Follow XATA with free ride alongside

Iam new to xert and thinking how to use xata workout recommendation. I live in a hilly location, so it would be hard to impossible to execute smart workouts (having recovery interval while riding up hill). I was thinking that I could re-create Xert workout, that intervals could be activated by lap button (it garmin workout creator allows). But I came to conclusion, that the best might be just follow XATA recommendation (focus or I can say intensity and total XSS) without structured workout. Please correct me if my conclusion is wrong. To be sure, that I got it correctly (read glossary, went through forum and listened to podcasts -13too), I have a few questions:
1-xata will recommend me focus (which is intensity, not duration), then follow target interval (which are Watts I could be at, with max duration I can sustain). How long should I be at this target Watts - as long as possible (I read that its estimated of the power target I should be looking to maintain during intervals), so there is really no duration? And when being in recovery interval, there is no interval either?
2-is any range/zone/ around this target interval e.g.±10W ? I know that it works with contribution ratio, so it can calculated my other effort too.
3-app Focus and strain for garmin will show my focus for whole training, but I am thinking, is not more efficient and perhaps easier to follow just target Watts(focus) instead of follow this datafield showing ultimate result (focus)of my ride? I am able to see on website after ride is uploaded anyway.

As I was searching all possible info about this, I would welcome straight answers, instead of linking me to read some glossary, which I surely already did. Thank you

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If you don’t have any gently rolling loops for riding structured workouts on, what about riding a trainer 2-3x/week instead?

Its no option for me. I am not a racer, I want to enjoy riding bike and those winter indoor rides are for me already hard enough to stand. I cannot wait for better weather arriving with spring every year, which allows me to ride outdoor. If I should ride indoor even during the summer, I would rather ride bike not at all. It sometimes needs to be pain too, but at first place, it has to be fun.


What I will try to do this year when the weather gets better is just free ride to a focus duration. I will get an estimate target power from XATA and then just ride according to the terrain. Go easy in sections that get interruptions from traffic lights and when I know I have a good stretch of road ahead I will go hard. I will let the terrain dictate the duration of my efforts while I decide the power. As I don’t have a garmin I will just check the focus of my ride at the end of it and then adapt for the next time out.

Hi Danny,

We created a very quick introductory video on how you can use the XATA advice and the real-time focus available on your Garmin (or via Android) to freestyle a workout. Generally, your goal is to accumulate as much time near the target power as possible (increasing the specificity of the ride), but obviously you don’t want to fatigue yourself too much. When I’m aiming to do this, I’ll usually aim for ~50% of the TTE of the recommended power… i.e. if the recommended interval is at my 10 min power, I’ll try to ride it ~5 min. We don’t have ‘zones’, but if you can stay around +/- 10W of the recommended interval, that’s generally sufficient. How many intervals you may do likely depends on many factors that you may need to account for, including what is your recommended XSS target, how fresh are you, are you aiming to get a BT from the workout as well, etc. You can quickly create workout (even if you don’t save it) to give you an idea of how many intervals you need, and how long they need to be (approx).

You’ll notice that it will become increasingly difficult to move the focus duration the longer into the ride that you get, since focus is determined from total strain. This is why the Focus will jump around so much at the start of a ride before eventually settling in to a point where you can start to manipulate the focus towards the target focus via your interval intensity and durations. Generally, anything over a focus of 20:00 is almost pure endurance day, so those days I simply aim to keep the intensity below LTP until I’ve accumulated the recommended XSS.

Hope this is a good starting point. Would like to hear if any other people are using this as well, or if you have any other questions. Cheers

Helo Scott,

you have been very informative (as always :+1:). I actually watched that video already, it was very good, I would likely have no idea how to use datafield to its full use, without watching your insturctions… But did not know a few things,which you explained me - length of workout (will keep it on ~50%), power range (I can use focus color too, to show me specifity - green, blue). And you did very good point about focus over 20min. ,which is endurance. I was wondering how to use it for longer rides.

But you write “aim to keep the intensity below LTP” for pure endurance day, but in other post about power for endurance, you wrote anything under TP is OK,which both might be true, but what is ideal wattage for long endurance ride (3hours+)? I know, that some short efforts are all right, but what Wattage should I idealy stay at LTP-TP, or e.g. 80%LTP-100%LTP or something like that?
I set up my garmin screen as you had with all 3 Xert datafields, but I just guess how to properly use TTR, TTE datafield. I noticed that you perhaps use TTR to know when to start next interval? Should it be use in a way, that I will not proceed next interval till fully recovered - TTE =0? (might apply only for short focus - high power…?) thank you

So far in Xert, the only difference between riding under LTP and riding over LTP is the rate at which you accumulate XSS and accumulate low recovery load(and difference in Fat/Carb utilization, if we’re being technical). So, from a modeling perspective, the absolute intensity is somewhat irrelevant so long as you arrive at/near the recommended XSS for the day.

For a 3+ hour ride, you might aim for LTP to be your upper boundary (some harder efforts are unavoidable and thats okay). At the start, LTP will feel pretty manageable, but after a few hours in the saddle, it may be difficult to hold near LTP, so you may need aim for a reduced percentage of LTP as the ride progresses. For very long events, you can also keep an eye on your Fat/Carbs datafield and simply keep the fat data-field RED (indicating vast majority of calories are coming from fats). You should try to avoid burning 60+g/hour of Carbs, since your body can only absorb about 60-90g/hour. So you may also find that helpful.

could you as well let me know about using TTR, TTE datafield. It looked, that you used TTR to know when to start next interval? Should it be use in a way, that I will not proceed next interval till fully recovered - TTE =0? (applied for short intervals)
I considered endurance training being zone 2 with 56-75% of FTP (coggan). In polarized and xert training, endurance is at level LTP(LT1- 77% of FTP), which is tempo my ride - LTP is 83% of my TP. I read some article about polarized training ( and listened fast talk ep51,54 with Stephen Seiler) and considering that riding base phase at LTP set up by Xert may be causing more harm than good. But I migh have just incorect fitness signature. I did lactate test a year ago and my 2mnol lactate, which is LTP (LT1) was at 60% of FTP, I checked that with test from 2018 and it was 65%. So I wil do some outdoor breakthrough to try if my signature adjustes and likely do endurance ride at about 65%FTP or 65maxHR, lactate test is not possible due current corona virus situation (but would be interesting compare lab test with xert LTP)

Yeah, you can use the TTR app and either set it to 100% MPA. If you wish to do a couple of intervals back to back, and use fatigue from the earlier interval to boost the strain of the following interval, you can start the next interval before MPA has fully recovered (for an example, see workouts like Micros with Target MPA).

We don’t use discreet Zones, but instead treat training as a continuum (using Focus & specificity to tell us detailed information about how the strain was applied during a workout or activity), so hard to compare Zone based training to Xert’s methodology. I suspect LTP is likely ~100-110% of the 1st lactic threshold, but for being completely non-invasive and without requiring an expensive lactate meter to test, it’s usually close enough to LT1 to use as a foundation for base training.

Using Xert’s methadology is it better to achieve a recommended Focus during the entirety of a ride or just during an interval section of a ride? This seems important because if you try to achieve a Focus for the entirety of a ride (especially if it is a long one of 200-400 XSS) it requires you to do a significantly higher power during intervals than those prescribed as “interval target power”.
And Scott recommends for interval length 50% of the TTE of the recommended power, but he stops interval at 4min TTE, when doing 5 minutes focus duration at YT tutorial (, should not it more be 2.5minutes?

Sorry if I wasn’t more clear sooner on this topic. I’ll elaborate a little more now.

Generally the 1/2 of focus duration is a general rule of thumb that works for many people. As you spend more time at the recommended power, MPA will decrease more (XSS/hr will increase, as will difficulty), so you may need to spend overall less time at the recommended intensity. In practice, this would mean less repetitions of longer intervals. This might be good if you’re able to handle the difficulty & strain, perhaps late into the built phase. However, athletes with a lower training load or athletes that are earlier into a build may not be able to handle that harder effort, so it may be easier to break it into more repetitions of shorter intervals, if that makes sense.

I also briefly touched on this topic on the Facebook group, where I stated that the other key to the equation is specificity. Focus looks at the accumulation of low, high, and peak strain and provides the resulting focus duration. Specificity looks at how that strain accumulated matches the work allocation ratio. Think of it this way, if you noodle along for 1 hour and then sprint all-out for 15s, you might end up with a focus duration of 1:00. But the ride didn’t really train your 1:00 power, because none of your efforts were performed at 1:00 power. This would have a very low (polar) specificity rating, compared to a ride that had a pure 1:00 focus, which would require you to spend a significant portion of your ride at/near 1:00 power.

Hope that makes a little sense!


Is it correct TTE and TTR can not be chosen to be displayed live in EBC?

Not at the moment, unfortunately.

Ok thanks, no need to search for it any longer :wink: