Other than FTP, What are some subtle ways to see if you're gaining fitness?

Amen brother! If there’s a sure-fire way to demoralize others on a climb, just look relaxed, have a little chat, take your hands off the bars and casually pull a snack from your pocket, unwrap it, lick your fingers, stuff the wrapper back in your pocket, then casually grab the bars again. Folks hate that !

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Can jog up six flights of stairs at work without HR hitting VO2 max levels…

Can’t say I’m there yet

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I know we are all mostly focused on FTP and w/kg as a measurement of how we are doing in our training.

I am interested to hear how else you measure your fitness/improvements especially outside race season etc. I know it can be straight forward in a 10 TT to see you are doing better if you can beat your PB on the same course/same conditions or perhaps in a race.

In the off-season when so much of our training is done indoors/outdoors working towards the future, I sometimes think I’m going no where and don’t feel like I’m improving despite being consistent and following the plan.

How do you clarify if you are infact improving or not (outside the various Ramp/Fitness tests).???

@Peadarcurran just off the top of my head:

  • Aerobic HR based decoupling.
  • Speed time distance in general.
  • Standard Power profile increase/decrease.
  • Duration of any number of power metrics.
  • How many times you can achieve any number of power metrics.
  • Time of recovery needed between intervals.
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I wish TR had a simple ATL/CTL tracker. Or is there one that I’m overlooking?

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The six week rolling average in the calendar is somewhat similar to CTL (but doesn’t take into account diminishing effect of workouts far into the past) and the 1 week cumulative total is close to ATL, but it’s only correct at the end of a completed week.

If you can be bothered filling in a spreadsheet, I have one here: TSS spreadsheets with ATL, CTL, Form

Mike

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There is not. They have said they have no plans for it. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if it isn’t added down the road. It’s something most of us would like added. The only reason I keep my TP account. Would I pay extra for ctl/atl - probably. But not much more. Though, my HRVTraining will track this stuff as well in a few more weeks. So there’s that. And it’s only $10.
Jonathon is using Whoop right now which does all of that. If TR had it, then they wouldn’t need Whoop.

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As @tshortt describes, or in more lay terms - fatigue resistance; ability to hang at any power level at or below FTP longer. It’s easy to see and feel on sustained climbs.

If you sync your TR workouts with Strava, take a look at the free Elevate plugin… it provides a decent fitness/fatigue/form chart.

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I do think that TR does a good job with plans, workouts, the instructional text within the workouts, and just overall message (podcast, forum, etc) of emphasizing fatigue resistance. However, just judging from the many questions on the forum as well as my own misunderstanding when I started power-based training a few years ago, it’s a shame that’s there is not something on the Profile page like:

"FTP/TTE" - (or some fatigue resistance metric).

TTE is of course a WKO4 term, so you could come up with your own term or just license that one (like FTP, TSS, etc).

I don’t think TTE is just another metric like many that you can get in GC or WKO4. It’s equally as important, if not more so for some riders, as FTP.

The challenge is how would you measure it. It’s hard enough getting everybody to do a Ramp Test. Now you’re also going to ask them to “go to failure”. Might be a hard sell. Can you imagine threads where ppl go: “my FTP stayed the same but I blew out my TTE by 30mins! yay me!” instead of “workouts feel easier, but FTP stayed the same. what am I doing wrong? so bummed”.

Lots of ppl on this forum as well as TR folks know this, but a metric puts it front and center.

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Actual TTE is an Andy Coggan term. He worked with Peaks Coaching (owner of both TP Premium and WKO4) to implement all of his metrics - FTP, NP, IF, TSS, PMC, ATL, CTL, TSB, FRC, TTE, Stamina, iLevel, . . . ).

I think they are all important for the purely self-coached athlete looking to push themselves to their absolute best. What TR has done to eliminate/reduce this necessity is structured their plans to not have the individual need to do so to get faster (e.g. they can improve fatigue resistance by doing the progressive intervals within the plans). For those of us who want to push ourselves to the limits, “knowledge is power”, but comes at an investment.

+1 to TTE.

Huge difference in fitness between a TTE of 40mins and 65 minutes at the same FTP.

RIP for all of us fast-twitch guys though when people start asking about TTE :rofl:

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Sure, they all are. I’m trying to make the point about the concept without the inevitable “marketing” of the software. Nothing wrong with the software. Coggan, Peaks Coaching, TP, etc. might own the term TTE, but they don’t own fatigue resistance.

I’d like to become more like the dashed line in this chart.

5%20VO2max%2058%20vs%2055

Not as easy to measure as FTP unfortunately.

Thanks to @Mikael_Eriksson for this:

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I do a couple regular group rides once the season starts and each has a couple “Standard” efforts of various lengths I use those as one of my primary gauges of my fitness in season. These efforts vary from about 1 minute to about 15 minutes and the way they get ridden and the fact the groups are fairly consistent in membership make them decent tests. These actually fit much better than a basic FTP test with my necessary race fitness (crits mostly) both in terms of length/effort and even to some degree with whom I will be racing against, The nice thing about these kinds of efforts as they can be race like and test not just your basic fitness but the finer edge of being fit enough to be able to execute tactics while riding at a high effort level.

I was just asking a very well regarded coach about this yesterday after back to back 3hr .85 and .88IF workouts holding very consistent SS power. I recovered great and easily got the work done. Thought maybe FTP test time until he burst my bubble…

His “general ratios” for TTE for a well trained cyclist or triathlete:

100% FTP = 60min
95% FTP = 120min
90% FTP = 240min

I want to know who’s at 5w/kg that hits those numbers…

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Totally forgot about this. Just got it. Thank you for this.

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After a long period of structured indoor only training, I always find it very interesting when I go and do a long ride on a route or XC course that I have a lot of prior data on. Based both on how I feel out on the trail, and the numbers I generate in Strava, I get a really good handle of where I’m at and how I’m progressing.

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Agreed. Great way to measure where you’re at.
Just a few weeks ago I did a high tempo/group race and was hanging with 1 and 2s on this long climb but not too steep climb. Where I was questioning how much fitness I was gaining, I saw it first hand a I was digging to stay. Yeah I was in the red, but it felt. so. damn. good. Just knowing if I could hang on and get over the climb, things would slow down and regroup on the next lap.

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:joy: I found this comment amusing as I recall doing a climb last year. I had already left the group I started the ride with and I was lightly singing as I was passing people on the climb. With each pass, I felt stronger and stronger. That day, I knew I had done something right in my training.