Adapted Training adaptations: It keeps suggesting downward adaptations

I’ve started the half-distance Triathlon base program letting Plan Building plan out my season for me. It started this past Monday, but last week I let TrainNow give me some workouts which I completed. I skipped the suggested ramp test on Monday and knocked my FTP down by 10 watts (I just completed Ironman Florida and I’ve lost a little top-end power).

I have completed the running and swimming workouts and added those to the calendar. On Tuesday, I replaced the ramp test with Grassy Ridge -3 at the suggestion of Train Now. After completing it, and even increasing the power target by 25% on the last few intervals, it then suggested less hard workouts for Wednesday and onward (I needed to trade the Wednesday and Thursday schedule for personal conflicts). I did not accept the adaptations it suggested, and in fact felt strong enough to attempt a “breakthrough” workout (Weston) on Wednesday which I completed. Now, it continues to suggest that the next workouts need to be down-adapted despite completing the past two workouts beyond the suggested, original workout.

So, why does TR and AT keep trying to down-adapt workouts which are LESS hard despite completing the workouts at higher percentages and even replacing the original workouts with breakthrough workouts? Is the TSS from the runs and swims making AT adapt me with less hard workouts?

Thanks in advance.

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Ditto this;

I used plan builder for a TT next March. The plan is;

SSHVII → SusPBHV → 40KTT HV

I initially thought the new ss base plan was too easy, and subed out some more difficult workouts in the first week. AT kept trying to downgrade my future workouts even though i was doing well at the hard ones. I have yet to accept any of the AT changes, and have rebuilt SSHVII to better reflect my ability to do sweet spot workouts. I will see how I and AT do with the next phase as i am not as strong at threshold and VO2 max as i am at sweet spot. I am considering just turning AT off as I don’t like having to do the maintenance of refusing changes I don’t feel are right after every workout.

In both of these instances, If individual workouts are modified or replaced in advance using the “Alternates” option, Adaptive Training will view the replacement workouts as a part of your training plan and will consider them for adaptations.
If you simply add workouts to your Calendar within the timeframe of your training plan (via TrainNow for example), these will not be considered part of the plan and will not be adapted, but their completion will still affect your Progression Levels.

okay, but why does AT keep trying to down-adapt workouts despite completing workouts as scheduled. If it’s part of the scheduled plan then AT should just proceed along and not suggest any adaptations, right? I’m trying to understand why AT keeps suggesting easier workouts for me despite completing alternative, harder workouts.

If you’re completing the workouts scheduled via Plan Builder, I would check in with support@trainerroad.com so they can take a look at your survey results and any other ride log data to see what AT’s logic is. They’ll be happy to help!

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Thanks Ivy. I guess I didn’t realize how swapping workouts was affecting AT.

The take-away for me, then, is that AT isn’t going to work for me, at least during base. I am really good at SS (compared to higher zones) and plan builder and AT just aren’t addressing my needs.

If your progression levels go up, shouldn’t AT then adapt future workouts to match? Like if you’re a Sweetspot 2 and have a Sweetspot 2.3 upcoming, then do a TrainNow workout or any workout that’s a Sweetspot 5 and get the Progression Level 5 for that, shouldn’t AT see that and suggest at least a Sweetspot 5 for the next workout?

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I would like to see this answered as well, although I don’t think AT always suggests workouts at or above your progression, since some should be “achievable”.

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Ditto me…I’ve just started a new plan with AT and I completed ramp rest followed by suggested workout which I finished just fine, then my next workout was adapted down and I’ve no idea why!?

Yeah, after every single workout, it suggests down-adapting me. Even when I complete the workout at higher percentages, and rate it as a medium difficulty, it suggests less hard workouts. I don’t understand why. Probably just going to ignore AT for now. I’d love to understand the logic, or work with the developers to troubleshoot but I’m not emailing support.

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If you rated a workout hard, from my experience it won’t give you a harder workout the following week or day. It usually keeps the PL for the following workout the same or it’s increases the next workout PL by .2, give or take.
I put myself in a hole by answering moderate for most workouts and that led me, well in a hole. I didn’t burnout or get mad at AT, I just answer truthfully now. Also if I’m in between two different “effort feelings” I now go with the higher one. For example; today I did a Vo2max workout and I was between hard and super hard. So I chose “super hard” That made my following workout lower on the PL chart, so I don’t end up in a hole again. I hope that helps in some way!

I’ve barely started and it recommends taking down everything !!! despite doing 1 workout and crushing it.
I think it’s because i rated my extra workout today as Hard. I went stronger than it asked so yeah it felt Hard. Should I rate based on
a) what i actually did and felt
b) What the workout asked me to do?

Just restarted training after 2months off the bike after IM Arizona. Saturday I chose AT plan of Low Volume LD Tri. My ramp test yesterday was a sad thing (-10%) as I lost fitness but also some ability to suffer. Being a 51y old doing triathlons ( i’m not good when above threshold for minutes but have lots of endurance ), i find the RampTest typically undermeasure my FTP. Anyhow, I figured AT will do its thing.

After 5hours of DH skiing, I came home, felt good and hopped on the trainer. and picked a 1h Sweet Spot (Peavine) and crushed it (59 TSS vs 50) . WIth my fresh newly lowered FTP, it looks more like i did a threshold wo and rated it Hard.

It looks like the RPE is weighed quite more higher than the actual performance. Is there guidance on how to answer the RPE?

I’d rate it on what the workout asked you to do - I don’t think AT takes I to account manual intensity changes.

Even so a sweet spot workout at the start of a block shouldn’t really be “hard” - are you sure you didn’t push yourself a bit too much?

Ideally you would actually do the workout it asked you to do but if you are finding them super easy then maybe an FTP bump would be more sustainable than manually increasing the intensity of every workout?

Might be worth playing out in your head what a conversation with a real coach would sound like.

Coach: How was that moderate sweetspot workout I set you?
Astreryx: Hard
Coach: Really?
Asteryx: Well, I had done 5hrs of DH skiing and bumped it up to a theashold workout.

Also don’t overcomplicate it - all the survey is trying to do is keep your training on track - if it perscribes a moderate workout and you say it was hard then it might adapt down and if you say a workout that was meant to be hard is moderate it might adapt up.

What it doesn’t do at the moment is cope very well if you co off-piste (see what i did there).

This should help clear up confusion on how to answer surveys!

AT: Easy vs Moderate vs Hard vs ... [Pass / Success Survey Responses] - #60
Update! We’ve added more information on surveys to the ‘How to Use Adaptive Training’ article, I’ll post it here as well!

How to Rate Your Effort

  1. Easy
    This workout felt easy and required little effort or focus and felt non-taxing.
    (For context, this should feel like a little bit more than a recovery ride, ie you could do this again now and could pass it with no problem.)
  2. Moderate
    This workout was somewhat comfortable but required some focus to complete.
    (This was a normal feeling workout where you’ll feel challenged a bit, but not as though you wouldn’t be able to finish it. I could do another set of intervals or extend the ride.)
  3. Hard
    This workout required effort and focus and was challenging to complete.
    (This will feel tough and you’ll probably look forward to this workout ending, but if there was another interval, I could have done it.)
  4. Very Hard
    This workout was very difficult to complete.
    (ie if there would have been one more interval, you wouldn’t have been able to do it.)
  5. All Out
    This workout was extremely difficult. It pushed me well beyond my abilities and took a massive amount of energy and focus to complete.
    (You’ll feel like you barely made it to the end of this workout, and that you had to pull out every trick in the book mentally to finish it.)

Its important to separate your expectation of what the workout will feel like (either from the Workout Level or from your Progression Levels) from what you actually experienced through doing the workout. Try to speak exclusively to how the workout felt, regardless of that context of expectation.

RE: Adaptation questions, it could be a combination of your survey but also how effectively you’re completing the workout (ie if the software is seeing you arent hitting your marks or dropping power because of the effort).
The best protocol for stuff like this is to reach out to support@trainerroad.com. They’ll have the best advice based upon the full scope of your workouts, adaptations, surveys, internal ride logs, and they’ll of course make sure everything is being accounted for properly. The team will be happy to help, drop them a note!

Yes. This is intended behavior and what normally happens to your adaptations after you raise your Progression Level outside of your planned workouts (either via TrainNow or by added extra workout). It wont always be ‘productive’ or a ‘stretch’ ie higher than your current level though, depending upon your phase or where you are in your plan.

If you arent seeing that happen, please report to support@trainerroad.com so they can fix ya up.

This is important, glad you said it. Every workout being at a higher workout level than your PL to push/stretch/build = :headstone:

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I thought AT was looking at the actual efforts i did and the RPE question was about what i actually felt and did.
I have dumb trainer so no erg mode here.
Reading your answer and Ivy’s below, it sounds like my RPE answer needs to be about the workout as prescribed and not about my actual performance. I’ll go back and change my RPE answer to Easy. and see waht the AT proposes as adaptations.

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Might also be worth recognising that the survey isn’t really reffering to RPE.

RPE is traditionally used to help describe intensity where the survey question is asking you more generally about the whole workout (using Ivy’s guide).

I.e if you did a 10h low RPE workout it would probably be a hard workout and if you did an extremely short high RPE workout it might be easy.

Personally, when answering the survey, I just ask myself “how close was I to failing that?”

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I changed the RPE of Sunday’s wo to Easy.
Weird all the proposed adaptations remain unchanged!>!?!? Maybe it takes a day to update?


I’ve raised aticket with support.

Note that the original wo have PL of 3 ish and all proposed ones are pushed down to 1.0 1.1

I’m not going to accept any of the changes. I’ll see how i do with a week of as originally prescribed workout and hopefully that will feed better data points into AT.

I’ll propose a clarification to “how close was I to failing that?”
→ “How close was i to fail what was asked by the TR intervals target pwr?”

So if i pedal more watts than what is requested or i keep it in reserve to go jog or shovel snow, it doesn’t matter to AT. AT looks at my answer vs the target intervals (and not the actuals) to decide how to adapt the plan. Now it does matter in real life muscle adaptations and fatigue of course.
It hopefully also look at my actuals to decide what PL I’m at.