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Jason Huselton

That is pretty amazing stuff. As a non-competitive cyclist, I never knew how much balance and shifting there was for training schedules. I can't wait to hear how you adjusted his workload to keep his form on track.

Matt Borowski

Great information. The visual aid is extremely helpful, too. Terrific post!

Super G

Joe, I am almost on the same periodization as this rider..i.e. this was my transition week and I plan to do an HR/POWER test this weekend with late July as my next "A" race.
So, do I go back to Build1 or Base or what?


Joe, great topic! Is there a way to calculate/estimate ATL and CTL with only a heart rate monitor?

Kyle Visin

Hi Joe,

Great post!!

The way I understand it your TSS score (which determine both your CTL and your ATL is based off of your volume and intensity relative to your functional threshold.

As an athlete such as the one you are coaching becomes more fit throughout the season his functional threshold will change. He should be able to produce a higher average power or faster average pace in 1 hour time trial.

This would essentially mean that the athletes TSS score for a ride (or run) would not be consistent throughout season.

For example an athlete with a TTS score of 100 for an hour bike ride early in the season (when his functional threshold is 200 watts)would be much different then TTS score of 100 for and hour bike ride in the build period (when his functional threshold is 220w).

It seems as though your CTL (fitness) could remain the same throughout the season even if you have made large improvements. Your CTL is highly dependent on how often you test your functional threshold.

Do you assume that a particular athlete has the same functional threshold throughout the entire season even though that might not be the case??

Joe Friel

Kyle--I know people who do that. You'd be in good company. But you're merely comparing your current level of adaptation to a previous fitnss level, however.

Joe Friel

Jay--Good timing on his question. TrainingPeaks.com is working on just such a thing. Expect it have it up and running by the end of the month. In the men time reading this may help... http://home.trainingpeaks.com/articles/cycling/estimating-training-stress-score-(tss)-by-joe-friel.aspx

Joe Friel

Hi Super G--That rider will go back to base 3 training. That's usually best for most athletes at this point in the season.

Kyle Visin

So what your saying is that your CTL is not really your fitness level. Correct?? For instance your fitness level could change drastically throughout the build period even though your CTL may remain constant due to an increases made in your functional threshold.

Is there a useful way to estimate your "fitness" where you could compare it to where you were earlier in the season or even previous seasons?

It seems to me that the best way to gauge fitness would be to find a useful way to relate pace (power) and duration to Heart Rate (as a percentage of threshold HR). But perhaps were not there mathematically yet!!!


I read on a forum that you should not increase your CTL by more then 4 TSS points from one 3 or 4 week phase to the next. I see that this athletes CTL goes up by a lot more then that in the base and build phases. What are your thoughts? How much of a raise in CTL is safe for MOST athletes?

Joe Friel

Nathan--It's very individualized Some athletes can manage rapid changes, especially in their base period, while others can't. There is no formula for this that fits everyone.

coach purses

If your life feels like it is lacking the power that you want and the motivation that you need, sometimes all you have to do is shift your point of view.


Joe, earlier in this thread, I inquired about a way to calculate/estimate ATL and CTL with only a heart rate monitor. Has TrainingPeaks made any progress on this?


Joe Friel

Jay--haven't heard. Will check.

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