I’ve been using a garmin 520 for nav/data recently. The 520 has a ‘recovery advisor’ which flashes a recovery time (in hours) AFTER a ride and flashes a recovery condition at the BEGINNING of a ride. Something pithy like ‘Good’ or ‘Fair’. I’ve always dismissed it as hokum & have never talked to anybody who takes it seriously.
TSS, on the other hand, is fairly broadly accepted. But I’ve always said TSS OVERestimates long low intensity efforts and UNDERestimates short intense efforts. So it’s OK as a relative gauge if you typically train within a fairly narrow band of intensities but not so good if you normally do a bunch of Z2 Mile Piles and then try to switch over to a similar TSS load of Threshold work. Or even sweetspot work. You’ll crush yourself.
Is Garmin 520’s Recovery Advisor a better measure of training stress than TSS? Here is why I ask…and also a sideways humble brag…
A couple weeks ago I did a gravel race. Here is time spent in each zone:
Recovery: 19 min
Aerobic: 50 min
Tempo: 1 hour 10 min
Threshold: 2 hours
Super Threshold: 45 min
Aerobic Capacity: 57 min
Anaerobic Capacity: 20 min
This weekend I did a time trial. Here is time spent in each zone:
Recovery: 1 hour 8 min
Aerobic: 4 hours 40 min
Tempo: 3 hours 52 min
Threshold: 1 hour 57 min
Super Threshold: 6 min
Aerobic Capacity: 1 min
Anaerobic Capacity: 0 min
TSS for the latter ride was 553. TSS for the former 729. That’s about what my expectation would have been: the second ride had more training stress. Therefore, I would say it required more recovery.
Ok. So Garmin 520 fitness advisor said 42 hours recovery for the first ride…which I would normally ignore but happened to see as I was using the Garmin to navigate back to my car. After the second, 729 TSS ride I was trying to take a snapshot of the Garmin right after the race & it flashed 18 hours recovery time. That’s pretty much diametrically opposed to what TSS analysis would lead me to believe.
However the passage of time has proven Garmin Fitness Advisor to be exactly correct. Maybe not down to the hour but certainly with respect to relative recovery time post event. After the gravel race I don’t know that I felt fully recovered even after a week of taking it easy. After the time trial I feel ready to go right now.
Is Garmin Fitness Advisor under rated? Should we be paying more attention to it and less attention to TSS?