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  1. #1
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    Performance Manager Observations

    This season I'm paying for access to Training Peaks Premium and am pretty fascinated with Performance Manager.

    From a previous post, LMN had said that most of his athletes should build to a CTL of 90-110. If CTL<90 then most athletes would be undertrained, if CTL>110 then burnout becomes a problem.

    When I think of the time crunched cyclist, it seems they would never really build to a 90 CTL, because that would mean that they would need to be averaging 90 TSS/day (or 630 TSS per week) for a long time. Does that mean that most time crunched athletes don't build to full training potential? 630TSS per week is a pretty good training load that requires time, and somewhat careful intensity management.

    Also, I notice how some rides acquire more TSS per perceived effort. For example, I notice that doing long sprints (20") during a high Zone 2 ride seems easy (for acquired TSS) compared to a Tempo ride. But I imagine this goes back to the rule of strengths and weaknesses: if a ride seems awful for the TSS your are getting, then it's probably working your weakness.

    Any thoughts on this?
    Last edited by Poncharelli; 05-22-2017 at 02:07 PM.

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    No bites on this? I thought you had a couple of great questions/observations.

    I will add an additional wrinkle. How does using heart rate in Training Peaks affect CTL numbers compared to power data? Are the CTL numbers equivalent?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigebaker View Post
    No bites on this? I thought you had a couple of great questions/observations.

    I will add an additional wrinkle. How does using heart rate in Training Peaks affect CTL numbers compared to power data? Are the CTL numbers equivalent?
    We covered this a bit in a previous post. HRTSS seems pretty good overall, but is especially good for MTB rides, in which PMs don't really capture the full training load. Case in point: hard MTB descents can be pretty taxing on the body but will result in low numbers if using a PM.

    I'm also getting pretty good at guessing TSS. Sometimes I'll just enter a temporary TSS when I don't get a chance to download data and am surprised how close I can get nowadays.

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    So, would you say that using HR for CTL is equivalent to using power for CTL?

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    For me, it's pretty damn close. But it also depends on what LTHR you enter. When Training Peaks automatically updated my LTHR after a really hard hot group ride, it seemed a lot more accurate than the HR from an indoor LT test.

    I think because now it's using LTHR from the conditions that most rides will be in (hot and outdoor). With the lower indoor LTHR it was giving TSS estimates that were too high IMO.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    This season I'm paying for access to Training Peaks Premium and am pretty fascinated with Performance Manager.
    First thing to have in mind is that PMC is flawed and while it can be very helpful is not the holy grail. There are also a lot of variables that can easily skew results so always compare the PMC with the actual feeling of the athlete. Sickness, burnout, lack of motivation, stress and so on are also not accounted on PMC so it will differ from real life performance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    When I think of the time crunched cyclist, it seems they would never really build to a 90 CTL, because that would mean that they would need to be averaging 90 TSS/day (or 630 TSS per week) for a long time. Does that mean that most time crunched athletes don't build to full training potential? 630TSS per week is a pretty good training load that requires time, and somewhat careful intensity management.
    Even if you are a time crunched athlete its possible to get 630 TSS per week. For example a short interval session of 16 mins total averages 100 TSS for myself, adding warmup and commute. I could easily do 3 days of that and 1 day of race for 300TSS + 300TSS of the race and that would only be 4 days of working out and probably around 6-7 hours total.

    However, every athlete is different, some people can handle a much larger TSS per week and others way less, so it will differ, experience as a coach and knowing the athlete will help for recommending a weekly load.

    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    Also, I notice how some rides acquire more TSS per perceived effort. For example, I notice that doing long sprints (20") during a high Zone 2 ride seems easy (for acquired TSS) compared to a Tempo ride. But I imagine this goes back to the rule of strengths and weaknesses: if a ride seems awful for the TSS your are getting, then it's probably working your weakness.
    PMC theory supposedly takes this into account. This is why you can get the same TSS doing different workouts with varying duration and intensities. Overall, I think its a good system, has some flaws, but keeps getting better and more accurate.

    As for identifying weaknesses, there are probably better methods for that, than relying on TSS perception.

  7. #7
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    I find the workout planning very useful, after you learn to use it. But the TSS, metric is what I find the best feature. I always ask the racers how they feel before the race, then compare that to the PM numbers. Since you can't really know 100%, what they are doing for actual recovery and other stresses.
    CTL, tracking is great but like anything else related to the human body is very individual, the ramp rate too. But it makes at least this part of coaching easier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by craigebaker View Post
    So, would you say that using HR for CTL is equivalent to using power for CTL?
    Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

    There's good reason why power is better for managing your fitness/fatigue then heart rate. Yes, descents in mountain biking can be quite taxing, but they aren't taxing the legs/cardio system like pedaling does, which is why, if you can, you should use power over heart rate. This is similar to why strength training doesn't accrue TSS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    Does that mean that most time crunched athletes don't build to full training potential?
    The short answer here is "yes". If you don't have enough time to train to a CTL of ~90, then you are leaving fitness on the table, but it's a trade off working stiffs have to make. When I was in college, getting to 90+ was cake, but, now with a wife and two kids (2 & 4), my CTL peaks at ~70 if life goes exactly the way I want it. You can cheese some of the training benefits by exchanging time for intensity, but, in the end, if you are time crunched, then you are leaving fitness on the table.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammonjj View Post
    but, in the end, if you are time crunched, then you are leaving fitness on the table.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattyice View Post
    Get em in the tech!
    Unless someone is doing ALL of their riding on the road, the guy riding 2x as much as you is probably not too bad on the technical sections.

    I don't understand why people think that those who put a lot of time in on the bike are going to be technically deficient.

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Unless someone is doing ALL of their riding on the road, the guy riding 2x as much as you is probably not too bad on the technical sections.

    I don't understand why people think that those who put a lot of time in on the bike are going to be technically deficient.

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    Hopefully the guy that does twice the riding isn't even in the same class as me.

    I just meant it as an encouraging joke, because if you don't have the time to build the fitness what else do you got?

    Also, I find the road bike helps quite a bit with core stability in technical MTB sections.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    When I think of the time crunched cyclist, it seems they would never really build to a 90 CTL, because that would mean that they would need to be averaging 90 TSS/day (or 630 TSS per week) for a long time. Does that mean that most time crunched athletes don't build to full training potential? 630TSS per week is a pretty good training load that requires time, and somewhat careful intensity management.
    Okay, I'll bite:

    I admit first off that I don't know the time crunched program well at all. What I have heard is that you ride high intensity close to 100% of the time. In my high intensity rides I am shooting for 80-90 TSS/hour for rides between 2 and 3 hours. That is extremely hard to achieve repeatably, but I suppose if I hit those numbers 3X per week I would be close to that 630 TSS number on a time crunched program of 6-8 hours/week.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    From a previous post, LMN had said that most of his athletes should build to a CTL of 90-110. If CTL<90 then most athletes would be undertrained, if CTL>110 then burnout becomes a problem.
    Do any of you guys have a link to the thread where this post is? I am just learning Performance Manager and am curious to see if there are any good rules of thumb out there like this alludes to.

  15. #15
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    Can't find the original thread, but here's more info that has some of the same conclusions, assuming a Cat 3 roadie and/or Masters rider:
    https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/h...-stress-score/

  16. #16
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    Poncharelli, thanks for that juicy tidbit. I havent come across that knowledge.

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    Like others I can only voice my reservations with regards to using PMC. Personally, I see a few problems with it.

    * A long base ride generates more TSS than a short VO2max workout. However, you can really kill youself with VO2max work whereas I haven't seen anyone burning out from base rides. Nov-Jan I trained >20hours per week. Mainly below AeT, classic base rides. The combination of a lower FTP at this time of the year and the high volume would generate huge TSS/CTL figures. When I switched to a more intense schedule in February my CTL would drop and drop. Even though training got much more stressful.

    * Coasting: At this time of year I spend a lot of time doing 20-40min climbing efforts. Going up means going down eventually. While coasting does not go into NP it goes into the calculation via duration.

    * FTP: Next to duration the other key parameter in the calculation. I'm generally sceptical of this. A single paramter (mostly) derived from riding 20min once should predict performance capacity. But what about factors like "repeatibility"? One rider may generate lower wattage at a single 20min test but may be very strong at doing them 4 times in a row. Clearly his TSS estimates for longish interval workouts would be clearly wrong when based on only one single bout of test effort.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Unless someone is doing ALL of their riding on the road, the guy riding 2x as much as you is probably not too bad on the technical sections.

    I don't understand why people think that those who put a lot of time in on the bike are going to be technically deficient.

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    Perhaps you don't see this because you are fast enough and light enough not to get stuck behind said people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Unless someone is doing ALL of their riding on the road, the guy riding 2x as much as you is probably not too bad on the technical sections.

    I don't understand why people think that those who put a lot of time in on the bike are going to be technically deficient.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
    Agree completely. Back when I was racing Sport (that's what they called Cat 2 in the day), I was told when I moved up to Expert that the guys are faster for longer but not as good as Sport racers in tech cuz they spend all their time on road bikes. What a joke!
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BmanInTheD View Post
    Agree completely. Back when I was racing Sport (that's what they called Cat 2 in the day), I was told when I moved up to Expert that the guys are faster for longer but not as good as Sport racers in tech cuz they spend all their time on road bikes. What a joke!
    That reminds me a bit of how the average "trail biker" (whatever that means) on their 150mm travel enduro rig believes that all XC racers are poor technical riders. Meanwhile, every local KOM (even the DH segments) belong to the Cat 1 and pro xc crowd. Heck, even at the Pisgah Stage Race, the enduro winners were all top 4 in the overall as well.

  21. #21
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    You can build CTL, with long easy rides, 4+hrs, because a 80-90 tss per hour is pretty intense, you need to limit them so you can recover. Most HIT "whatever" have a low TSS, because of duration. But they are very taxing. The how much you can handle is very dependent on experience and your actual recovery, what you eat, sleeping, daily demands and genes. In workout builder you can get a pretty good TSS, estimate if done correctly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hammonjj View Post
    Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

    There's good reason why power is better for managing your fitness/fatigue then heart rate. Yes, descents in mountain biking can be quite taxing, but they aren't taxing the legs/cardio system like pedaling does, which is why, if you can, you should use power over heart rate. This is similar to why strength training doesn't accrue TSS.
    This could be argued I think. IMO they are pretty close usually. And for MTB racers who don't have a PM on their MTB (otherwise they'd use power for TSS), their limiting factor is gonna be HR in a race. If your heart is beating fast on a descent, how is that not stressing your aerobic system? I've never once in a race thought, "well my HR is way above threshold, but my legs aren't killing me, so I think I'll go a little harder". HR is still how much stress your body is under. On LONG descents, my HR goes down a bit anyway so my HR TSS will lower accordingly. On short descents/climbs, your power output is very dynamic and NP TSS will be pretty close to HR TSS. Maybe a coach can chime in on this but these are my observations from using Training Peaks for a couple of years or so.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammonjj View Post
    The short answer here is "yes". If you don't have enough time to train to a CTL of ~90, then you are leaving fitness on the table, but it's a trade off working stiffs have to make. When I was in college, getting to 90+ was cake, but, now with a wife and two kids (2 & 4), my CTL peaks at ~70 if life goes exactly the way I want it. You can cheese some of the training benefits by exchanging time for intensity, but, in the end, if you are time crunched, then you are leaving fitness on the table.
    I think one method to get a little bit more performance is by integrating weight lifting "on the side" (of riding) when it works. I'm doing that this season (sneaking in some lifting at work, and at home) more because of some injuries that are make it uncomfortable to ride longer, because I'm older, and because I want some body strength in case I get into a fight :-) .

    But I feel stronger on short steep stuff, steep switchbacks, and seem to be hitting a lot of "accidental PRs" on Strava this year.

    Each week I'm doing about 10 hr bike, 1 or 2 yoga classes, and 1 hr weights, and it seems like it's greater than 12-13 hr bike.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommyrod74 View Post
    That reminds me a bit of how the average "trail biker" (whatever that means) on their 150mm travel enduro rig believes that all XC racers are poor technical riders. Meanwhile, every local KOM (even the DH segments) belong to the Cat 1 and pro xc crowd. Heck, even at the Pisgah Stage Race, the enduro winners were all top 4 in the overall as well.
    Our downhill segments are dominated by XC guys. But the new fastest DH Strava guy in our area focuses on Cyclocross (Justin Lindine). He's a damn good downhiller.

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