Completed XFAI Target Event

Finally just completed the event I established an XFAI training plan for back when the beta launched and had a few thoughts along the way.

For reference, I set-up a plan in the beta straight away but really got rolling from the 2nd week of January. My TL for the week before that was 25.4 (1 star) and with a few tweaks along the way set it up for a ~6 hours Polar Rouleur Recreational Group Ride [based on how long I think I’d take and that ride type gave me the ‘polar rouleur’] with 10 hours a week giving me an event readiness of 3 (I think) and an estimated 385 XSS event.

The event was a ‘Gran Fondo’ Type event of 142 km and ~1400 m climbing. Soft goal was sub-5.5 hrs moving time and/or sub-6 hrs total time.

So how did it go/what did I realise?

  1. 94 rides later (From Jan) my TL hit 61.3 (2.5 stars) Fitness signature is confusing because of some ‘corrective’ breakthroughs but a ~10 W increase in TP and 2 kJ of HIE over 3 months is where it lands. Event time was 5 hrs 18 mins moving 6 hrs 44 sec total w/ PRs on all 4 categorised climbs.

  2. Being a beta there was a touch of anxiety going all in on letting it guide, that was washed away awhile ago! The platform reached all goals, got me to the fittest I have been in the past 6 years off 3 months of training, let me set a very clear schedule and dealt admirably with both missed rides and all the rides that were either undercooked or overcooked relative to targets, something other platforms have not done well.

  3. The XFAI platform layout has come a long way [Kudos to the team!!] since its start. The layout is really clear (For example in the beginning I mistook ‘polar’ in polar rouleur as being the training would be polar…new layout much easier to see whats going where]

  4. One thing I noticed as I came to the end of the plan that could be improved was that it was a slight let down to log-in on the event morning and see the XFAI plan was gone and back to XATA (and all the green circles gone with it)…Probably minor and not for everyone but I think it is motivating/part of what you want to capture/preserve for an average cyclist like me is all the green/amber circles where you got it done even if life was busy i.e. it’s not that I went for a 60 XSS ride that Thursday which is all I see now, it’s that the 60 XSS ride kept me on my training target and I fit it in despite having to work long hours then. Similarly for the event seeing advice, and then whether I hit my goal/what to do different if I didn’t would be valubale. Ideally all this could be preserved in the planner/history as being in the “this event plan” and they stay as is with XATA back the day after and new XFAI not impacting retrospectively (ideally it would never go retrospectively but have seen that before).

  5. A bonus topic…the carb field is fantastic. For tracking during the event on Garmin, sure…but even more so seeing it on all the lead-in was a good way to know I burn more than I thought even on low intensity days and needed to prepare accordingly…normally I’d have gone a bar every hour starting at 90 mins plus an electrolyte drink for about ~250 g total, this time I knew I needed more and took on ~400 g. Felt much better - able to jump on pacelines rather than having to let them go by.


Thanks Alex for sharing.

I’ve pinned this to the top of the forum because it highlights some key aspects of training with AI systems that I think users need to be aware of.

AI-based training is gaining a lot of attention these days across many areas of sport. With the advent of ChatGPT and applying Machine Learning to large datasets, there’s more and more opportunities to analyze data and offer athletes ways they can use a system that will act like a coach.

However, the main drawback and likely the limitation of such systems is that there is really no proof that the AI method is indeed going to work better than any other method, AI or not. Just because it’s AI and it’s doing something we don’t know, doesn’t mean its better. In fact, with a real coach you have a reputation of success and a training philosophy that matches what you feel you need. With an AI-coach you have no such reputation of success and no assurance that the method implements a methodology that aligns with what you need. (If you knew what that was, you wouldn’t need an AI-coach!!!). With AI-based systems, opacity shouldn’t be perceived as a good thing and somehow better because the machine is doing something we don’t understand.

While XFAI is still new, it does offer athletes a unique opportunity to view how the progress will happen during the course of the training. You can see how things change in multiple dimensions when the forecast gets created and also when it gets adapted in terms of moving your training around to accommodate changes. It’s not the AI-coach blackbox that offers training without showing your work. This is key we feel to making AI methods a success and knowing that the AI has been part of that success.

We hope that clearing the opacity of AI-based training is what will ultimately help athletes improve and know that they will improve and that the improvements are from how the system has mapped out the training. We look forward to many more stories like this one.

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Nice results!

I was also a little bummed that the plan results clear on target date but it makes sense as numerous changes to original plan may have occurred along the way.
I’m not sure hanging on to my green circles is valuable in the long run :thinking: plus a bunch of forecast data would need to be retained on file.
What might be more useful would be a pinpoint marker/flag on the XPMC chart to indicate completed plans. Mouseover would include basic Program Type settings from your plan.
Title: XFAI Plan Completed.
Start/Target Date, Mixed GC Specialist, Goal
Start/Target Date, Polar Climber, Event.
Perhaps duration such as 12.4 weeks.

It wouldn’t matter how many changes occured during the plan as long as you reach the Target Date without clearing the plan (i.e. cancelled before completion).
The same icon could show up on the Planner and display the info on mouseover or tap.
IOW a simple historical marker on the chart and calendar indicating any XFAI plans you’ve completed in the past.

Example mock-up:

If you want to get fancy tapping the flag would set the start/end date range for the XPMC chart. :smiley:

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Yeah maybe keeping it indefinitely is a bridge too far on the servers. Other options would be a downloadable report that’s maybe available for a week after end for those that want it before it’s gone that could basically be the activity page/ a table for everything showing target and completed for every session.

From a promotional perspective a summary that could go with the event upload would maybe help too as it would show how Xert built the individual up to the result they just achieved/are posting about.

If you went all in on it for promoting the platform maybe you’d go for a spotify/Strava wrapped type summary of the XFAI plan people could post onto their social media - consistent with the “your so lucky your good at X. The Luck” trend on social media

Also like the idea of showing on progression tab the zoomed window so you can see the changes it made.

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