How hard is hard? What’s the difference between Normalized Power and Average Power? Is it more important to focus on Training Stress Score or Intensity Factor when choosing a workout?
Determining training load—whether for a given workout or over the course of a season— isn’t as straightforward as it seems. There is a veritable alphabet soup of measurements and calculations out there designed to help quantify just how much training load you’ve accumulated during the course of a workout or over time. These include NP, TSS, IF, CTL, ATL, and TSB, just to name a few. In this episode, Wahoo Sports Science coaches Neal Henderson and Mac Cassin untangle the often-confusing world of measuring training load to help you better navigate the sea of acronyms and get a deeper sense of just how hard (or easy) those upcoming workouts might be.
Listen Here: The Knowledge Podcast
Bonus Article HERE! by Mac Cassin
This was an interesting listen. It shed some light for me, on why CTL doesn’t capture the whole picture especially if doing HIIT. I am guessing this is why you can make some great fitness gains following a Sufferfest plan, where CTL might be a lot lower than friends that are just clocking up the miles.
Related to that, are the ‘fitness’ charts you see in Strava even worth looking at? Think it was mentioned they are based on CTL or some other kind of cumulated TSS over last few weeks. My FTP gains correlate quite well to Strava ‘fitness’/CTL when I am following SUF training plans very closely, but last summer when I started riding outdoors my FTP test scores dropped away despite maintaining CTL levels. Guess I was replacing quality SUF earned CTL for some inferior junk mile CTL!!?
I don’t pay any attention to them and just use Strava for social stuff. I have been doing an HRV reading in the morning and following the plan whether inside or outside and otherwise just rely on my own gut check to keep me out of the red.