New to structured training - understanding Fitness/Fatigue/Form

So I’m new to structured training this year and following TSS/ATL/CTL and TSB to assess my progress.
The season for outside rides is almost finished in my part of the world.
I’m following the SSBMVII plan with one added exercise, still I’m losing Fitness(CTL) every day and my Form(TSB) is on the plus side. According to articles TSB should be at -10 > -30. My 6 week AVG TSS is 908.
Am I really losing fitness, or can I continue to improve even if CTL and TSB is dropping through the winter? As the junk miles outside decrease I will go from 15-20hrs a week to max 8 I guess.

2 main thoughts from me - firstly not all TSS is the same, secondly how has your FTP behaved (if you use an estimated FTP from a ramp test for that).

TSS can be made up from millions of zone 2 miles through huge volume or a relatively small number of ‘higher quality’ hours. You say you are new to structured training this year but does that mean you have been doing it for 8 months? I have found Fitness/Fatigue/Form charts fickle if you make fundamental and quick changes, and take a number of weeks to steady off. Back in 2017 I was in my best form on the bike ever, the charts suggested I was in a hole and should have been destroyed. It was a relatively rapid change of volume (up) that did that, going down has the opposite impact if TSS has overall reduced hugely. If you have ‘enough’ quality and stimulus there though, the charts can show a drop without you changing - but how much is ‘enough’ takes a lot of time and stable training to assess.

Ref your FTP, have you been training long enough to see that change? If you are using TR then that would be the most logical metric but also combined with listening to how your body feels. If you feel totally fresh and FTP drops you may need more stimulus (either more hours, more intensity or both) if FTP holds then crack on, making sure that any other aspect of your cycling doesn’t suffer - like sprinting or V02 if that’s what you value for your disciplines).

Personally (primarily from experience before TR using local routes including a fairly long shallow hill and a steep short hill) my body seems to respond pretty well to FTP and V02 work, and after a point of fitness does not respond any better doing lots of volume at lower intensity.

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Thank you for the insight. I have had a significant increase in FTP the 8 months, it has somehow stagnated at 2-3% increase every month max the last 2 months, guess this is to be expected.
Good to hear intervals will give the most benefit, a lot of my TSS is junk miles in zone 1-2.

Stagnated at 2-3% increase every month? :roll_eyes:

A lot of people would kill to make that kind of progress. Listen to the 218-podcast where Nate, Jonathan and Chad talks about FTP progression. You can be happy with 2-3%/year. It’s a bit unrealistic that you’ll be able to maintain that trajectory of FTP-increase.

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