Continuous Improvement. How to use it to improve

I really like the idea of continuous improvement but I am pondering how best to use it.
@xertedbrain wrote elsewhere
Continuous Improvement doesn’t have a end date. It’ll will help you see, relative to your Athlete Type and Improvement Rate where you were 6 weeks ago and where you’ll be 6 weeks from now if you maintain the Improvement Rate. Focus is on your Athlete Type but not as specific as you would get in the Build phase with a Target event training program

Currently I am trying to rebuild base fitness after a layoff and my goal is to do longer rides and climbs, virtually, eventually an Everesting attempt.

I have set my phenotype to Century rider and that is fine but every ride in this period is an endurance ride, which is what I expected.

In a few weeks time I will wish to move to a ‘polarised’ plan with plenty of base and a couple of hard sessions a week. I therefore assume that I will find a phenotype that offers that combination.

What my thought would be that it would be good if a blog entry was posted which broke the rider types down and indicated the type and number of sessions per week. That would then allow an easy way of amending your training based on rider type and using CI to its best.

I hope that makes sense.


There’s a lot of it depends for this type of blog, especially pertaining to the type and number of sessions per week. It might make Xert a little more challenging to understand at first, but I think makes Xert overall a more effective training platform. But could definitely be worthy of a blog post!

With that being said, I can provide some general comments here - How many HIIT sessions you will be recommended will depend on how much HIIT an athlete can tolerate (with respect to High/Peak TL’s, which affect how quickly you recover from yellow to blue).
The types of sessions that you will be assigned will be dependent on your selected athlete type. With Century Rider selected (lowest focus athlete type), you really wont be recommended any HIIT workouts. For a general all-arounder, I’d recommend an athlete type in the attacker range (Puncheur, Breakaway Specialist, or Rouleur).


On the Continuous plan, would it be possible to, well, plan the training with the usual 3 weeks with slowly increasing loads, then with a 4th week of “recovery” at about half the load of the last week ? Then repeat with the 3+1 weeks…


I’d be curious to know the answer to this as well @GoustiFruit . I made the switch from time trialling to longer distance riding earlier this year due to injury and also wanting a more holistic type of cycling for want of a better phrase. Up to now my approach of just getting the rides in as served me okay, but it is now obvious that I’m starting to lose a bit of fitness, particularly more sustained and top end efforts, so on hearing about the Continuous Improvement option I’m curious as after listening to one of the recent podcasts it does seem to fit with my goals and the way I’d like to train.

However I am a little confused about how exactly it differs from following the tried and tested 120 day base/build/peak option, and how I’d structure recovery into a continuous plan as the title tends to suggest no recovery. Also how long a time period would the continuous option be suitable for? I haven’t got an event date, but I am doing an audax challenge of a 200km ride once a month at the moment. I have considered the option of following the 120 day option for a rider type such as Rouleur then having a couple of weeks rest around Christmas (busy time at work) and then starting again with another rider type, would this be a better option?


I’m also interested in this. Currently considering gravel rides and endurance MTB as my primary events - so most events would fall into the “endurance” athlete type.

I have a background in ML and this kind of methodology, applied to other domains, so I understand most of the principles. I don’t have a lot of endurance training experience though.

In general, you’ll find that the Continuous Improvement Program Type will behave similarly to the ‘Peak’ phase of the 120 day Target Event Day Program Type. Typically, on days of Blue/Green freshness, XATA will recommend HIIT at/near your selected athlete type. On days of Yellow freshness, some sub-threshold endurance work will be recommended. And on Red freshness, only active recovery (read as ‘rest day’) will be recommended :slight_smile:

You can change the improvement rate at any time with the continuous program, just like with the TED program type. So you could choose to leave IR set at Moderate - 2 for 3 weeks, and then switch to Maintenance/Taper/Off-Season for a week to recover before switching it back to Moderate - 2 again after the recovery week. Xert is extremely flexible once you have an understanding of the basic principles of adaptive training.


Thanks, I will give it a go and see how it works out. Certainly until the end of this year then hopefully I’ll have a better idea of dates that I want to target for next year. It is the flexibility that I love about Xert, particularly with regards to the sort of riding I’m currently doing.

I can make a separate thread if folks are interested about how I’m using the Continuous Improvement for my training? Perhaps you’ll find it interested and/or helpful.


That would be great. I think with the new options it would be useful to have an idiots guide. Well for me anyway, stronger in the legs than brain!

Great idea, Scott! I will highly appreciate your input.

Hi Scott, have you started the thread? If not, appreciate if you will. I also need some guidance on how to use the Continuous improvement.

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I’m interested in this write up too.
I switched to continuous improvement a number of weeks ago after losing interest in training for an event I’d trained for 3 times due to covid. Having switched I don’t think it fits what I’m after which is just maintaining my current fitness. I set my improvement rate to maintenance and left my rider type at rouleur and xert basically tells me to do a 4+ rouleur ride every day. I love hard sessions but not that much. I’m sure naming these things must be hard but I don’t think you can continually improve anyway and certainly not by beating yourself every day with maxed out sessions. Clearly I’ve not been following the advice and mix up endurance and harder sessions. It may be that xert is just not designed for my situation which is fine, I’ll continue to use it as I like the array of workouts.


I’ve been using Continuous Improvement (CI) for a while now. I like the idea as I’m not targeting any specific events. My problem is the increasing number of hours. Right now it has me at 11 hours/week increasing to around 14 hr/wk. I really can’t and don’t want to go much beyond the hours I’m already putting in. How can I continue using the CI model without the system just increasing the hourly requirements?

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A nice problem to have. Perhaps reduce your improvement rate and then when you max out on hours set it to maintenance and switch your focus every 4-6 weeks.

At Maintenance Improvement Rate, Xert will keep your Training Load approximately the same. Weekly hours might change based on the average XSSR of your activities/workouts. You are correct - there comes a point where you can no longer improve due to lack of time in the day. This typically occurs around the end of the riding season. At this point, you can either switch to maintenance (which will maintain that Training Load) or select a decreasing improvement rate (Taper/Offseason).

Set Improvement Rate to maintenance! That should keep weekly volume relatively constant

Thanks Scott! Wouldn’t setting Improvement Rate to maintenance negate the concept of continuous improvement? It would be nice to have a setting for max hours per week or ideally a hours per individual day setting and let the system modify the intensity of the workouts. I want to keep improving, not just hold steady, however I do recognize that at some point time is a limiter.

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@gtboulder I completely agree and share the same wishes. I am also on ‘continuous’ and very close to bumping against my reasonably allowed time (alas, I’m not retired yet!). I would also very much like being able to specify the amount of time I have available, and have Xert administer the proper training under the time constraint.

Same here - would love to have the option to put a daily/weekly time limit on the plans.

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I’m struggling after reading all this to decide which way to go, how is Continuous Improvement better than the more traditional base/build/peak method? I’m targeting several long distance rides next year and can’t decide how best to use the system. I’m more used to the periodised way of training starting with base and then progressing as time/fitness moves on. How would the Continuous Improvement option achieve this, or is it really more of a short term option? Any advice would be much appreciated.

The way I see it is a long term option – I have zero interest in racing and I have no notion of ‘peak,’ so I naturally see my training as ‘continuous.’