Using the new XPMC chart for periodization

Estimated xss for activities without power data?

Coming. We will also include the ability to specify the Focus and activity duration too. Focus will be used in XPMC Phase II.

hi Xert folks, I came across this thread about periodisation and i wonder if Xert supports it now?

bit of background - I’m in the Peak phase of my first four months with Xert and I’m finding that while my training load is going up, and I have managed to stick on-track with the XSS targets throughout, my fitness signature is general has stayed flat / slightly dropped. I’m on a Moderate-2 rate, and as things come towards a conclusion it seems I might just about have the same TP at the end as I did at the start :pensive:

I have resisted moving the Freshness bar because on all but one occasion, I’ve always managed to complete the workouts as suggested (and they have felt like they’re pushing me). It feels counter-intuitive to me to mess with with the Freshness bar unless I’m feeling particularly weak or strong - seems like I would be going off-plan.

But I’m wondering whether the lack of periodization is what’s underlying my lack of improvement. Is there any way to set up a cycle of more intense weeks and more recovery-focused weeks within the overall plan?

Are you mixing up easy and hard days during the week or riding a self-prescribed schedule of rest, easy, and hard days?
I use the freshness bar whenever calculated freshness doesn’t reflect how I feel. That usually happens during Build especially if I change up the weekly pattern or add long outdoor rides into the mix. Currently I am in Base with the setting at 2 for a number of weeks now.
How many BT workouts/rides occurred during base and build that resulted in changes to one signature value or another?

Reference: Freshness Feedback – Xert (

Most weeks I do one race, and try to arrange an easy or rest day ahead of that, but aside from that I’ve been following as closely as I can to what Xert suggests I do (i.e. the workout that most closely matches the diamonds, focus and XSS that Xert tells me I should aim for). The exception was during the Rapha500 week at the end of December, when I did almost all endurance rides to get the km’s in. Even then, my pacing indicator stayed on track the whole time.

Here’s my chart - it has been some weeks since I had any breakthroughs

I hear you and that echoes my newbie experience but then I realized Xert is actually a set of guidelines to follow based on your current settings and TED – all of which can be modified at any time.
Xert works best when you interactively participate. You are in charge of when to take rest days and you are free to select from the list of twenty recommended workouts (Load More). That will add some variety but stay within your focus range. Accepting the single daily recommendation will get tedious. Keep in mind it is randomly selected from the top four matches but any entry on the list is a viable workout. I typically look at the time, XSS, and profile chart to decide which workout I’ll do today.

You can also change focus by switching to a different athlete type for a time especially during Base phase. Or jump off-list if you are feeling especially fresh and want to challenge yourself. That may mean selecting a workout for a different focus (athlete type) or a diamond rating higher than your current status stars. Or scan through the workout library for something new and different. This is also what you should be doing anytime you see the warning triangle under your status stars regarding Last Breakthrough.

If your once a week race isn’t generating a BT on occasion, you need try something else to force the issue. So my recommendation for the day :slight_smile: , especially if feeling fresh, would be to select one of the BT workouts and ride it in slope mode under cadence/gearing control. If you haven’t been riding BT workouts the first few times will be a learning experience, but once you get the hang of it watch the rainbow gauge as you hit BT segments and try to go for broke.

Don’t be afraid to tweak any of Xert settings (freshness, IR, athlete type, TED) and watch what changes. That’s a good way to learn how Xert works (what-if scenarios). You won’t break anything and you can always switch back. :smiley:
The only setting to be careful of is Decay Method which should be Optimal unless you are confident of your signature values and want No Decay during an extended base period.

Good advice from @ridgerider2 and think what you need is a good breakthrough effort as it’s been a long time - without that your signature is not actually going to represent your fitness improvement (unless you are on no decay and that’s only an approximation). Your last was actually a fakethrough / near breakthrough hence you went down - was it actually ‘all out’?

So have a day or so off and then try for a real breakthrough to see where your fitness is really at :sunglasses:

1 Like

As advised I took a day off and then did a race, and finally got a silver breakthrough, hurray!

But I’m still wondering about whether I should be trying to structure my training around more regular periodization? Like, turn down the progress rate for a week every four weeks, or something like that?

1 Like

Yes I would do that if you have a strong ramp rate and start to feel fatigue in your legs (or mind). It’s one thing that Xert doesn’t do (other than the taper before an event, I think)

EDIT: Actually I stand corrected - Xert / XATA can recommend a recovery week in certain cases. I just have a message as I’ve set my ramp rate to aggressive (just for this week) and just dipped into the red. I had planned that anyway, but here’s the message:


Given you still have a high training deficit, Aggressive-1 improvement rate and Very tired status, you may want to consider a recovery week and reducing your improvement rate temporarily until freshness returns.

And congrats on the silver breakthrough - hope you are now happy with the progression! :+1:

XATA has the variation of block periodization built in. This is visualized in this chart –
Program Phases – Xert (
Notice how focus changes from endurance during base to your selected athlete type by peak in preparation for your target date. You can also mix things up on your own as I mentioned above. For example, work on weakness, toss in a VO2 max, or try a hardness test workout.
For many of us IR is limited by our weekly schedule but if you have extra hours available you can increase your commitment then dial back if not recovering from the boost in TL. Remember, rest days are important.
One of the key benefits to Xert is training by how you feel day-to-day and week-to-week. That is so much better than following a cookie-cutter plan. :slight_smile:

Depends! Many cookie cutter plans followed a traditional 3-5 week build, 1 week recovery because they don’t have any ability to judge what your starting fitness level. Since Xert knows exactly where you’re coming from, it’s easier for the system to judge how much training you need, because it’s relative to where you are now.

With a sufficiently low improvement rate, it’s possible to train for weeks on end without a dedicated recovery week, since you never dig yourself into a deep enough hole to require additional recovery time. However, the opposite case is what @wescaine mentioned… if you dig yourself into a deep hole, you’ll need to take time off in order to freshen up, before resuming training. For most people, the sweet spot is somewhere in-between those extremes. You still can follow a 3W / 1W improve/recover schedule, if you’d like. You can also try block periodization (1W of extreme-2 / 3W of recovery). Xert is very flexible, but does require a little bit of input from the user.

1 Like