How is Adaptive Training working out for everyone?

Cheers, glad I could contribute.

I am not sure how to get in touch with the team, but I would definitely be interested in getting their feedback on this (perhaps there should be a dedicated thread on SSB progression with AT?).

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The easiest way to start is an email to support@trainerroad.com for now. I think either copy/paste your existing info from above or capture a link to your forum posts would be a fine launching point for them.

I’m curious how this happens. It hasn’t happened to me yet as I’m just newly using Adaptive. Is it that once your FTP has reached the point where you’re no longer getting big gains with each ramp test but your PL’s are high, then even after a ramp test (say a 1% improvement in FTP), your PL’s aren’t dropping that much? So then your PL’s stay at a relatively high level starting in the next block?

Yep, that’s exactly the case and what happened with me.

Another part of the story though is that I am using AT for the first time hence my starting workout level for ssb1 was 4 or 5 as for everyone.

However, going back to the point of knowing yourself, I brought the level up to what was the level of the standard plan last year given that I was able to complete those workouts.

What this means now is that the training plan plateaus for the final couple of weeks given there’s no more room to go either in intensity or duration that would also be realistically sustainable.

If I didn’t increase the level at the beginning perhaps I would still be progressing but workouts on the other hand would not provide enough stimulus.

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Thanks for all the attention and advice here Chad. It’s helpful

Part of the challenge for me (and I can’t extrapolate) is my newness to structured training like this. In a post above I mentioned I almost gave up after repeatedly blowing up in another program. I’m older and volume and intensity builds were too fast/not enough recovery and Kapow - done. And felt like a failure.

Starting this seems great so far. I knew starting that my aerobic capacity was ok (well it didn’t suck) but my anaerobic capacity really sucked badly. And I really struggled with anything anaerobic for the first bit. However I did keep taking the adaptations and tried to answer the interrogations honestly. My first and second Ramps are the same but I’m not struggling as much with the workouts - and that’s the challenge for a newbie - am I being “successful” or am I not being challenged enough. I have no idea how to answer that. It’s more a comment than a question

Thanks for the time you’ve spent here

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I think you’ve nailed it…

There is so much information now instantly available everywhere about hundreds of different types of workouts we could/should be using, that its so easy to get lost and not be able to see the wood for the trees.

I know I’ve been guilty of this in recent times - I caught myself recently spending more time selecting a workout for an indoor session than I ended up spending on the bike doing it! I recently started to make a mental switch to a mindset that when I was forced indoors for a workout it was better to just quickly choose a session in broad alignment with the phase of my current plan, that I would ACTUALLY WANT to do, that would get me doing something and giving me consistency. It’s been quite liberating!

I think TR has put at it’s core a philosophy of creating plans and sessions that people can (and will) complete, and hence the huge variety of plans and workouts they’ve created and the number of revisions they make when their data tells them people aren’t completing workouts or plans. I’ve argued in the past that they may even put completion rates ahead of optimal plan design, but in hindsight, maybe that doesn’t matter at all, or might even be the optimal strategy, as consistency and completion probably trumps nuances of workout selection, as you suggest.

Just quoting as I think this is a very important point(s) and something the TR team should consider discussing on a podcast.

In my view this scenario describes an FTP “plateau”. Rider has followed a plan and improved but reached a point where the training program is not producing new gains. In weightlifting, by analogy, this is what happens with linear or “beginner” programming. You lift for a while, adding weight each session or every other session, and make nice gains.

But eventually you stop being able to add weight. You’ve hit a plateau. Almost everyone experiences this in cycling too: You train on a program like TR, you improve, but eventually you get stuck.

I’ve seen stuck riders progress by changing the training structure, so I don’t believe the easy answer that where most riders initially get stuck (plateau) is when they have achieved their potential.

Where TR could make huge contributions is to having a plan for riders once they get stuck (or plateaued).

AT likely won’t help in this use case as there won’t have been data to train the algorithm. That is, there may be many riders who make gains with TR but then plateau, or get stuck. I bet there are not enough riders who get unstuck to define what the successful training adaptation should be. Colloquially, AT won’t “know” what to do.

Again… getting stuck riders unstuck would be an excellent AACC Podcast discussion. Personally, I’ve been stuck in several seasons and this is the type of “successful athlete” story I’ve been hoping to hear about.

All the Best,

Darth

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This is a Brilliant comment. Can AT recognize a stuck athlete and make recommendations to help them unstick?

Not today. Today, AT is just about modifying workouts with the same intent as workouts on a TR plan. It has no capabilities to modify the plan structure.

What you are really asking for is ABP - Adaptive Plan Builder - that holistically looks at your progression rate, the date of your event, and tries to optimize X, Y, and Z (now that’s the question what these would be) on the date of your event.

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yep - APB would be ideal. Sometimes the recipe to ‘unstick’ is to completely change the approach of the plan and not just tweak the same intervals with different durations or rest intervals, or just do more volume of the same work.

I’m not using a TR plan this season and had a coach write me a 6 month plan. He looked at my last 2 years and gave me a plan full of stuff I really hadn’t done before. I was a little shocked at some of the content given my goals for the year, and wondered why I was being given stuff usually associated with racing success when I was targetting GFs and multi-day events, but in a follow up chat he simply explained that more of the same wouldn’t deliver me any more improvements and to get through the plateau I needed to do a load of very different work to deliver a new stimulus.

I think this is where AT wont help much. It might help people get through workouts and achieve consistency but maybe not gains once they hit the plateau waiting for us all. I think this is where some coaches took issue with Nate’s original statement that AT could replace coaching. I think one huge value to coaching is a fresh set of eyes and a 10,000ft view of your training, and I dont see that from AT (or TR).

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I’ve also been doing SSBHV plans the last couple years and have a similar experience. However, I haven’t raised my PL artificially and just let SSB and AT do it’s thing. It appears to me that your PL was too high too soon. Yes you were able to complete the earlier workouts, but at what cost? Apparently the cost is being cooked a couple weeks later as fatigue continued to build.

I also felt the SSBHV workouts were a bit too easy at times, but just kept at it and trusted the process. I’m finishing week 4 of SSBHV2 (probably could have been a recovery week) and had my first failed workout (though I failed none last year). However I had some sleep and illness/stress issues, so difficult to just blame AT. Though AT lowered my workouts and the remainder of the week was manageable. Lastly, I started using the recommended z2 alternative (in the weekly tips) for Sundays’ SS workouts and it’s been a welcoming change. It’s 3 hours on the trainer but at least it’s not more SS!

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When I stagnated/plateaued I had to change the stimulus. For me that was increasing volume and choosing a different Build. First 2 years was MV plans and General Build. Then it was HV plans and ShortPB. Now this season it is HV plans (with AT) and a scheduled SustainedPB.

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Absolutely, in hindsight I could have left the starting level as standard but I don’t think the adjustment is to blame in this case for two reasons:

  1. I merely increased the starting point in line with last year’s plan and;
  2. Next year the starting point will in any case be higher than the standard given that for this cycle my personal SS level was essentially zero given that I was a first time AT user. What this means is that I will also be hitting a plateau before week 5 based on performance history.

As you did this year I have also swapped the Sunday workout with z2 unlike last year when I was following the plan to the letter (including the Wednesday SS workout).

I think it’s a bit misguided to view a steady progression level as plateau. It’s ok to do a string of achievable workouts for a few weeks. Otherwise people would have to like do 8 hours of endurance because doing 4hours alll the time would be a plateau. It’s not always necessary to chase a higher PL

Absolutely, however as I was reporting above the plan becomes rather daunting (see my post above with a description of the proposed workouts).

To contemplate a plan with SS workouts with PL ranging between 9 to 11.3 for potentially 3 or more weeks is too much. However this is in line with the proposition of AT or otherwise said you get workouts based on your current level.

The solution is then either accept a lower level (tweaking the AT progression system) or accept that the 5:1 weeks on and off needs to be cut short in line with the other plans.

I don’t adjust it and it works perfectly fine. 💁

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I have opened a dedicated thread on the subject but you must have seen the bulk of it here also.

Out of curiosity then, what plan are you following and what level are you at?

If you are completing ssb hv as prescribed at level 9 and above then I extend my congratulations to you.

Ah, I haven’t found that one yet. Also some more posts on this thread to read. Apologies if this is redundant.

Right now I am following SSB, SPB, 40TT in low volume with 5 added endurance hours and some running to make it worth 10 hours of training.

I am coming back from a bit of bad luck (thrombosis, appendix, flue, covid, …) in 2021 and am trying to get a foot back in the door hence the lower volume option. However, I used to be on the HV option for the plans mentioned above. Plus some running.

My level for sweetspot is currently 7.8 which I would rate moderate. 10 is on the calendar in the next couple of weeks. Though to be fair SS is my bread and butter. I went so far and created further plus options for polar bear. :slight_smile:

AT has been a success for me so far. Last working week of SusPB this week after completing SSBI, both MV.

Consistency - I have no failed workouts during this period. I’ve had to skip a few, but that’s been due to “life”, not the plan itself.

Progression - For the very first time I have been able to complete all VO2-work thrown at me during build. While I can do SS “all day” my diesel is missing the turbo. With a more suitable progression I am able to complete my VO2-wos as planned. For SS I had to give AT a bit of a kick at the start of SSBI as I hadn’t done much in terms of structured training going into the plan. Knowing my strengths and weaknesses probably helped AT find the right levels more quickly. With VO2 I did not do anything and it feels my levels (and training) is where it should be. With SS I have been setting PRs (as per season match). I think this shows that the old plans did not challenge me enough on SS, but too much on VO2. AT has that sorted out.

Fatigue - Felt fresh coming out of SSBI, and got a nice bump in Ramp Test result. After the first part of build I did not feel fresh at all. Legs feeling heavy, and the Ramp Test before part 2 kept my FTP the same. Now at the end of pt.2 I feel really good. The only change I have made is that I have been more conservative in my survey responses. I’ve erred on the side of caution, and when in doubt between “moderate” and “hard” I’ve replied “hard”. For VO2-work this has been a learning. I find the intervals mostly hard, but I recover well. So the workout in total doesn’t feel “hard”. It just shows me that we still need to coach ourselves with TR. It’s just that with AT it’s gotten a lot easier.

Alternates - This has been a game changer for me! With work, kids and a wife with a constantly changing work schedule, my weeks are almost never identical. With “Alternates” I can juggle around based on time available and still have confidence that I will get the work done. E.g. last week I had 90 min VO2 wo scheduled in the morning. Bad sleep caused by kids and work meant I was in no shape to get up at 0530 and hammer out the work. No time in the evening, but with wfh I could squeeze in a 30 lunch ride. Used alternates to find a wo with the WL. Did it match TiZ? Probably not. Was it equal in training stress? No. Did I get a workout done at the correct level? Yes! While not optimal it beats the couch or guessing the replacement.

Improvements - I think the survey responses might be better, or at least easier to understand. Perhaps a TR blogpost should be made. As someone wrote above a 1-5 range would put 3 as the middle ground, but that’s “Hard” in the response. Perhaps TR wants “Hard” to be the middle ground? Long time TR users knows how to “game” this, but it might be more difficult for new users.

Right now I’m only riding indoors, so it would be interesting to see how AT and TR will solve riding outdoors. Both structured and unstructured. I also would like to see FTP-profiles. I’m not using the same bike or power meter on the trainer as outside. So different bike, PM and environment (as a sum) is likely to have great enough impact in the training zones that FTP-profiles should be considered imho.

my 2 cent.

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I did notice a slightly weird thing with I guess TrainNow rather than AT (although is related since it’s PL related) - when I did Festive 500 I used some of the very long TR Endurance workouts (~3-4hrs) and dual-ran TR with Zwift, which has pushed my Endurance PL pretty high.

The TrainNow recommendations when you’ve had a few harder days seem to be Endurance which is sensible, but the workout selection made by TN seems to be pretty simplistic - it just serves you a workout in that category which has an Achievable PL. Obviously a 1 hour “endurance” workout with a PL of e.g., 6 is actually a rather harder ride - more like tempo than endurance in a lot of cases - today for example it seems very keen for me to do Bays which is 60 mins right at the top of endurance and has 4x sprints… Also an IF 0.76. Not that easy a ride IMO - there’s big difference in intensity between a 3hr endurance workout at PL 6 and a 1hr endurance workout at PL 6.

Seems to me that if TN is recommending an easy ride after a few hard days, it should be a bit smarter than just “any achievable workout”, and actively push the relative PL down further (“extra-achievable” maybe :stuck_out_tongue: )

This wasn’t an issue before as I never used to link my longer outdoor rides etc with a TR endurance ride, so my endurance PLs were somewhat lower.

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