Dr C. TSS, PMC, and recovery concern

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by TiMan, Feb 17, 2007.

  1. TiMan

    TiMan New Member

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    Dr C....regarding TSS and recovery.

    I have reviewed "some" studies over the years that support my claims below but I don't know if what I believe as true is widely accepted in exercise science as fact. I have, however, found them to be true in my years of coaching cyclists and in training bodybuilders in the gym.

    I would like to take an analogy from weight training as I relate TSS score and recovery.

    Weight lifter x lifts 600 pounds in the full squat to failure for three sets of 10 with 5 minutes rest between sets. Lifter y lifts 200 pounds in the exact same way. The systemic "stress" on lifter x is going to be greater, and dare I say quite a bit greater, than the stress lifter y experiences. Lifter x most likely has somewhat greater ability to tolerate this higher level of stress due to the fact that he has been training with weights for tens years, however, this increased "tolerance" to high intensity training will not not offset the greater systemic stress his experiences, compared to lifter y, by very much.
    So "in practice" lifter x has a greater, and likely much greater, chance of overtraining than lifter y.,unless his recovery ability is "enhanced" with drug usage ie: anabolic steroids, testosterone and or HGH.
    The above is pretty much "common knowledge" in bodybuilding and especially in power lifting and olympic lifting .

    I think the same can be said of cyclists and TSS as it relates to stress and recovery.
    If cyclist x accumulates 100 TSS points in one hour at 400 watts and rider y accumulates 100 TSS points in one hour at 250 watts, rider x will produce significantly more stress on "the system" than rider y. Rider x MAY have been training for many more years than rider y and thus MAY have increased tolerance to stress compared to rider y to some degree, but even if he did it will not completely offset the affects of the increased systemic stress that is generated with the higher wattage. In fact it has been my experience from coaching that "years training" doesn't offset it much at all. Also, any given "less experienced" cyclist may have greater tolerance than any given experienced cyclist.

    It has been made very clear to me over the years that the more "advanced" a rider gets, and the more power he is able to generate, the greater are his chances that he will over train.

    This is one reason why I do not like general TSS recovery recommendations and why I value subjectiveness and the monitoring of early objective signs of overtraining more....and coaching of course.
    The other reason that I don't like general TSS recovery recommendations is as I alluded to above, that two riders can have VERY different recovery ability for many different reasons, which Andy has mentioned many times in the past I might add....ad nauseum. :)



    In the Performance manager, are the above factored into the equation to some degree? If not then it is certainly still a valuable tool and I am not "knocking it" and in fact will still I LIKE IT a lot :) However, the PMC becomes somewhat concerning to me as I feel many riders will become too "numbers" or "chart" fixated and put subjectiveness and early objective signs of excessive over reaching and even overtraining higher up on the book shelf so to speak.

    As it stands I feel that many riders(NOT ALL) on this forum are quite "fixated" on TSS and I see little evidence that these same riders are in tune with their bodies subjectively nor monitor early warning signs.



    Thank you
     
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  2. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    By quantifying TSS to a numerical score, each individual has a way to assess their overall training load during different periods of time, even though the workout modes may be very different between those periods. That helps them find their own optimal balance point between training stress and recovery, which may be very difficult without an objective metric.

    I agree that trying to compare TSS points or recovery capacities between individuals (in more than a very broad sense, as Andy has done with his recovery guidelines) might lead some individuals to push themselves beyond their abilities. If they do that, then at least they have the objective data to go back and revise their expectations and recovery needs in a personal way. Still, some people are going to insist on comparing themselves with others, even though there may not be any productive benefit in doing so.

    Good post. :) As an aside:
    Rider X has an FTP of 400w and Rider Y has an FTP of 250w. Rider X is probably a Cat 1 and Rider Y might be a 14yr-old junior. Are we really sure that Rider X produced significantly more stress on their system than Rider Y during the ride?
     
  3. TiMan

    TiMan New Member

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    Yes, and I do agree with that. My concern has to do only with systemic stress and recovery issues and that riders will think that any given TSS points will require the same recovery no matter what wattage they are putting out.
    ie: I needed only one day to recover from 100 TSS in an hour when I was putting out 250 watts so I still need only one day when I am in "better shape" and putting out 325 watts for 100 TSS for an hour.....gee why I am I so tired lately and why am I not progressing.




    The stress upon the muscular and nervous system will be higher with the Cat 1 rider I am am sure of it.
    However, if he is a 14 year old "kid" his recovery ability is not going be that of a man, unless he is a future Lemond :).....but if he was a 19 year old that would probably be "another story".
    I would say that the average 19 year old would recover quicker from an hour at 100% FTP at 250 watts than the average Cat 1 rider putting out 400 watts at 100% FTP for an hour.....yes , for sure.

    I think that "generally speaking" 800 TSS at Cat 1 power levels for the week will be much harder to recover from than 800 TSS at Cat 4 power levels and as such the more advanced man needs to schedule recovery in a different manner ie: more time off the bike and or more recovery rides.
     
  4. Tom Anhalt

    Tom Anhalt New Member

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    I'm not Dr. C, but I hope you don't mind me commenting. In short, I think you're missing the fact that TSS is "normalized" to the ability of the individual. In other words, for a person with an FTP of 300W, I hour at 200W will only net ~44 TSS points, whereas for a person with an FTP of 200W, they'd score 100 TSS points. My apologies in advance if this is already understood.

    The other thing is that the PMC is simply just an "impulse-response" model of the body's reaction to training loads. Obviously, the output of this model is dependent on the "time constants" used to describe the time course of the impulses and responses. The defaults in the PMC are 42 days for CTL and 7 days for ATL and are based on studies of these effects. However, these time constants are "user changeable"...in fact, when I first put my version of PMC together, I used 10 days as the time constant for ATL, and that seemed to be a little more appropriate for my 40+ body (i.e. fatigue tends to linger longer). So, there's nothing wrong with "tweaking" the time constants to better reflect your experience.

    Lastly, it's not a good idea to just take a single TSS score in isolation to assess the "recovery" needed after a particular workout...one must look at what has been going on in the days preceeding. That's why looking at TSB is the better way of assessing recovery needs....and any modifications to the CTL and ATL time constants will be reflected in the TSB score.

    I hope this helps clear some things up....
     
  5. rmur17

    rmur17 New Member

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    okay I'm a 43 year old bloke who has been training with power since late 2002 (Computrainer) and road since spring 2003 (PT Pro). Weight 85 kg.

    I trained pretty consistently for many years probably 400-500 hrs/year. When I first tested FTP in fall 2002 (in end of season form) FTP was ~320W. Over 2.5 yrs I dragged that up to ~370W by spring 2005.

    May 2005 I had a medical condition that forced me off the bike (DVT) and then on very light training for several weeks. When I decided I'd recovered a reasonable amount of fitness, I did a 40k training TT and was shocked to find I could deliver only ~270W. BIG drop in FTP ... but it was real :(

    Over the past 1.5 yrs, I've clawed that back to a current FTP of ~375W or just a tad over my pre-med best form.

    Why relate all this blather? If you look at my weekly TSS scores and then CTL/ATL/TSB since 2002- there is absolutely no way to tell my FTP at any point in time. IOW, TSS/CTL scaled to FTP(current_time) works very, very well.

    At my nadir, I could handle 700-1100 TSS/wk and it's the same right now despite an increase of ~100W FTP.

    Indoors I find I can't handle as much but I'm sure I'll be right back to full load come April - FTP be damned :)

    FWIW, I don't really like the daily/recovery TSS guidelines either - finding them a little aggressive but they're only an intro to the system. You can quickly determine what your sustainable weekly load or build thereof can be.

    Sorry if this duplicates what's been already related. I thought my extreme changes in FTP over time might be atypical and of interest in the TSS 'scaling' discussion.

    Final comment: I'm definitely not a slave to the numbers. In fact, this time of year (all indoors) I find with my training very structured and controlled that I don't even need to look at PMC/CTL/TSB very often. I have a routine that pushes me pretty much as hard as I can handle. PE during my warmup dictates if I will reduce or increase my planned workout intensity for the day.

    OTOH, when I start riding outdoors and my t/p or group dynamic starts to push things, I find PMC/TSB very, very useful to corrorobate PE and to plan/adjust things as needed to avoid going over the edge. I know from experience that my TSB after my weekly rest day is a great indicator of what kind of training week I will have.
     
  6. marmatt

    marmatt New Member

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    one variable nobody seems to mention is nutrition. While I find that the PMC is a useful guideline to recovery if I ignore nutrition then the values of CTL/ATL/TSB could lead to some wrong conclusions;though it dosen't take long before the power meter tells me so.FWIW I primarily use my TSS numbers to make sure I don't ramp up the training load too quickly.
     
  7. Bruce Diesel

    Bruce Diesel New Member

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    Surely recovery should take into account current CTL levels? E.g. an athlete would recover quicker from a 200TSS ride if his CTL was 150, than if his CTL was 70.
     
  8. bushido5

    bushido5 New Member

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    I use PMC and TSS as a guide to keep me honest with my training. It tells me when I am putting in the work and when I am not. I ramp up for about 3 weeks and then down for an easy week. It is not the Holy Grail though. I listen to my body. If I am not going well I back off a bit even though PMC says I should be flying. Also, it does not take into account for the stresses of life(work, kids, nutrition...) Sometimes these off the bike stresses seem to add up more than hard training rides.
     
  9. tomdavis80

    tomdavis80 New Member

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    TiMan, I'm not sure you're right about your assumptions regarding stress and TSS and wattage and so on.

    The way I remember about how TSS is set up is that it's based upon the concept that 100 TSS is a 1 hr time trial done at FTP. So one person could pull off a 250 watt TT over one hour and score 100 TSS and they could conceivably have the same systemic stress as a person who does a 400 watt TT for one hour as well. 250 watt person weighs 120 lbs and 400 watt person weighs 190 lbs and you've got essentially the same watts/kg and the same TSS as it is measured.

    You're right, every person will recover differently from each day of training so the stress will affect each person differently. However, there is probably a mean where it would take someone who accumulated 100 TSS (throwing a number out here) 24 hours to fully recover.
     
  10. TiMan

    TiMan New Member

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    It would be very obvious, to me at least, that the higher wattage man putting out 400 watts would incur significantly more overall systemic stress if he was the same weight or nearly so....or even if he weighed quite a bit more within cycling parameters. But even if he was "a lot" heavier/bigger the systemic stress generated would still be higher I think. There is more to it than watts per kilo I think. :)
     
  11. Tom Anhalt

    Tom Anhalt New Member

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    Ummm...why is this obvious? How exactly are you "measuring" this "overall systemic stress"?

    What does weightlifting to failure over a relatively small number of reps have to do with aerobically producing power over the time span of an hour?

    I'm not attacking your views...just trying to understand your position more clearly...
     
  12. TiMan

    TiMan New Member

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    OOPs, I deleated that last part before your post as it wasn't relavent to watts per kilo...as the bigger weight lifter has much higher watts per kilo.

    As far as the cyclists are concerned and a one hour all out effort....
    Glycogen depletion MAY be similar but I kind of doubt it.... then there are factors like nueromuscular load, loading of joints tendons and ligamanets, overall calories burnt and highened cellular metabolism ...damn I am not a physiologist but I bet the list goes on and on :)
    The 400 watt man MAY have a higher tolerance because he may have been riding for years but then again he may not....even even if he does I highly doubt that any increased tolerance would even up the stess/recovery issue by much.
    In fact it has been my experience that the advanced man with high power outout overtrains much more readily than the average Joe Cat 3 rider.....even iof they do the same "program".



    In the example of the weight lifters the measurement of overall systemic stress has to do with watts per kilo....but I am surte there is more to it than that.
    The same can be said of the cyclists.

    The time factor is not a factor really...and lets make the weight lifting aerobic
    ..... how about squatting as many times as you can in an hour ...250 pound man with 350 pounds and 150 pound man with 150 pounds....both squatting at the same rate until 60 minutes sees the last rep they can do. Whose body/system has undergone the greater overall stress?
     
  13. Tom Anhalt

    Tom Anhalt New Member

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    W/kg is a measure of the output of the system (or, alternatively, the "load").
    The question I'm asking is: How are you measuring "overall systemic stress", i.e. how do the individual's bodies respond to the "load" at a physiological and/or metabolic level?

    The time span to "failure" determines what energy systems are being employed. That's why a power/duration curve isn't a straight line.

    BTW, do you really think a 250 lb man can squat 350 lbs as fast as possible for an hour???

    I think you may want to investigate "quadrant analysis":
    http://www.cyclingpeakssoftware.com/power411/quad.asp
     
  14. TiMan

    TiMan New Member

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    I listed some factors of stress in my previous post.
    Ya I know about why a power/duration curve is not a straight line.....I was just trying to draw an analogy but I guess it wasn't perfect.

    Who knows if a 250 pounder that can squat 600 pounds 10 times can squat as fast in an hour with 350 pounds as a 150 pounder that did 250 once can squat with 150 pounds....I was just trying to make a point.

    Alright then.....are you going to say that a man that weight 160 pounds and can hold 400 watts for an hour has no greater systemic stess than a man of the same weight that has a 250watt FTP?
     
  15. Tom Anhalt

    Tom Anhalt New Member

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    They weren't there when I was replying...you edited them in there in the meantime ;)

    So was I...about energy systems.

    Well...let me ask you this question: What allows the 400W FTP man to maintain 150W higher power than the 250W FTP man over an hour?
     
  16. TiMan

    TiMan New Member

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    Higher cardiac output, greater density of mitochondria and vasculature to support them....probably better LT relative to VO2 max...then there is muscle fiber type, simply less lactate/hydrogen ion production etc etc..and other stuff we have yet to discover

    And you will say that these things level the playing field. right ;)

    I will say no they don't..not based on my 30 years of racing and many years of coaching.
     
  17. tomdavis80

    tomdavis80 New Member

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    So theoretically, I'd be quite less prone to overtraining than a 180 lb guy pumping out 350 watts? (FYI, I'm 120 lbs and pump out around 200 watts)
     
  18. Tom Anhalt

    Tom Anhalt New Member

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    Will you please stop editing your content while I'm in the midst of replying? :D

    Hmmm...can we just summarize all that to "being better able to process oxygen?"


    Yep...from a physiological/metabolic stress standpoint. Isn't that why the body makes these adapatations?

    Let's add another question to this hypothetical case. If "Mr. 250W at FTP" was able to raise his FTP to 275W, would you expect his average HR at FTP (under identical conditions) to be lower, higher, or the same? Isn't HR an indirect measure of physiological/metabolic stress?

    If you don't like the HR example, how about blood lactate levels? Would you expect the blood lactate level at FTP to be different after the rider raises his FTP to 275W from 250W?

    Be careful that you don't fall into the trap of "belief-based coaching":
    http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/dept/coachsci/csa/thermo/thermo.htm
     
  19. TiMan

    TiMan New Member

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    Of course....the body adapts to higher and higher levels of stress. ... l..and it may "appear", by looking at things like heart rate at threshold, etc, that the overall stress factor is the same but I don't think it is....

    .......there is greater and greater stress applied to the body, you will say load and so will I, but with that increased load surely comes increased overall systemic stress. This greater stress/load is needed to make adaptation happen. However, With this increased stress comes the need to be even more careful with recovery.

    As the cyclists gets closer to and closer to his natural genetic potential it has a harder and harder time adapting to the increased stress, and "leveling the playing field" requires more and more resources....... and recovery becomes more and more of an "issue".

    Thus the 160 pound man putting out 400watts at FTP for an hour is going to have a harder time recovering, and then adapting, from his effort than a 160pound man that rides an hour at his FTP at 250 watts.
     
  20. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Instead of saying that producing higher watts means more systemic stress, would it be more to your point to say that developing closer to one's genetic potential means more systemic stress?
     
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