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I think we all have experienced this at some stage. I too was over-reaching so now I have my own TSS plan & have a ramp rate set for 2 CTL pts per week, with every 4th a decrease of 1 where I do a FTP test. Life throws us many curve balls, I too work full time and have 3 kids under 5, so my day to day life is super busy. I ride 5-7 days, but you must be flexible and you mustn't be a slave to your plan. Yes do try and stick to it but if you miss a day dont worry just move on. Have a look at your nutrition and your sleep quality. Many overlook the latter. Most of all make sure your having fun! If your feeling totally exhausted, rest, dont tax your head with the worry of doing a ride or missing one. Just my 2 cents.


Hi Joe,

Thanks for the post. I have a question re: CTL increases for running - what are suggested weekly increases for that? I don't have a powermeter (yet), so my Performance Manager Chart in WKO+ only tracks my runs (via GPS device).

A CTL of 50 is pretty high for running I feel, let alone a 5-8 weekly increase. 14 weeks out from my first ever 70.3, my CTL is 20, it was 25 after a 6/5 Olympic Triathlon, rested a little and gonna start building it up. Any advice? Thanks!

Joe Friel

Mike--I can't tell you with any sense of certainty what your CTL ramp rate per week should be. I can tell you that when trying to improve in 3 sports simultaneously that the rate per week per sport will be pretty small by necessity.


I have been told that it Is ideal for ones ATL to dip below their CTL on recovery weeks? Is this true?


Joe, what are your thoughts on nutrition regarding CTL increases and do you feel that a slight caloric deficit would act as a catalyst to the overtraining symptoms?


Hi Joe,

Just a thanks for a great blog and invalueable information from a novice athlete who is learning every day.


Joe Friel

Whitney--Yes, it should periodically. This means you have a positive TSB.


Hi Joe, thanks again for the great blog. I don't have a question as a much as a recommendation: I've recently discovered the online service Restwise, which I use to supplement CTL and TSB estimates of fatigue. I'm quite pleased with the product -- it is a way of quantifying what would otherwise be more qualitative sense of fatigue and serves as a "second opinion" on the CTL scores (which in my case seem to bounce back from a high intensity workout faster than I think I really recover -- I use TRIMP scores rather than TSS because I'm doing multisport). (I have no affiliation with Restwise -- just a user). Thanks again for a great blog and your ever-useful books.


Joe, I don't use WKO+. How is CTL calculated manually? Your definition says it's a daily average of TSS. But for how far back? The last 7 days? If I accumulated 700 TSS over the past 7 days, does this give me a CTL of 100? What about ATL?

Joe Friel

Jay--It's an average of (typically) the last 42 days of workout TSSs.

Bennett Fallow

Joe, I think I might be overtrained. I'm coming back from a knee surgery using Power Agent software. I had a good base years ago but on off bike from injury/surgery. I have been riding since March from January Surgery. I started riding again and my TSS was 471 for one week then 350 for a few weeks. Currently I've been experiencing a ton of fatigue and a VO2 max test resulted in 30% less than even my untrained level. I have not been eating or sleeping sufficiently. Any advice on how to make sure I am following the right recovery back?

Joe Friel

Bennett Fallow--You may well be right about the overtraining. Constant fatigue, low motivation and poor performance are fairly common symptoms. But before assuming that I'd suggest seeing your doc to find if there may be some other medical reason for these symptoms (mononucleosis, Lyme disease, etc). If nothing is found then OT seems likely. There is no guaranteed cure-all for this other than rest. You're essentially OT'ed until these symptoms are gone. During that time rest is the key.

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