Performance Management Chart (PMC)
The Performance Management Chart shows three key metrics, also seen in your weekly summary, on your calendar; Chronic Training Load (CTL), Acute Training Load (ATL) and Training Stress Balance (TSB). More simply described as Fitness, Fatigue and Form.
These metrics are derived from your workouts and training thresholds.
TrainingPeaks assigns a planned Training Stress Score (TSS) to each workout.
TSS is an estimate of the training load created by each workout based on intensity and duration. To estimate that training load, TrainingPeaks assume that:
- 60 minutes of cycling at your threshold power or heart rate is 100 TSS
- 60 minutes of running at threshold pace or heart rate is 111 TSS
TSS is then estimated by breaking down the workouts and calculating how long you will spend at the various percentages (zones 1-5) of your threshold pace.
As a simple example, a 30-minute hard run might be a score of 55 TSS, and an easy 60-minute run could produce the same score.
When you have completed your workout, your actual TSS is then used to update to your fitness, fatigue and form metrics. These, in turn, are portrayed in your PMC.
TrainingPeaks use your training thresholds (heart rate, pace or power) entered in your settings to calculate completed TSS for each workout. In other words, how well you performed the workout.
Does this Relate to Real Fitness?
Your average daily completed TSS over 6 weeks becomes your Chronic Training Load (CTL).
You may think that the higher your CTL, the better you will perform because TrainingPeaks label CTL as fitness; however, CTL is not always a true reflection of fitness or relevant to performance.
For instance, you may have completed long, low-intensity workouts over a period of time and your CTL is boosted due to training volume. However, your fitness would not be relevant for a sprint triathlon, and your fitness will likely have plateaued with flatlining threshold values.
Equally, training at consistently quite hard intensities that elevate your CTL but don't allow you to recover well enough to push your threshold boundaries will have you fall short of your potential.
Recovery and CTL
It is better to follow an expertly structured plan designed with the right blends of intensity, volume and recovery, than target CTL metrics that may not bring your best racing outcome.
Metrics derived from smart algorithms can provide a useful overview of progress. However, they cannot take into account the many factors that affect how we should train. Such as tiredness, stress, nutrition, experience and training history.
Phil's plan uses a tried and tested system where training gradually ramps up at a tough but manageable level, with a pattern of 2 or 3* weeks of hard training and 1 week as active recovery.
Targeting ever-increasing CTL values can sometimes encourage people to train at a consistently "quite hard" level without long enough recovery periods for adaptation.
Having a routine of 2 or 3 hard weeks and 1 recovery week gives a lower CTL than constant "quite hard" weeks with no recovery.
However, the stress and adaptation (and hence improvement) are greater by including active recovery weeks.
Masters' plans will predict a lower CTL than the standard plans because of the increased recovery ratio. This additional recovery allows for more adaptation to training stress and allows for a higher quality of training. You can increase your ability to progress your fitness thresholds at a maximal rate while avoiding injury and overtraining.
* Active Recovery Week/Work ratios are 1: 3 for Standard Plans & 1: 2 for Masters' plans.
Metrics v Results
Performance provides the best feedback for how you are progressing, you can track improvements with the regular fitness tests included in your plan. Perform these under the same conditions each time to compare like for like.
As you get fitter and faster, your thresholds improve. Train within the boundaries of your structured workouts and your relative Training Stress is the same, but you are performing better.
You are probably getting the picture, without accurate training thresholds applied to your settings, the PMC can be misleading.
Remember also that CTL is individual and relative to personal thresholds. Comparing your CTL to a training partner is pointless. For example, Jim may have a lower CTL than John, but Jim's thresholds might be higher, and therefore, he can outperform John.
4 Ways to Enjoy Your Metrics
- Track threshold improvements as an accurate measure of progress.
- Don’t compare your CTL to other people.
- Update your thresholds in TrainingPeaks after each fitness test.
- Don't accept automatic changes recommended by TrainingPeaks, without thought.
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