The accompanying Performance Management Chart (PMC) from WKO+ software is for a road cyclist I coach (click to enlarge). It shows his entire season from last September’s transition period (when he worked much too hard) until today. It basically tells the story of his season from highs to lows. In 2012 it will also serve as a model for how the previous season went and what he might do differently.
This chart also illustrates what training is like in the real world. It would be so easy to coach athletes if all they did was train and race. But that will never be the case.
Last week we spiked his fitness (blue line) and fatigue (red line) to high points with 3 hard sessions on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. As you can see, the last 2 were separated by 72 hours intentionally as we started his peaking and tapering for the stage race on Wednesday.
There are some very positive things that happened with his recent training, especially last week, as shown in his PMC. The best is that he had several critical power (CP) top 10 seasonal bests at important durations (see the brown circles and print)—CP0.1 (6 seconds), CP6 (6 minutes), and CP30 (30 minutes). CP0.1 is a good predictor of readiness for a criterium-style race. CP6 rising shows he is prepared for brief episodes in creating breakaways, bridging up to them, climbing hills, and riding into cross winds—episodes that so often determine the outcomes of road races. The CP30 tells me his time trial fitness is also looking good. Seeing a cluster like this in the last 2 weeks confirms that he is about race ready.
The other positive thing I see here is that his fatigue/ATL (red line) is dropping as we’ve started tapering. That means he is coming into form with a rising TSB (yellow bars) and fatigue (red) below fitness (blue).
The only downside is that his form/TSB is rising a bit too quickly due to 2 days off the bike for business-related travel yesterday and today. I’d prefer to see it just barely positive today and then rise to about +20 by Friday when his time trial takes place. But this is the real world and he has a life outside of bike racing.
On Tuesday (tomorrow) his TSB/form (yellow bars) will be +16. His last hard ride will be that day, a group practice race. He won’t do the entire race but only 3 or 4 of the laps in this multi-lap session, enough to lower his TSB a bit while maintaining fitness, but not enough to cause so much fatigue that he may have trouble being recovered by Friday.
On Wednesday he will ride easy for a couple of hours (intensity factor below 70%). Then on Thursday he will do some short (less than 90-second) intervals with long (3+ minute) recoveries on his time trial bike.
If everything works out as we have planned he will be ready for a great weekend of racing due to high fitness and form. But then racing is also the real world and unusual things can happen. Its unpredictability is one reason sport is so much fun.