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Chronic Training Load (CTL)
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I don't pay attention to all of the metrics that Training Peaks provides, but do I track my Chronic Training Load (CTL) as a measure of my overall fitness. But I'm curious about the scale of this metric. For those non-professionals amongst us with day jobs and families, what is considered a high CTL score? Also, how far in advance of an Olympic distance A race should this score peak. For me, if I can get into the high 60s two weeks before a race, I'm feeling pretty good. Getting into the high 60s usually involves the potential for job loss and divorce (but it's totally worth it).
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [Celerius] [ In reply to ]
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Quote:
as a measure of my overall fitness


Caveat. I would call it what it says it is, a measure of your training load. Not a measure of fitness.

Training load can correlate with fitness. Or it can inversely correlate with fitness. I only bring that up because the 3-4 peaks on my ~10 yeas of CTL are all when I was absolutely shattered and had to take months off. So as you scale the CTL peak, do so gradually, and start to tip-toe the closer to the top you get. It's always better, in my opinion, to be slightly undertrained (vs. some mythical optimal fitness) vs. overtrained.

To measure fitness either use race results or some repeatable test, like an FTP or ramp test.
Last edited by: trail: Mar 7, 19 7:03
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [trail] [ In reply to ]
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X2 - I once believed it was a measure of fitness too. But I have had some cracker sprint races with a ctl of 50. And some very shit cooked ones with 120 ctl with massive builds sans much rest....Right now I’m on 107 with an oly on Sunday but I’m feeling good right now and not fatigued. Chasing high load numbers, you really need recovery or you can dig some pretty deep holes
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [Celerius] [ In reply to ]
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I am definitely not an expert at this at all. However, I've asked my coach lots of probably annoying questions and overall CTL by itself is not going to give you the answer you are looking for. You need to correlate ATL and TSB to try to find that mythical taper/peak fitness level and then there are still all those other life stressors. I love to try to coorelate when I have some pretty kick ass workouts/races to what my numbers are saying at that time but there are still a lot of life commitments that can weigh on these results. Read TP website it's good information. For reference my CTL is 127 today. I'm not doing any races over Olympic this year but I'm no where near ready for a race at this point.

https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/what-is-the-performance-management-chart/

https://www.strava.com/athletes/23685202
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [Celerius] [ In reply to ]
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One thing I often fail to keep in mind . . . CTL only reports on what you put into it. There are other stresses that, by necessity, need to go into the equation to have an accurate portrayal of total load. For example . . . until recently, my CTL didn't include my stresses from strength training. Those are pretty significant. More importantly, I still ldon't know a way to input the load introduced by life stresses. Those can be greater than the stresses from training -- and have to be put into the equation somehow if CTL is going to be meaningful.

I have been told that a CTL in the low 100's is pretty sustainable. I like to taper down to a CTL in the low- to mid-90's. Because life has happened this winter, I'm now down around 60 and, as a result, I have cancelled all my spring racing (except races purely for training effect). I fully expect it to take until September 1 to bring my CTL back up in a balanced way. Do it too fast, and it's counterproductive.
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [Celerius] [ In reply to ]
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Edit: ooops, didn't notice TriRugby had given the same answer.



Isn't CTL just one half of the picture? Surely you need to view CTL alongside ATL and, ultimately, TSB for a prediction of form?


https://blog.trainerroad.com/why-tss-atl-ctl-and-tsb-matter/


https://help.trainingpeaks.com/hc/en-us/articles/115000415452-How-to-analyze-runners-training-load-in-WKO4-using-the-Performance-Manager-Chart


Last edited by: knighty76: Mar 7, 19 9:52
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [Celerius] [ In reply to ]
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CTL is individual, and must be considered with the other metrics to have meaning with regard to your own fitness.


CTL is representative of training load and volume, but also generalizes fitness because you have to consider the ATL (acute training load) and TSB (form) metrics, which give the CTL context in terms of your own fitness AND your ability to sustain that "fitness". Sure your fitness is 60/80/90/100 CTL, but if your form/TSB is -55 on that day its unlikely you can hold this load for your "fitness" CTL #'s over consecutive days or even weeks.

CTL #'s vary widely between individuals for each distance. Alan Couzens' has a chart for goal CTL for each tri distance. Oly is I believe mid 60's to 100. Those #'s are not indicative of performance though. You might have a guy/gal on the podium with a CTL of 60; at the end of the day CTL doesn't tell us training quality, specificity, our genetic response to training, etc. So, we only use the (all) metrics to help guide us to balance our work and recovery days to hopefully arrive at the race ready to rumble.

Matt Leu, M.S. Kinesiology
Endurance Athlete and Coach
Consistency/time=results
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [ironmatt85] [ In reply to ]
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and here i was feeling terrible inside for only being at 68 currently(based on outdated ftp, ie way too high) but also good that it was above low of 39 post surgery :)
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [Celerius] [ In reply to ]
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Celerius wrote:
I don't pay attention to all of the metrics that Training Peaks provides, but do I track my Chronic Training Load (CTL) as a measure of my overall fitness. But I'm curious about the scale of this metric. For those non-professionals amongst us with day jobs and families, what is considered a high CTL score? Also, how far in advance of an Olympic distance A race should this score peak. For me, if I can get into the high 60s two weeks before a race, I'm feeling pretty good. Getting into the high 60s usually involves the potential for job loss and divorce (but it's totally worth it).

Comparing CTL is probably like comparing genitalia. Further, looking at a total CTL across SBR is of limited (and questionable) value. That said, an Oly race is generally about 200 TSS (assuming you race the whole thing at about 0.90IF). So, I aim to have a CTL of about 1/2 that on race day (100 CTL) with a balanced plan. I seem to race best with a TSB of 0 (versus the generic +20 recommendation from Training Peaks, which experience has shown doesn't work for me). I train to a peak CTL value of about 120 with a TSB of -20. Then taper to CTL=100 / TSB=0 over about 10 days.
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [Tom_hampton] [ In reply to ]
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I've had good experiences with tapering 10 days earlier than others and then build back up to a tsb of about 5.

I used to be flat for my big races, now I'm really ready to go.
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [jaretj] [ In reply to ]
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CTL is extremely variant; in WKO, GC, CyclingAnalytics they all report slightly differently and if you aren't on point with your FTP the whole thing is thrown off. For me, as a guy with no real fast twitch, I find my race fitness perfect at 80-95 CTL; and that's only training the bike. For someone who's style doesn't rely on aerobic fitness as much (such as a sprinter) it may be lower. TBF, I haven't seen how I do over 95 but hitting those numbers probably requires me to ride at an unsustainable level considering I have a job and am pushing 50.

FWIW, I ride about 12-16 hours a week and that puts me around those prime numbers.
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [jaretj] [ In reply to ]
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I have heard that actually works well and I have had good races like that myself. Problem is sometimes I get it wrong and end up too recovered and not ‘built back up’ enough and end up flat anyway haha
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [ironmatt85] [ In reply to ]
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This has got to be the right answer re specificity etc.

Maybe I’m just a skeptic but I really have a hard time that every TSS unit is “created equal” in terms of making you fitter/faster/stronger, even if it correlates w aerobic adaptations in the aggregate
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [IamSpartacus] [ In reply to ]
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I tried that after i did a big race, then another big race the following weekend.

I did well on both races but better on the second one.
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [devolikewhoa83] [ In reply to ]
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devolikewhoa83 wrote:
This has got to be the right answer re specificity etc.

Maybe I’m just a skeptic but I really have a hard time that every TSS unit is “created equal” in terms of making you fitter/faster/stronger, even if it correlates w aerobic adaptations in the aggregate

It’s certainly not enough on its own to quantify training, but it can be useful.

I found that around 70 CTL I’d almost always start getting some sinus issues, daily orange juice seemed to sort that out. Then at around 100/110 I’d find that I was really struggling with the load, turned out to be fueling, double breakfast got me past that & up to 140/150.

So whilst TSS/CTL aren’t all equal, it’s not a bad way to somewhat quantify load & mitigate issues before they come up.
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [devolikewhoa83] [ In reply to ]
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devolikewhoa83 wrote:
This has got to be the right answer re specificity etc.

Maybe I’m just a skeptic but I really have a hard time that every TSS unit is “created equal” in terms of making you fitter/faster/stronger, even if it correlates w aerobic adaptations in the aggregate

In my experience the type of work you do to generate the CTL is far more important.
Having a CTL of 150 from doing low intensity training, is very different to a CTL of 80-100 doing threshold and above training.
There have been a few discussions on the forum about splitting the CTL between different energy systems.
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [SteveM] [ In reply to ]
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Agreed, i'm not saying i have no use for it, i just try to not let the tail wag the dog, so to speak. For example, you see some coaches saying things like "SST is the most bang for the buck because it allows you to raise CTL the most." Well maybe it is the most bang for the buck, aerobic fitness wise, but you always want to ask them, are we trying to raise CTL, or are we trying to actually get faster?

My theory is that hte shorter your efforts are (with a 1-rep max squat being the most extreme example) the less useful CTL is for showing you how much you've put into the tank. For example preparing for mountain bike races, doing short, intense intervals, you will watch CTL fall, despite getting more tired, while clearly gaining adaptations.

What i have been doing more recently is:

- making up a rough seasonal periodization based on when events are
- looking at CTL from last year to roughly judge what my starting point should be, volume wise
- using HRV trends to guide the overload (i.e., when to push it harder vs. rest) and taking a rest week whenever i feel like i need it
- using hte WKO4 PDC, plus periodic spot testing, as a way of roughly seeing where each energy system is at
- changing from general to specific prep based on time to event

And overall generally not worrying about what happens to CTL, although i keep track of it and always keep open the possibility that it could lead to important insights in hindsight.
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [devolikewhoa83] [ In reply to ]
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devolikewhoa83 wrote:
This has got to be the right answer re specificity etc.

Maybe I’m just a skeptic but I really have a hard time that every TSS unit is “created equal” in terms of making you fitter/faster/stronger, even if it correlates w aerobic adaptations in the aggregate

Nobody knowlegable EVER said that part in bold. Anyone who DOES make that assertion, clearly doesn't grasp the concept. So, I'm not sure why you are arguing against it?

TSS is not a training plan, and no one (least of whom would be the author of the concept: Dr. Coggan...too bad he's not here to make this point himself) would suggest that simply taking your TSS to the highest level possible through any means available would prepare you for an event or ensure you are the fittest/fastest you can be. In fact, such a plan would probably just be a recipe for Overtraining Syndrome----go pretty hard every day....until you burn up.

On the other hand, a properly design training plan with distributed (event appropriate) intensity, and adequate recovery, and gently increasing TSS will likely lead to the athlete reaching greater levels of fitness/speed as TSS increases. How much faster the athlete gets per unit TSS, as well as the TSS level at which the athlete plateaus (doesn't get faster for more TSS) is athlete specific.

TSS is just a better way to quantify total training load than hours or miles.
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [Tom_hampton] [ In reply to ]
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Tom_hampton wrote:
devolikewhoa83 wrote:
This has got to be the right answer re specificity etc.

Maybe I’m just a skeptic but I really have a hard time that every TSS unit is “created equal” in terms of making you fitter/faster/stronger, even if it correlates w aerobic adaptations in the aggregate


Nobody knowlegable EVER said that part in bold. Anyone who DOES make that assertion, clearly doesn't grasp the concept. So, I'm not sure why you are arguing against it?

TSS is not a training plan, and no one (least of whom would be the author of the concept: Dr. Coggan...too bad he's not here to make this point himself) would suggest that simply taking your TSS to the highest level possible through any means available would prepare you for an event or ensure you are the fittest/fastest you can be. In fact, such a plan would probably just be a recipe for Overtraining Syndrome----go pretty hard every day....until you burn up.

On the other hand, a properly design training plan with distributed (event appropriate) intensity, and adequate recovery, and gently increasing TSS will likely lead to the athlete reaching greater levels of fitness/speed as TSS increases. How much faster the athlete gets per unit TSS, as well as the TSS level at which the athlete plateaus (doesn't get faster for more TSS) is athlete specific.

TSS is just a better way to quantify total training load than hours or miles.

Fair point, I could never argue that it's not better than hours or miles. But the part in bold, dude, you see people arguing that all the time here. How many threads devoted to "is my TSS too low," "what should my TSS be," humble brags about how high their TSS is, cloaked in the veil of "is my TSS too high"

So respectfully no, not a straw man and 100% worth saying
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [devolikewhoa83] [ In reply to ]
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devolikewhoa83 wrote:
Fair point, I could never argue that it's not better than hours or miles. But the part in bold, dude, you see people arguing that all the time here. How many threads devoted to "is my TSS too low," "what should my TSS be," humble brags about how high their TSS is, cloaked in the veil of "is my TSS too high"

So respectfully no, not a straw man and 100% worth saying

Sure, people say all kinds of stupid shit on ST. Argue with THEM when the SAY it---if you are so, inclined. I've mostly grown tired of it after 15 years...and ignore them, unless I'm feeling frisky on a Friday or something.

My point was, no one argued that point IN THIS THREAD. Do we need to rehash all the stupid stuff people have ever said about TSS / CTL and argue with them in every thread (when someone hasn't already made the stupid assertion in a particular thread)?

Typically the people who make the assertion you did, use it as a counter example to explain why they think TSS (and CTL/ATL/TSB etc) is worthless. But, it only highlights their fundamental misunderstanding of the entire point of the concept. Its a rough measure of recovery cost (TSS), recovery capacity (CTL), recovery debt (ATL), and recovery surplus/deficit (TSB).
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [Celerius] [ In reply to ]
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As an aside, a few weeks ago someone I know posted a screenshot on Instagram of their 490 CTL. This person is also an "Ironman certified coach" and actually coaches a few poor souls :) Anyways I once had a CTL of 130 going into an IM. This past season set a 50 minute IM distance PR on a measly 100 CTL. I also set all time 5min and 20min power PBs on a CTL of around 86.

What's your CdA?
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [Celerius] [ In reply to ]
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Can anyone explain the difference between the CTL/ATL/TSB that are listed on TrainingPeaks at the far right of each week under the 'Calendar' tab of the web application, versus the CTL/ATL/TSB listed under the 'Home' tab of the web application and also listed multiple place on the iOS app? My numbers are different in these places.


Geoffrey Nenninger
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [GDNenn] [ In reply to ]
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The numbers on the calendar are predicted for every Sunday. Most of the other places are for Today.
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [trailerhouse] [ In reply to ]
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lol 490 CTL. No way!

I seem to do great peaking up to ~140 CTL and then tapering and racing right around ~130.
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Re: Chronic Training Load (CTL) [trailerhouse] [ In reply to ]
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He probably had his ftp set to 12.
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