Questions on TSS

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by frenchyge, Aug 8, 2005.

  1. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    I'm trying to digest Andy Coggan's intro paper on Power Training ( http://www.midweekclub.ca/articles/coggan.pdf ) to develop a training plan for next year, and I want to check my understanding on TSS.

    Page 10 states that the raw TSS score is normalized to the amount of work that can be performed during 1-hr at threshold power (=100 TSS points). I interpret that to mean that a 1-hr ride at 40K TT (normalized) power would give a TSS score of 100 points for the ride. Is that right?

    Below that, under Applications, it lists TSS ranges with the magnitudes of stress and recovery which would be appropriate. The first entry is "TSS <150 Low (relatively easy to recover by following day)." To me, a 1-hr TT would not constitute a low stress day which would be easily recovered by the next day, so maybe I'm missing something there. Then the next TSS range is "150-300 Medium (some residual fatigue may be present the next day, but gone by 2nd day)." Is that saying that a 1-hr TT pace for 1.5-3 hrs is a medium stress day? Then note that High stress is 300-450! :eek:

    Further, level 4 description says that "Consecutive days at level 4 are possible, but such workouts generally only performed when sufficiently rested from prior training..." Yet the sample level 4 (LT) workout consists of a 15-30min warmup, then 2x20min LT intervals, and a 15-30min cooldown. By my guess, that sample workout would be lucky to generate a TSS score of 100, which would be below the "Low" stress range from the chart above.

    What am I missing on TSS calculations and usage? Should I expect to be able to do 1-hr at 40K TT pace everyday, and 3-4 hrs at that pace on my hard days? What TSS score would dictate a full day off for proper recovery?
     
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  2. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    Well, I'm sure what you want is Andy's input. But, out of curiosity I looked at my training log to see which rides were ~150 TSS points and which ones were >300 TSS points. Last week I did my normal recovery ride (41 miles at 194w NP; TSS = 157.6). And, yes, I can and do ride these rides every day with no days off -- in fact, this is my recovery ride. I don't have a ride >300 TSS points, but I found one that is close (66 miles at 189w NP; TSS = 252.6). While I could probably do two or three such rides back-to-back, after a few days it would probably begin to take its toll, due to the distance not the pace. TSS is duration * power * IF weighting factor, so it is the result of all three variables: duration, power and power relative to one's 40K MP.

    I think you're right, since L4 wouldn't kick the IF factor into high gear. Want a good laugh. Last week I did an insane interval session (40.3 miles w/ 47 L6 intervals, NP = 211; TSS = 187). Easy day, barely even makes it into the "medium" range.:D

    Sounds hard to me.:)
     
  3. jws

    jws New Member

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    Yes, one hour at 40k pace would yield 100 TSS points. At first, it sounds like that would be hard to recover from. Higher intensity workouts seem more stressful, because you feel more acute reactions. However, short and intense rides are pretty easy to recover from. It's the high volume/intensity (high TSS) rides that really increase recovery time.

    A typical 2 x 20 ride would be around 150 TSS for me. The lower intensity segments of variable rides add up TSS points faster than they would if they were isolated. In other words, TSS of ride segments is not additive, but depends on the whole ride.
     
  4. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Ok, I suppose I was looking at it from the perspective of "Difficult to Accomplish," but it seems that duration really drives the need for post-ride recovery more than intensity *relative to what could physically be sustained for that period.* For example: TSS=350 would be 3.5 hrs at '1-hr power', or 2 hrs at 'VO2 Interval' power (1.15 IF), or 8.5 hrs at 'Tempo' power (.8 IF). Of the 3 of those workouts, I would probably rank #1, and #2 as "Beyond Hard" or "Impossible to Achieve" while #3 seems challenging, but fairly achievable. Looking at it now, the long rides just below threshold are probably going to be the heavy hitters with respect to TSS.

    Thanks all, for the replies.
     
  5. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    A few comments...

    1) when considering the crude scale that I've put forth, keep in mind that it isn't meant to predict when you'll be feeling "fresh as a daisy", but more indicative of whether you'll be able to productively train again the next day, or whether you'll need to take a recovery day (defined as "training" at only level 1).

    2) another aspect to consider that it is meant simply to be a starting point, to be modified as necessary to reflect the rider's own particular abilities.

    3) the scale only considers rides in isolation, and doesn't account for the cumulative fatigue resulting from multiple days of hard training in a row.

    4) did I mention that it's just a crude scale? ;)

    5) for those who consider a 40k TT sufficiently hard to require that you take a recovery day the next day: some people have been known to do up to three 40k TTs in a row, and Graham Obree set the world hour record the morning following an afternoon attempt that came up just short.

    W/o going into any details, let me just say that the future looks bright w/ respect to TSS...so bright, in fact, that you're going to have to wear shades, like this! :cool:
     
  6. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    By my way of thinking, a true recovery ride entails keeping your average power in level 1 (i.e., at <55% of your functional threshold power), and/or your IF below 0.75. Based on your distance and TSS, it sounds to me that you're riding harder than this. For example, even if that 41 mi entailed a fair bit of climbing such that it took 2.5 h, your IF must have been 0.79, or into the level 2 range. If it took you less than 2.5 h, then your IF must have been correspondingly higher. Either way, it sounds to me more like you're "just putting in the miles" by riding at "all day pace", rather than deliberately holding yourself back while "taking your bike for a walk".

    (Note that I'm in no way criticizing your training or questioning what you can do, but am simply using your data to try to illustrate use of the scale under discussion. IOW, the fact that you can do ~150 TSS days back to back to back is consistent with the guidelines I've suggested.)
     
  7. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Thanks for the thoughts Andy. Right now I'm riding ~3-4 days a week with the other days as complete 'off the bike' rest.

    I guess I'm just now coming to grips with what a slacker I've been before now. The more I learn, the more I think that overtraining just wouldn't even be possible with the amount of time I have available to ride. Guess I'll set the trainer bike back up to ride at night on my 'off days.'

    As an aside, Andy, there was a thread on another forum where you were asking for people's max monthly TSS scores in an attempt to find the mean upper TSS limit for training. Did you ever reach any conclusions from your data?
     
  8. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    Man, you are so the perfect candidate for TSTWKT*!!!

    http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=3331

    (*TSTWKT = "the $hit that will kill them", which is Frank's term for what I'm calling the "Training Manager".)

    Anyway, from the sounds of it I think that you'll probably find that you benefit from increasing your training load, even if it is achieved by racking up "junk miles" (or "junk hours") by riding the trainer. The key that I've found when using this approach, though, is hitting it just hard enough on your "easy" days to make it worthwhile while not going so hard as to compromise your other training. (And this is one area where the Training Manager has proved so useful.)

    Finally, re. the notion of a maximum monthly (or yearly) TSS: while everyone's tolerance to training is a little bit different, most people seem to hone in on ~125 TSS/d (range 100-150?) as where they feel like they're training pretty darn hard, but not killing themselves to the point that performance is declining (evidence of overreaching/overtraining). That may not sound like a lot, but keep in mind that that average is typically achieved via a mixture of really hard days and really easy days...
     
  9. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    You're right on the money. My IF was .779 and my HR was 69%MHR. It is, by definition, not an Active Recovery ride but an Endurance ride. I tend to ride my non-intensive days at the upper end of L2. Maybe I'll try a true recovery ride and see what happens.
     
  10. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Bring it ON!!! :D Is that a tool that is currently available, or is it something that's still being developed in a secret lab far below the earth?

    Trainer time is hardly "junk miles" for me. With the constantly rolling terrain around here, I can get much better intervals done indoors than I can outside. 125 TSS/d means plenty more training for me, and I'd have to really kill myself 3-4 times a week if I were to completely rest on the other days. I'll have to work on my schedule a little to get anywhere near that. At that rate it wouldn't be TSTWKT, it would be TWTWKM*.

    TWTWKM* = The Wife That Will Kill Me :D
     
  11. TiMan

    TiMan New Member

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    Got to love this Coggan info....good stuff bro.

    Be careful bro.......You can certainly overtrain by training 4 days a week.
    I never trained more than 5 days a week.
    Most pro's only train 5 days a week bro....one day in seven is usually a day off the bike and another day is a recovery ride, which does not count as a training day because recovery rides do not stimulate any energy system, they aide in recuperation. By the way contrary to popular belief not a few men do better by taking a day off the bike and NOT doing a recovery ride.

    I have to say something very important here. This "something" many people don't like to hear but it is very rarely mentioned when training is discussed...and it should be touched upon whenever we look at elite athletes and how they train in modern times. NEVER EVER look to the pro's for examples of how to EXACTLY train, for examples of what will work for the average drug free racer, because most of them are drug assisted and that totally changes how they can train.
    There is no way in hell that anyone could go all out for an hour one day and then do better the next day and break a record without the use of drugs.
    I used testosterone, EPO, and blood doped later in my Cat 1 days and believe me it makes a HUGE difference on recuperative abilty and how you train. And believe me drugs are part of the culture of road racing culture even in the USA and the higher you get the more drug there are.

    Also, these men don't have a real job and most have no family repsonsibilities and if they do then their FAMILIES come second!

    As Mr. Coggan said the recovery factor is based on individual rides and does not take into consideration the fatigiue from multiple days of training. Often it isn't how quickly that your muscle recuperate, as they usually recuperate pretty fast, it's systemic recuperation that is the real limiter. However, you can train really hard for up to several day in a row as a drug free rider. In modern times it has been called block training.Block training is nothing new and has been done for at least 25 years in pro cycling. Cyrille Guimard did it with Lemond, and Hinualt etc. You can train really hard for two or even three days in a row and rack up the tss points on a steady basis, and it is very effective at stimulating the energy systems you are targeting, but you are going to then need an equal time for recovery with days off the bike and or recovery riding, unless you are on drugs.

    So you have to be very much "in tune" with you body when you are trying to really improve as a cyclist. Be aware of your fatigue level.

    Here is a little know quote (and well needed jab) from Lemond.
    "He(Carmichael) would say "I am doing a lot of quantity and also quality." But you can't do both without drugs. You can't be doing 30 hours a week and still ride hard. I can tell you that I rarely did 30 hours a week, and that is what they are doing regularly."
    Greg LeMond
    Mountain Bike Action Nov 96

    So train hard bro, very hard, but allow for plenty of recovery rides at an intensity BELOW your aerobic zone and only for an hour at most, and take at least a day off the bike each week. Also, it is critical to reduce your hours spent on the bike per week when training really hard or when racing a lot....and this means LESS, quite a bit less, in the way of endurance riding. And in the racing season even Lactate threshold work is reduced as interval work and racing increase.

    The "golden fleece" of training is RECOVERY. :)
     
  12. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    At 125 TSS/d recovery rate, you could do four 218 TSS rides a week and still be fine. That's four rides of over 2 hours at threshold each per week before you'd even worry about overtraining, and that's way above what I currently have time for. I'm not worried.

    No danger of that, bro, since we're all here getting the scoop from the exercise physiologists directly. If you know where the pros post their training regiments, that would be interesting to look at, but I don't have anywhere near the training time that they have available. Thanks for the warning, though.
     
  13. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    I looked up my TSS weekly totals for the last 4 weeks and it averaged 805 TSS/wk or 115 TSS/d, well within the benchmark of 125 TSS/d. And, that's 2+ hrs/day of training. I don't feel I am overtraining and I think you're a long way away from overtraining.
     
  14. TiMan

    TiMan New Member

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    The pro's do basically the same as the typical racer but a lot more of it. They can also train very very hard 4 days per week and improve on a long term basis due to youth, genetics, no other "job", sleeping an hour every afternoon and 9 hours every night... and unfortunately drugs.
    I don't want to sound like a dick bro or be a negative voice on this good thread but exercise physiologists can be fooled when they do a study with a drug user....which has happened in the past...since most better pro's are not clean.ie: Mr. Coggan, who I respect very much and consider one of the best in the business, mentioned Obree and his abilty to break the hour record on a second attempt, with less than 18 hours of rest. In context I thought that he was saying that this is not that out of the ordinary for a gifted athlete....but perhaps I am wrong.
    But luckily most studies are done on your typical racer, and a large body of cyclists, that are actually clean.

    Just be sure to know what body of cyclists have be studied when you digest a "study".

    Bro, take my advice....the advice of an experienced racer and one that raced at a very high level for 13 years. I would not attempt to do four two hour threshold rides per week for very long. Two hours at threshold is very very hard and and also stressful on the bodies recuperative powers. In fact the ultimate theshold workout in my opinion is an hour non stop and this isn't easy. That done three days in a row, with some endurance miles tacked on, followed by 2-3 very easy day for supercompensation before repeating would make for an excellent program for most racers for stimulating sustainable power at threshold gains. So it would look like this.....3 days "on" 2 days "off" and then repeat for 3-4 weeks before taking a recovery week. Even this may prove to be too much for the average guy and a third day of recovery might very well be needed after each three days of threshold work. Again, this is where you have to "play it by ear" and listen to fatigue signs.

    Time trails were my speciality and I never did four two hour threshold rides per week,and even when focusing strictly on increasing my power at threshold. But I am open minded and perhaps it can be done for short periods of time as long as you have "all your ducks in a row" in regards to recuperation and nutrition. Long term, over a couple months, only the drug user could tolerate this level of work.

    Again, just a reminder, Coggan recuperative numbers do not take into consideration the ramping up of fatigue that occurs with proper training from week to week.

    I cannot stress enough the importance of RECOVERY bro. Most guys just don't get this part of the formula right. Most of us have no trouble training hard but we do have trouble "backing off" to allow the body to get stronger.

    So bro, don't increase your number of training days...spend the time with your wife and kids if you have any. You can get very very good training 4 days per week. Train smart as Coggan suggests, and then allow your body those three days off to get stronger.
    You could also try block training bro as it works great and especially for guys with limited time to train. Try 3 days of quality followed by one day of recovery riding on the trainer for 45 minutes in front of the TV with your wife and then followed by at least one day off the bike.....or 3 days "on" followed by two days of recovery riding on your training and a then a day off.
    Another approach wwould be two days "on" follwed by a recover ride day and than an off day.


    You can even mix training each day this time of year, such as VO2 max work, and lactate threshold work and even throw in some endurance riding as long as you have developed a decent "base" of aerobic training early in the year followed buy a peroid where you focus on increasing your power at threshold.

    Of course if you race you have to modify your training that week....two days before a race I would take an off day or recovery ride day...the day before the race you can do a short ride with a few short bursts of power as a "primer" and that's it.

    I always raced best after a recovery week as long as I did a short tune up ride the day before the race.

    Now I am blathering on....:)


    Best of luck in your training
    . :)
     
  15. mises

    mises New Member

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    I agree with most of what you said but that sort of statement drives me nuts. No study ever done has produced results that reveal the absolute limits of human ability. Even very large sample sizes merely give better estimates of the population mean and variance - they are almost useless for determining the maximum possible deviation from the mean, other than larger samples tend to show you it's further away than you thought.

    Yes most pros are doped but modern sports pharmacology is nowhere near the point where it can change the fundamental capacities of an individual. Your Cat 1 performances and experiences have far more in common with my Cat 4 level of performance than they do with the very top echelons of the sport. Then again my normal body temperature is 97.6F and natural hematocrit prior to kidney failure was 48-52 at sea level so maybe not.
     
  16. TiMan

    TiMan New Member

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    No bro you are not even close to what I was as a top Cat 1 racer.....
    Bro my sustainable power output was over 400 watts, with the help of epo and testosterone, and this is on par with a good continental pro. I was 32 at the time though and overlooked at the time due to my age.

    Bro unless you have tried these drugs you really shouldn't be making the statement you made....these drugs make a HUGE difference in your ability to generate power and in your RECUPERATIVE abilities...HUGE!

    I felt and rode like Superman on the stuff.

    But no use getting into a piss ass fight over this whole issue. I am not going to say anything else.

    Here is a quote from "The Cannibal" himself after he won the hour.

    "Throughout this hour, the longest of my career, I never knew a moment of weakness, but the effort needed was never easy. It's not possible to compare the Hour with a time trial on the road. Here it's not possible to ease up, to change gears or the rhythm. The Hour record demands a total effort, permanent and intense, one that's not possible to compare to any other. I will never try it again."

    And Obree did it again and did BETTER after less than 18 hours rest....NOT...Not without pharmaceutical help bro
     
  17. jeff828

    jeff828 New Member

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    Hey Guys, Its been awhile
    I have a quick question on TSS numbers

    Yesterday my friend and I did a 95 mile training ride with a large group and we finished in 4:40, we both weight the same, 165lbs, but his FTP is 320w and mine is 250w, At the end of the ride he downloaded his file and his TSS was 447 and mine was 309, does this mean he worked harder than me in the ride because of the higher TSS? I would think I would have higher TSS since my FTP is so much lower

    Is TSS based off FTP and weight?
    For instance if we rode 300w for 4hrs would his TSS be lower since he is riding under his FTP but my TSS be higher since I would be riding 50w over my FTP?


    My ave watts for the day were 138w and Normalized was 199w,


    Thanks
     
  18. Bigpikle

    Bigpikle New Member

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    TSS is related to your FTP and nothing to do with weight.

    From the numbers it would suggest he rode on the front a lot more or did some harder efforts dragging you around so he was regularly working harder. Might also be worth checking you both have the same recording setup on your head units so you are definitely comparing the same data with each other eg every second recording and no ignoring zeros etc.

    If you both rode at 300w then your TSS would be very different as you suggest.
     
  19. smaryka

    smaryka Member

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    TSS is based on NP and IF. Your ride had you at IF 0.8 for 4:40 (NP/FTP = 199/250 = 80%) 80 * 80 * 4.66 is about 300 TSS which is what you basically got when you looked at your file.

    His ride shows that he did 4:40 at 96 TSS points/hour which is a 98% effort for that duration for his FTP of 320w, in other words at 313w NP vs your 199w. If he had been doing a similar effort to you, i.e., 80%, his FTP would be more like 400w in reality. How much does he weigh? He's either going to have to be a very large guy or a very good athlete to make a 400w FTP fly.

    So the real answer is his powermeter was massively overreading, he's got auto-pause turned on and it paused a lot (thus inflating his watts), his FTP is higher than 320w, or he sat on the front and did more work than you -- or a combination thereof, making his ride "harder" for more TSS -- though not to the tune of 98% intensity I'll bet.

    Weight has nothing to do with FTP btw. And two people doing the same ride duration at the same intensity relative to their FTP will have roughly the same TSS, regardless of what their FTP is or how much they weight. Weight is only handy to determine and call bullsh!t on people who claim massive FTPs but whose relative performance is actually not that good. :)
     
  20. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    The problem with NP is that is does not measure anything worth while.

    320w FTP is sufficient to do a sub 5 hour century. (4:40 for 95 miles is 4:55 for 100 miles.) 80% of 320w (250w) is a reasonable estimate for an average solo power at 20mph.

    98% NP is a bit more than I (90-95%) usually do on my 3 hour rides. But it is reasonable.

    ---

    The difference between your effort and his may be he was doing all the work and you were sitting in. But since you are 20% weaker than he is and sitting in requires about 20% less power, you both had a good day.
     
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