Newbie: HELP needed with Workout Focus duration doubt

Apologies if this is a stupid question lacking fundamental understanding of how Xert works but it’s the second time I pick a smart workout which has “Optimal focus” and after execution I end up with a session which had a different focus.
Can anyone tell me if I am doing anything wrong as I am getting a bit frustrated and slowly losing faith in Xert?
This morning I checked my XATA which read:
" Your current [Training Status] is Fresh and should consider a **[Breakaway Specialist] activity or workout"
So I pick the “SMART - Blood and Thunder” which offers Optimal Focus and after 90minutes I end up with a GC Specialist Focus which is not exactly what I had hoped for.
Is this normal?
I was always on target with the exception of the first three hard 30secs intervals where I did 420w vs 527w in the first, 445w vs 527w in the second and 480w vs 527w in the third. I guess in the first two I wasn’t really warmep-up and it takes a few secs to get to target power anyway hence the 30secs average ends up being a bit lower.
I was quite comfortable and on target for the rest of the session.
A similar thing happened this week with the workout SMART Headstrong 90 which has Breakaway Specialist as focus and I ended up with a Puncheur focus workout (not as bad here).
Some background info which may help:
My signature:
218 W Threshold Power
23.7 kJ High Intensity Energy
1,009 W Peak Power
294 W 5 Minute Power
159 W Lower Threshold Power

My TP has gone down from 221 to 218w in 14 days. I was a bit ill for a couple days.
Yesterday I decided to switch my Program Type from “Continuous” to “Target Event” in April 2023 with SLOW Improvement Rate hence Xata tells me I am now in a pre-base phase.
I am track cyclist (Scratch, Points, Elimination…) in my off season and selected the “Breakaway Specialist” Athlete type following the advice in the XERT documentation with the Ranking telling me I am both a Road Sprinter and a Puncheur.
I hope this makes sense and I have not omitted any vital piece of info.
Many thanks in advance to anyone who may be so kind to spend some time reviewing my issue and providing some wisdom. :pray:

Nothing wrong, just that if you don’t follow workouts exactly you get a different focus. Being below target as you describe means longer focus duration. Also doing a longer (or easier) warm up or cool down will have the same effect. Or adding some base riding after your intervals. I don’t see that as an issue, as long as you are getting roughly as much high intensity strain as you wanted

Regarding TP decline, are you on optimal decay (default) or ‘no decay’? If you don’t plan to do a BT regularly you should switch to no decay for that period (eg off season, base phase) otherwise your signature will end up lower than reality over time. Make sure to follow instructions closely to ensure the ‘no decay’ starts from the right time / signature. And that eventually you do a real BT again to make sure your signature reflects your fitness.

Athlete type seems to make sense from what you describe.

So overall, all good, just decide which decay setting is right for your plans.


Thanks Wesley. Your reply is really useful.
I guess my poor warm up and initial efforts should explain the 3 minutes difference in Focus Duration. I will give it another go to seek confirmation soon.
I was on default decay and have now switched “no decay” using a BT achieved on the track in mid October.
I did follow the instructions however I only have the three month of data in my profile loaded at the time of the start if my trial. Now that I am a Premium member I wonder if it’s worth uploading all the years of power data. Not even sure this is possible and how to do it.
The historical data is good by the way.
I feel I still have a lot to learn.

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The very old data won’t affect things but it can be interesting to look at past races… look at progression over time etc.

More recent e.g. this year could affect things, depending on how often you’ve been doing all-out efforts that would lead to a breakthrough (and whether your mid October BT was truly all-out). Can’t remember how to do it but guess it’s somewhere in the sync menu?

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Yes, it was a 450mt sprint at the end of a hard 30mins rotation block at the track.I’ll see if I can sync at least one year of data/racing. It would be nice. Thanks again.
Forgot to say today during my session I also had issues (for the first time) with the power reading zeroing on my phone and remote session on the laptop. It was happening quite frequently and was really annoying. The power never zeroed on my Garmin device though, so I assume it’s some kind of issue with the BT signal of the phone? I saw a previous post where some tips were provided…I hope it won’t happen again :expressionless:
Thanks again!

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UPDATE: I managed to sync one year worth of training and racing and my signature was updated adding a few more watts to the TP (I thought it was too low) and lowering the Peak Power (I thought it was too high! ). I consider the uploaded data to be very good.
I did another Breakaway Specialist indoor session today (Guts over Fear) with Optimal Focus trying to stick to the targets as best as I could and ended up with an almost perfect focus duration!
The Power reading on the phone app never zeroed as I did not use the phone BT but connected straight to the pedals.
Only concern was that during the whole session the Focus Duration displayed on my Garmin was always about 70 seconds lower than the one on the phone app. I had the same yesterday.
I really cannot explain this discrepancy. The Garmin seems more accurate to me.
When I saved on my Garmin and Saved the session on the phone app I ended up with two sessions as usual (another thing I still cannot explain) however when Xert online processed both sessions, the focus durations were very similar, only a couple seconds difference and landed me both in the Breakaway Specialist zone.
I deleted one as usual and happy days…)
Thanks to @wescaine my faith in Xert is now reinstated. :grin:

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