I’ve read a bunch of the forum posts on Decay, and I get the reasons why someone might change it. So far, I’ve just left it at the default “Optimal” because well, I’m still a total noob at Xert and am learning. Anyhow, I didn’t really find a good discussion on the question I have here and haven’t experienced it myself yet so thought I’d bring it up.
Here is what my Xert progression chart looks like for the last couple weeks. It’s made up of 100% Xert recommended activities with some zwift races mixed in and a couple outdoor rides (no power but HR estimated XSS). My TP is constantly going down unless I got a Breakthrough.
My increase in TP has occurred when doing Zwift races. I think coming in to using Xert, the default Decay obviously had me quite a bit lower than real TP since these 1st several breakthroughs actually weren’t that hard to achieve. By the 4rth race, It looks like it’s starting to get more in the ballpark. I only got a near breakthrough though because that was the sprint to the finish line and perhaps I could have gone harder for a bit longer if I hadn’t stopped pushing when I finished the race. Also, these are my first zwift races for the season and I’ve been doing off season/rest since August. My last detected breakthroughs (from before I started using Xert) were back in July.
So two questions:
Is the fact that my estimated TP was 40 or more watts below where it seems like I actually am evidence that I should change the default decay rate?
There seems to be conflict between Xerts recommended workouts for my current phase of training (base) and the zwift racing. Racing puts my status to Tired instead of Fresh, then recommended workouts are lower intensity and TP goes down (I’m assuming due to my selected decay rate). I haven’t actually done this in real life yet, but I used the planner to map out several weeks of suggested activities on the days I usually ride. I did see that status goes back to blue and TP slowly starts increasing. Does this sound right? I guess the question is, if I’m doing Zwift races it seems like the only time my TP will go up is when I get a breakthrough. Maybe Xert is hinting that Zwift races aren’t really base training??
I set a target event date for Feb (real race) so I’m in base for another week or so then build phase starts. I’m just looking for feedback if I’m doing it right
On 1. Not necessarily, and if you’re not training it doesn’t actually matter at all. The important thing is to get your signature accurate again when you restart training with some proper breakthroughs
Re 2. This is a training philosophy question… if you want to follow Xert’s periodisation then Zwift races don’t fit, but there is more than one way to build a base and expect many also apply polarization through base. And if it keeps you motivated, you are building training load / volume and you recover well, why not. It does mean that build may not actually be a big change though (esp. if you keep Zwift racing, since you won’t be fresh enough to do a Xert recommended HIT workout very often). The fact that you are yellow / tired is not causing TP to fall - even if fresh you’d be recommended endurance rides during base, and likely still see falling TP due to decay unless you have a very high improvement rate (which is normal, and why no decay is recommended for people actually following Xert periodised base)
Overall I think you’re doing right and the simple guidance remains: if you are doing regular breakthroughs then optimal decay is best, otherwise use no decay.
Sweet. In all this, I figured out it was my Zwift races that was keeping my training status as yellow. When I booked out recommended events on the planner, I saw it quickly go back to blue. So I guess for the mean time, I’ll just keep on having fun and see what happens
No Decay is for when you intentionally don’t plan to validate your signature for an extended period of time. No Decay means signature changes (up and down) will be based upon changes in TL (training load).
As @wescaine suggests I’d leave decay at Optimal as you learn Xert (and XATA learns about you) and essentially test yourself with ZRL. If you want to validate your signature at other times, search the library for “breakthrough”, select one, and ride it in slope mode preferably on a day when form is blue or green.
Don’t think of TP as a fixed number. It is constantly in flux. Xert is calculating changes based upon your activities plus validating your signature whenever the data indicates BT events (indoors or outdoors). It is normal for bump ups (BT events) to begin a decline the next day. Of greater interest is your trendline over time and yours is rising.
To view daily fluctuations in your signature values select Activities, Table.
For weekly variations see Planner, Weekly Stats.
I agree Xert is a LOT MORE FUN than other platforms because you can change things up at any time and still attain your goals.