what I understood that to mean on the podcast was that IF you didn’t want to ramp test, then you could use high PL (8+) to manually adjust your FTP that way. They weren’t exactly recommending it, but suggested it as an alternative. TR would still prefer you to ramp test. I think the best way to go is to ramp test when your plan calls for it. I get not liking a ramp test… they suck.
Considering the topic, this link seems relevant to share. Jon is asking for people with “hugely successful” AT experiences to contact TR, with a likely destination on the Successful Athletes podcast.
The post that followed yours is pretty accurate on this, but let me put it another way. High Progression Levels are fantastically descriptive of improving abilities, and multiple high levels are a good indication that you’ll probably see a bump from your last Ramp Test if you test again soon. But there’s no specific Progression Level that’s meant to be prescriptive of the need to take an FTP test. For now, we still recommend taking Ramp Tests (or the test of your choice) whenever you training plan suggests… but we are working on ways to significantly reduce how often this needs to happen
Thanks for adding some nuance to the point I was trying to make. Broadly, though, by assigning PLs (presumably based on success rate for each workout by users of different FTP levels?*), isn’t that using ‘fitness’ as an input variable and PLs as the output? Which would mean that, all else equal, being able to complete a PL of 10 implies a higher fitness than being able to complete nothing higher than, say, a PL3?
*I would LOVE to know how PL values were assigned, by the way.
Absolutely, but it describes an aspect of fitness that isn’t necessarily (or always) reflected in a higher result on an FTP test. Most athletes are probably familiar with the experience of notably improving a certain skillset or ability on the bike without seeing their FTP improve, and that’s what Progresion Levels can be awesome to help quantify.
As for how they’re assigned, they incorporate the workout’s intensity, recovery periods, interval length, and other factors. Check out this blog post for more details.
I feel like I am a bit of a fringe case so it doesn’t seem to be working too well for me, but I wouldn’t call it a failure. I don’t do many long workouts, but I do a ton of unstructured riding (lots of commuting, riding with the GF, etc) so my fitness level doesn’t aligned with progression levels. It always wants to lower my levels because I didn’t do the next 1.5+ hour workout (I always replace without whatever max PL I can with the time block I have). But I will have an odd day where it rains or something (like when it rained for several days straight during my vacation) and I did a Breakthrough VO2, followed by an hour of endurance, followed by another 30 minutes of endurance. But I know it will bounce my VO2 levels back down in a few weeks as I skip the long workouts and do “Achievable” ones again. Doesn’t bother me, I just think I am a fringe case. The workouts still cater to my end goal, in a round about way.
Should hopefully have an FTP bump next week, so maybe those “Achievable” workouts will be hard again.
I think that’s just AT doing what it’s supposed to with the data you’re giving it, isn’t it?
To use a non-AT example, I’ve been doing Endurance work for a few weeks now (2:15-2:30 hours a day 4 or 5 days a week) building a bit of longer saddle time in since I’m about to start a SS plan, but have a gravel event in early Feb that’s going to take me 5+ hours to finish. My Garmin keeps telling me my VO2 is dropping. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean my VO2 has dropped that much, just that I’m ignoring the advice Garmin is giving me and it’s dropping my scores as a result. If I wanted to, I could drop in some VO2 work to make the algorithms happy, but I haven’t, so to me, Garmin is acting as expected.
I get what you are saying Chad but I think they tired of those of us that were the old folks…over 60 looking for a different program to address our needs of more recovery or assessing when we do too much. There is no easy way to adapt a program in build to have 2 weeks in build and 1 week off, can we have a 9 day program that has been discussed previously, or swap out one day of a plans workout to tone down the intensity of the week(ie SSBII has 2 threshold, 1 vo2 and a sweet spot workout.) etc
The PLs are a great tool and are what I use. I just have to hack to death the programs they have.
I still have AT turned on but I dont find it useful.
My point is make sure TR is directly notified of issues. Far too many comments I see seem to be open comments here with no mention of sending them to TR. Lots of people assume posting here is the “best” way to contact TR, and that is not the case with many of these concerns.
After that, we just have to wait to see what TR does (if anything), and either skip AT or make the best of it with various workarounds. This is just like any other feature request or bug for the most part.
Move the plan/workouts/calendar to suit your “specific” requirements by a few clicks of a mouse, it’s not as if you’re having to do a ramp test twice a day.
My experieces with AT (and TR in general) have been nothing but positive so far.
I feel like having some basic level of understanding about general training priciples is helpful even with AT. It’s important to remember that the time horizon with training shouldn’t be days, weeks or even months but rather years. If couple of sessions are easier than you might have expected, it’s not going to hinder your progression in long term. Not every session should be hard and barely achieveable but rather moderate or bit challenging. Especially when you’re giving yourself a relatively new stimulus (say, starting a build phase after a base phase) you are more sensitive to that new stimulus and therefore able to get “easy” gains from workouts that create less amount of fatigue.
Training schedule that leaves some leeway in terms of recovery is, in my opinion, far better in long term than one that keeps you constantly in the verge of burnout. Consistency and long term progression is the key.
I feel like the workout “levels” is the biggest benefit for me personally. It allows you to compare the workouts reasonably objectively (even though your individual strength and weaknesses also play a role) and review your progression rate. Add that to the huge library of TR workouts and you have all the keys to create an excellent training plan that keeps you motivated troughout the season. Also, the ability to choose easier or harder workouts similar to the planned one is in my eyes immensely useful.
Harder isn’t always better. Adaptive training is a powerful tool but you shouldn’t always take it as face-value. Use it to your advantage but don’t get too caught up in the arbitrary numbers such as ftp or power levels. In the end, what matters is long term developement and race-day performance.
It’s not as easy to do it like it used to. You used to be able to “push” a week which then pushed all the other weeks, now if you move a week it just adds those workouts to the next week. I’m not sure if that is because of AT though, but since they incorporated plan builder.
One aspect of AT though is that if you do what I used to do is add a plan and then manually change a few of the workouts it will then change the other workouts which remain in the plan, that and it has to “think” about how to update the plan for each change you make, which is just a huge waste of time.
I don’t like plan builder, or AT personally. As a triathlete, 2/3 of my workouts don’t auto-update in to the calendar and I need to manually add them. We’ve asked for that feature for going on 3 years now and nothing.
AT seems to only want to put people on a linear progression where it will keep increasing then back you down, yet a good plan has varying intensities throughout the week, but my main issue is that AT only really works if you’re doing their planbuilder, which has 4 or 5 days of intensity over a 7 day period when realistically it should be 2-3 days of hard workouts.
I was reflecting that I haven’t really flat out failed (nor had an all out) workout since flipping the switch. The only fails are my fault (improper fueling or party too hard the night before). It’s kept every workout within reach.
So far so good for me. The only issue has been trying to match workouts with unstructured outdoor rides.
Still having struggles with the Ramp Test* more so that AT. I did a ramp on Wednesday after taking a few weeks off structure (with a good bit of outdoor social spins), and it knocked me seriously back on FTP. Manually split the difference from where I was in December, and have just done back to back threshold days (as suggested by AT), including today’s “stretch”.
tbh I was unsure whether to just go with the Ramp Test or self select. I thought AT may just leave me with longer intervals than push me above “threshold”. Anyway, kinda decided I won’t test again until I’m near the top of the Threshold and VO2 max progressions.
*100% think it’s a personal mental block, rather than the ramp test itself.
I really like it. With the caveat that I’m a new TR user so I haven’t used the non-AT TR plans - after a year of working my way back through a million podcast episodes, I finally pulled the trigger in October, and being intrigued by AT was a lot of what pulled me in. It took a few weeks to get the algorithm trained, but since then it’s been giving me really good stuff. Curious to see if I’m still as pleased with it later in the spring when I drop to a low volume plan and do more of my riding outside (right now I’m pretty much 100% indoors).
The ramp test, on the other hand…
It seems to be because of AT - the functionality to push a week is now hidden away in the dialog that appears if you click in an empty space on any day in the (desktop only?) calendar. A real retrograde step in usability IMO.
Not true anymore. AT will work with any TR plan added to the calendar. The number of days of intensity (I’ll assume you mean > threshold) per week depend on the actual plan. Sweet Spot Base Low Volume 1 has one day, pt2 has two days. Medium volume has the same.
I like AT. My one complaint is that I dislike surveys with odd numbers, to easy to just mark the middle answer. Also, I would like to see a rating between Moderate and` Hard.
Not so much the odd numbers (aren’t all numbers odd?) but why didn’t they go with the standard 1-10 RPE scale?
This is getting off topic, and much of these points are already well discussed in the old topic, but in short…
The 1-5 scale is meant as a quick identifier for TR to learn how it went for you. See how much debate the current 1-5 scale leads too… and imagine the “what should I choose” if you double the options.
I get it, and I personally have issues with the specific values related to the current 5 options. I think they have the scale calibrated incorrectly, but that again goes well off topic.
For those wanting to dig deeper into the surveys, here is what I think is the “master” topic that covers this in great detail.
I think it’s best that we move any deeper discussion to that topic. It makes sense to mention the surveys as an issue in light of this specific topic, but more talk on that belongs elsewhere.