Adaptive training and adding cooldown question

I typically add a 30-60 mins zone 2 cooldown after a planned workout. For the main workout of the day I leave the intensity as planned, but will often have to bump up the cooldown intensity to reach around 65% FTP. Sometimes this intensity is upwards of 200% during the cooldown to reach my target zone 2 power. Also, I often will get off the trainer during the cooldown to get water, go to bathroom, get some carbs, etc.

Are there any unanticipated negative effects of this with regard to the adaptive training assessments?
As an example if I nailed a VO2 workout, then added a 60min cooldown:

  • Does AT deal with the various energy systems in the above scenario appropriately? Or would it somehow downgrade my VO2 level?
  • Does increasing my cooldown intensity somehow falsely elevate my levels?
  • In the FAQ, taking a break between intervals is accounted for by AT. But does taking a break during a continuous (no intervals) cooldown negatively affect levels?
  • Is it just best to split the above into 2 separate workouts, and not use the cooldown feature?

thanks for any insights,
Teebs

It’s my guess that extending a workout by adding endurance at the end will not adversely affect the workout’s primary progression levels. Try checking the difficulty and progression levels before a workout and again after completing it with the added endurance.

I did Shortoff -1 today, which was classified as “achievable” with a predicted VO2 Max progression level of 5.0 (my pre-workout VO2 Max level was 4.4). I completed the workout and added 15 minutes of endurance at the end (I extended the cooldown by 15 minutes and increased the intensity to 235%), and rated the workout as “Moderate”. After the workout, my progression level tallied with the predicted progression of 5.0 - despite my adding 15 minutes of endurance at the end. My VO2 Max progression duly increased from 4.4 to 5.0.

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According to Nate in an earlier Podcast, they ignore the warmup and cooldown so this should not affect your progressions at all. That may have changed, but I have not seen any updates to suggest that it has.

To address your questions directly.

  • AT will not give you any credit for the Z2 work and will not downgrade your VO2
  • No, your levels will not be elevated
  • Should not be affected by a break
  • If you want credit for the Z2 work, then splitting it and choosing a productive Z2 workout would be a better choice. If you don’t care for credit, then use cooldown.
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I extend the workouts regularly and have never had AT react negatively. I’ve been in AT beta for 3-4 months for reference.

Thank you, your replies have all been very helpful!

regards
Teebs

Adaptive Training does not take into consideration warmups and cooldowns, so if you’re adding more than 30 minutes to your cooldown and adding more ‘work’ like this, I would initiate another short workout that meets the criteria you’re looking for so that AT can account for it. :+1:

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This might nudge the thread a little off topic, but:
When I have a 60min workout scheduled but I find myself with 90min available… in which scenarios would I
a. choose a 90min alternate
b. add 30min z2

I’d do 90’ Alternates if I wanted to fill the whole time with a structured workout and add a 30’ cool down if I just want to add some unstructured easy pedalling to clear my mind (and legs). I don’t really look at power when doing cool downs and just go by feel.

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YAY ALTERNATES!

Same, if the hard work in the 60min workout is enough for what I am looking for and I don’t want to add any additional intensity (i.e. stress and fatigue) then I would just add 30min to the cooldown.

However, if the 60min workout doesn’t have enough work and I only have it on my calendar because I am normally time crunched but now I find myself with an extra 30 min then I would choose a 90min alternate that includes more ‘work’ as long as I think I can recover from it before my next workout.

I would usually err toward more endurance and less intensity but you have to know your fitness and know that you can recover from the extra intensity if that is what you choose to do.

Interesting, that page says:

We don’t recommend using Workout Alternates for workouts in the future because replacing a future workout with an Alternate will remove it from consideration for adaptation.

I usually only replace workouts with alternates on the day they’re scheduled, but no matter what, every time I replace a workout with a longer alternate, AT insists on adapting it back to the original workout. That FAQ answer makes me think that shouldn’t be happening. Is that a bug?

Just want to make sure I understand correctly, when you select a same-day alternate, you get an immediate recommended adaptation to change today’s workout back to the original?

I’m not certain I would say immediate, but definitely happens the next time it checks for adaptations. If I replace, say, a 60 minute productive threshold workout with an alternate 120 minute productive threshold workout, same energy system, same difficulty, same (or very close) progression level, the suggested adaptation is the original 60 minute workout. If that sounds like something that shouldn’t be happening, I’ll try to get some more concrete data, screenshots, and repro steps and reach out to support.

If this is all happening on the same timeline day-of for the workout and alternate on today, yes, you should for sure reach out to the team at support@trainerroad.com so we can record it as a bug if applicable.

If you are receiving an adaptation suggesting the original workout you selected an alternate of to begin with, please report that as well. AT should not be suggesting something you just chose an alternate for, ope.

Thanks for helping us improve while Adaptive Training still in beta, this stuff helps us constantly improve!

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For me it’s a slightly bigger picture. I usually opt for additional endurance as I am bumping up against my upper limits for fatigue sometimes and don’t want to fail a later workout due to fatigue. I’m generally looking to increase my endurance overall as I tend to prefer longer races.

If I were well within my overall fatigue then I can definitely see the appeal to picking longer alternates.

My opinion is that AT should take whatever extra work you’re doing into consideration during the warmup and especially the cool down. It’s inconvenient to get off the trainer to find a separate workout to do that extra work.

This is definitely on the roadmap along with accounting for unstructured rides that arent associated with a workout at all! :+1:

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I didn‘t miss the eta on this, did I? April would be great though :wink:

No timeline as of yet. We try to avoid doing that as building new features can sometimes reveal a lot of new bugs/issues that are hard to speak to in terms of resolution and roll out, so we dont want to let any of our athletes down by needing to change ETAs.