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Strava - Fitness & Freshness Chart

m14eydm14eyd Posts: 23
edited September 2016 in Training, fitness and health
Hey guys

I've got a quick question around Strava's Fitness & Freshness Chart (which I think is premium only)

I think I know the answer to this, but Strava's description of the graph isnt brilliant!

So, as I'm just using heart rate and not a power meter, its basing the training impulse on heart rate.

What I am seeing from the below is that when I do approx the same training impulse every week the fitness line is starting to plateau, even although I am actually going (slightly!) quicker on the road to get the same suffer score / trimp.

If I doubled my trimp, would I just see a quick jump and then another plateau? I guess everyone sees the same thing in this graph when settling into a training pattern? aka plateaus of fitness?

I know it is all relative and a trend based tool, I would be interested to see other peoples graphs to try and get it clearer in my head - so please do share!

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Posts

  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 8,847
    Yeah you will see it plateau if you're doing the same thing all the time - which makes sense when you think about it.

    It's kind of interesting but it only really confirms things I already know regards my own fitness/form. Although I find the fatigue number can be a useful reminder to back off sometimes (or to do more!).

    It's also not going to be especially useful if you're doing a lot of cross training, I have been doing a lot of hiking recently (45km with 4 munros on Sunday), so while I felt pretty knackered the fitness chart tells me I should be in top form because I haven't cycled for a while...

    I would stick mine up but it doesn't look that different to yours really - apart from I have a big gap Feb-Mar when I was away for work for 6 weeks and my fitness went down a load (about 2/3 in absolute terms). It's been more spiky the last month or so because I've done a succession of bigger rides (up to 260km) with gaps in between, and have somewhat neglected the smaller midweek rides (started an MBA :roll: )
  • markhewitt1978markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    I've just recently been looking at it too! Same position HRM, no power, been tracking since the start of the year. I can see fitness going up and then back down again.

    I'm rather confused as to what the Fatigue and Form buttons are actually doing?
  • m14eydm14eyd Posts: 23
    I'm rather confused as to what the Fatigue and Form buttons are actually doing?

    The form is a mirror image of the fatigue, as far as i can tell the suffer / trimp score will increase your fatigue score a lot more than your fitness score , but then the fatigue also goes down a lot quicker than fitness when you have a rest day or 2.

    I believe the idea of form is that if you set a PB, on a TT say, this time last year - you can look at your fitness/form/fatigue for then, compared to now, to see if you done so well because you tapered successfully etc

    maybe....
  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 8,847
    Ideally your fitness number will be high and your fatigue low (and therefore your form high). If you've been doing a lot of training then your fitness might be high but you're fatigued and your form will therefore be low(er).

    I find it fairly intuitive anyway; the numbers do seem to tally to how I'm feeling. Useful? Not really. Might help you to plan a taper, if you actually needed help with that.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,026
    Strava being Strava have adapted (to save on copyright no doubt) the globally accepted acronyms of PMC/TSS?CTL etc etc
    These Training Peaks series of blogposts give a good background of how to interpret these numbers
    http://home.trainingpeaks.com/blog/article/applying-the-numbers-part-1-chronic-training-load.
    This is what you pay a coach for... intepreting your numbers into performances... but doing it yourself takes a leap of faith .. especially when you think you should being doing better than you actually are.
    By the way, if you are not actually competing, I really cannot see the point of keeping tabs on these 'numbers'.
    I've always said this.... there is no substitute for talent.. you can train your nutz off and still be bunch fodder at the end of the day.
  • I'm rather confused as to what the Fatigue and Form buttons are actually doing?

    The form is a mirror image of the fatigue, as far as i can tell the suffer / trimp score will increase your fatigue score a lot more than your fitness score , but then the fatigue also goes down a lot quicker than fitness when you have a rest day or 2.

    I believe the idea of form is that if you set a PB, on a TT say, this time last year - you can look at your fitness/form/fatigue for then, compared to now, to see if you done so well because you tapered successfully etc

    maybe....
    In these misnamed values, the:
    • Fitness score is really an indicator of chronic level of training stress (IOW an indicator of how much training you've been doing over the past months) and is based on an exponentially weighted moving average of the daily training stress scores using a time constant of ~ 6 weeks
    • Fatigue score is really an indicator of acute training stress (IOW an indicator of how much training you've been doing over recent weeks) and is also an exponentially weighted moving average of the daily training stress scores using a time constant of ~ 1 week, and the
    • Form score is simply the fitness score minus the fatigue score. IOW if what you've been doing lately is less than what you've been doing long term, then you'll have greater freshness

    In reality, form requires fitness and freshness (but how much depends on the type of event).
  • markhewitt1978markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    It's certainly informed me about how my riding is affecting my fitness.

    I generally do a 4 hour(ish) ride on a Sunday, but according to the graph if I didn't do anything until the following Sunday then all the fitness gains were lost and I was starting next Sunday no fitter than the one before. Whereas recently the weather has allowed me to do a couple of hour long rides on weekday mornings, and it shows that these have allowed me to maintain my gains from the weekend, meaning I'm stronger the following Sunday.

    This matches my experience of feeling stronger each week recently, and shows me how important my midweek rides are, so when the cold and dark closes in I'll have to look at indoor riding.
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    I find it really useful (and importantly easy) but it does fall down when it comes to recording history of FTP and weight. Renders some of the outputs meaningless.
  • I'm quite new to this having subscribed to Strava and making a serious effort to get fit again after a period off the bike. After a good club ride on Sunday and a solo hill session on Tuesday evening my Fatigue is up at 34, Form down to -20. I was contemplating another solo hill ride this (Thursday) evening but feeling tired or lazy (not sure which?) on these numbers it seems sensible to rest to recover enough to enjoy next Sunday's club run more. Hopefully as my fitness improves I will be able to recover quickly enough to benefit from two hard mid week sessions in addion to Sunday runs.

    Is this a correct and sensible way to use the charts or am I just using them a an excuse to avoid beneficil training?
    I want to climb hills so badly;
    and I climb hills so badly
  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 8,847
    I'm quite new to this having subscribed to Strava and making a serious effort to get fit again after a period off the bike. After a good club ride on Sunday and a solo hill session on Tuesday evening my Fatigue is up at 34, Form down to -20. I was contemplating another solo hill ride this (Thursday) evening but feeling tired or lazy (not sure which?) on these numbers it seems sensible to rest to recover enough to enjoy next Sunday's club run more. Hopefully as my fitness improves I will be able to recover quickly enough to benefit from two hard mid week sessions in addion to Sunday runs.

    Is this a corret and sensible way to use the charts or am I just using them a an excuse to avoid beneficil training?

    It depends really on what you are trying to achieve, I would possibly just do an easier ride tonight (actually what I would do is just do the hard ride tonight anyway and treat the club ride as more training...). If you are only riding Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday then you will be better off doing frequent rides rather than trying to do one or two big rides per week.

    Negative Form number just means that your training over the last 7 days has been "harder" (as measured by Suffer Scores) than your training over the last 42 days, on average. 7 days and 42 days are the constants Strava uses, and the figures are just average SS over those periods.

    If the Suffer Score is below the Fatigue then your Fatigue will still reduce, since fatigue is a 7-day average of Suffer Scores. But, your Fitness will be relatively less affected as it is a longer term average. This is basically the principal behind tapering for events which is pretty much what you're proposing to try and achieve by getting your Fatigue down to enjoy the Sunday ride more.

    What you'll find with increased Fitness is that the "harder" midweek sessions won't be as "hard" with relation to your fitness i.e., the Suffer Score for the midweek sessions is closer to or below your Fitness, and therefore it won't result in Form being negative. Unless you keep making the midweek sessions harder of course.

    All this is explaining what you can feel in your legs though, and for me I would probably just go and do a nice easy ride tonight (as it happens I am riding a 100 miler on Sunday where we're trying to go under 5 hours, but I'm going to go to the club chaingang tonight anyway... Possibly a bad idea but chaingangs are fun...).

    These figures are just rebadged from TSS (Training Stress Score, or Suffer Score - specifically HR TSS unless you have a power meter too), TSB (Training Stress Balance, or Form), ATL (Acute Training Load, or Fatigue) and CTL (Chronic Training Load, or Fitness) - there's plenty of articles online e.g., http://help.trainingpeaks.com/hc/en-us/ ... -Explained

    Just remember that it's only a model - and as a famous statistician once said "all models are wrong, but some are useful". The model is based on some fairly arbitrary constants and it can't take into account other things like work stress or illness so it's not necessarily gospel :)
  • The above posters are correct in saying the chart is a rip from the ATL, CTL and TSB of Training Peaks. I made a vid on how to save yourself money on Training Peaks by using the Strava chart https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9GouvrhPt8
  • The above posters are correct in saying the chart is a rip from the ATL, CTL and TSB of Training Peaks. I made a vid on how to save yourself money on Training Peaks by using the Strava chart https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9GouvrhPt8

    Thanks - will take a look at that.
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