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  1. #1
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    WKO+ PMC, CTL and getting sick

    Hello
    So I've picked up a cold and am off the bike for a few days now, and I know from when I last got sick that this can make your TSB go positive, and your CTL plummet. I was wondering what these numbers mean in terms of fitness; essentially, if my CTL drops is that a quantifiable drop in fitness? So like if my CTL ends up being what it was two weeks ago after I am sick, does that mean being sick has lost me those two weeks of training and I am now back where I was two weeks ago? It's not a HUGE detriment (94.8 tss/d to 86.1 tss/d) - or is it? My TSB was really low and after being sick it will just barely be positive, does that mean anything?

    Thanks for any help you guys have! I'm not freaking out about the numbers, just thought I'd use this as an opportunity to learn more about the PMC

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Forget the alphabet soup and go ride your bike

  3. #3
    Cat 3 in TT, Cat 6 in Rd.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kreuzberg
    Hello
    So like if my CTL ends up being what it was two weeks ago after I am sick, does that mean being sick has lost me those two weeks of training and I am now back where I was two weeks ago?
    In general, I would wager that you are probably a bit better off than where you were.
    Two weeks of declining CTL will typically have a small effect on fitness, but I'd wager with the growth you had earlier your body is lapping up the rest time.
    2012 Idaho State TT Champion: Cat. 4

  4. #4
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    I really hope that someone who knows will post a comprehensive answer. I too am having a little trouble determining what this chart should look like under ideal circumstances the three months leading into a primary event.

  5. #5
    extremely biased
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    A decline in CTL is not that big a deal. The CTL is a rolling/weighted/whatever psudo average of the last 42 ish days of training and racing. The line you'll likely see fall off quickly is the ATL which is the last 14 ish days. To put it simply, the TSB is the balance between the your rest and your work. It alone is not an indicator of fitness or freshness, just as CTL is alone is not an indicator of fitness. I'm going to assume your CTL is not made up of 2 hour zone 1 rides and that you've had some intensity by this time of year. That being the case, you're not going to lose a lot of "fitness" with a CTL as high as 80+.

    I see this quite a lot with guys that are on the 'binge & purge' training method. They usually always have busy lives (jobs, kids, wife, etc) and they will target a few specific races clustered together and 10-12 weeks out ramp up their CTL from 40 ish to 60-80 depending on time and take a week-ish easy, blast through the races, do well, and go back to winning city limit sign sprints on Tuesday nights. If your sick or life gets in the way, the out come is the same. The only thing different in you case would be your races. If you have one coming up and you feel well, you'll likely do a lot better than you thought because of the rest. If your races are a little longer out, you may need to drop back down to SST work to race the CTL back up to a point you want and let it taper from there. You want to hit a race with CTL going down (not falling down), not up.

    Don't worry about it. Eat good food, get good sleep, and drink lots. CTL and ATL both weigh current rides/races more heavily. As the files gets closer to the 42 day mark it's impact on the curve diminishes, and it's not linear. Same with ATL. So you'll see the same thing happen when you get back at it. Because you've taken a few days to a week off, both curves are weighing those (lack of ) rides (as is the TSB curve) and are declining at a rapid rate. When you ride again you see them spike back up. I see this "pattern" in 90% of the guys I coach since they have a life. You can look at their ATL lines and see weekends (this time of year). The ATL always spikes on weekends 'cause that's when they rack up the most TSS points in the week. Conversely, their TSB lines are pretty low or heading down on Sunday-Tuesday depending on the race and ride. So through the season we have this little up-down-up-down-up-down in the ATL and TSB while CTL eventually starts to flatten out. It flattens because they flat out don't have the time to put in to raise it. If it continues to go up with less time, that's a classic indicator (along with several others) of an FTP change. I find that CTL is directly related to the amount of time you have to ride the bike over the period it measures.

    Everything I said assumes your FTP is set correctly. I know a lot of guys that love to show up to start lines and say, "I have a CTL of 106 right now" and they ride 10 hours a week . The average, Euro pro shows up to the Tour at around 112-120. Me thinks someone needs to up their FTP . I ride 12-20 ish hours a week and find it very difficult to get to 95 CTL. Then again, I'm very religious about looking over my files for FTP changes.

    Starnut

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by STARNUT
    A decline in CTL is not that big a deal. The CTL is a rolling/weighted/whatever psudo average of the last 42 ish days of training and racing. The line you'll likely see fall off quickly is the ATL which is the last 14 ish days. To put it simply, the TSB is the balance between the your rest and your work. It alone is not an indicator of fitness or freshness, just as CTL is alone is not an indicator of fitness. I'm going to assume your CTL is not made up of 2 hour zone 1 rides and that you've had some intensity by this time of year. That being the case, you're not going to lose a lot of "fitness" with a CTL as high as 80+.

    I see this quite a lot with guys that are on the 'binge & purge' training method. They usually always have busy lives (jobs, kids, wife, etc) and they will target a few specific races clustered together and 10-12 weeks out ramp up their CTL from 40 ish to 60-80 depending on time and take a week-ish easy, blast through the races, do well, and go back to winning city limit sign sprints on Tuesday nights. If your sick or life gets in the way, the out come is the same. The only thing different in you case would be your races. If you have one coming up and you feel well, you'll likely do a lot better than you thought because of the rest. If your races are a little longer out, you may need to drop back down to SST work to race the CTL back up to a point you want and let it taper from there. You want to hit a race with CTL going down (not falling down), not up.

    Don't worry about it. Eat good food, get good sleep, and drink lots. CTL and ATL both weigh current rides/races more heavily. As the files gets closer to the 42 day mark it's impact on the curve diminishes, and it's not linear. Same with ATL. So you'll see the same thing happen when you get back at it. Because you've taken a few days to a week off, both curves are weighing those (lack of ) rides (as is the TSB curve) and are declining at a rapid rate. When you ride again you see them spike back up. I see this "pattern" in 90% of the guys I coach since they have a life. You can look at their ATL lines and see weekends (this time of year). The ATL always spikes on weekends 'cause that's when they rack up the most TSS points in the week. Conversely, their TSB lines are pretty low or heading down on Sunday-Tuesday depending on the race and ride. So through the season we have this little up-down-up-down-up-down in the ATL and TSB while CTL eventually starts to flatten out. It flattens because they flat out don't have the time to put in to raise it. If it continues to go up with less time, that's a classic indicator (along with several others) of an FTP change. I find that CTL is directly related to the amount of time you have to ride the bike over the period it measures.

    Everything I said assumes your FTP is set correctly. I know a lot of guys that love to show up to start lines and say, "I have a CTL of 106 right now" and they ride 10 hours a week . The average, Euro pro shows up to the Tour at around 112-120. Me thinks someone needs to up their FTP . I ride 12-20 ish hours a week and find it very difficult to get to 95 CTL. Then again, I'm very religious about looking over my files for FTP changes.

    Starnut
    Starnut, I appreciate your answer. You've shed some light on this for me at least. Thanks!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by STARNUT
    A decline in CTL is not that big a deal. The CTL is a rolling/weighted/whatever psudo average of the last 42 ish days of training and racing. The line you'll likely see fall off quickly is the ATL which is the last 14 ish days. To put it simply, the TSB is the balance between the your rest and your work. It alone is not an indicator of fitness or freshness, just as CTL is alone is not an indicator of fitness. I'm going to assume your CTL is not made up of 2 hour zone 1 rides and that you've had some intensity by this time of year. That being the case, you're not going to lose a lot of "fitness" with a CTL as high as 80+.

    I see this quite a lot with guys that are on the 'binge & purge' training method. They usually always have busy lives (jobs, kids, wife, etc) and they will target a few specific races clustered together and 10-12 weeks out ramp up their CTL from 40 ish to 60-80 depending on time and take a week-ish easy, blast through the races, do well, and go back to winning city limit sign sprints on Tuesday nights. If your sick or life gets in the way, the out come is the same. The only thing different in you case would be your races. If you have one coming up and you feel well, you'll likely do a lot better than you thought because of the rest. If your races are a little longer out, you may need to drop back down to SST work to race the CTL back up to a point you want and let it taper from there. You want to hit a race with CTL going down (not falling down), not up.

    Don't worry about it. Eat good food, get good sleep, and drink lots. CTL and ATL both weigh current rides/races more heavily. As the files gets closer to the 42 day mark it's impact on the curve diminishes, and it's not linear. Same with ATL. So you'll see the same thing happen when you get back at it. Because you've taken a few days to a week off, both curves are weighing those (lack of ) rides (as is the TSB curve) and are declining at a rapid rate. When you ride again you see them spike back up. I see this "pattern" in 90% of the guys I coach since they have a life. You can look at their ATL lines and see weekends (this time of year). The ATL always spikes on weekends 'cause that's when they rack up the most TSS points in the week. Conversely, their TSB lines are pretty low or heading down on Sunday-Tuesday depending on the race and ride. So through the season we have this little up-down-up-down-up-down in the ATL and TSB while CTL eventually starts to flatten out. It flattens because they flat out don't have the time to put in to raise it. If it continues to go up with less time, that's a classic indicator (along with several others) of an FTP change. I find that CTL is directly related to the amount of time you have to ride the bike over the period it measures.

    Everything I said assumes your FTP is set correctly. I know a lot of guys that love to show up to start lines and say, "I have a CTL of 106 right now" and they ride 10 hours a week . The average, Euro pro shows up to the Tour at around 112-120. Me thinks someone needs to up their FTP . I ride 12-20 ish hours a week and find it very difficult to get to 95 CTL. Then again, I'm very religious about looking over my files for FTP changes.

    Starnut
    Hey thanks a lot for your help. That's all great information.
    I didn't know a lot about CTL until I started looking around on the internet a little more very recently. I too am a little surprised that it is so high, considering I usually ride between 12-15 hours a week. I know my FTP has gone up since I started using WKO (beginning of jan), but I am also wondering, and this is a little off-topic, if the fact that I never seeded my CTL is affecting the chart? I never put a starting value for CTL, wasn't really sure what to put. Would that be affecting my PMC very much, or is it something that wouldn't have much affect because it has been well over 42 days since?

  8. #8
    extremely biased
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    Eh, let it run. If you were already following a plan, the CTL will catch up. Don't look at any of this stuff as a 'hard' number. Nothing, not the CTL, ATL, TSB, TSS, or FTP it's more of a range or 'close enough' deal.


    Starnut

  9. #9
    Impulse Athletic Coaching
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    CTL will catch up after 6 weeks, so if it's been more than 6 weeks, changing your input CTL value becomes somewhat superficial.

    However, STARNUT, be careful what you say about CTL. Sure, ProTour riders will have 120ish CTL coming into the big races, but they are putting in huge volume and intensity at a high FTP level.

    It's easier for someone NOT at the professional level to obtain the 120 CTL value. If your FTP is 250w and you start training 10-15hrs/wk for 2 months, your FTP will not catch up to your volume and intensity. However, set your FTP at 360w and try to obtain 120CTL will require closer to +30hrs/wk in order to stimulate those kind of numbers. IOW, I would be more inclined to believe a cat4 who has a 120CTL than a cat2 w/a job who has 120CTL.

    As for the OP, a week off the bike won't kill you. It will set you back in training, but your actual performance will hurt less than the numbers in WKO+. Really, the moral of the story is to chase fitness, not numbers.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by iliveonnitro

    As for the OP, a week off the bike won't kill you. It will set you back in training, but your actual performance will hurt less than the numbers in WKO+. Really, the moral of the story is to chase fitness, not numbers.
    Thanks for your input. I don't mind the numbers so much, I don't actually use the PMC myself to determine what I should do for training, I have a coach who does that stuff for me I was just curious if the decline in CTL, ATL, or rapid increase in TSB is a quantifiable measure of how much fitness/time I have lost. Going back to my original question, if the CTL is back to the number it was at two weeks ago, does that mean I have lost those two weeks? Or is the PMC not showing everything?

  11. #11
    Impulse Athletic Coaching
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    Quote Originally Posted by kreuzberg
    ... if the CTL is back to the number it was at two weeks ago, does that mean I have lost those two weeks?
    No.

    Quote Originally Posted by kreuzberg
    Or is the PMC not showing everything?
    PMC does exactly is it was designed to do. It never tells you how fast/strong you are.

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