Red Light Green Light (RLGL) - Initial Thoughts for Discussion

So it’s been a few weeks that I’ve been trialling RLGL, and while I love the concept of it, I can’t help but feel there’s a few inherent weaknesses (some of which TR team openly recognise) but haven’t accounted for:

  1. Sleep / quality and duration of sleep
  2. Nutrition - on the bike
  3. Nutrition- off the bike/between sessions
  4. ⁠Individual recovery / genetics
  5. Day jobs / career requirements (eg. Office worker versus tradey)
  6. Non cycling activity between sessions (eg. Mowing lawns)
  7. ⁠General “other life stressors” (eg kids, moving home)
    8 Block / training camps - ie when overload is the whole goal
  8. History of successfully overtraining
  9. Recent findings on the gains that can be made from doing intervals when you’re fatigued.
  10. ⁠Future training plans - ie. it doesn’t know you’re overloading because you’re about to go on holiday.
  11. RLGL also can change the progressive, structured nature of the training program, for example it will suggest removing a V02max ride and replacing it with an endurance ride if you’ve had an amber day previously. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the same type of ride to be suggested, but at a lower progression level, rather than a completely different ride?

Since TR can’t account for the above elements, the role of the user becomes even more important, which renders the usefulness of the feature quite low. In fact, if you blindly accepted its suggestions, it could actually be worse than not using it at all.

Discuss!

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#11 has some validity to it. An easier workout alternate could be an option based on what comes before it. That said, sometimes (most of the time) a recovery ride or rest day is better. Maybe give the user a choice or adapt differently based on how aggressive their “slider” is for RLGL?

As for the rest… it seems like you are trying to make RLGL something it is not. It monitors training fatigue. That’s it. It tells you when you have had a lot of training stress and suggests you make adjustments.

For whatever reason, there are athletes that will go to a training extreme (i.e. go out and do some monster ride) but because a workout is scheduled the next day, feel the need to do that workout. I’m not like that… I will just push the workout back or delete it. But others need that guidance. That what this is for.

And for what it’s worth I have coached some very talented, motivated athletes. What they all had in common is that my role as coach was more me pulling on the reins than trying to motivate them to do more. Sometimes you just need the “ok” to not do something stupid.

Personally, I don’t want to plug in a bunch of personal data to some algorithm every time I had a bad day to tell me to do the workout tomorrow. I can do that on my own.

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Personally it reinforces alot of what I already know.

I know I shouldn’t ride a 120km cat 1/2 race on Sunday and expect to be able to perform a hard VO2max workout on a Tuesday morning.
I know I should ride 120km group rides on a Sat / Sun and expect to be able to perform a hard VO2max workout on Tuesday morning.
I know I shouldn’t try squash a missed workout into the following week

In the past I have I have attempted all of the above and failed workouts.

Looking at my history RLGL has highlighted scenarios where I am attempting to follow a training plan whilst also doing the fun unstructured stuff. It makes it pretty clear I can’t do both so a decision is required, strictly follow structured and progress or mess about with unstructured stuff and go nowhere with the training plan.

Most riders in my club with coaches you won’t see them on the club spins. They train solo or with other riders of their ability doing structured stuff.

I wouldn’t expect a training app to know most of the stuff in your list.

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They dont have to be mutually exclusive :slight_smile:

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#12. It does not indicate if a bike recovery/wash is in order after an outdoor workout, based upon the weather where the ride took place.

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Some of these are speculation since none of us actually know what factors RLGL is taking into account. I’m pretty sure they’re not (yet) using wearable metrics from outside of your training such as sleep, RHR, HRV, step count, but have mentioned bringing these in at a later date so would guess they will at least trial adding those on and seeing which of them are useful. If you’re filling in workout surveys even on unstructured rides that should also give TR a data point it can use which is going to reflect what else is going on in your life. E.g. If you complete a Productive workout but mark it as very hard because you didn’t get much sleep the night before or didn’t fuel it properly, that’s got to increase your chances of getting a yellow or red the next day.

I would think that 4 and 8 could be factored in to some degree though given that they have run RLGL against your full training history, know your age, etc.

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I got stuck on “red means stop, except for when you don’t and go anyway, and then still get a green the next day”. At that point, I turned it off.

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You’ve a mix of assumptions and items that were true before. Discussion hinges on what you define as worse? Do you think RLGL is more or less likely to cause burn-out if blindly followed?

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For me I think its helpful, I have a 6 month old and my household recently just got struck by a stomach virus all at the same time. I came back destroyed with no energy failing workouts. I am back on track now mentally and physically and TR did a great job toning down the workouts for me.

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It seems to work really well looking back at my cycling calendar, but RLGL is pretty useless to me until it starts considering stress from non cycling & running workouts. 95% of my training stress in the winter comes from strengths & hiit training at the gym which it doesn’t consider at all in its current form.

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I’m treating it more like the coloured LEDs across the top of my Wahoo which I have set to correspond to power zones. Red (VO2/Anaerobic) doesn’t necessarily mean stop, but it means I’m burning matches pretty fast and I’m going to blow up fairly quickly if I keep pushing this hard. Yellow (threshold) means I’m at about the limit of what I can sustain for a decent duration and not fall to pieces, but if I ride here all the time I’m going to crack well before the end of an ‘average session’. Green (or in Wahoo’s case a few different shades of blue) means this is sustainable ‘indefinitely’.

Lots of great reasons to keep pushing into Yellow and Red but I know I’ve got to do it sparingly and I need to be deliberate and careful about what I’m doing.

I know it’s not tackling any of those outside stessors but that’s fine as long as I treat RLGL as a training tool rather than a set of strict rules. It will be great when it begins to incorporate more of that other stuff but it’s still helpful in its current form.

The one thing I do have a bit of frustration with is kind of in the vein of #11, but more specifically it’s the fact that we don’t have the option to accept some but not all adaptations. I’m sure we used to be able to do this but it seems absent now. For example, if I did an extra hard Tuesday session then I might want to let it adapt my Wednesday endurance ride down but still want to keep my Thursday workout as hard intervals (even if it’s at reduced PL). But if it’s suggesting to adapt both to easy endurance rides then I only have the option to accept both adaptations or neither.

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    • Unsure about this one. If it looks at YOU specifically and adapts to your workout performance, It probably does.

5 & 7 - Maybe the same as 4. If they’re baked into your life as baseline stress.

    • There is no such thing as successful overtraining. Overreaching is something that people do (and follow by rest / recovery) to get that supercompensation and improvement. That’s going to look different for everyone. Same as the others, I’d call it a “maybe”
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For 1-7, even personal coaches can’t “predict” these things. You would have to communicate most all of these things back to the coach and then they could adjust your plan. When you are using an off the shelf coaching platform, it becomes your job to manage these things and/or make decisions to adjust your training plan if they are negatively impacting you. Despite what TR proclaims, technology is not going to replace the need for self-coached athletes to look at themselves critically and make some of their own training decisions. At least not any time soon.

*Note - I consider TR plans to still be under a broad self-coached umbrella. It is a great tool, but you are still responsible for your training, whether you realize it or not.

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RLGL is a tool to help balance training load and stress accumulation and inform you in a simple way. It is not going be the answer to all your problems, motivate you and read your mind. Even with a coach, some self awareness and accountability is required.

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As best I can tell it isn’t doing much more than tracking your TSS and maybe looking out for signs that you aren’t adapting to the increase in progression levels. I was a bit surprised to get so many yellow days when a) I wasn’t adding additional rides to my week b) the previous VO2 max or threshold workout didn’t feel particularly difficult.

From what I can gather, it is looking at something similar to TSS for the ride and total training stress for the week and slowing you down if your nexts ride is going to get too far out in front of a reasonable weekly progression.

As someone else mentioned, TR is really a tool for the self-coached athlete. While it is pretty easy to set up a basic training plan the says Tuesday and Saturday are my hard days and I need to take take a rest week every threes weeks, the progression part is a lot harder. My guess is all RLGL does is to put some boundaries on the rate at which you progress. Until it can use sleep, HRV, nutrition, … there is going to be very little it can do other than help you stick to the basic progression.

My guess is that if you only did the prescribed workouts on the indoor trainer and never marked the sessions as anything more than hard or very hard, you would never get a yellow training day.

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It seems like my Sunday 2-hour endurance ride always becomes a yellow day, so it goes down to 45 -60 min. Right now I’m only riding inside and only riding my prescribed medium plan.

Looking at my weeks prior to RGL being implemented I was riding yellow days most days of the week. So now it’s only after my hard Saturday ride is good. If it continues to always shorten my Sunday rides I’d think that something else is wrong with my workouts as I’d not be doing any ‘long’ rides.

It will also be interesting to see what it does with outdoor rides as the weather warms up.

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Are we being a bit self selective in suggesting TR is really just for the self-coached athlete?

My partner, who has no interest in learning any training jargon, signing upto a TR forum or listening to a TR podcast subscribed recently. It’s been interesting, I’ve taken a back seat with my only advice being to feed it data (wear a HRM commuting), and listen to your body. They really do just want to get on the bike, open the ride and pedal (letting ERG do the rest).

AT and RLGL have done well so far. They got their first AI FTP bump after a couple of weeks and hasn’t mentioned being fatigued at all. I’ve only stepped in once, only because she put in a holiday and we overrode the rest week that fell the week before.

Originally started them on Zwift, now that is just plans with no adjustment or adapation.

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I think it’s a bit smarter than that. E.g. A ~2 hour, ~120TSS SS Sweetspot workout which was Productive and which I found pretty comfortable (marked it as Moderate) didn’t trigger a yellow day. Following week I did a similar length and TSS outdoor ride, not linked to a TR workout, but where I hit 4 hills at hard VO2 efforts (120-130% FTP on each hill), about 20 minutes in total. I marked that one as Hard, and TR gave me a yellow the next day. Both workouts fell in weeks of similar TSS and with similar Form on the PMC. So I don’t think that yellow was triggered by either the ride TSS or the overall TSS. I would guess it was triggered by one or more of Workouts Level 2 (I.e. It translated that ride to a high VO2 workout level which represented a Stretch or Breakthrough ride for me), heart rate (Garmin Recovery Advisor was higher for that ride than the Sweetspot one) and/or survey response.

Interestingly I went out a week later and did an outdoor TR VO2 ride which was marked as a Stretch on TR but which I was very confident I could do as it was 7 x 3 minute intervals at 120% FTP so similar total time in zone, but split across 7 intervals instead of 4 hills, and at the low end of the power numbers I’d been hitting the week before, albeit with shorter breaks between intervals. Nailed it pretty well, exceeded the power targets on the last few intervals as was feeling good, and with the ride to and from the roads I chose to do the intervals on, overall time and TSS were similar to the previous 2 weeks. That ride didn’t trigger a yellow, again I’m guessing but maybe even though it was a Stretch based on the Workout Levels that we see, it would have been a Productive or even Achievable ride based on what I’d done the week before and on workout levels 2, hence no yellow. And/or HR or survey response.

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May be an edge case, but I’m hoping RLGL will help me as I’m coming off open heart surgery 3 months ago today (aortic graft and aortic valve replacement) and this is my first week post-cardiac rehab where I’m cleared for all activities. Used PB with a couple events mid-late summer, and chose LV master’s for gran fondo. As I looked at week 1 I wasn’t sure I wanted two harder days and one endurance, so changed my first block to POL LV. AI FTP had dropped down to 178 with my lack of cycling for 3 months but, hey, it is what it is.

Started the plan for yesterday/3/11 with my first ride Sunday 3/10. Felt really good both days, almost a no chain day. After 2 days in a row (I did put out more power than the workout called for, but my HR and RPE remained quite low) it made today yellow, recommending endurance. I used TrainNow for a recommendation and it gave me Giraud. Did that today, and again, with relatively low effort I quite exceeded the power targets. So RLGL is giving me a Red for tomorrow.

I find it interesting that I followed the RLGL/TrainNow recommendation for today, yet RLGL is waving me off for tomorrow and the suggested adaptation (which I accepted) is a rest day. Anyone have insights on that?

Also, will likely start a new thread on beta blockers and their impact on athletic performance; sure seems like my low HR and RPE may be related to my Rx med…

I suspect that it’s telling you to cool it because you keep exceeding the power targets.