We know that there are a lot of buzzwords, abbreviations and scientific terms to be found when it comes to cycling and training. We’ve pulled together a number of our more common terms to break them down a little and make them easier to understand.
Let’s start off easy…
Ride : a journey made on a bicycle, horse, motorcycle, or in a vehicle.
Revolution : the movement of an object in a circular or elliptical course around another or about an axis or centre.
RideRevolution : a cycling lifestyle company aimed at maximising the available training time allowance for each client on an individual basis.
FTP (Functional Threshold Power) – Put simply FTP is an ESTIMATE of your Anaerobic threshold, usually derived from a 20 – minute field based power test, the result of which is then usually multiplied by 0.95 to give you a hypothetical 60 minute maximal capability. This number is normally then used to determine your training zones. Often over obsessed with in our opinion, it is important to remember than this is only represents one component of the different areas of fitness required to perform well in the sport of cycling. At RideRevolution we tend to use this as a starting point to work from,
before moving towards a more data driven (training session analysis) philosophy as the rider/coach relationship develops.
ATL (Acute Training Load) – A weighted rolling average of daily Training Stress Score for the last 7 days. Often also called fatigue. The more training ‘load’ you do in a week, the higher this number will be.
CTL (Chronic Training Load) – A weighted average of daily Training Stress Score for the last 42 days. Also called Fitness by Trainingpeaks. Again, often it’s importance is over-emphasised in our opinion. Of course an increasing trend line shows a trend of increased training load and vice versa, but simply getting out on your bike and completing the highest possible training load all of the time will not create a fast bike rider. The potential sweet spot for an individual rider will be highly determined by a number of factors, so focussing purely on getting your CTL as high as possible would be a poor training strategy.
TSB (Training Stress Balance) – Often called form, this near-term metric is determined by the relationship between your fatigue and fitness on the prior day. Used to represent readiness to perform at peak potential. High positive values may indicate undertraining or freshness and when used correctly will lead to better race day performance. High negative values may indicate overtraining or short term fatigue and usually would mean poor race performance.
TSS (Training Stress Score) – The training load of a given workout based on duration and intensity. Can be calculated from power or heart rate. 1 hour at FTP would equal 100TSS. In effect this score tells you how hard the ride was for you. A stronger rider will naturally be able to handle a higher training load on a given ride before beginning to see a drop off in performance.
W/Kg (Watts per Kilogram) – The ratio of a cyclist’s weight to their power output. Again – in our opinion – it’s importance is often over-emphasised. The recent trend for an increased knowledge of the importance of aerodynamics has gone a long way towards helping to reduce the issue of weight related psychological issues, but even for those still focussed on their W/Kg, it is important to remember that a healthy well fuelled rider will be a lot faster than a a rider with a slightly lower body fat percentage that consistently under fuels. The body requires enough energy to recover and adapt, so we would always advocate aiming to make sure you eat enough as oposed to aiming to run a calorie deficit.
Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) – A subjective rating we use when coaching athletes who use neither power or heart rate. We will set a session scoring different parts of the ride out of 10 so that the rider knows how hard to go at any given time.
EF (Efficiency Factor) – The ratio of Normalized Power or Normalized Graded Pace to average heart rate for a given workout/section of a workout if highlighted. One of the many things your coach will look at when analysing rides. An increase in this number over time can indicate an improved level of fitness
Pw:Hr (Aerobic Decoupling) – A measure of how much your power changes relative to your heart rate from the beginning of a ride to the end. A lower value for lower intensity rides over time can be an indication of improving aerobic fitness. This figure is highly influenced by anything that may lead to small Hr changes for the same power, so be careful when monitoring your PW:HR. For example many riders regularly produce negative Pw:hr relationships on morning rides simply because they begin their rides shortly after eating breakfast, meaning the data is effecively useless.
NP (Normalized Power) – An estimate of the true physiological cost of a workout or effort. Efforts above FTP are weighted more than efforts below FTP, so naturally the more intense efforts you make, the higher the difference between the NP and Average power will be. Your coach may look at this in relation to race performance. Also see IF (intensity Factor)
IF (Intensity Factor) – A score given to show the retio of a riders NP to their FTP for a given workout/part of a workout. A higher value indicates a higher intensity of work for the given athlete.