Reverse Periodisation - Athlete Types


After a bit of advice, for the last couple of years I’ve been riding longer distance events, I’ve found that as the season gets going in the summer, trying to follow a traditional periodisation method of base endurance then building intensity, simple doesn’t work that well for me, as I end up tired from the long rides and then fail more intense workouts, effectively following this periodisation I end up trying to increase both volume and intensity. So as I plan for next year, I’ve decided I’m going to try reverse periodisation.

My plan is to use the Continuous Improvement option, but change the Athlete Type as my periods change, so for Base I’ll want to focus more on improving my VO2 and then in Build it’ll be more of an endurance and threshold focus. I’m just curious as to which Athlete Types to select for each phase, so thought I’d ask the question here.

Base Priorities in order: Endurance, VO2

Late Base Prorities in order: VO2, Endurance, Threshold Power

Build Priorities in order : Endurance, Threshold Power, VO2

Peak Threshold Power

Any suggestions, ideas most welcome. Thanks

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I have a similar query… I have “unusual” feet and I have found that my knees start to suffer after spending many weeks doing longer sessions on the turbo (patella tendinitis), in particular 10-20 min intervals at sweet spot / threshold, but also longer LSD sessions. This never really crops up in outdoors riding due to being more mobile / time out of the saddle, and actually VO2 or sprint workouts, with more time spent resting dont cause the same issues either - so my plan was to mix it up a bit this winter, and potentially insert a couple of 4 week “HIIT” blocks in, maybe one in November, and another in Feb.

I was planning to do this by changing Athlete Type and setting the 30-day challenge, wondering if this would be the right way to go about it?

That will work though note that depending on your starting point (high and peak training load) you may end up yellow for longer than planned - you can use the freshness slider if that happens and you feel good. That’s not specific to using continuous, just during high intensity blocks

Re athlete type I’d start with Rouleur (shorter focus than that as getting more anaerobic… also not bad but not what you listed) and work back from there, ending in sprint time trialist or even endurance.

Through all focuses, you will still be recommended easier endurance rides when your status is yellow i.e. you can still use those shorter athlete types to build base fitness.

When you get to endurance, you are unlikely to literally get threshold workouts (I.e. intervals at threshold, if that’s what you want) as that’s not how Xert works… they can include above threshold workouts still (when fresh), else easy endurance when yellow… you can check out the workout library, filter for endurance, 3 star plus, and see the hard ones… look for 2 stars for the easier ones


Thanks, looking at what I’ve been reading, threshold is more like longer sweetspot rather than pure threshold work. Looking at my long-distance rides, they tend to come out at sprint time trialist 80% of the time and climber 20% of the time. So, I think I’ll gradually progress it down to sprint time trialist when the rides get really long.

I think that’s fine as a final athlete type. As an aside, I try and keep my very long rides well below threshold (and actually well below LTP) but it depends what you are trying to achieve


I think either challenge or continuous will work. Recommended workouts should be the same, it’s just the tracking (in goals section) has a different reference point (since start of challenge to end of challenge for challenge, or relative to 6 weeks ago / in future for continuous)

I did read that challenge / continuous workouts are not as ‘specific’ as they would be in the build phase of TED based periodization… so if you want only workouts for a certain focus, you should use the filter as well (when fresh / blue)

In general…

VO2max will be elicited by 3-6 min focus workouts (especially workouts with a PURE ~5min Focus, like Ronnestad 30-15’s or Billat 30-30’s. Pick something in that range when you’re blue & feeling fresh.

side note - riding any power over threshold may eventually result in achieving VO2max, but most people use 5 min power as a proxy for working the VO2max system.

For Threshold(ish) efforts, Climber/GC specialist would be good Focus types.

For Endurance, ride easy - however you might define that… Some (myself included) will aim for a approximately 60 XSS/hr and keep difficulty score below 65, others might aim for ~70-90% LTP, while others might use Lactate measurements, or Heart Rate. As long as you’re riding below Threshold (allowing your High & Peak energy systems to recover while still working your low-intensity system).

Hope this helps!


Thanks for that, so for the 3-6 min focus, I’ve currently got Rouleur selected as my Athlete Type, using Continuous Improvement, would this be okay, or should I pick another Athlete Type with a shorter Focus Duration?

Breakaway Specialist might be a tad better. As someone mentioned, the Continuous and Challenge training programs are a bit less specific than a TED program. With a Breakaway Specialist (5min) Athlete Type, you’ll likely see recommendations for Puncheur (4 min) and Rouleur (6min) as well.