What should my 6 week CTL (or 6 week average tss) be?

How do I know what my ctl, or my 6-week average tss (I know they’re different) be? I feel great but I know I can still overtrain.

That depends on the TSS/day you’ve done the last 42 days. The more TSS/day = higher CTL. Maybe the better question to ask is where should your CTL go from here? Typical ramp rates are anywhere from 2-5/week. So, the idea is to raise your CTL as high as possible via base, build until about 6 weeks prior to your A event then you switch to a speciality phase and CTL is less a focus.

Either you didn’t understand my question or I didn’t understand your answer, lol!
I understand what tss, cts, ramp rates etc are, have been racing many years, using TR many years, have a training plan etc.
My question, let’s see if I can reword it, how do I know if my cts is getting close to overtraining point, given that overtraining ( is kind of a mystery anyway), is not obvious from perceived fatigue. Is 500 too high and I should take more rest? 350? 800?

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Well, Sophie, if I knew the answer to your question, I would set up as a specialist coach and make a small fortune. The brief answer is: your experience.

My approach to this is to raise weekly TSS as per the plan [I have been on MV plans with additional gym work, that I count in TSS since it intended to improve cycling]. And then, over cycles of plans to add extra TSS through endurance work [eg, a longer ride or 15-30 minutes added to the end of a workout]. In this way, I raise TSS 6-week average from about 550 in the first half of 2019 to about 600 in the second half. There were, of course, gaps for holidays and peaks for tours. Then I assessed: could I handle this? Was I completing workouts, were FTP, TTE growing? Was performance in similar events improving? NOTE: this was over quite a long period – 6 months.

Now I’ve concluded that I can handle 600 for a 6 week average. So in the first half of 2020 I’m going to raise TSS to a 650 average – taking it gradually as Landis suggests. Then I’ll assess where I’m at again and either lower target TSS / hold it steady / raise it again.

FInally, you should note that i’m one of the over-60 crew, so my increases in load might be slower than you can handle. But the only way you can find out is to raise your load, hold it for a while and then assess how you feel.

Good luck!


Ah, thank you!
That’s basically what I’m doing., so I feel better. I got caught in overtraining 2 years ago, but that was related to sudden lack of estrogen/ testosterone, so I’m a bit nervous now. I went from feeling great, to, why can’t I pedal?
And though my 6 week average has been high ( for me), for the first time, I can finish all TR workouts and do weekend outdoor rides.
Thanks for building my confidence!

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Do you know your current CTL and ATL? Subtracting one from the other gives you your balance. Too negative for too long means danger zone.

Intervals.icu graphs this very nicely for you.

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As others have indicated - this is largely a personal thing and you are best to look at your training history (both long term and the recent past) to determine what a good CTL and ramp rate will be for you.

The piece I would add is that you need to understand what type of riding is giving you your TSS. If you’re doing intervals three days a week you should likely be maintaining a lower CTL than if you’re only doing intervals one or two days a week and doing endurance riding the rest of the time.

By way of example, I’ve just completed a three week block with 5 endurance days and 2 interval days where I progressed 714, 766, 807 without feeling overly fatigued. However, if I were doing a third interval day and a 4/3 distribution instead of a 5/2 I would decrease my endurance TSS to decrease the total load on my body.

Gotcha. Yep I didn’t interpret your original question correctly. My Apologies.


To echo @brenph, intervals.icu has helped me understand what a “healthy” training load looks like, and how the TR plans end up being structured. Here’s the graph he mentions showing the rest of my base phase, the build phase I’ve got planned after it, the specialty phase after that, and my two-day ride at the end:

Top is CTL (blue) and ATL (purple); bottom is the difference. Green is the building zone, gray is maintenance, blue is ready to race, red is dangerous.

I know all TSS is not created equal and there’s a decent amount of fuzziness in the model, but being able to see that TR’s structure maps sensibly against the fuzz gives me some confidence that I’m on the right track, and probably not headed for overtraining. :sweat_smile:


No, I don’t know my ctl TR doesn’t give it, correct?

Ooh! I’m going to check that out. How do I find my ctl though?

Huh. This me since the turn of the year.

Ok intervals.icu is a fantastic tool! Thank you! I saw I was in the danger zone a few weeks ago, but am “fresh” this week! Going out for a long hillclimb now :slight_smile:
Thank you!!!


Friel is suggesting that we target a ramp rate of 5-8 CTL a week.

I personally find that fairly difficult to do and it seems that with TR as long as I get more than 3 a week I’m doing good enough. Of course, much of my base is in the winter in the midwest so, I’m inside and frankly can only tolerate so many hours on the trainer at any given time.

Like with typical training, I also personally find that if I have as consistent ramp rate throughout a cycle as possible I’m getting improvements.

You’re going to get a lot of anecdotes on this topic. This is one of the highly personal metrics in this sport… in my opinion :slight_smile:

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That’s straight out of Allen & Coogan’s 1st book.

Yup. Thats why I copied a link to a blog by Friel.

for me there is no One Perfect TSS / CTL that i find is tolerable. It all depends on the makeup of the TSS. E.g., TSS that consists of only aerobic hours, could be 6, 7, 800. However much time i have available, i can use it, and it’s NBD. I might not be fresh; i might not put out good power or win any races. But nothing bad is gonna happen.

Conversely, if the TSS is made up of hard intervals, it could be 400 or 500 that becomes too much, if i don’t leave enough recovery in between sessions.

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I don’t get it?

because friel wrote the training bible, which heavily uses coggin and allen’s findings

So why doesn’t Friel acknowledge it? I am so confused as to who came up with the idea first!