Managing Training using Form (Mid Volume vs. High Volume

Hi All!

I am currently finishing Sweet Sport Base Mid Volume 1 and heading into Mid Volume 2. I am using Intervals.icu fitness tracking to see my “predicted” Form (fatigue ATL - fitness CTL) for my 2021 events. In intervals.icu, they use categories to determine the Optimal form vs over reaching etc. This is all based on this blog by Joe Friel. https://joefrielsblog.com/managing-training-using-tsb/

According to the blog, if your form is -30 (your fatigue is 30 points larger than your fitness), then you are at high risk. How realistic is this? Are any of you constantly in high risk? I m specially wondering how people on the high volume plan do it without going deeply into high risk.

As I look forward into my next block, I considered jumping from mid volume to high volume since I do think this will give me a very solid base for next year but I am concerned that it will be too much and I will be overreaching.

You can see my predicted form for the first half of 2021 using Mid Volume.

Because hopefully they haven’t just jumped into doing a HV plan off the couch! Fatigue is basically a measure of how quickly you’re ramping up TSS. So you can do very high volumes of training without having a big negative form number, provided that you build up to those volumes gradually over time.

It would be very hard to be constantly at -30 as to do you’d have to be constantly ramping up training volume and it would fairly quickly get to ridiculously large number of hours/week. And -30 is a good rough guide, not a hard and fast rule. I.e. if you’re just coming back from a month off and therefore have very low “fitness” on the performance chart, but were previously doing high volume training, then you can probably ramp back up to close to your previous levels pretty quickly and safely. And not all TSS is created equal. E.g. if you’re averaging 300TSS/week doing a lot of intervals and intensity in a relatively low number of hours, and then go and do a training camp where you’re doing lots of z1-3 riding, then you might be able to rack up a much bigger TSS number that week without too much risk

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This makes sense.
I am coming off from a month in September which i could not ride due to a pretty big injury so my fitness went way down and makes sense why SSBMV1 drop me into the red even though I don’t necessarily feel like I was in the red.

If you have a semi recent training history that is in line with what the plan will be putting your through then I wouldn’t be worried about going into the red at the beginning. You’re fitness would be good enough to handle it. I’d be more worried later in the training block when you CTL is already high (like those later spikes during specialty).

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Intervals.icu has an option to show form as a percentage of fitness. It’s supposed to be useful at lower levels of fitness and appropriate given your break.

I’m at 59 fitness and 85 fatigue (-26, still inside the optimal zone) but also at -44% (well beyond the optimal zone -30%). Percentage is more correct given my current state… :grimacing:

The option is in the Options box on top bar of the Fitness page.

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Thanks @timothyh!

Yeah the percentage of fitness puts me right into the deep red!
In my case, I feel tire (and starting recovery week :slight_smile: ) but I feel like I shouldn’t be in the red. I think a lot of these settings can be played with to try to better track your fitness but I am not sure I want to jump into all that just yet.

I would put more stock in your own perception of your fatigue vs what the model is telling you. The model has no idea what your training history is. No matter if you are a beginner who is sitting at 40 CTL or Chris Froome takes time off in the off season sitting at the same 40 CTL it would put both athletes in the red even though they have vastly different levels of fitness no matter what the model says.

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Setting form to percentage gives most of my first three months as in the red, whereas as an absolute value it’s only a couple of dips apart from my events which forced me way into the red. Those dips did align with me feeling weary but they were only a couple of days at the most.

As with all these single value metrics you do need to apply a bit of care when interpreting them.

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WOW. Your fitness (CTL) must be really high!

I am impressed. Keep at it!

Just to echo, doing high volume doesn’t necessarily put you deep into the TSB (if you’re already HV). I’m in the 3rd week of SSB1 HV and I’m currently at CTL 75 TSB 0, but I maintain 10-12hrs/week all year. It’ll probably be in SSB2 where I get pretty negative with TSB but following the TR high volume plans all year did not put me into a deep hole.

On a recovery week (well 5 days) looks like its needed, although after a day off and a 40 minute recovery spin today I feel raring to go.

Look at all of that green! Fair play :+1:

43 yrs old, TR user starting my 3rd off season of training. I did SSB MV the first 2 years and this year I’m doing SSB HV. I’m only in week 4 of SSB1 HV but I’m coming to the conclusion that High Volume is “easier” than Mid Volume. Still plenty of training ahead to make a definitive statement, but my body seems to handle volume over higher intensity. Also mentally, I enjoy not doing over/unders so early in the training season.

I’m surprising myself on how much sweet spot my body can handle. No matter how I feel or how sore my legs are, I’m always able to push the pedals. Workouts are challenging at times (2 hours of SS), but so far manageable.

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Good to hear as I start SSB HV in 2 weeks and have decided to swap out a Saturday workout for outdoor Z2. Was contemplating doing MV and adding the outdoor workout but was concerned there was too much intensity in the MV for this time of season. I can dedicate 10 hrs a week so hoping lots of SST will be optimal

Ramp rate is the best predictor.