Simplifying how you measure progress over a season?

Something I’ve always struggled with is the best way to measure progress over time with just one metric. That is - currently progress is best measured by some mix of FTP improvements and TSS increases, but you really need to do some juggling between the two in order to see overall fitness going up. I’d rather just measure an increasing amount of work over time (which could work as an OK metric as long as I’m not just ramping up hours), and one idea I had is that rather than constantly measuring my work against the FTP I have, measure it against some sort of long term target / FTP I want.

For example - let’s say I want my target FTP to be 300 by the end of the season, but I’m at 220 now. I can put in 300 for my FTP in TR, and then all of my monitoring for the season will show progress relative to that number. So an hour of Sweet Spot at 90% of my “real” current FTP would only be like 0.67 IF versus my system 300 FTP (220 * 0.9 / 300), but then if I improve and can do an hour of Sweet Spot at a real FTP of 250, that’s now an IF of more like 0.75 (250 * 0.9 / 300). So in this case I can just see that my TSS went up from 67 to 75, and know that I’m getting fitter.

So using this metric - I’d look to see a season-long increase in TSS, which could be meaning either I can do more work at a given level of fitness, or my level of fitness goes up. This seems to normalize across the debate of “what’s better, high FTP or being able to hold that FTP” which always felt a bit meaningless to me - both seem like different ways to skin the same cat of going faster for a given period of time.

Thoughts on either this approach, or another way to measure progress with one metric?

Although as most people I have a set ftp number (or w/kg for those more inclined to hills) in mind as the main target, I’ve recently been more and more inclined towards ‘efficiency’ (NP/avg.HR) as a good indicator of actual progress. If I see it go up then I’m confident that I am actually getting fitter :slight_smile:

  • Peak power at various times
  • power to weight (I live in a hilly area, and all my club mates are larger so climbing is where I can hurt them)
  • Personal Strava pbs

A combination of intervals.icu for power, Google sheets for weight/FTP and Strava covers any improvements or losses.

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I actually use a combination like that currently, but my goal is really to find a better simplified / synthesized view rather that using so many tools.

Yeah, it is a bit discombobulated!

Other thing Strava it’d be nice to have it in TrainerRoad but I can understand there’s finite resources.

Hi.
Improvements in FTP is what my goal was this year. And i have reached that already still 6 months of the year to go. So everything now bonus. I have a 50 mile route that i test my self on to gauge improvements. Today was a record day for me although all the numbers were a lot lower. Lower TSS, average heart rate etc. So its not all about metrics… Have a fun day out in the sun , light winds 22 degrees C.

TR has to know they need to improve this aspect, and you’re right to ask for it. They’ve created well educated users who want as much insight to their training as possible. Gotta think this is on their radar?

Personally I wouldn’t use anything involving TSS as a measure of progress. It’s a means to an end (the end being the ability to plan a progressive training load) not an end in itself. I’ve had big TSS years where I haven’t been that fit because a lot of that TSS came from social riding and commuting. And I’ve had lower TSS years where I’ve been stronger because it was very focused and high quality.

I don’t think any single measure really works across all aspects of fitness, but if a single measure is what you want then FTP (or FTP/kg if climbing is important to you) is probably the least bad. Especially as measured via the Ramp test which may not be the best predictor of 40-60 minute power but does require a good balance of aerobic and anaerobic contribution.

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Doing this kinda goes against the whole point of TSS which is the stress of the training on your body. 90 TSS for someone with a 200FTP should feel relatively similar to someone with a 300FTP.

Maybe you could use something like intervals.icu and track weekly KJ’s which would increase with FTP even if the workouts are the same.

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Does the progress you seek not come in getting season-matched PRs?

wouldn’t tracking the work done (kj) give you an indication?
It does reflect the wattage increases, and the intensity of the workouts.
Providing you don’t start adding a lot of rides, it would be a good view of general progress?

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Duh. @mwglow15 has replied while I was napping :slight_smile:

KatuskaMTB you can simplify tracking your annual progress as follows:

INPUT
measure changes in time on the bike
measure training load (eg CTL/ATL/TSB)
RESPONSE
measure physiological change (eg restingHR)
OUTPUT
measure change in power (eg FTP)
FUNCTIONAL
measure success in events or KoMs

each one has pros and cons I go through them in some detail here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtPYIHu1CKk ; hope that helps, best of luck

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Maybe it’s too simplistic, but what I like to see is improved HR on easy workouts like pettit. I tend to do a lot of them over the year and it’s fairly easy to compare and trend them over the year. Yes, pushing ftp up is still a goal, but it’s been getting hard to see big gains there for me. It’s still edging up, which is good, but I’m also seeing HR lower for that power which seems like a big win.

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