if you wish. To use a workout from the Optional Workout Library, simply click and drag it into your calendar. The Library includes:
- Supplemental workouts to add load and specificity
- Alternate workout options like open water and dry-land swim sessions
- Resilience and recovery-focused sessions like core, mobility, and self-care
- Race builds and Lifestyle/Recovery plans (more on these below)
- Be pragmatic in deciding what to add. Are you training for a long event and simply looking to add volume? Adding an extra Resilience Ride on the weekend might be a great choice to build endurance and work on perfecting your fueling plan. Are you an "adult-onset swimmer" looking to improve speed in the pool? Maybe an extra time-starved swim is what you need, so that you can increase frequency while keeping sessions short enough to ensure great form.
- NOTE: The Optional Workout Library is not available in the Todays Plan app. To add an OWL workout, log into Today's Plan via a computer, and drag the session into your calendar. Click the refresh button in the top right corner of your app, and you will see the session appear.
Integrating Training into Life: The Sunday Special Habit
- Use the Sunday Special habit to help you plan and prioritize your week. This is a simple but extremely high-value habit we developed over the last 10+ years. It takes only 5-10 minutes once a week and will help you stay consistent and avoid overtraining, stress, and accumulation of fatigue.
- Remember that life is not a spreadsheet: there will be times where it doesn't make sense to do all the workouts exactly as written due to your schedule, fitness or energy level, or training priorities. This is normal, and it's exactly why we gave you the tools described above. Being flexible is ultimately the best path to being consistent.
Additional Guidance: Adapting workouts to maximize your training results
- Understand the Focus & Intent. All sessions include a Focus at the top of each workout to help you understand why you do the session and what success should look like. If you have to adapt a session, always make sure you do so with the aim of preserving the intent of the workout.
- Prioritize live/VOD coached sessions whenever possible. These are by far the best format to use whenever available -- they'll provide a higher training yield than Zwift rides or self-directed strength sessions. If you aren't sure how to use a VOD or are struggling to make them a fun and hassle-free experience, click here to schedule a help session or get tech support.
- Use alternates when it makes sense. You'll notice options listed at the bottom of many sessions that allow you to execute a different version of the workout for a different environment (e.g. open water vs. pool) or format (e.g. elliptical vs. bike cross-training days for Run Squaddies).
- Adapt, don't abandon. Feeling a bit sluggish? Don't throw in the towel quite yet -- instead, extend the warmup and do a bit of activation. In many cases, an extra 5-10 minutes of warmup can really help prime the system and you'll be surprised how much better you feel.
- Remember that perceived effort is our #1 metric. Make sure you are prioritizing RPE over pace, power, or heart rate. If you're not having the best day, this might mean taking your zones down by 10-20W on the bike, or incorporating additional walk breaks into your run. On the other hand, if you're having a great day where keeping your RPE in line means being able to go a little harder or faster than usual, take advantage of it.