Recovery ride TSS musings

Now that I have my riding hours up and have my CTL at a decent level, Ive been wondering if a recovery ride can be expressed as a function of your current CTL?

As an example, my current CTL is approx 115, and I’d consider a ride with 70tss or under pretty easy - that would be approx 60% of my CTL. I’m not suggesting 60% has any sort of significance, but just something I’ve noticed for myself.

Do any folks us this metric for recovery or easy rides by taking current ride tss and dividing by your current CTL? It seems like it could be used as a good starting place to ensure you don’t do too much by respecting an upper boundary.

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i’m sure you can, TSS and CTL are a fine tool to use to help you make decisions, ocne you figure out rules of thumb and boundaries for doing so (like this one).

For me though, i dont’ think it would add anything incremental vs. just going by feel (like sometimes i’ll do a ride that 15 TSS and that’s plenty for that day, if i’m tired enough :))


Not exactly, but on 50 CTL during off-season my coach capped them around 15 TSS for an hour.

Out of curiosity, what CTL are others aiming for here during different phases of the year? I read an article the other day that suggested that pro athletes generally hit their target events at around 150 CTL. The article was an opinion piece without any scientific backing so I took it with a grain of salt but definitely keen to hear others opinions on that and also what CTL they aim to hit.

I usually stay around 80 CTL in the off season and build up to approx 120 around June, and then back down to 110 range once I introduce more intensity.

It’s an interesting question but I don’t actually target a CTL. I now program the workouts each week, trying to build progressively but also appropriately, and the CTL just sort of falls where it may. The first few years of training with power i aggressively tried to push it (I built an annual training plan built around TSS, so i thought i had to in order to be successful), but i don’t think itw orked out that well.

2017-2018 was my first season training again in about 10 years and first ever training with power. I started at CTL of around 17 (from hrTSS from the rowing machine in the gym) and wound up in the 70s for the target events, I had good short power but bad endurance and honestly was tired.

2018 to 2019 I got up to the 80s for my target events but again was tired. I overdid it and had to take a break. Better endurance but still not great.

2019 to 2020 got into 90s but was tired, it dropped into the 50s over the winter but a good chunk of the off-season TSS was from running and other cross-training so it’s not really comparable.

This year i am in the 90s again but after a slower and better progression. I’m taking a rest week now so happen to be tired at the moment but overall i feel good and expect to be able to keep pushing throughout the summer. I’m not sure where i’ll end up.

Whatever CTL ends up at the end of this year, I don’t think i’ll use it as a target for future years, likely, but more like a benchmark to gauge how my progress has been going. Maybe in future years if i’m judicious it’ll get even higher.

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I’ve hit 90 once, immediately after a double century. Generally feel strong with base training giving me a CTL in 60-80 range on 6-10 hours/week. Frank Overton did an interesting podcast on CTL for Masters, if you happen to be over 35 years old.

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I remember hearing that episode on Fast Talk about masters racers and CTL guidelines based on age. I recall thinking I can handle a lot more than he was recommending for my age - I’m 46 and don’t have any issue with 900-1100 tss weeks. I’ve been riding a long time consistently, so I’m sure that’s a significant factor.

Yeah over a decade older and I can handle getting up to 80+ o forecasted on off-the-shelf plans but life happens and I end up in the 65-75 range. I don’t chase it.

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Yeah, I certainly don’t chase tss either. I do a big gravel ride most Saturday’s that ends up being in the 300tss range, so the rest of the week just sort of fills things in.

Yeah lately I’ve been a slave to our yard and house, its messing up my training! A lot of 300-500 TSS weekends cut in half or two-thirds this year.

Friel has a CTL and yearly TSS goal for ages and race categories in his training bible. Don’t have it handy but can pull it up later

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