Simplifying Training, Logging and Analysis

May 9, 2008

Back in my mid-90’ies triathlon career mk. 1 I had a nice Polar heartrate monitor that could show time below, in and above the target heartrate zone after a workout, plus time, laptimes etc. No PC download or other fancy stuff, especially since I didn’t even have a computer back then.

My coach, Seamus Granell, would then prescribe workouts based on time spent, below (low), in (mid) and above (high) the target range, which—if I remember correctly—was set to 80-90% of tested Anaerobic Threshold (AT) in cycling, 85-95% of AT in running. Simple.

A bike workout would then be something like 30’ low, 15’ mid, 45’ high, 30’ low. The “High” intensity meant going at or just below AT, always primarily going by RPE rather than heartrate. It worked extremely well, and was really simple. Often there was further instructions about how to go about it all, but the above was the basics. Volume was measured in time on the bike, km on the run. The swim training I managed quite well myself, 4×/week, 10,000m/week, no excuses, Just Do It™! I got very fit.

With my fancy running computer and bike powermeter I have huge amounts of data now, and the software to crunch the numbers and present it in a useful manner.

In the end the only thing I really appreciate in all of this is the Performance Manager Chart (PMC), which is absolutely great. I’ve blogged about it before. While it’s nice to know that I can push 200W average on a not too hard 2-hour ride I can’t really say I care. I’m much more interested in how many tonnes of fun I had on that ride, because if I have a lot of fun training the results will come anyway.

The only thing I need for the PMC to work is some sort of objective metric for how hard each workout was; in WKO+ it’s called TSS, but it could be anything.

In Analysis of Power Output and Training Stress in Cyclists: The Development of the BikeScore™ Algorithm by Dr. Philip Friere Skiba validates his BikeScore against TSS and concludes that they’re almost the same, mentioning that a simple TRIMPS score, which is based purely on heartrate, would fare almost as well.

That got me thinking: If I could have a heartrate monitor that could do all the things that my old Polar from 1995 could do and calculate something like TRIMPS too, that would be great, then I could just write a little script to take the numbers I’d write down after each workout and draw the PMC for me, the math to do that is public.

Enter the Suunto t3 which calculates what they refer to as “Training Efect”, apparently “a better TRIMPS” score.

Hot.

I’m close to selling the Ergomo and the Polar for that… it would really simplify my life, because all the cables for downloading and messing around with a virtual Windows XP on my Mac that doesn’t really work well with the peripherals anyway is starting to get to me. I’d love just to be able to train and write a little about it, manually entering a few numbers each time in my own little specialized webapp. A custom built training blog, something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

How much can I get for an about 20 month old Ergomo with ISO square taper bottom bracket and Ergomo compact crankset with 175mm arms with less than 3000 km on it?


Last edited: May 1, 2016


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