I assume you know basic powertraining concepts. If not I can refer you to these links:
PMC terminology explainedBefore I start with my own PMC I explain some basic concepts in the PMC chart. The idea behind the PMC is that you track you training load (short term and long term) based on your TSS (Training Stress Score). Training Stress score is the amount of stress you put on your body during a particular workout. Training Stress Score is calculated as follows:
TSS* = (seconds x NP x IF) / (FTP x 3600) x 100So the components in the formula represent basically how long at what intensity your workout was in relation to your FTP.
In the PMC you track short term stress (Acute Training Load) and your long term stress (Chronic Training Load) and your performance (Hence the P in PMC). By exponential weighting of CTL and ATL to take into account carryover effects of your training you can calculate TSB (Training Stress Balance)*The idea is that Form equals Fitness plus Freshness. Fitness is represented by training load and freshness is the result of rest. Balancing the two, i.e. balancing ATL and CTL equals Form aka TSB. TSS is the metric which is used in the equations to calculate ATL and CTL (and indirectly in TSB).
Then comes the question how can you estimate the TSS? Well, some trainingplans already provide these numbers given the training you do (e.g. Trainerroad). Another source –which I use- is basically your own experience powermeter numbers from rides in which you focused on specific training zones. General rules of thumb can also be applied like these: L2 IF 0.8, 65 TSS/h, L3 IF 0.9, 80 TSS/h, L4 IF 0.95 90 TSS/h, L5/L6 IF 1 100 TSS/h. You can also use this graph to by using time and % of FTP.
Knowing this is, the question rises what are your goals and what do you (given you do not have a coach) estimate your CTL needs to be at time X (time of the goals)? Of course it would be nice to have a CTL of around 120, but for that you need a lot of training time, because these numbers are basically not achievable for the time-crunched cyclist. As you saw TSS consists of time and intensity and for someone like me there’s not a lot of time during the week to build TSS, so it had to come from intensity. Ideally you would be doing a lot of time at lower intensity which causes a lot of physical processes in your body (metabolic adaptions, cardiovascular adaptions, pulmonary adaptions) that eventually has a positive effect on your FTP (given of course also mixed with training in other power zones, and given you are a responder to training pulses), but that’s for the elite / pro guys who earn money with it.As said a CTL of 120 is basically not possible for a time-crunched cyclist. All the time spend need to be at enormous intensity and even then you will not make it given the limited amount of time you spend riding. Also you won’t be able the hold it in your training because you have your general every day stress (work, etc.). Given max 5 hours per week during winter and max average weekly 8 hours non-winter I should be happy with a CTL around 80.
By building CTL you should be careful not to build (ramp) it too quickly given your short term training stress (ATL). General rules of thumb to make sure you don’t get overtrained or get more vulnerable for disease are CTL ramp rates of 3-8 points per week. A good example of this you will see below.
My PMC 2013The story behind this PMC is, is that there is no story. OK, let’s clarify that a bite more. I basically did not really plan anything using PMC. I just wanted to see what this graph would look like and if I would be able to get some patterns from it and to be able to learn something from it. And you will read below, I did learn some things ;)
I had a fairly linear CTL build up from approx. April 10th onwards. 28th of April was the first big CTL spike from la Philippe Gilbert (160km). This one had a TSS of 360. After that ride my ATL went to another level and short after that I did some more intense sessions and another long ride with TSS above 300. Period where my CTL drops strongly seems like I did not train, but I did. I did however not incorporate those home trainer sessions in the graph (weather was bad in that period). The sessions I did certainly did not improve my ATL but merely stabilized it. After that I build up again and about a month later I was where I was left off end of May (approx. 45 TSS/day). Around 19-6 you also see a strong CTL spike from a 360 TSS ride.End of June CTL really rises with a top on 4-7. Those two weeks I was on holiday at the Mont Ventoux, but I did bring my bike. I did some work before the 4th as you can see in the sharp build-up of ATL. 4-7 I did the Month Ventoux 3 times (also known as Les Cingles (loosely “The Screwballs”). I really underestimated that. I ate too little. First two climbs went good. I had done both sides (via Bedoin and Via Malaucenne) with 250 watt average (normalised 260). From Sault it went wrong. I got hungry and I did not drink enough. After a few km’s I completely collapsed. That is, I could only produce 210 (NP) on that climb.
Because of that my TSB was went straight downward and was very low. My immune system must have been affected since I got a bacterial infection from a small wound on my elbow….the result of that was hospitalisation and 3 weeks of antibiotics. No cycling as you can see in the curve going down to a low of 40 TSS/day.Then I picked it up again since I wanted to do a race end of August since my season was already wasted (remember I had a goal w.r.t winning the local championship but that was at the time of my bacterial infection). In 3 weeks I tried to manage what was left, but effect of the antibiotics was larger than expected. I had no power or whatsoever in those 3 weeks, also not on the race day. I became third in the race (50m before the finish I was still in first place….) and I had to live with that (race 1 hour with NP of 309 watt). After that I went on holiday with the family as you can see from the large drop in the graph (and very positive TSB).
Learnings I take from the above:Biggest mistake I made was to dig myself in a hole too fast during that Mont Ventoux part (ATL in one week from 45 to 65. This must have had an effect on my immune system. This is something I hope to prevent now with better planning of my training and better monitoring of the PMC.
A positive thing to see is that I did a 60 min test outside when I got back straight after Mont Ventoux and with an ATL of 65 (highest of season) I managed to do 325 watt (whereas before that it was around 300 till 310 NP).Indirectly: Give yourself time to recover. This is the hardest lesson, because face it: when you haven’t been on the bike for a long time, you just wanna go in full gas and when you see the powernumbers are not what you want them to be than that just sucks (and makes every ride a disappointment). Riding is fun, and that’s what is should be even if the numbers are bad.
PMC 2014Given peak periods I have designed it as follows: I want to peak end of May / beginning of June. That will be my first peak period. After that I will decrease my load / intensity to be good at end of July / end of August.
W.r.t my training plan I started to think backward from my peak periods. On a macro level I see three periods (until first week of June, but I will explain that later on). As you will see I follow a method of periodization which basically is a build up towards a (desired) peak period. It is base, build and (hopefully) peak.
October 2013 – Half January 2014: Base periodGoal: Very steady CTL of approx. 40 to 45. Content of work is mainly focused on aerobic intensities (Base I) and later on some more sweet-spot training (intervals) (Base II).
Quite a long period, but that’s the way it is. When I get back from work in the evening it is dark and I don’t feel like cycling in the dark (and hours on Kurt is not my thing). So during the week I will do Trainerroad workouts (2 x approx. 1-1.5 hours). They have great trainingplans so I will use them. The base period is divided by two periods: Base I and Base II.Intermediate Base I (Trainerroad): ‘’Following the initial fitness assessment, this plan emphasizes pedal economy - via leg speed, speed endurance & varied cadence - and base aerobic fitness. Minor attention is paid to saddle transitioning, leg strength & brief, anaerobic power bursts, but this plan is largely devoted to improving form and establishing some base fitness’’.
Intermediate Base II (Trainerroad): ‘’It allows riders to focus more intently on growing their sustainable power through consistent use of near-threshold efforts. The intensity grows somewhat sharply as suprathreshold efforts are sprinkled in on a weekly basis in the interest of growing aerobic power in minimal time.”During the weekends I want to do a longer (endurance) ride from 2-3 hours. Towards the end of February I will start to do more VO2max related workouts since training races will then start.
Half January 2013 – Half April: Build periodGoal: Very steady build-up of ATL to approx. 50-55. Content of work is mainly focused on sweet-spot training (intervals), but more VO2max comes into place as well.
Intermediate Build I (Trainerroad): ‘’As the racing season grows nearer, our focus on improvement of max sustainable power is split to include more aerobic capacity work (VO2max). These are the shorter, fairly Intense efforts that can make or break a rider when the pace kicks up a notch or two, or several.’’Training of this nature also has a noticeable positive effect on sustainable power due to the "trickle down" effect of the numerous training adaptations associated with VO2max work.
Riders who aren't accustomed to this type of intensity can begin to acclimate to working at this very high level of effort and thereby increase their ability to ride more competitively. This training plan also incorporates some less-structured race simulations for variety and pacing practice.Intermediate Build II (Trainerroad): ‘’With event(s) just around the corner, this training plan notches up the intensity even higher and prepares you for the forced rigors of riding at race intensity.
As your ability to endure greater workloads and levels of discomfort - both physical and psychological - increases, so too must your training stress if the goal is to continue to improve.’’Also from March – April there is a more rapid increase in ATL, CTL by introducing more racing / some longer distances.
Half April – End of May: Advanced Build – peak periodHere the real suffering will start ;), but I should have a solid base by then so make the step. In this period there will be quite some rides with the combination of high volume and high intensity. This starts basically from end of April with the first cyclo in the Belgian Ardennes (which means relatively short climbs, with (often) steep parts in it). Races I see purely as good trainings, but if I can feel there’s more in it that just being in the pack, I will not hesitate. I have to make sure that I earn back the start fee at least.
From half May on I have to be very careful since I will then be doing a long weekend to ride some mountains from the Trois Ballons. This is a training weekend to test myself. This will undoubtedly have a large effect on CTL so the weeks after that I have to be very very careful. Last weekend is the time trial, and then immediately I will have to start tapering for Trois Ballons. But to be good for the time trial I also have to make sure that I taper at least some days before. But that said, a positive TSB is not necessary to perform well as long it’s not too negative.If am be able to bring my CTL end of May to 80 or 90 I hope be good. Why 80/90? I just want to be able to see the effect of what higher training stress (and better dosed) will do to my body, and more specifically for my FTP (2013 my max was 65 just after Mont Ventoux).. So, from April onwards I have to make sure I have a CTL of around 75 to make sure I do not make the same mistake to ramp it up too quick.
As said previously, after the first week of June basically my first two goals of the year are behind me (and achieved I hope) and by then I am going on a holiday with my family. We do not have that planned yet / no timing nor how long we will go / nor whether I am allowed to take the bike (if possible).With that uncertainty in mind and given the two other goals are end of July and end of August I have decided to cut my trainingplan in half. For the second two I will make a new plan (hopefully also) based on my learnings from the first plan.
The above basically comes down to the following graph:
I have built this graph in Excel in which I have made my trainingschedule. You may like it as trainingschedule set-up as well. It is still under construction, but for the time being it is good enough for me.
I wanted to put it here, but I cannot find a good transfersite. Just give me an e-mail and I will send it to you. Just for the time being.
I wanted to put it here, but I cannot find a good transfersite. Just give me an e-mail and I will send it to you. Just for the time being.
Short instruction Excel tool
The Excel tool: It starts with the startvalues of CTL, ATL and TSB. I got them from my WKO3+ software. My calendar starts at 29 september 2013. If you want to make sure the graphs keep on working on the ‘Graphical overview’ worksheet then do not delete any rows on the Training schedule worksheet. Rather if your calendar starts at a different date then just put new dates in column A. TSS, ATL, CTL and CTL ramp rates are calculated directly. The rest you put in manually. To make it easy to see where the current day is, you see a highlight in column A.
Idea behind the graphs is that you can zoom in to specific time periods dynamically which is something that lacks in WKO3+. You just see one graph and it’s not easy to go to a specific time period. If you have a lot of datapoints (years) than this graph can become handy.
I have filled my schedule until Trois Ballons. I will have more info later on how to train at that time but that will come (since at that time I also want to go on holiday). It’s not relevant for now.
I correct my planned data if I have the real data from my rides. If you have any remarks or things you would like to see just give me an e-mail and I can see whether to build it in.*Trademark of TraniningPeaks