Using the Load and Performance Chart: A pattern of success

9 September 2016

The Load and Performance chart can provide a powerful method for tracking your fitness and monitoring your fatigue and can provide a great insight into your progress. The key to successfully utilising the Load and Performance chart is understanding exactly what it is displaying, what other functions it can have and then how to use them.

Within Today’s Plan, there are a number of additional features beyond the commonly used CTL/ATL/TSB metrics that you can also utilise. It is important to recognise that the Load and Performance chart is unique to you and comparison with other athletes is not much more than something you can chat about over your post-ride brew! Being aware of your unique patterns that have bred success in the past are the key to unlocking your progression and future success. To begin with, let’s look at each of the 3 primary metrics you have available in your Load and Performance chart.

Chronological Training Load (CTL)

This is representative of your long term training load or fitness. In essence a higher CTL represents a greater level of fitness and load in the legs. Your CTL is a rolling average of your T-Score from the last 42 days.

Acute Training Load (ATL)

This is representative of your short term training load or fatigue. Your ATL is a rolling average of your T-Score from the last 7 days.

Training Stress Balance (TSB)

This deducts your ATL score from your CTL score. A negative number indicates accumulated fatigue in the legs while a positive number will indicate freshness. This is arguably the most powerful metric you have available in this chart.

When you’re approaching an important race in your season you want to ensure that your body is fresh and primed for top performance. The issue is defining which TSB value is going to be optimal? This is completely unique to you. Some athletes will perform well with a little extra load in their legs, while others will perform better when completely fresh. The answer to this question will also depend on the length and type of race you’re doing. This is where you look at previous patterns. Find races you’ve been successful at in the past that have similar demands to your upcoming events and replicate that taper – find yourself at a similar TSB and you’ve given yourself a fantastic chance at performing to your potential.

The Today’s Plan Load and Performance chart also has a range of other options you can toggle in to track patterns of overtraining and fatigue and to warn you when you might be at a greater risk of injury or illness. Take for example TSB(r)%. Similar to TSB, it is a measure of freshness or race readiness however it is expressed as a percentage. If you use 150% as an upper limit you’re giving yourself every chance of being able to maintain your consistency which is ultimately the most important factor for long term performance gains. If you find you have a TSB(r)% of greater than 150% it might be time to schedule in a rest day or lower the intensity of your next workout.

Viewing the Load and Performance chart through the Load tab on an activity is more powerful. There are 3 benefits to doing that:

  • Overlay Subjective Wellness ratings
  • Overlay peak performances
  • View predicted/scheduled load values (if you have future workouts scheduled on calendar)

You have your subjective fatigue ratings. When you upload a workout you’ll see a 1-5 star rating system to record your fatigue, session quality and sleep (among other ratings). You can toggle these onto the Load and Performance chart as well. Learn to look at this chart and take note of when you’ve been performing well, and when you’ve felt flat and burnt out. Recognising the patterns that have led to you performing a PB or having a great race can help you implement the same processes moving forwards. Conversely, if you’re struggling to maintain consistency because you’re getting run down or injured, perhaps you can see the warning signs in the future and address those in your upcoming training.

The final tool in your Load and Performance chart is toggling in your peak performances (watts, W/kg, HR). Include these metrics on your chart to highlight when you’ve achieved peak powers. How do they correlate with your TSB or subjective fatigue ratings? It’s important to recognise these patterns to help you and/or your coach replicate the training stimulus that has resulted in high performance in the past.

The lesson to learn is to make the most of this chart and learn from previous mistakes. If you pay close attention to the Load and Performance chart you’ll find out a lot about yourself as an athlete and be able to address any issues or replicate previous pre-race builds to give yourself the greatest chance at success.

If you have any questions about the Load and Performance chart, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our support line via email.