AT and Training Breaks

I have been giving some thought to how AT manages training breaks. As far as AT is concerned there is a complete lack of data to determine the impact of a training break apart from time away from training.
A weeks break from training in ones normal setting (ie; no travel, jet-lag, altitude change, diet, sleep, etc) seems entirely different than the cumulative physiological/psychological impact of a week spent traveling. I imagine a week at home to be very similar to a recovery week, in that you would return to training strong and recovered, and no adaptions would be required.

On the other hand, and my recent experience - one week in Kauai, which incorporated, 7 hour flights, 4 hour time zone change, change in diet (including multiple cocktails a day! Substantial for someone who is a total lightweight), poor sleep, and a drop from 5.6k altitude to sea level, would seem to require some adaption. Not looking for any sympathy, this was a holiday after all!

AT made no changes to my plan for the scheduled time off.

I arrived back on a red-eye flight and hit a PL 3.7 SS ride that day that was easy despite being tired, then on Tuesday did my first VO2Max PL 5.6 workout and tanked 45 minutes in, so I loaded up a 45 min endurance ride just to get the time in saddle. As I reflect on this (based on my experience of longer trips to Europe this past year) time is needed to return to prior physiological state, which relates to a number of things. Information online seems to suggest that jet-lag can take anywhere from several days to two weeks for full adaptation. Altitude changes appear similar, ranging from several days to weeks or even longer for full physiological changes to have occurred.

All this said - should AT have some sort of survey that asks about the scheduled training break to help it determine if there should be changes to PL, FTP, or the plan itself as a result of the time and specifics related to that break?

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As far as I know, AT will dial back your PLs if you haven’t done a workout in the targeted training zone in a while. Maybe your workout levels weren’t dialed back enough, but the shortened workout should cause the required adaptation, shouldn’t it? I don’t mean to sing the AT praise here (my plan seems to hardly adapt at all lately), but I think there are mechanisms at work to solve this exact problem.

Sure, TR has some decay setup for the PL’s related to the time without a related workout, and the time involved. But the OP is talking about something more nuanced. If I can paraphrase his thoughts with a common TR stance:

  • Not all TO (Time Off ) is Equal. (Riffing on their “Not all TSS is Equal” motto.)

  • Essentially, a week surfing the couch may be different than a week traveling with all the variations and demands that entails. From what we know, a blank week for “Time Off” in TR is the same no matter what happens in that time.

  • I think the OP is asking for a way to “classify” that time off and have at least some control on related stress that may be more present in some cases vs others. And that info would hopefully be leveraged by AT in how it addresses pending training that immediately follows that time off.

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Yes - great summary!

I would love to be able to categorize a week off in terms of stress - recovery/no-stress, moderate stress, or significant stress. In a future state it could be more specific based on data that AT could account for.

In my case I find it interesting that even after failing my first VO2Max PL 5.6 workout after my return, and marking the survey ‘Too Intense’ AT has made no workout adaptions, and I have another VO2Max PL 5.8 workout scheduled for tomorrow. Based on my experience yesterday I will dial that down to something like 5.2.

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With that in mind, I am going to add the “feature-request” tag since this seems to be a suggestion for improved / new features.

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I recently stuck my toe in the Garmin wearables game with a Forerunner 745. I bought it mainly for trail running but the heart rate stress metric has been very educational. It is eerily accurate. Just sitting in front of my computer screen for work raises stress levels noticeably. Lying in semi supine posture on the floor gets my stress levels virtually to zero. I have noticed that if I pay attention and focus on quality time in low stress activities I can feel the benefit. In the past I would use semi supine after a hard ride and feel more recovered, now I can see some independent validation of that.

It would be great if the cycling apps could start integrating with this kind of technology. I find travel quite stressful and try to avoid it whenever possible :slight_smile: Garmin stress data definitely helps inform me when it might be wiser to back off a bit.

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Nate has mentioned that they are looking at things like HRV, sleep tracking and the like. Nothing concrete right now, but if they see enough validity to that type of tracking, they seem open to incorporating it into the app in the future. It relates to the “red light / green light” aspect that Nate says is already coming. These other tools may eventually add to that melting pot of data and planning.

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Tracking stress metrics would also be super helpful for people who do shift work (random mix of days, nights, evenings). I’ve been using the click and drag adjustments to my calendar as well as changing duration and intensity (achievable v stretch) to accommodate. Would be great if I could tell AT why I made the changes

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Ah, that’s the part I didn’t get. Yes, this doesn’t make much sense.