Garmin Edge 520 Plus & Smart workouts

I have been using My Garmin Edge 520 Plus for all Xert workouts (mainly indoors but I also tried it outdoors). I was just wondering if I should see any noticeable changes in the a smart workout behaviour? Should I see longer (or shorter) intervals, or when training on the trainer with ERG mode on, should I feel a reduction of power that needs to be applied to the pedals?

I’m assuming that If there are no noticeable changes in the intervals or power, It must means that I’m hitting the right numbers?

I’m asking because there are some instances that I was not able to finish an interval (and it was a Smart Workout).

Thanks in advance for all replies. Cheers!


Xert workout players (iOS, EBC/Android, or Connect IQ/Garmin) utilize all features of Xert workouts such as curvilinear and XXSR intervals.
As long as you are using the Connect IQ app on the Garmin to run the workout in AUTO mode then SMART workouts will run as designed. That includes variable power and variable duration intervals depending on the interval’s definition.

1 Like

Yes, think you have it mostly right, and note that with ERG mode the actual and target power are closely matched, so the workout should follow the targets and you won’t notice large SMART adjustments. There are some exceptions eg short dynamic power intervals can ramp up considerably due to delays in the trainer ramping resistance, followed by Xert realizing it needs to increase target power to compensate… in a cycle… or short dynamic duration intervals can run longer than originally planned for the same reason

Other point is that SMART workouts don’t actually get easier to compensate for fatigue or ability to complete a workout. They just adjust either power or duration to make sure you hit the targeted level of fatigue… in the example above the power increases when you struggle to hit target. Alternative is that duration increases (also harder). If you are close to failure and want to ease up, you can reduce the intensity (on your garmin)

Aside from failing due to power targets exceeding MPA (not built into many workouts, just breakthrough ones), failing a workout can happen if difficulty is too high (referred to as central fatigue), and your ability to complete difficult workouts is also affected by recovery, other life stresses etc. Good summary here

1 Like

I think that assumption mostly comes from an old DC Rainmaker review. I’m a big fan of Ray and he is almost never wrong but in this case he was.
Smart workouts never try to account for you having done a hard run or other activity unknown to Xert just before your ride or coming down with a cold or not sleeping well or whatever and try to make things easier on the fly while doing the workout. On the contrary they adjust the length or power to get you to do the work you were assigned to do by the workout designer.

The adjustment to your real capabilities happens with breakthrough and near breakthrough rides and adjusting your signature according to your training load between workouts.
If you don’t feel well you need to adjust the freshness feedback slider or the intensity (100%) of the workout yourself. There is no magic “oh he can’t do that today, let’s dial it down” in Xert workouts. At least as far as I know.
Would be very cool though :wink:
Let’s hope the heart rate metrics science and measurement gets to a point in the near future where that could be combined to account for all the other stuff live throws our way that impact our training.
Might be a solution for the lack of long term fatigue as well. In real life you can’t ride at 99% FTP for 10h, Xert thinks you should, with an insane difficulty probably but no breakthrough. It’s a model of reality and not perfect but I believe it is the best model currently available.

1 Like

Thanks for all your replies, I’ll keep pedaling to get to the end of the interval! :grin:

Which workout was it?
It is unusual if I don’t complete a recommended workout as long as diamond count doesn’t exceed stars status and I am feeling fresh/not tired for any HI workouts.
Most SMART workouts in the library taper down intensity sometime after mid-point so if you can survive two thirds the remainder is a relief. :slight_smile:
OTOH if they are VO2max intervals all bets are off. :sob:

1 Like