Training, Health and the Performance Management Chart

Mar 22, 2008

I've been sick a lot lately. Mostly it's because I have a 18 month old son in day care with all the interesting illnesses there, but a contributing factor is the fact that I train, and I train for performance, not health or whatever most people do it for.

Lately I've gone back to WKO+ and using its Performance Management Chart a lot and a spreadsheet from the wattage group to experiment. It has been enlightening.

Basically WKO+ calculates a Training Stress Score (TSS) for each workout, or you enter one manually (for swimming). By definition 100 TSS point corresponds to a perfect isopower 60 minute time trial at maximum effort, or something equivalent running. I'm currently doing easy base training, so I do about 60-75 TSS/hour. That is very easy.

The daily TSS points are then used to calculate a Chronic Training Load (CTL) and an Acute Training Load (ATL). CTL is the long term training load that you have sustained, in principle all the training you've ever done in your life, practically it's the training for the last 5-6 months, with the training effect decaying exponentially, so at any given time the training done later weighs more than the training done earlier. It's about the same for ATL except that it is the last 2 weeks of training that matters most.

And here's the cool thing about it: CTL - ATL = Training Stress Balance (TSB). When your TSB is negative it's because you are training more and more, which is what you need to do to improve. If your TSB goes too low you get sick or injured.

So to maximize improvement it becomes a game of “how low can you go” in TSB. Personally I’ve found that I’d better keep it above -25 at all times lest I want to get sick or injured, whichever comes first, and generally stay around -15. On the other hand I remember when I was at the KTK86 training camp on Mallorca last year (my blog entries from it: first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth) my TSB went as low as -70 without ill effects. That just shows what you can manage when all you have to do is train, eat, sleep 10 hours every night + a nap during the day, and lie on your bed reading or watching TV.

So that’s my plan, train according to the Performance Management Chart and Mette Maries higly variable and never repititive work hours, get as much training done as I can with two workouts per discipline per week whenever I can, and stay healthy and uninjured.

It’s only going to get easier as the weather improves.

And it can only improve, when I look out the window now it’s snowing and I have a sore throat and semi-sick body (the kind that does not keep me home from work though) that does not tolerate any training today…

It’s really depressing, because I love to train, but I can’t.


Last edited: May 1, 2016


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