A lot has happened since September, I was able to get a few articles on the Training Peaks blog about training with power for cyclocross and of course Rebecca and Justin went to a few World Cups and then I went to Colorado Springs for the USAC Coaching Summit and oh yeah I asked Julie to marry me and she said yes. Which was cool. Julie is fun and funny and I am a very lucky man.
|The sun was in my eyes, I am not really that squinty.|
Okay, let's try to focus. This is the time of year where a lot of the road riders are reviewing their season with me and new clients are coming on board and talking about what they have been doing in the past.
One of the topics that comes up a lot is the Training Peaks metric called Chronic Training Load (CTL) or what is referred to as "fitness". It is shown as that blue line on your Performance Management Chart.
It is commonly assumed that the higher the CTL value then the faster and stronger the rider will be. However, as some of you may already know, I have been completely changing the way we look at discipline specific power training as well as being instrumental in how the rest of the coaching community looks at it as well. So with that in mind, let's chat about CTL shall we?
CTL is the 42 day long rolling average of a riders daily Training Stress Score (TSS). This number is very simply figured by squaring the Intensity Factor (IF) of a ride and multiplying it by the number of hours of the ride and again by 100. Now, the IF is determined by the ratio of the rides Normalized Power (NP) into the athlete's predetermined Functional Threshold Power (FTP). Did I mention that NP is figured by the factor of average power and the Variability Index (VI) of a ride?
Wow. Confused yet? Basically, the percentage of threshold of the ride times hours times 100. Easy. Let's look at it:
TSS = (seconds * (VI*AveP) * (NP/FTP) / (FTPx3600) * 100
TSS = IF^2 * (hours) * 100
Now, why am I even bringing all of this up? Because the rolling average of TSS is a great metric but it isn't the end-all determinant of cycling success. For instance:
- A five hour easy (.55) ride could have a TSS of about 150 points, but
- A 1.5 hour tempo ride with 2 hard, long sprint efforts could be about 120 points, and of course
- a 40 km time trial with warmup and cool down is easily 130 points
|I wonder if anyone will get this reference...|
So if our goal in training is to develop a really hard training effect for cyclocross or criteriums or events with short efforts, then a one hour indoor workout of Head Case Intervals might be best, but that workout only has about 65 TSS and I don't know about you, but I am pretty wiped out from it and the results are awesome! And of course, if we had a targeted wattage goal for the "on" portion of those short sprints, then we know we were hitting what was "needed" for the races on the rider's schedule.
It is the job of a professional coach to make sure that the rider has the strength and power abilities to perform on race day, not just pedal away aimlessly in order to boost a riders CTL value and make the charts look good. Do you know what makes charts look good? Podiums. That CTL is only important if it is in conjunction with good power peaks and low fatigue.
Remember, a good high CTL value often comes with a high fatigue value as well. And of course if you are fatigued, then a less fit rider can beat you in a race. Not. Fun. At all. Trust me.
Working with a high performance coaching company like Finish Fast Cycling is the best way to make sure that every pedal stroke in training counts towards crushing your enemies in racing. Contact us about how to make your pedals count too.