Workouts below current level negatively affecting progression

I’m at 4.5 with endurance. Today I didn’t have a workout scheduled but still wanted to get some easy Z2 in. I chose a 90 minute endurance workout with a level of 4.1. After I completed the workout I selected moderate because my legs were still a bit sore from previous workouts and it wasn’t like I breezed through that workout. But after I saw that my progression level now dropped to 4.1 I went back and selected easy as the survey answer. I’m not sure if this intended or not, but it kinda sucks that I have to select easy in order to not lose progression. It’s not like my fitness went down because I did that workout.

Hey! Progression Levels are primarily intended as a tool to make sure that all your workouts are appropriately matched to your abilities, as well as a helpful way of monitoring progress. Meaning, its meant to speak to your abilities right now. That said, the goal is not to stress your abilities to the max every day and every workout. Levels will change and fluctuate, its all part of the process!

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Use this for your ratings. Created by The Other Chad with feedback from TR.

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Here is the latest version:

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But it doesn’t monitor progress if progression levels decline just because I decided to do an extra ride at a slightly lower level and found it to be moderately challenging. If I would have accepted the adaptions the next endurance workout I’d do wouldn’t be challenging enough.
As I see it, the survey needs much more transparency: tell me what easy, moderate etc really means and show me beforehand how each option would affect my progression levels. I find it unintuitive that a workout marked as moderate effort would decrease progression levels.

In the AT focused podcast Nate and Jonathan talked about how one shouldn’t stress too much about deciding between two options. But if one of these options means that I lose progression and consequently get served a too easy workout next time it kinda defeats the purpose of adaptive training.

I know that progression levels are just a number in the app and no representation of actual fitness, but my lizard brain finds it very discouraging to see the number go down for no good reason.

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The new podcast that is out about adaptive training at 1:26 @Jonathan answers your question or too my knowledge the answer you’re looking for.

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I mentioned this in my last post - his “don’t worry, just pick any one of the two if in between” doesn’t answer my question since when deciding between Easy and Moderate their is a fair share of difference (e.g. losing progression when picking moderate and consequently getting served a too easy workout the next time).

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Based on that my first pick (moderate) would have been right. A 90 minute Z2 workout with intervals up to the high end of Z2 does require SOME effort. Still, I think it’s not reasonable to lower my progression level based on that.

honestly, of all the zones to worry about progression levels, endurance would be at the bottom. Firstly, in 27 weeks of doing base build specialty, I didn’t have a single endurance workout adapted. At one point I did a 5hr century and didn’t associate it with any workout, so I missed out on a level 10 probably when I was probably a 5 or something at the time. Really, at that level and at that small of a difference it’s all semantics.

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I’m pretty sure this decline in PL’s has nothing to do with survey response. What I have seen is that if you haven’t completed a workout of that PL for sometime(not sure of exact duration) it seems to update to most recently completed. It is more to do with PL level decay in my mind.

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I agree that it really doesn’t matter for endurance rides, but I don’t think rides in other zones would behave differently. My concern is about the underlying system of adaptive training and how it deals with rides below your current progression level.

At some point in the future AT will also take unstructured rides outside into consideration. Will my progression level also drop just because I decided to take it easy outside or ride with someone slower than me?

I tested it by changing my survey response to “easy” and it didn’t show any decline in PL then.

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Hey pnzr- I would check with support to make sure things are behaving as intended. Doing a workout just below your current Progression Level should pretty much never result in a level decline, no matter your survey response.

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Unfortuantely I can’t replicate it now by changing survey response to “moderate”. But when I selected it directly after the workout it did show progression as Endurance 4.5 → 4.1 (-0.4).

So I assume it was a bug?

Without looking at your training history, I’d assume it was either a bug or the decline was the result of something other than your workout (perhaps it’s been a long time since you did an Endurance 4.5 workout.) Small distinctions in survey results virtually never affect your Progression Levels like this.

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Maybe I missed it, but it would be nice if this helpful chart was actually in the software / in the table when selecting effort, rather than having it in a forum stream that some may never see.

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Yup, TR was working on some version of expanded info. At one point, there was a (?) symbol on the selection page, that gave more info. But it didn’t work in all cases and may not even be in place at the moment. I haven’t done a workout or something with a survey for months, so have no idea what is present now.

This basic request was mentioned and acknowledged by TR, so I expect something to happen eventually.

Yup, had a similar decline in PL yesterday . Contacted support and they said it was likely related to the opening of AT to all and they reset the PL. Of course, hearing it may be an implementation bug gives me pause in being able to have confidence that PLs are working correctly…

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I had the same thing happen to me twice in the past couple of weeks. “Same” in that progression level dropped and it didn’t make any sense to me. I had a custom training plan built that included 3 scheduled workouts per week. In one of those weeks I felt good on an off day and wanted to add an easy z1/z2 workout. I can’t remember which one it was, but it was easy. I was very surprised to see one of my progression levels drop after that. Kinda made no sense. I mean, if I hadn’t added that extra easy, recovery ride, my progression level would have remained higher? Huh? How is that supposed to be informative?

The second time was when I replaced one of my scheduled, 1 hr sweet spot workouts with a shorter 45 min version due to time constraints. The intensity was actually a little higher, but overall tss was lower due to 15 min less riding. It just felt weird that my progression level dropped because I completed a slightly less difficult workout. The point being that I didn’t become any less adapted or fit or capable because I did that workout. It just made the progression level kind of meaningless to me. I mean, what is that number telling me in that case?

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That’s what Progression Levels are meant to reflect, and its important to keep in mind that they’re just meant to monitor your progress. This advice is important to keep in mind when a PL drops a little: