PezCycling News - What's Cool In Road Cycling : ErgVideo 5: Adds Awesome New Smart Trainer Features For Free

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ErgVideo 5: Adds Awesome New Smart Trainer Features For Free
ErgVideo has introduced several new, easy-to-use, and free features enabling your power-based training to be completely “toll free”. ErgVideo now provides a platform for your smart trainer that includes complete power-based training plans and workouts that require no purchase, and no subscription fees. What’s more, they’ve introduced another way to incorporate ErgVideos into your training, as well as help you choose which ErgVideos will best complement (or start) your collection. President and developer Paul Smeulders fills us in.

This article is an excerpt of a longer, more in-depth version posted HERE.

ErgVideo backgrounder: it’s all about power training


ErgVideo is about power-based training. While most people immediately think all video-simulation products are about re-living courses and riding their grades synchronized to your smart trainer, ErgVideo instead uses the power profile of the riders in the video, scaled to your FTP, so that you execute the same workout, and thereby experience the same training benefit as they are. For us here at ErgVideo, it’s critical to our goal of “immersion” that the power load you feel is always synchronized to the action in the video, right down to when they coast, you coast.


An example of the real-time riding view while riding an ErgVideo. You are part of the pack!

ErgVideo is not “one video-one workout”. Uniquely, each ErgVideo ships with a multitude of different workouts derived by re-sequencing the video, and scaling sections as desired, for example, to repeat intervals sets, and make them, for example, progressively harder. It includes a ride designer that allows you to create your own custom workouts, all the while keeping synchronized with the action.


The setup screen showing a customized ride built from an ErgVideo with MAP interval sets.

This flexibility allows ErgVideo to provide complete training plans as calendar sequences of different workouts. We do this using two fundamentally different approaches. In one, you choose some ErgVideos and we provide a training plan from their various custom workouts. In another, you choose a training plan built from free-mode workouts, and we show you which ErgVideos can be substituted directly for that workout. This article focuses on the training plans offered by ErgVideo, and how you can get started completely for free.

What does it cost to start training with ErgVideo? Nothing at all.


We get the question so often. We wanted to make your power-training as economical as possible. We think at $0 we’ve hit the sweet spot, because it’s hard to imagine a better number. To be clear:

The software is free. The training plans are free. You can ride the workouts for free.

The price is $0.

There is no monthly subscription cost.

There is an absence of cost.

The expense is non-existent.

There is a dearth of monetary outlay. Cancel your subscriptions.

Pair your ErgVideo training with a TrainingPeaks free account for your post-ride data analysis, and you have complete, top-to-bottom, toll-free training.

Training plans with ErgVideo: They are free.


Our ErgVideo-centric plans are arranged around core sets of ErgVideos selected according to event type or your interests. The plans are a progressive training sequence of customized workouts using those core videos. The planner tool is built into the ErgVideo application and simplifies planning by letting you pick from one of several plans according to cycling discipline (road, short or long tri, climber-granfondo), video-pack preference (Hunter Allen Power Training series, Peaks Coaching Group Series featuring Scott Moninger, ErgVideo Train for Real series, and more), and desired training volume per week. The planner tool enables video substitution with similar workout sessions. This is the early version of the TOE concept, which I’ll introduce shortly. The plans themselves are all available for free. I call these plans “ErgVideo-centric” because to execute them requires an upfront purchase of the core ErgVideos.


Training plans with ErgVideo series featuring Scott Moninger and Hunter Allen

ErgVideo 5.0 adds a way to train completely “toll free”


In ErgVideo 5.0 we wanted to offer a way to execute entire training plans completely for free, allowing you to purchase ErgVideos only according to your own spending-discretion and desire to enhance the training experience. “Enable no up-front, no subscription-required training” was our mantra.

We effectively reversed the ErgVideo-centric model: We went from “get these ErgVideos to execute this plan”, to “do these workouts all for free, and these ErgVideos are available that have directly-substitutable workouts”. You can ride the free session, use the matching ErgVideo you may already have, or perhaps purchase a new one. The whole process is automated and accomplishes our goal of meeting everyone’s “personal thriftiness threshold” (putting it most politely!) and to get anyone started training on the ErgVideo platform at the very lowest price possible: $0.

The “all free” strategy required 3 new building blocks:

  1. A way to ride workouts for free

  2. A bunch of free plans made from free-mode workouts

  3. A clever way (oh heck why be modest? An ingenious way) to match ErgVideo sessions from our vast library of 125 ErgVideos, to the free workouts in the plan, and automatically present them to the user on demand.


Let me take you through each of the three new pieces, each of which is exciting on their own, even if you don’t get a plan.

Ride workouts for free


In September 2017, ErgVideo introduced support for free-mode workouts. Your existing power workout files in .fit, .erg, or .mrc format can be loaded into ErgVideo and executed as a workout while watching a new riding display with the short term, 3-minute marching profile, and the full workout profile with progress bar. We retained all the ErgVideo features of 1-24 riders supported, music player controls for your iTunes or Windows Media Player playlists, in-ride trainer calibration controls, FTP adjustment controls, play/pause, full control over display sizing and placement of the data heads-up display, as well as data-field selection while riding. We added the ability to jump ahead and back in the workout with FFWD and REV buttons, or by clicking anywhere on the full-term profile. Every few minutes, you’ll see previews for many of our ErgVideo editions.


The free-mode riding environment showing one of the periodic ErgVideo previews

If you pay subscription fees to primarily ride power profiles while watching similar graphs and data, this feature offers you a completely free replacement. You can use power profiles you’ve built with other products, were sent to you by your coach, or you can select from the many pre-built sessions we provide. You can create new sessions by combining existing ones, or string together components (or workout sub-fragments) that we provide. We’ve added a post-ride data display, and you’ll find a TrainingPeaks free account is great for long term progress-tracking. By combining free ErgVideo with a free TrainingPeaks account, you really will have complete, “toll-free” power training from design and execution, to post-analysis.

TrainingPeaks “Workout of the Day” compatibility


We see many users getting their custom power-workouts from their coach through TrainingPeaks. ErgVideo 5 also has one-button access to your “TrainingPeaks Workout of the day”. You simply authorize ErgVideo to speak with your TrainingPeaks account. After that, anytime you click the “TrainingPeaks Workout of the day” button, your daily sessions load instantly, and you can get riding. It just couldn’t be much easier, nor less expensive, to follow your coach’s training plan. No need for subscriptions.

Free plans with free workouts


With free workouts available, free training plans are a sequence of workouts over some calendar period, crafted to train desired performance factors in an effective progression. We’ve built a bunch of these using the expertise of an NCCP certified coach and adhering to the principles of the Performance Manager Chart espoused by TrainingPeaks and WKO4.


The current set of free-mode training plans

The free plans can be selected as full 28-week, event-specific plans from "start of training" up to your goal event. You can also select, mix and match shorter training blocks like "Power foundation" (often called base-build), and then choose your event-specific "Power Build and Peak" phases. You can choose your start date or plan backwards from your event date. We even make it possible to start anywhere within our plans. If you are interested in parameters like your daily TSS, volume, and the resulting plan's Performance Manager Chart, we provide interactive displays for all that data, too.

Currently the plans are available for 3 different levels of time-availability and experience. Events are separated into mass-start bike racing events (road racing, criteriums) vs events for more endurance-focused riders like triathletes, Granfondo riders, club riders, and sport-tourists. The latter are great to prepare you for that big mountain tour in the Alps you've been planning, or that spring training camp in Mallorca with VelociousCyclingAdventures.


The plan selector and viewer allow scheduling and browsing every workout session.

The plans are completely free, and the sessions can be ridden in the free mode. Every 4 weeks we do recommend the ErgVideo Threshold Test video to re-evaluate your FTP. You can of course choose other means to determine your FTP such as the mFTP calculation using WKO4 or TrainingPeaks. For the ultimate in ease-of-use, you can configure ErgVideo to start and automatically select your daily ride.


There’s data for nerds! The plan selector shows daily and weekly volumes and TSS, as well as Performance Manager Charts.

And let’s be clear here and compare ourselves to some of our competitor’s “plans”. ErgVideo’s plans completely automate your daily ride selection and script. They are not worded plans that ask you to design your own rides, or follow worded instructions using “any video” at some adjusted level that you must adjust…somehow? You do not have to “design” anything yourself. While you can make simple modifications using our usual scale-and squelch tool, all sessions select a workout file that is supplied with the plan and ErgVideo itself. Every session is pre-planned and carries with it a specific power profile (or the threshold test, as above). There are no instructions buried into the text of the plan that requires you to hand-modify your sessions or extra instructions you must remember to follow, re-design, or adjust. At ErgVideo we recognize how much time is taken up “deciding what to do”, and we eliminate that by doing all that work for you. We’ve designed every workout, every session. We want you to enjoy, no, MARVEL at the convenience we offer that is just: “load it, then just pedal it.” We built the whole schlimazel to be complete, and completely automated. You just click buttons. “No thinkie! Ride bikie!” was mantra #2.

Bridging the gap from free-workout to matching ErgVideo sessions: the “TOE”


You may be wondering: "Gosh, seems like you did lots of work to help me do this all for free, how do ErgVideos themselves fit into all of this?"

I am so glad you asked, because that's where ErgVideo, once again, sets itself apart from all other products.

In ErgVideo 5, when a free-mode session is selected from a training plan or our included-library of workouts, ErgVideo automatically scans for the ErgVideo-based workouts that MATCH the free session in terms of achieving the same training objectives. We call them the "Training Objective Equivalent" workouts, or TOE's. The scan shows your ErgVideo choices that can be directly substituted for the free-mode workout. You can select one from your own collection, and for those not yet in your collection, we show you a “buy now” button for convenience.


A TOE selection screen for long intervals done in paceline-style

What makes a TOE directly substitutable for a given workout? We followed several principles when creating them. They include training the same performance factor (FRC, FTP, VO2max, PMAX, ALC, “endurance” etc.), and they do so measurably to the same degree by matching the standard metrics. They also adopt the same training mode (intervals, SST, Tempo rides, mixed-zone rides) and the same general nature of the workout: bursty changes, pseudorandom power-in zones, steady power, ramping efforts etc.

The possibility for many ErgVideo TOEs for each workout arises because only ErgVideo has an extensive-enough library of 125 titles and has the flexibility to customize its synchronized video-based sessions into different training sessions. You have always been able to create a TOE yourself, but many people never build their own workouts. To serve your training needs and address the “HEY…make it easy!” that every product developer hears, we’ve taken charge and built a big, extensive, cross-referenced and catalogued library of TOEs for the workouts in our training plans as well as many more of our supplied, pre-built workouts included with ErgVideo.


Example TOE selection screen for a low endurance zone ride.

The TOE scheme is a great way to leverage your current ErgVideo collection while following one of our new training plans or using the free workout library. The TOE recommendations are also meant to guide you in expanding your ErgVideo collection. In contrast to our traditional plans, this approach allows you to start with no ErgVideos at all, and lets you add to your collection more gradually as the buying spirit moves you, or as you feel the difference riding with an ErgVideo makes. You can ride the free session or get a shiny new ErgVideo and make the whole training experience that much more engaging and motivating!

Start for free, train for free, add ErgVideos as you want.


I have to say, I can’t think of getting much more flexible than that. Our new training plans and new free workout feature mean you can train for free. The glue that combines ErgVideo to your new free plan is the TOE system, presenting you with many ErgVideo sessions that match your selected session.

Pair your ErgVideo training with a TrainingPeaks free account for your post-ride data analysis, and you have complete, top-to-bottom, toll-free training. Invest in WKO4 for the most powerful data analysis tools available.

 

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