The science of the break

Failing workouts - take a week off
My FTP is dropping - take a couple of weeks off and start again
I’m not making any progress - drop the intensity or take a week off
Look up solution A,B or C - start training
I’ll keep training until my vacation - then fit the break in there

There must be a more scientific way to gauge when and how long you need to recover or take a break

None of us like to face the fact that our FTP might tank
Few like any sort of testing
But maybe assessment workout that are not all about FTP might be the answer
Something that tests all aspects of training over a time period (a week) that can truly reflect your state of fitness

The ramp tests are great - but don’t seem to take into account all the variables that life brings over the training program

Yes - the training plans have generalised recovery weeks.
Yes - most of us know when we’ve overstepped the mark
Yes - its a really complex thing

But it would be so much easier if there were a metric that checked your progress
and had some sort or marker for over/under stressing

The past 3 years on TR I’ve made progress - some years more than others
This year has been great - but again I hit a point where I just needed to stop

Like most people here - my nature is to push on
and yet again I did - and yet again I needed to stop - really stop and do something else!

We really should have more science dedicated to recovery as to that thing of all focus - FTP.

Some existing discussion related to looking beyond testing.

It sounds like you already know when you need to stop and you’re pushing on anyway, so I don’t see how having a metric for this would benefit your situation.

Metrics such as heart rate variability offer some insight in to training stress and recovery quality, have you tried it?

I’m talking about something in TrainerRoad. So we get the whole picture from TR results.

No - not because I didn’t want to - it just wasn’t in the plan. I will certainly look at more options for next year.

A very thin line between wondering if I’m just giving up too easily - or over doing it. So not just ignorantly ploughing on, its a tough one to figure.

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This leads into the realm of TR taking in more info from various sources. Those could include manual entries of things like RPE, nutrition, etc. It also could include things like data from HRV apps/devices, sleep devices, and so on.

It all bends towards the potential that TR has hinted at (recently on the cast) but also others here on the forum (some level of automated adjustments to plans, workouts, etc). There are MANY variables that make the potential for adjustments to individuals and their current status are far from easy.

Every rule or guideline has it’s exceptions, and the “it depends” statement is a necessary qualifier. We’d all love something automatic to “know” we are getting the most from our training. But the more we learn, the more we seem to understand that self reflection is a necessary function.

We need to try, fail/succeed and learn from each and every moment in our training. Only by taking those steps can we really learn what WE need and how best to make adjustments. I am all for adding in tools if we can gain actionable info from them, but we must recognize that the ideal is far from a potential reality, at least in the near term.


As @mcneese.chad has said - this is something that TrainerRoad has been hinting at strongly for quite some time, but is far from a ‘solved’ problem. It seems likely that they, and everyone else, are chasing this goal as quickly as they possibly can but that we won’t be seeing a solution that is highly accurate for all users for quite some time

Honestly from reading your posts it sounds like you need either an accountability training partner or a coach. A lot of what you’re asking for sounds like someone to confirm or deny what you are already feeling and a solid relationship with someone else who is training or a coach is typically what closes that gap.

Given that there are technology solutions on the way, but not here, and not close to validated - I’d recommend you look into coaching services until you gain the confidence in your training based on an increased experience level

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A coach would be good if my life permitted it. Sadly, much as I would welcome the extra advice, other commitments mean spending more time and money on cycling isn’t on the cards at the moment - maybe next season. I am getting better at judging that thin line between pushing it and overreaching and will take a good look at the suggestions above. Having invested in WK04 I can see a pattern around the time where outside rides and training seems to mess up and my gains stall - after General Build seems to be the tipping point. Tried Speciality and returning to SSB. TSS doesn’t go up a huge amount but the length of some of the rides outside does. More research needed - thanks.

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I’ve just got myself a Whoop strap and very quickly see the benefits as i can put some numbers to “Why do i feel utterly wasted today” or “should i take a day off? - absolutely YES”.

It’s a tricky balance to work out the interplay with bike workouts & general cycling, running, swimming, gym on top of general life stresses, especially once you factor in the amount of sleep you are or are not getting (especially if you have a family). And you have to match all this up with an accurate sense of what your limits are: Are you good with 300TSS a week, 500? or 700? I was routinely training myself into a bit of a hole so i’d not have the energy to want to do a hard workout so i’d do a “grey workout” which wouldn’t let me recover but wasn’t much useful TSS.

Now, i’m going to be much more clever… I even took a day off yesterday :slight_smile:

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The question you should ask yourself everyday is “how do I feel”. People shouldn’t feel that the plan is the plan. The plans in TR are a generalized plan that can’t take into account how people feel. Bad sleep, bad news, bad day at work, been sick etc can all impact things. I definitely think we are on the cusp of having some kind of metric, app, device that will help us understand how our bodies are reacting to different stresses and I hope TR can absorb that data and make tweaks to the plan. But part of being an athlete, especially a self coached athlete is to understand our bodies. Every morning I ask myself how do i feel. I think about how i slept and think about how mentally motivated I feel about tackling a tough workout. One of the benefits of the new enhancements TR have made is the ease of which you can change the workouts in the calendar. Switch around depending on how you feel. No one should just follow a plan without considering how you are feeling. The body will accumulate fatigue, it’s how we get fitter…but sometimes the way you feel doesn’t simply fit the plan.