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This is a great chart and comparing it to my training it great from a comparative standpoint. Rarely do we get to see other athletes charts and I kind of get tired looking at my own. I have two questions:
1) I don't see Intensity Factor on the graph (or I don't know how to get it from the numbers) but by the huge ATL spikes I am guessing he has had several very high IF workouts? For me personally, My most intense workout (highest IFs) are barely over 1.1. My question is can you use IF as a gauge to see if my thresholds are in line / if they are changing / if I need to adjust them with a retest?

2) Can you discuss how your athlete's race performance was in relation to how "race ready" he was and if there were any lessons learned reviewing the race and of course the data post race?

Sorry for the length, the science behind this is really fascinating to me and I appreciate you sharing your knowledge

Peter Karlsson


Lots of thanks for your blog.

I've got a question that's maybe not completely right for you, because of the A-race focus that goes with your profession. Anyways, here goes:

I've got no intention of racing, I have life-long fitness in mind. I understand there needs to be cyclic variations of stress/relief to train the cardio system, just as any other parts of the body, when looking at short time variations like days. However, when not competing, and not aiming to peak at a certain few times during a long variation like a year/season, are these variations really needed? Like base/build/peak/taper/transition etc.

A related thought might be the equivalent in fitness strength training vs competitive bodybuilding, where there's a similar seasonal base/build/definition cycle. But I can do without this long cycle when building strength and not aiming to peak at a certain time; life is continuous and I want to be in my best sustainable shape all year, all life. Same goes for my just started cardio oriented training I'm adding now.

So, forgive me for being a noob, but what cycles, short and long, would you recommend for someone serious and interested, but without a longing to measure against others?

Many thanks /Peter

Joe Friel

Hi Peter--Thanks for your comment. When I coached fitness clients many years ago the question was still the same--what are your goals? When do you want to achieve them? How will you know when you've achieved them? You may not be measuring progress relative to others (or not even to your own previous personal performances, altho that seems a more likely option) but you're measuring it relative to something. Perhaps it's a field test or a lab measurement of VO2max or a better report from your doc on your health status. Realize that simply doing the same thing day after day, week after week, etc leads to staleness and plateauing. Periodization works just as well for the fitness enthusiast as the competitive athlete. Good luck!

Joe Friel

Tracy--Wow! Lots of good questions. Some of which I will cover in the next part of this post. Realize that spikes in ATL are due to a high TSS. TSS is a resultant of IF _and_ duration, not just IF. Your IFs of 1.1 indicate the workout was either shorter than 1 hour (and extremely hard from the get-go--no warm or cool down) or else your FTP is wrong. I've never had an athlete do a 1.1 IF for a workout. They've done it for portions of workouts. There are lots of ways to determine FTP. One way is to look at the WKO+ Mean Max Power Profile chart. Find the 30-minute data point. That indicates your best CP30 for the season so far (use CP60 if it was 1-hour race data). There are other ways which I'll get to at a later time. Good luck!

Peter Karlsson

Thanks Joe,

I've got much respect for your thoughts, and looking into this long-time periodization thinking, goals, and WKO+. I've imported my brief history of files; running (pace, pulse, barometric elevation), bike (power, pulse, elevation, cadence, speed), and strength training (pulse).

I'm learning, and looking at the Performance chart in WKO+. Think I've got my head around rating workouts with the help of normalized pace (running) and power (bike).

But, there's a problem; I also do weight workouts, and during winter spinning classes (no power meter). I guess these workouts would be good to have in the Performance chart also, to better tell how Form, Fatigue and Fitness (TSB, TSS etc) moves over time.

So far I've just done some manual input to the spinning workouts, adding what I think could be a reasonable TSS. But I've got no clue how to rate strength workouts. Since the less accurate TRIMP system uses pulse + time, and could at least give some suggestion to spinning workouts, could this maybe be an idea to integrate into WKO+ when no other data is available? Better than not adding any stress at all into the Performance chart, I guess.

I do realize pulse does not work to rate common weight training; pulse reacts too slow, as you've stated.

Could you please give some suggestions to how to handle TSS for weight training and spinning in WKO+? If there's no automatic way, then maybe a manual evaluation method for TSS?

A spinning pass is typically 55 min; often 10 min warmup and 45 min lactate threshold, with a full-out at the end for about 30 seconds.

Weight workouts are about 6 excersises, 5 set/exersise, peaking at full 6-rep-all-out-strength for about 2 of those sets for every exersise. A mix between small muscle groups and large; all muscles are split to 3 workouts during one week; each group gets one workout/week.

I'd be very grateful for some suggestions.

Thanks /Peter

Joe Friel

Hi Peter--The only way I see to do this is to use a rating of perceived exertion (RPE) to set the workout TSS. A scale I once suggested for such issues may be found here -- http://www.trainingbible.com/joesblog/2009/09/estimating-tss.html

Peter Karlsson

Thanks for pointing me, Joe.

I've changed the exponential weighting on pulse in my other program that I must use to import the files (Polar Pro Trainer), so the stress scoring system there gives similar values to TSS - that way I only need to copy a number to WKO+, not calculating one.

But, I'd very much like a future version of WKO+ to automatically be able to estimate TSS when power or pace data is missing; your method is even mentioned as an article concerning WKO+ at the site, so I guess you/they are backing it up. I've seen others requesting this feature also. Maybe you could just make the program warn us before using this more simple calculation.

I'm going your way with periodisation; I realize it's everywhere. Just a thought; would it be wise to base frequency and recovery foremost out of the Performance planner graph, or by using a conventional training plan with fixed days for activity and rest, and adjusting in accordance to the graph?

Cheers /P

Joe Friel

Peter--For recovery I start with a fixed plan and then modify it as on the fly as I see/sense things going too much one way or the other.

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