How would you account for a physical job in your weekly TSS?

I’m not currently training to power as I needed a mental and physical break from it for a season after three consecutive years of hard training and racing. However when I did, I always had a question that never satisfactorily got answered:

My job as an outdoor worker involves me being on my feet all day, up and down ladders, swinging heavy hedgecutters etc. If I was to allot a tss/hr to my work, even a conservative 25tss/hr would give me a daily total of 200tss and thus 1000tss/wk.
On top of this I was recording 6-800tss/wk in training.

So as far as the computer model was concerned I was ‘only’ doing 6-800tss/wk but real life would have me recording 1600-1800tss/wk. Very different scenarios!

I never accounted for my work into my training records, just took it as a constant and left it at that. However work is never constant; at certain times of the year it’d be a lot harder than others.

Could I have done things differently?

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I’d also be interested in this factor.

My job can be physically taxing but with very little cardio demands.
Is this a case of TSS > IF? (I’m probably not using those stats correctly)

Luckily(?), the heavy stress times occur during the winter indoor training months meaning I can enjoy the summer outside riding months more, but makes the training months even more stressful meaning training isn’t always 100% optimal.

I’m not sure you would account for it, while it’s stress, it’s not training stress. It may impact how hard you can train, but it’s not training itself.

The stress may be comparable to long slow work…hours of zone 1…?

A couple of articles on the matter, with the usual answer – “it depends”:

I’ll agree with fastdad on this one. Although it’s a factor that affects your training, you really can’t account for it. It’s not specific to cycling so you can’t really add it as training stress. It can definitely affect your freshness every day though. All you can do is make sure your sleeping plenty to recover and that your nutrition is good.


I guess what the OP and myself (and anyone with a physically demanding life, be it a job or lifestyle) would do is account for bike stress as well as life stress but in a separate column just so we are aware of over-all stress and adjust from there (e.g. dropping bike TSS down to result in higher quality workouts, training before work, resting after work, etc.).

I did try recording a figure as a separate sport for a time so i could add it in and out, but I lost interest pretty quickly.

If it’s consistent I probably wouldn’t track it but if it varies I would want to note times of higher stress (no different than tracking illness etc)

I had similar questions, and based on the discussions on the podcast and flo podcast it comes down to stress is stress and your body cannot tell the difference. If you are in a stressful profession, mental/physical, you need to account for it in your weekly TSS.

With my profession, long physical shifts, I have found guess and check is the best method. I will try a week, too much? Back off. Not enough? Add a bit more. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best way for me. If you don’t account for the stress you just end up burning out.

Good subject @ktmccusk

I am also a gardener here in the U.K. I don’t know how to include my work into the mix other than knowing I walk 10-12km a day at work. I ABSOLUTELY think it should be included in your TSS as it counts towards or against your performance. Mental and physical.

I often arrive to start a weekend Audax (200km) utterly knackered whilst my fellow riders have sat behind a desk and are relatively fresh.

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If you do the same sort of work every week then i don’t see a need to account for it. Just accept that due to your job you may only be able to handle (say) 250TSS a week, where if you did an office job your body could handle 400 TSS. As long as the job is consistent each week then don’t see why it needs accounting for…unless trying to compare to other people (which don’t think you should do).

I agree stress is stress, but we are talking about life stress vs training stress (the T in TSS). Life stress could be from your job, but it may not be physical, how do I account for a very mentally tough day at work? It’s stress, but not training stress. I don’t see how accounting for an arbitrary metric will make us faster? Just realize how much TSS you can do on a normal week for normal circumstances. If you have a hard day you can just make notes to account for why their may be a lower training load that week.

Fitness is to TSS as recovery is to WSS (W=work).
In other words, look at TSS to see how fast you might be getting; look at WSS to see how much additional recovery you might be needing.

I agree. TSS is a specific metric pertaining to your exercise. But assigning a metric might help those with stressful jobs, 12 hr shifts/manual labor/etc understand their limitations. For example, one might know from experience that a weekly TSS of 600 won’t be achievable for them. Therefore they keep their max TSS in their training plans < 600. And of course the plan is just a plan, always flexible. If you have a particularly draining day, you can skip it.

I think this is important to take into account so that you don’t set yourself up for failure, and so that if you are unable to achieve your goals you might be able to troubleshoot. Additionally, if you are burning out each week you may not see the gains anticipated or you may find your performance suffers.