Trying to understand how focus is calculated

Hi All,

I’m trying to understand what influences the focus value.

In a few words, my understanding is that the focus relates to which part of the power curve you are benefiting with that workout.

Then you have specificity that tells you ho disperse your focus is in the power curve.

I’m finding really difficult to go for a outdoors ride and keep the focus greater than 30min. One single push brings that value down to shorter durations.

Looking at workouts like this were you spend 2 hours in the blue / greenish effort with only 4 significant sprints I get confuse.

Why is this not an endurance workout with some sprints to spice it up, instead of a focus just shy of 4 minutes with a 8% specificity?

Because in that workout those ‘sprints’ are 15 seconds at your 30 second power. That is quite an effort. To me it shows how little you need to do on the short intensity stuff to make the gains there. Focus on the endurance.

And yeah, it can be hard to keep the focus out there if you’re not used to it. Its all about riding easy, no hard efforts from a stoplight, gear down on the climbs.

Here’s the end of a 2h30m ride last week. I was riding by HR (+135) and watching my power, keeping it ~110-115 most of the time. For reference, my TP is 175, LTP of 128, and my MAF heartrate is 133.

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Not sure if you’ve read the articles (eg this one) and listened to the podcast?

Important concept is work allocation ratios - article explains it better than me - so in your example the ratio of low to high to peak strain (for the whole workout) is the same as the ratio for a pure 4 min effort. It has low specificity / is polar since the actual intervals are nowhere near the 4 min power.

Re your difficulty keeping high focus duration outdoors, that’s really just intensity discipline as @Zyzzyx says… just don’t ride above TP. And ideally below LTP if you’re meant to have an easier day

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Thank you both for your replies.

Yes, leaving/entering London have a lot of stops and Essex is mostly rolling hills. I need to change my cassete (11-28) for sure. I need to work on that. Working on my patience too!

It’s was good to refresh on that article, but I’m still getting my head around. I need to go back to the podcast though (time is very sought-after commodity)

My question remains. I understand that the strain allocations creates a fingerprint similar to the 4min power effort, and that polar indicates it’s a very dispersed effort with an specificity of only 8%.

So what was done in the other 92%?

Is this workout closer to the extremes and some distortions in the rating start to making it less meaningful?

Based on potatoes, my intuition tells me this workout is mostly endurance with a few sprints so that you don’t fall asleep.

I seem to remember a comment from the Xert team a while ago that said basically any ride with Polar specificity was in effect an Endurance ride. Focus does not play well with long rides outside for precisely the reasons you have stated. It is far more useful when doing focused (pun intended) intense workouts with discrete intervals above TP.

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Cheers @carytb

I think I found the thread you mentioned.

This Follow XATA with free ride alongside - #11 by ManofSteele answers my question but the whole thread is very informative too.