Freshness and fatigue advice (Strava etc).

bristolpete
bristolpete Posts: 2,255
Hi all,

Had a good few weeks of training and feeling very good on the bike since moving to power and getting to grips with power zones and so on. Shaved a stone since week one Feb and feel great on and off the bike.

I do have a query however in light of this. I did a big 55 miles around Dartmoor last Tuesday which to be fair was a good loop, but naturally, quite a test early in the season as 5000 feet of climbing. The question I have is using the Strava fitness and freshness chart, evidently, the dotted lines cross on 4/4/17 next week where the fatigue falls back below fitness. But, I am really not sure how to analyse this. I am doing a chain gang tomorrow and will then see how the data looks, but is it a case of simply staying off the bike or riding in zone 1/2 - really not sure.

I do not feel 'fatigued', had a rest day today after a solid 30 miler on Sunday using zones with some FTP work and felt good. I suppose this is the next step with power, learning when to get off the bike for betterment later on. Always looked at recovery rides with suspicion (lack of knowledge really) and of course getting in zone 1 in Devon harder than expected.

Visiting Dad next week and I am planning on doing Bristol to South Devon 7th April and want good legs for this....toasted my route and 96 miles door to door, but largely flat til the Blackdowns Hills.

So is Strava fitness / freshness data up to much or should I use other software like Training Peaks or GC?

And more so, does fatigue mean getting off the bike til 4/4.

Many thanks !!!

Peter.
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Comments

  • fat daddy
    fat daddy Posts: 2,605
    I have been ill twice in the last year ... both times my strava fitness suddenly went through the floor about 3 days before I knew and went down with it.

    It certainly knows something ... but I have no idea how to use it other than using it to tell you Just before you are ill, that you are going to be ill
  • bristolpete
    bristolpete Posts: 2,255
    fat daddy wrote:
    I have been ill twice in the last year ... both times my strava fitness suddenly went through the floor about 3 days before I knew and went down with it.

    It certainly knows something ... but I have no idea how to use it other than using it to tell you Just before you are ill, that you are going to be ill

    Yeah, it is simple but makes no sense if that makes sense.
  • fat daddy
    fat daddy Posts: 2,605
    Absolutely
  • bristolpete
    bristolpete Posts: 2,255
    fat daddy wrote:
    Absolutely

    The problem as I see it is that the lines remerge in about 9 days which seems like a long time off the bike, if that is the answer ? Maybe that is the secret to success, finally listening to ones body as they data says.
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028

    So is Strava fitness / freshness data up to much or should I use other software like Training Peaks or GC?

    Like most other Strava data, it's just a guess. Just listen to what your body is telling you.
  • bristolpete
    bristolpete Posts: 2,255
    Imposter wrote:

    So is Strava fitness / freshness data up to much or should I use other software like Training Peaks or GC?

    Like most other Strava data, it's just a guess. Just listen to what your body is telling you.

    Thanks - I figure as much as the fatigue data way usurps the freshness / fitness data in so much you would never ride. I will taper w/c commencing 3/4 ready for a long haul but spin the legs on Tuesday or Weds. Much appreciated as ever.
  • lee_d_m
    lee_d_m Posts: 51
    Strava's fitness, freshness and form measurements are essentially equivalent to Coggan's CTL, ATL and TSB measurements

    CTL is a 42 day weighted average of your rides TSS, this represents your overall level of fitness and should increase gradually as you get fitter and are training consistently.

    ATL is a 7 day rolling average of your rides TSS and represents how tired you are from recent rides.

    Form is CTL - ATL.

    Form should really be your guide as to when to rest. Values around -20,-30 should probably be seen around the end of a 3 week block and should be followed by an easy week to let the form get back into or near to positive. Returning to positive should the. allow you to go again a bit harder than the previous month as you've allowed your body to adapt and therefore your CTL should continually
    Increase.

    It's also useful to identify when you did your power PB's and compare what your form was at on that day, many people operate best with a form of just below zero, but everyone's different. You might find your best was done with a +20 form and so if you are planning for a big event, you know to adjust your training to get your form to that level when the big day comes.
  • fat daddy
    fat daddy Posts: 2,605
    How do you know all that ? ... Strava doesn't explain that at all ... why they don't cut and paste your explanation to the fitness page I don't know .... anyway, is there a book with all that in ???

    Thanks
  • lee_d_m
    lee_d_m Posts: 51
    Yes there is a book, look up Training and racing with a power meter by Hunter Allen. Or type ATL CTL and TSB into google, you should find a blog on TrainingPeaks.com which explains training stress quite well.
  • meanredspider
    meanredspider Posts: 12,337
    I experimented with Heart Rate Variability a few years about. The theory goes that variability in your heart rate (beat-to-beat) is a "good thing" and when you're tired, ill or stressed, this number goes down. There's an app (isn't there always?) that you link to an HRM and measure your (resting) heart rate variability first thing on waking. I have to say that I found it correlated pretty well with what I expected (tired, stressed or ill - the system measured it) but I got bored with waking up and putting on the HRM and lying there whilst it did the measurement. It is a quantified way of "listening (almost literally) to your body"

    All of that said, I do think we tend to undervalue rest.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • stueys
    stueys Posts: 1,332
    http://www.joefrielsblog.com/2015/07/pa ... -what.html

    Lee's answer above is spot on. I run strava and TP in parallel, strava tracksTP well if you're using a PM. I suspect it gets iffy on a heart monitor alone.

    I mainly track my tsb and use that to determine how much training stress I should be shooting for in any particular week. I know from experience that I can't sustain anything more than -25 for much more than a week without feeling it.
  • bristolpete
    bristolpete Posts: 2,255
    lee_d_m wrote:
    Strava's fitness, freshness and form measurements are essentially equivalent to Coggan's CTL, ATL and TSB measurements

    CTL is a 42 day weighted average of your rides TSS, this represents your overall level of fitness and should increase gradually as you get fitter and are training consistently.

    ATL is a 7 day rolling average of your rides TSS and represents how tired you are from recent rides.

    Form is CTL - ATL.

    Form should really be your guide as to when to rest. Values around -20,-30 should probably be seen around the end of a 3 week block and should be followed by an easy week to let the form get back into or near to positive. Returning to positive should the. allow you to go again a bit harder than the previous month as you've allowed your body to adapt and therefore your CTL should continually
    Increase.

    It's also useful to identify when you did your power PB's and compare what your form was at on that day, many people operate best with a form of just below zero, but everyone's different. You might find your best was done with a +20 form and so if you are planning for a big event, you know to adjust your training to get your form to that level when the big day comes.

    OK so my form is -25 then which suggest my March training load has caught up. Dartmoor was an early season test that probably should not have happened :mrgreen: However, I ride today and will use power and see how it applies it when the data is uploaded - it likely rings true then as the 'chart' predicts my lines and form going back to zero ish recrossing on Tuesday next week which may of course change after today's ride.

    Ultimately, I want to train smarter, thus harder and be a better rider. 45 on Thursday and not getting any younger. I have learnt more about riding (with power) than I could have imagined and now it all starts to make sense. I think we are so institutionalised about getting 'miles' in and 'average speeds' clocking up as been riding for years on those values alone, but I now realise that you can do more in an hour with a PM than six hours on the road. Thanks again ! Could be the perfect taper for a big one next week.

    All I need is a mystery package delivered and I will be flying, full gas, come on lets eat some s**t at the front !!!! :mrgreen::mrgreen::mrgreen:
  • As others have said its a guess, and even more vague if not all rides are uploaded using a PM
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • jgsi
    jgsi Posts: 5,062
    I used to track it meaning CTL and TSB... using power and hr data inside Golden Cheetah... into 6th year of data collection.
    I thought if you get 'metrics' to align with Jupiter's moons according to some coaches/manuals would have you do, you'd win races...bllx really,
    go on how you feel and train/race accordingly... it doesnt mean be a lazy ars e though.
    Got a 4th in a tough vets race on Sunday.... best result in over 5 years .. as a complete amateur , I'm happy as..
  • lee_d_m
    lee_d_m Posts: 51
    OK so my form is -25 then which suggest my March training load has caught up. Dartmoor was an early season test that probably should not have happened :mrgreen: However, I ride today and will use power and see how it applies it when the data is uploaded - it likely rings true then as the 'chart' predicts my lines and form going back to zero ish recrossing on Tuesday next week which may of course change after today's ride.

    Ultimately, I want to train smarter, thus harder and be a better rider. 45 on Thursday and not getting any younger. I have learnt more about riding (with power) than I could have imagined and now it all starts to make sense. I think we are so institutionalised about getting 'miles' in and 'average speeds' clocking up as been riding for years on those values alone, but I now realise that you can do more in an hour with a PM than six hours on the road. Thanks again ! Could be the perfect taper for a big one next week.

    All I need is a mystery package delivered and I will be flying, full gas, come on lets eat some s**t at the front !!!! :mrgreen::mrgreen::mrgreen:

    Remember that the form number is a predictor of your tiredness for the following day, however, the number shouldn't be viewed in isolation. If you quickly you go from -25 back to 0, then you're overall tiredness might not be that bad, it could be that you've had one big ride that's made you very tired, but as you're quite fresh overall (you've not had many other big rides recently) then you'll bounce back quickly and be able to have another hard session a few days later.

    If it takes a while to get back to 0, then it's an indicator you need a longer rest before a harder session. You could and most people do, have easier sessions instead of total days off the bike, this will serve to maintain your fitness (CTL) whilst still recovering, and will ultimately result in your total fitness gradually increasing over your season.

    The trick is to find what level of tiredness allows you to still train hard and hit your targets so as to improve your fitness without causing you to overtrain resulting in extended recovery periods and time off the bike or poor training sessions.
  • bristolpete
    bristolpete Posts: 2,255
    Thanks again all, simply trying to learn to be more analytical. Back from Fast Tuesday and a good spin, 30 miles sub 1.45 with an in and out of the 'village' and power output and legs fine. HR elevated if anything, but all good and planning a taper next week. I appreciate anyone replying here as the age old adage applies here - power is one thing, knowing how to read the data is another. Lee that makes sense as last weeks hillfest was a tricky one as I am not a climber for sure. :mrgreen:
  • I wrote this simple intro in 2006:
    http://alex-cycle.blogspot.com.au/2006/ ... chart.html

    If I were to change anything, I'd simply replace the word "positive TSB" with "neutral TSB" when talking about TSB values typically associated with best performances.

    As to how reliable Strava's version of the performance manager chart is, hard to say. It depends a bit on the reliability of the daily stress score provided, although the overall utility of such tools is fairly insensitive to the inputs used.
  • joe2008
    joe2008 Posts: 1,531
    Just listen to your body. The charts haven't a clue what other stresses you have in your life.

    For example: Rider A has a manual job, works long hours, lacks quality sleep due to a new born baby and a toddler in the house, is tired and stressed. Rider B has no job, lives with mum and dad, and sleeps in late every morning.

    With exactly the same training and rest their TSB/Form would be identical.
  • joe2008 wrote:
    Just listen to your body. The charts haven't a clue what other stresses you have in your life.

    For example: Rider A has a manual job, works long hours, lacks quality sleep due to a new born baby and a toddler in the house, is tired and stressed. Rider B has no job, lives with mum and dad, and sleeps in late every morning.

    With exactly the same training and rest their TSB/Form would be identical.
    Except they are unlikely to be able to perform the same training to begin with.
  • joe2008
    joe2008 Posts: 1,531
    joe2008 wrote:
    Just listen to your body. The charts haven't a clue what other stresses you have in your life.

    For example: Rider A has a manual job, works long hours, lacks quality sleep due to a new born baby and a toddler in the house, is tired and stressed. Rider B has no job, lives with mum and dad, and sleeps in late every morning.

    With exactly the same training and rest their TSB/Form would be identical.
    Except they are unlikely to be able to perform the same training to begin with.

    Who knows, Rider A may be a far better rider.
  • lee_d_m
    lee_d_m Posts: 51
    joe2008 wrote:
    joe2008 wrote:
    Just listen to your body. The charts haven't a clue what other stresses you have in your life.

    For example: Rider A has a manual job, works long hours, lacks quality sleep due to a new born baby and a toddler in the house, is tired and stressed. Rider B has no job, lives with mum and dad, and sleeps in late every morning.

    With exactly the same training and rest their TSB/Form would be identical.
    Except they are unlikely to be able to perform the same training to begin with.

    Who knows, Rider A may be a far better rider.

    Even if they could perform the same training to begin with, over time, one rider will improve more than the other one, which will affect their FTP. As FTP is a factor in calculating the TSS of a ride, then this will impact the CTL, ATL and TSB numbers of each individual differently and therefore the TSB/form will not stay the same for each rider.
  • joe2008
    joe2008 Posts: 1,531
    lee_d_m wrote:
    Even if they could perform the same training to begin with, over time, one rider will improve more than the other one, which will affect their FTP. As FTP is a factor in calculating the TSS of a ride, then this will impact the CTL, ATL and TSB numbers of each individual differently and therefore the TSB/form will not stay the same for each rider.

    Of course, if one does improve more than the other with training. However, my point is that TSB/form charts don't account for other life stress, so they are inconsistent at best.
  • fenix
    fenix Posts: 5,437
    So use the scores in conjunction with assessing stress etc from external factors.
  • joe2008
    joe2008 Posts: 1,531
    Fenix wrote:
    So use the scores in conjunction with assessing stress etc from external factors.

    or... just listen to what your body is telling you.
  • lee_d_m
    lee_d_m Posts: 51
    joe2008 wrote:
    lee_d_m wrote:
    Even if they could perform the same training to begin with, over time, one rider will improve more than the other one, which will affect their FTP. As FTP is a factor in calculating the TSS of a ride, then this will impact the CTL, ATL and TSB numbers of each individual differently and therefore the TSB/form will not stay the same for each rider.

    Of course, if one does improve more than the other with training. However, my point is that TSB/form charts don't account for other life stress, so they are inconsistent at best.

    If you view TSB/form in isolation, perhaps you could be right, but this is not how they are intended to be viewed. They form part of the overall performance chart that also takes into account long and short term training load, which do certainly account for off-the-bike life stresses.

    Ultimately, no-one is saying you have to live and die by the charts, they are but a guide and listening to your body is also sound advice. However, often times, your performance doesn't match what your body is saying. For example, my best road race performances have been the day after 1 hour crits. If I'd just listened to my body on the morning of the road race, I probably would have stayed in bed. But after looking at my charts, I could see that those performances came off the end of an easy week of training and so I wasn't actually as tired as I thought I was and the road race performance reflected this.

    This isn't always the case but it can give insight into why you perform the way you do.
  • bobmcstuff
    bobmcstuff Posts: 11,238

    As to how reliable Strava's version of the performance manager chart is, hard to say. It depends a bit on the reliability of the daily stress score provided, although the overall utility of such tools is fairly insensitive to the inputs used.

    I think it's OK - I made a spreadsheet version using the published formulas and it matches Strava - it seems really simple.

    Of course if FTP and power zones are set differently in Strava then the numbers going into the chart won't be the same.

    The other thing is the time constants they use, Strava's Fitness (~CTL) uses 6 weeks and Fatigue (~ATL) uses 1 week so if Training Peaks used different constants then that would also have an effect. As far as I can tell those are fairly standard though (?)
  • bobmcstuff
    bobmcstuff Posts: 11,238
    fat daddy wrote:
    I have been ill twice in the last year ... both times my strava fitness suddenly went through the floor about 3 days before I knew and went down with it.

    It certainly knows something ... but I have no idea how to use it other than using it to tell you Just before you are ill, that you are going to be ill

    That doesn't really make sense... The fitness number is just a weighted moving average of your past workouts, it has no way of knowing you're ill.

    All it does is use the time spent in each power zone (or HR zone if you're using Strava without a PM) to generate a number (TSS or Suffer Score - see http://spinloose.co.uk/wp/workout-tss-calculator/ for worked example) and then do some pretty basic maths with it.

    The formula is:

    previous day's fitness + (today's TSS - previous day's fitness) / 42

    It's really not smart enough to know if you're ill.

    If you were ill you might find your heart rate wasn't coming up (if not using a PM) and therefore you were getting a lower Suffer Score than expected - which you'd notice during the workout. Or if using power you might find it hard to meet power targets - but again you would already have noticed that. Both of those things would result in lower than expected TSS/suffer score which would drop your fitness compared to what you expected, but only marginally since it takes more than one day of lower than expected TSS to really impact your CTL/Fitness

    It also doesn't really do sudden drop offs since it uses a 6-week moving average (that's the 42 in the above formula) - e.g., if your fitness was 50 and you did nothing for 3 days it would only drop to 46.5.
  • bristolpete
    bristolpete Posts: 2,255
    OK great thanks all. So a remedial question. I did not ride to work today and may take the entire week off in an attempt to see how the fatigue falls as per the chart. Will it drop simply but not riding as the data is based on HR / Power ? Is staying off the bike the best way to drop the fatigue level and go again once the data has aligned. I do feel tired today but that's another story. Work, home life, missing cat, car to garage, new puppy, life - has taken its toll though I feel March went well as a recreational rider with decent base miles logged. Science !!!!
  • pastryboy
    pastryboy Posts: 1,385
    Fatigue level will drop if you are riding assuming you're not smashing it - mine was 96 on Sunday. I've done 83 miles since then and it's now 86. Training load was 47, 57 and 95 over those days.

    Remember that your fatigue levels will drop but so will your fitness if you're not riding at all.
  • bristolpete
    bristolpete Posts: 2,255
    pastryboy wrote:
    Fatigue level will drop if you are riding assuming you're not smashing it - mine was 96 on Sunday. I've done 83 miles since then and it's now 86. Training load was 47, 57 and 95 over those days.

    Remember that your fatigue levels will drop but so will your fitness if you're not riding at all.

    Noted. Having tomorrow off then I will do the 26 mile commute in zone 1.

    Thanks for all who have input. It is hard undoing 30 years of riding without 'power' etc, but I figure I have dropped the cash on it, so lets use it as best I can. I am 45 tomorrow and I can have a nice slumber before getting up to some birthday money one hopes :mrgreen: