For Heavy Domain training, start by anchoring here. This keeps your range away from the Severe Domain, where the recovery cost of your session rises much faster than the benefit from working a fraction higher.
What you call the zones doesn’t matter.
Figure out the correct anchor for the stimulus you are seeking
Know the effective range of your training
Consider if your range overlaps a higher intensity domain
Set endurance anchors bottom-up
Consider checking in-workout lactates to confirm the above
When you have a fatigue mismatch, it is likely because you are training more intensely than you realize.
When you have upward drift in your heart rate, consider backing off.
The most common “intensity” mistake is blowing right past T- into the Severe Domain (above FT/CP/LT2)
Floods the body with lactate
Recovery greatly extended
Time at intensity reduced, for small gain in work rate
We don’t graduate to crushing ourselves in the Severe Domain – we learn how to use the Heavy Domain wisely.
CTL is a proxy for fitness – it’s what you’ve actually managed to do for the last six weeks.
TIP: the speed your CTL increases is called your “load ramp” – a common error for athletes is too quick a load ramp.
CTL should be fairly stable – if it is not then look deeper.
Do you have unplanned misses? injuries? illnesses?
Your mind will try to wrap a story around the misses.
Don’t worry about why.
Your training zones are set too high
Your loading days are too big
You have too many loading days
Two loading days each week, a stable CTL, a life that’s under control…
Gives you plenty to work with.
In the TP world, “fatigue” is measured by Acute Training Load, ATL. This is your average score for the last week (7 days).
If we take your CTL (fitness) and subtract your ATL (fatigue) then we can see how “fresh” you are. TP calls this your “form.”
Each athlete will have a personal tolerance for how negative they can take their form.
When you get “too tired” have a look at your “form” score and see how negative it was before you tipped over the edge.
We ALL make mistakes – the framework gives you a way to see if there is a pattern to your loading mistakes.
If it the above seems too much then you can simplify your approach!
Use HRV4Training and taking a morning HR measurement. Marco’s app will help you decide if it is a good day to load, recover, or rest.
Green light (load), Yellow light (maintenance or easy), Red light (recovery).
For now, I don’t recommend other company “readiness metrics” – they don’t work, yet.
To show how the week comes together, let’s dig into a case study – my current situation
My CTL is ~75 points.
Easy day – 25-50 points (below CTL)
Maintenance day – 75 points (around CTL)
Loading day – 150 points (2x CTL)
The key error here is one you’ve heard before…
Keep your easy days easy
In order to give yourself capacity to absorb your Loading Days, you need to recover from them!
This means you need to limit:
Number of loading days in a week
The size of the loading day, relative to CTL (your “average” day)
Many athletes load themselves into the ground, go stale, recover, then repeat the cycle, perhaps with injury/illness for variety!
This pattern will leave you undertrained because you are doing too much training.
When I was younger, I tolerated bigger Loading Days – start with two days a week at 2x CTL
The game with CTL is to gradually build sustainable load – that’s a superior game to seeing how hard you can smash yourself every single weekend.
CTL will seem like a long game to you. Six weeks is NOTHING – barely enough time to create an overuse injury.
1,000 days is the shortest cycle you should be thinking about. Amateur athletes should be thinking on an Olympic Cycle – 2 years base building, 1 year performance-focused, 1 year health-focused – repeat forever!
The majority of your load should be Moderate Domain aerobic load (Zone 1 and Zone 2). This is very different to what you will think you need. You are going to be battling your urge to “go hard” and self-sabotage.
Training Peaks helps make mistakes visible – it’s up to you to address your mistakes.
Now we are ready to discuss the week, itself.
Similar to the Big Picture, write down what you are trying to achieve. From my week just past:
Elevation change run
Bike long ride (2,000kj)
Those were specific workouts I wanted to include.
Something important I didn’t do last week
Something I want to add
Correcting an error from prior week (2,800kj was too much)
All the other sessions stay the same: (a) endurance training focus; and (b) strength sessions.