« Lessons from the 2010 Season, Part 1 | Main | Fat Burners and Sugar Burners »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.



I am trying my best to take the advice here and in your Cyclist's Training Bible to heart and cut back the volume in the transition period (for me, this is late September and all of October). I have two questions about how best to manage this.

First, I attained a peak CTL 2 weeks before my last A race of 85 TSS/day. By your guidelines, should I make sure I drop to at least 65 TSS/day before I start training again in November? As background, I'm a 22-year-old stronger Cat 3 rider and have been riding for 7 years, with the last 2-3 years being the only ones I've seriously trained through the winter.

Second, should one consider strength training in this equation? If so, how - specifically, how should you calculate approximate TSS for a strength workout? I am not sure my evaluation of IF will be accurate because I'm only used to aerobic exercise and this is my first time incorporating strength training.

Joe Friel

Douglas--As mentioned in the post, that is a very rough generalization of how much to back off. It may not be right for you. Your experience is the best guide. In regards to assigning a value to weight workout...I just answered the same question for another reader. Here is that reply: 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


Joe, what do you think is the most important CP marker for someone training for 8-12 hour mountain bike races?


Joe Friel

Jay--I don't coach people for such long events so a bit out of my experience. But I'd suggest CP60.


Hi Joe. I love your blog and have two general questions:

For all of us not using Watt meters, could you please provide some form of a table/list for the different CP-values and their approximate corresponding RPE values?

Is a long base period of low intensity aerobic endurance training really preferible over shorter high intensity interval training sessions? - please note that I'm talking about "athletes" who's training volume doesn't exceed 10h/week (as I assume is the case for most of your readers).

Joe Friel

Hi Chris--This may help if formatting doesn't get jumbled up...
Coggan’s power zones as a % of FTP/CP60 (Friel HR zones)

PZ1 (HRZ1) <55% of FTP
PZ2 (HRZ2)56-75%
PZ3/~CP90 (HRZ3) 76-90%
PZ4/~CP30-CP60 (HRZ4-5a) 91-105%
PZ5/~CP6 (HRZ5b) 106-120%
PZ6/~CP1 (HRZ5c) 121-150%

For your 2nd question, by 'high-intensity' I'm assuming you mean above FTP/CP60/LTHR. If that's the case I think it _could_ have negative consequences. Mostly psychological. For ex, I have 9 months until my next A race. It doesn't seem wise to do anaerobic endurance intervals for 9 months since it only takes a few weeks to reach an optimal level of fitness with such training. If you mean high-intensity as z3-4 then I see no problem with it. If you can stay motivated to do it week after week for several months. Personally, at the end of the race season I'm ready for a break from hard training. Good luck!

Ronald Brandtjen

Hi Joe,

two short questions regarding your interpretation of the CP6 values.

1. Is the shift to the right side not mainly due to the fact that the athlete significantly increased the intensity of his workouts during the Build, Peak and Race phases on the right side compared with the Base phase on the left side?

2. Is an increase of the CP6 value itself not a better indicator of fitness? In this example I see something like 270 watts at the end of Base 3b and something around 275-278 watts as peak on the right side.
Is this increase of 5-8 watts (less than 3%) enough? What is achievable and should be our target?
I assume that you answer will start with "it depends" (on age, fitness level, etc.).
Nevertheless a comment on this based on your experiences with very different athletes would be appreciated by us.

Thank you!

Ronald (Wiesbaden, Germany)

Joe Friel

Ronald--Yes, most certainly the rider's training intensity increased--along with his CP6 values. You ask if CP6 is not a better indicator fitness, but don't mention compared with what. I assume you must mean CTL ('fitness' on the chart). Yes, it is in many ways a better indicator. Probably the best. But that does not mean CTL is of no value. It provides a more detailed view of what is happening to one's ability to manage stress on a daily basis. As for the 3% improvement in CP6, I'll take anything I can get in my athletes' improvement. When one comes very close to his/her potential 3% is quite a bit. How much is right/appropriate/to be expected for any given person 'depends' on many variables. :)

Matt Borowski


I don't currently use WKO+ nor do I have a power meter but plan to incorporate both in 2011. I assume separate charts exist for swimming and running? Is a composite of some sort offered to view the triathlon disciplines at once? I'm curious how overall triathlon race readiness is gauged.

Thanks, Matt

Joe Friel

Matt--You can set up charts almost anyway you want using WKO. In terms of multisport the only thing I look at is fatigue (ATL). There really isn't much value in the knowing the combination of them for fitness (CTL). When racing a tri on your bike how fit you are on the swim and run is of no consequence for absolute bike performance.


Hi Joe,

Great post as always. I'm wondering if you think there are specific numbers or benchmarks for the Fitness (CTL) curve in terms of TSS/day that lets you determine when it's time to move beyond the base period, when an athlete is race fit, etc. Also, presumably those numbers would differ between racing categories as higher category riders generally require more time in the saddle to be competitive. I'm a Cat 2 road racer and wonder what CTL I should be carrying into the season.


Joe Friel

John--I don't use CTL as a marker of when to move on to the Build period. I do that when aerobic endurance (decoupling), force and speed skills are at an optimal level. CTL doesn't really tell us "fit for what."

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)


Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner