Garmin training status vs TR

73 YO male in pretty good shape. I’ve been wearing a Garmin Fenix 6 for about a year. I usually use TR for the winter months when there is not enough snow outside to ride, and to get in shape for late spring events. A few weeks ago I started a TR training plan - Mid Level Masters. Seems to be working fine however I am getting warnings from Garmin Connect that my training is unproductive and my fitness is decreasing. Specifically it says that I am lacking anaerobic activity. I have swapped out a few scheduled workouts with more intense threshold intervals but still have this issue. Should I just ignore it as I am in the Base phase? Also I’m not sure how Garmin software is determining my fitness is decreasing, and what parameters they measure to determine anaerobic work. TIA


Hey there and welcome to the TR Community!

I think that it would be best to ignore that Garmin Connect notification, especially as you’re in the Base Phase. No need to be hitting anaerobic workouts during that period of training!

How do you feel as you’re getting started with the new plan? That’s the more important question to ask rather than relying on the Garmin.


My Garmin is always saying that I’m deficient in something…


Give these two a read if you want to know more about the various status and how they are determined. More info under the other topics on the left side of the screen. This topic is WIDELY misunderstood. People spend hundreds on these devices and then don’t learn how to use the data. Kudos to you for ansking. Understanding what it’s telling you will help you decide whether or not you want to ignore the advice.

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That’s partly why they spend hundreds. To be told what the data means in clear and simple terms. Obviously with training data it’s sort of hard to do that simply.

I’d bet most people don’t read anything about what the training status or training readiness mean

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Yep. It’s easy to just jump on the “this thing is stupid” bandwagon. However, if you actually want to use the data, you’ve got to read to understand what it’s telling you.


Your TR plan is built around a specific goal (assuming you are using Plan Builder).

Does your Garmin know what your goal is or what you are training for? If the answer is “no”, then ignore it and focus on TR.


RTFM lives! :wink:

Thanks for the links, always worth reminding ourselves given how much information some of us are receiving on training these days.

Welcome to the forums, I also pay attention to my Garmin notifications and get Unproductive pop up frustratingly - but it could just indicate you need longer sleep, better nutrition;

UnproductiveYour training load is at a good level, but your fitness is decreasing. Your body may be struggling to recover, so pay close attention to your overall health, including stress, nutrition and rest.

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Yep. The other thing is that IF you want Garmin to say you’re productive, you have to keep those three ovals in balance. A lot of people get frustrated because it says they don’t put in enough anaerobic work even though they think they do. Garmin specifically states they like 30/30s. So, if you wanna rack up that anaerobic score, you do 30/30s. I’m not saying any of this is the right way to train. It’s just the way to understand what Garmin is telling you.

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Mine says I’m deficient in intelligence.

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To be fair, Garmin is normally correct if wearing a device 24/7.

There is a place for anaerobic efforts, even in base.

So is my wife, but that’s off topic…


My garmin has been bonkers since being hurt for a month. I’m not waiting for it to tell me I can “train” or do physical therapy. Listening to my body is what’s working for now while I ignore garmin trying to tell me everything’s f🖖cked.


It doesnt care about that, although it might be coincidence that it seems to relate to that. What it is using to give training status is primarily based off the trend of the vo2max estimate. Outside this it will say recovery if training volume has dropped for a period. It will say unproductive if you vo2max trend is dropping irrespective of your training balance, which it doesnt really carry about, it is more performance based… ie vo2max prediction.

I actually have read these. I get that Garmin/FirstBeat has their ideal Load Focus and that I am not meeting their criterion at this time. It still seems in my likely simplistic view that I should be at least maintaining or improving my fitness but not improving my anaerobic capacity. It may be a question of semantics, but the other possibility is that using their measurement of HRV, rest, stress and they are determining that my fitness is actually decreasing. At my age I am starting to have issues with restfull sleep which is one thing I have never noticed previously. I have noticed in the past that my HRV decreased just prior to getting really sick, but that is not the case now.


Works for me! :thinking:

Thanks all! Lots of good information here. I looked at my recent workouts and realized that I need to hit 260 Watts (TR) or 258 (Garmin) to be considered anaerobic and they were just short of that, so the Garmin was correct that I wasn’t getting anaerobic benefit. Probably wouldn’t hurt to throw in a few efforts at that level anyway. FWIW I am really happy with the data from the watch. I find that tracking my training load is a lot easier and I’m more consistent when the data is on my wrist. I’m a retired automotive engineer with years of experience writing data analysis software for engine dynamometers which are kind of like a trainer with an inhuman power source. How humans adapt is much more interesting. Also thanks TR for adding the masters plan! This go round seems to be a much better balance of training to rest than my previous attempts.


Hey @BruceOlson! A couple years ago I took several weeks and just did what my Garmin suggested I used to track my fitness. My experience was Garmin always kept me in the ‘grey’ zone. TR always kept me in the green for about three weeks, then into the gray for a week, then back into the grey for a few weeks, etc, etc.

IMO, I made better progress using TR structure but I’m sure for an athlete that is injury prone maybe the Garmin approach could work better.

Regarding garmin ‘unproductive’ I think Garmin tries hard but just doesn’t have the full picture. Yesterday I was riding home from a swim and my Garmin told me my training is ‘unproductive’. :smiley: Right now I’m really feeling my training and on the cusp of a week off. Trust me, Garmin is full of it with this one.

One thing that Garmin can consistently nail, though, is recovery days. When I pay attention to my recovery Garmin always tells me I’m recovering well.

So that’s my experience. If you are wondering whether to trust Garmin or trust TR I would advise you to place your trust in TR first if performance is your primary goal. If you find that TR is a little too much and you’re having trouble being consistent, then try just following your Garmin for a while and see if it works better for you. The most important thing is to remain consistent and injury free…as I’m sure you already know!


Unproductive was a bad word choice. I don’t think the status even refers to a single workout even though it seems like it. It’s just the current status.

  • Productive: Your current training load is moving your fitness level and performance in the right direction. You should plan recovery periods into your training to maintain your fitness level.
  • Maintaining: Your current training load is enough to maintain your fitness level. To see improvement, try adding more variety to your workouts or increasing your training volume.
  • Recovery: Your lighter training load is allowing your body to recover, which is essential during extended periods of hard training. You can return to a higher training load when you feel ready.
  • Unproductive: Your training load is at a good level, but your fitness is decreasing. Your body may be struggling to recover, so you should pay attention to your overall health including stress, nutrition, and rest.
  • Detraining: Detraining occurs when you are training much less than usual for a week or more, and it is affecting your fitness level. You can try increasing your training load to see improvement.
  • Overreaching: Your training load is very high and counterproductive. Your body needs a rest. You should give yourself time to recover by adding lighter training to your schedule.

I think this is the key to everything. People see that word and go “FU GARMIN! I’VE BEEN BUSTING MY BUTT AND YOU SAY I’M UNPRODUCTIVE?!?!?” It’s just a misunderstanding of what Garmin is telling you. I really think they should have changed it a long time ago, but I honestly wonder if they even know how much strife it creates in their user base.