My Road (back) to 300W Threshold

Hi Scott! First you are “cheating” with your highly “teasing” title. You should tell us what is your W/kg Threshold target rather than your pure one one. (You know I feel “mobbed” as yours is easier to achieved than mine :wink: ). Then I noticed something last year doing “too much” high intensity workouts like seiler of 4x4min dragging me red or yellow for a long time. Better do 2-3 “less intensive” Xert high intensity workouts during the week and seiler type 2-3 times a month only (despites studies tell us it would be better, however fell it is true on a short (1-2 months) training period only (not 6 months)). Keep us posted :grinning:

Hey Scott,
Thanks for sharing these insights. I am in a similar boot after a messy December. Not training, visiting family, switching my well balanced diet to a ton of frenche cheese, wine and Nutella mixed with a few days of sickness in between.
I lost a whole star of fitness, gained more than 3Kg fat and my HRV curve looks like this:

…which happens to describe well how my body feels.

Could I ask you to please also show you low/high/peak xss and TL distribution when you update your progress? Next to your HRV logs?
That I use to find the most interesting information, as the rest in general is more or less “just” executing the planner :slight_smile:

And a question as you are into sport science IIRC: Is there any indication that rebuilding fitness can benefit from the level someone had in the past? For muscle hyperthrophy that effect is well described in the literature and I wonder if something similar exists for edurance.
If it exists (given you’d know about it), I’d expect you would choose a higher IR to gain back. So I guess we are out of luck, right?

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Sure, here you go!
Strain distribution over the last 3 months:

Daily HRV readings over the last 3 months - taken in HRV4T using my iPhone camera:

Not quite sure I fully understand this question… basically are you asking how quickly athletes of different training loads can return to training following a break?

Especially if the return can be easier/faster than the first build towards a certain fitness level.
For hypertrophy its called muscle memory effect.
For endurance I quickly found this one: The Impact of Endurance Training on Human Skeletal Muscle Memory, Global Isoform Expression and Novel Transcripts - PMC
Unfortunately they didn’t measure any performance markers.

He’s talking about a residual fitness, something one retains from year to year, but that’s not reflected in one’s training load. Some adaption that remains and doesn’t readily fade.

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Different types of fitness take different lengths of time to build, but they also take different lengths of time to disappear when you don’t train them. A whileback TrainerRoad Blog had an article about this.

The original TrainerRoad source:

Training Residuals:

  • Aerobic Endurance – Establishment: 25-35 days; Residuals: 25-35 days
  • Anaerobic Power – Establishment: 14-22 days; Residuals 14-22 days
  • Muscle Endurance/Threshold – Establishment: 10-20 days; Residuals: 10-20 days
  • Sprint Power – Establishment: 2-8 days; Residuals: 2-8 days

Declines in Aerobic Capacity:

  • 1-7 days: negligible decrease
  • 10-14 days: 6% decrease
  • 14-30 days: 12% decrease
  • 30-63 days: 19% decrease
  • >63 days: 26% decrease

Minimum we can do to stay fast:

  • Aerobic Endurance – Once every 2 weeks, do a long, low-intensity ride. Ride long enough that the fatigue comes as a product of the ride’s duration, not its intensity. Example:Laurentian
  • Anaerobic Power – Once a week. Something along the lines of 30- to 60-second repeats upwards of 130% FTP should suffice. Example: Bird -1
  • Muscle Endurance/Threshold – Once a week. Try a 2×20-minute Threshold or even Sweet Spot workout. Example: Eichorn
  • Sprint Power – Once a week. Perform 4-6 all-out efforts somewhere between 20-30 seconds long. Example: Bays

Hi Scott @ManofSteele,
thanks for sharing your journey. I hope your training is going well!

I am only using Xert for 3 months now, but definitely find it amazing. With Xert and Zwift this might be my best ever winter training.
Two weeks ago I switched from the continuous program to target event (with similar numbers like yours, if I get my weight down a bit).
My IR is moderate-2 and my TL is going up from 92 to 140 (11 to 16 hours). And I switched to slow decay for now.

I like the structure of the target event plan, but I am wondering about the recovery. Is it really advised not to do classical recovery weeks?
If I am integration some recovery weeks, I will break the structure. If I don’t, I am not sure if I burn out - ok, this should not happen if I follow XATA and watch my form.

Do you follow your target event program without recovery blocks or are you using the 3/1 recovery week concept or any other? If you do so, how are you doing it? Recuing the IR for that week?

And how are you integration Breakthrough activities? Exchanging an interval training every few weeks and do a Breakthrough activity instead?



Thanks Marc! Glad to hear you’re finding Xert beneficial to your winter training!

Recovery weeks can be added whenever you’d like! To add a ‘recovery’ week, simply reduce your IR for a week. Maybe take a look at this thread! What Xert doesn’t do is give a cookie-cutter 3 weeks build, 1 week recovery for all athletes. I’ve found myself (at Moderate 2/Aggressive 1) right on the border of being red a few times, but haven’t felt the need for a full recovery week - part of which I attribute to taking a full rest day each week.

If I did feel like I needed a full recovery week, I’d likely reduce my IR to Slow or Maintenance for a week to allow myself to freshen up. This will keep your overall structure in place (high intensity may still be recommended), but the recommended XSS for each workout will be less during the week.

I’ve been using the ‘No Decay - Training Load Matched’ decay method this winter. I haven’t had a BT in 3 months now (!), just been watching my training load (and my Threshold) slowly grow. I’m up to 261 W now - a bit lower than I had hoped at this point, tbh - but I also think that figure might be a little underestimated. I may decide to push myself for a Breakthrough sometime in the near future. :slight_smile:

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Hi Scott, thanks for your detailed answer and the link to the other thread. I had some errors in my thinking, not taking into account the flexibility of Xert! I will listen to my body and to my Xert status and reduce IR when needed as long as needed and be a little playful with the Xert settings.

This was probably my best ever winter training with Xert and Zwift and I really felt doing the right workouts at the right time. That convinced me to buy my first ever power meter for outdoor training (45 now, cycling since 15). My Assiomas were delivered last week. With Xert I don’t feel that I am overwhelmed by the data of a power meter and its interpretation, but can really benefit from it, with struktured training and a lot of flexibility. I’m looking forward to do the first rides outside and using focus and interval target…

As also said from others, this real life topics are really helpful!


Still making steady progress towards my goal! I’ve continued to follow my training pacer recommendations, while still selecting a harder workout (10-15 min Focus) once or twice a week to keep some intensity through my Base phase:

I’ve reduced my Improvement Rate this week to let myself freshen up a bit before starting my Build Phase next week!

Assuming I can continue at an average of Moderate 2 Improvement Rate until my Target Event on April 30, Xert is predicting a TP of 279 W.

If I’m optimistic and can manage an Aggressive 1 IR until the event, Xert predicts 285 W TP. If I’m very optimistic, Xert predicts a TP of 290 W, if I can stick to an Aggressive 2 IR.


Stick a few BTs in there and you’re well on your way to 300w TP, something I’am also targetting :slight_smile:


Those who are about to die salute you! Let the build phase begin!
While I know that my body, at 54, does not have the same ability to recover as yours, I did take a look at what going from Moderate 2 to Aggressive 1 would mean. The payoff on race day is not a huge difference, but the time commitment gets unfeasible for someone with my life. I can’t afford the spousal approval credits that I would need. :wink:
The base phase went well. I find myself watching P2A race videos these days, lol. Here is my graph:


It is great to see your training going well! Good work!

After your advice I also decided to reduce IR by the end of my base phase for a few days up to one week.

Seeing your projected data is quite interesting.

Seems like I need a much higher TL than you for the same TP - good for you :slightly_smiling_face:

Interestingly my projected TL remained the same from the beginning of the program until now, but weekly hours needed increased from 15,5 to 16,6 (and sometimes more). Honestly I think the 15,5 hours will be the maximum training time I can invest - so this gives me a chance to have another slow week (but hoping to reach 300 W TP).
Is the increasing time a sign that I need to choose some harder workouts? So far I focused more on the training time than training load.

If you’re able to stick to the improvement rate, that’d be a very impressive change in Threshold! From ~250 W up to over 300 W TP! :boom: 20% increase in fitness! You’ll have to keep us posted as well!

This comparison/analysis is very individual. That’s why we define your training status (e.g. recreational, trained, elite, etc.) based on your training load/volume & not your actual signature… there are professional riders who would probably have a higher TP at a 2 star training load than I could ever achieve (even if I achieved a 5-star training load)!!

In the base phase, Xert is going to recommend a LOT of endurance riding (typically averaging ~60 XSS/hr), which means that accumulating volume at that intensity simply takes time. As you enter the build/peak phases, you’ll start to accrue XSS at a faster rate due to higher-intensity rides, which means that you can rack up the same (or more) XSS in the same amount of time, so you might actually not see a huge change in your weekly estimated training time.

What I’ve done throughout my base phase - while I’m stuck indoors on the trainer - is to manually select a ‘Climber’ focused workout once or twice per week to give me a bit higher dose of XSS to keep my progression moving along without needing to add too much extra time (I’ll add more time when I’m back to riding outdoors regularly).



im on the same road back, i had a good TP in my 30’s 12years ago. Now im 43 went back racing last year after 10 years off the bike. After a full CX season and good winter im getting close now. Getting ready for a cat 3 season


this was where i was 11 years ago proving age is just a number


Trusting the process! It can be very, very tough to see improvement in the day to day work of training, but it’s fun every once in a while to review how far you’ve come! Back when I started this thread, I was doing my endurance free-rides (‘easy’ riding) with ERG mode set to ~140 W.

As of this week, I’m now doing my ‘easy’ endurance rides with ERG set to ~190 W! And my Heart Rate is even lower now!

All this improvement from following my training pacer regarding how much XSS I need to train each day and selecting a harder workout once or twice a week throughout my winter base phase!


Interesting to follow, thanks. Have a few questions

  1. When do you plan your next BT? You must be starting build so may be good to check your signature as intensity increases…? (Hope for a positive surprise - always good to have a no decay BT!)
  2. How are you actually pacing your free ride days? That power increase is huge (well done) but I also notice it’s a much higher XSSR 65 vs 50 or so (so not driven by signature increases per se and not a % of LTP for example)… but lower HR ( so guess your not exactly using HR either)… is it RPE / feel on the day?
  3. How do those HR compare to max HR (if you don’t mind)? Guess around 80% during ‘work’ (ex warmup and cool down)?
  4. I’ll be interested to see how your training changes during build… do you plan to follow training recommendations on top of your two harder, manually selected days (so potentially three hard days)? Or shift from manual selection to following recommendations exclusively…or something else?

Thanks @wescaine ! Hope it’s interesting (or at least makes for some interesting dialogue…)

  1. I’ve been feeling that I’m probably ‘due’ for a signature check. It’s been 3 months since my last BT, which I used to establish my starting signature for this thread. Would be interesting to see what people would find most valuable - I haven’t done 20 min test for years, but I’ve seen some people express concern that not doing a longer test means that Xert inflates their Threshold. Would be super cool to see my signature (which has been tracked automatically by Xert for over 3 months) be able to accurately predict my 20 min power for a 20 min FTP test, wouldn’t it? But then I’d also have to do a 20 min test, so… haha!

  2. You’re exactly right. Most of the pure free-rides with EBC indoors are done by RPE. I aim for comfortably easy (11/20 on the Borg scale). I start the ride at 100 W and increase ~10W/min during the warmup until it starts feeling uncomfortably easy & then settle in at a steady pace. I didn’t directly use the ‘talk test’, but that would be another way to judge the intensity for these rides. I should be able to easily hold a conversation while riding at these intensities.

  3. My HRmax all of last year was 191 bpm. So at the beginning, I was riding at about 80% HRmax. The later ride I posted was at 76% HRmax. If you use HR ‘Zones’, then these rides were both mostly Z2 HR rides (upper end of Z2 for Strava/Garmin is ~150 bpm).

  4. I’ve already started switching to XATA recommendations in the build phase, since Xert is going to start recommending more high intensity in the build & peak phases. Rather than manually picking 2 days a week, I’ll let my Xert training status (and daily HRV readings) determine how often I’ll be doing high intensity training.

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I wonder what tool you use there to control the trainer?

I was doing something similar today as we had a rainy day below 15 deg in Spain.
I simply created a 2h flat LTP workout in xert which I was then playing viathe Xert app, adjusting the power here and there to feel compfortable.
But these +/-1 watt changes with sweaty fingers while pedaling via the app are such a drag.
Please Scott, I offer a beer for the developer who takes the 30min to improve that :slight_smile: Make it +/-3 watt per press. Or a tap to bring a huge slider to the screen. Or anything in that direction