I just tried getting to the "custom" route planner for IM distance. Saw that the permissions were such that only GOLD members could access HIM & IM custom plans.
Let me just say...totally not cool.
I bought the silver membership not too long ago for access to all plans minus online coaching as I believe that's what was advertised to me. Don't see how this is any different.
Obviously, I appreciate that this is not my website and exists to generate revenue, and I'm just a small customer in your big pond, but this will almost definitely affect my decision to renew paid membership.
Here is how it works. Free/Bronze/Silver members can use the custom plan creator. It will create custom 'minutes-only' plans for sprints and olympics.
There is NO WAY we would do this for HIM/IM users. It would be fully irresponsible of us if we had somebody go train for a HIM/IM with a 'minutes-only' plan. Sprint/Oly users, even beginners, will have no problems doing a minutes only plan...that doesn't apply to the longer distance. The longer distance peope, especially beginners, need workout details, nutrition info, explanations to successfully pull of those plans. We would be failing the community if we did so otherwise.
You are still a silver member, with access to all the template plans with workout details...nothing has changed. This gold membership (formerly silver with online coaching) is a step above that. The main benefits to it are putting workouts where you want them instead of re-arranging things later. The other benefit is that you are not locked into a 12 or 20 week plan like most silvers are. These are a little more flexible in that you can create race plans from 6-28 weeks which would be more helpful for multiple A races.
Template plans vs custom plans are a totally different software platform. Template plans and the integration with the logs and site was inexpensive and very little to maintain. The drawbacks is that we can't just 'update' every plan we have in the database. Revisions of those plans would be very time consuming. On the contrary, custom plans are database driven, so updates and revisions can be applied over the spectrum of the plans. ALSO this was a project that was four years in development. If I were to guess, I would say that we have over $100,000 in this alone in development costs. I would have to say that the Silver plans and log integration, all said and done, less than $10k. Several thousand hours of programming by Mike and development/debugging by me are in this project. Ask our wives.
Compared to what is on the market, there is no tool like this. We plan to constantly update, revise, add strength, build in multiple race support to this platform. It is still cheap. $85/6months. $14/month. Now we are not having this replace personal coaches as coaches are a lot more specific, but still. Decent personal coaching starts around $50 and goes up a lot from their. I think we are priced very fairly.
This was a project that came out of the 1st big user survey 'I want a plan that puts workouts where I want them'...we put a lot of heart and soul into this...but we got it done...there is nothing like it on the web, and it makes things a lot simpler for the user. If we gave stuff like this away, we cheapen what we do here and before you know it, the revenue can't possibly cover even basic operating expenses for the site. I still think we are very inexpensive option for training plans. Especially Silver.
Well, I probably came off a little strongly and I apologize if I did. I was mostly frustrated because I was playing around with it while you were in the beta version around xmas. Kinda liked the idea of it, but it was still a bit buggy. Had planned on coming back to it after some things in my life cleared up, and found I had been locked out of it. Se la vi.
Keep up the good work though. As a programmer, I can appreciate the amount of time and effort spent conceiving, building, and debugging such an ambitious project. But for me personally, the feature didn't seem worth the cost difference between silver/gold if I wasn't going to take advantage of the other gold features. I certainly might be willing to spend a bit more for the custom plans, just not to that level.