What have I missed about XATA?

Newbie user here (my second month) and I’ve tried reading around the docs and Forums for a bit, and already found what i think was an answer to one of my questions, but I feel like I’m missing something about the perks of using Xert.

The biggest gripe I’ve had so far compared to other systems, is the longer term training plans - I kind of get that XATA is supposed to control my training load and ramp rate for progressive overload, but so far I’ve only found its recommendations to be annoying:

  • It doesn’t seem to matter what freshness it thinks i am, it always recommends an endurance workout of varying lengths/xss
  • it will regularly suggest rides that are too long for a given day - I very rarely have 2+ hours on a weekday to train, so I don’t get why that’s a recommendation.
  • I can’t seem to generate a full block of a training plan - If it’s able to give recommendations on a day-to-day basis, why do i have to go manually adding a new activity every day for however long etc.

My timing/availability to train is pretty consistent; 1-1.5 hours a day mid-week, and 1-3 hours a day at the weekend but there doesn’t seem to be any way to give Xert a nudge that these are the parameters to work within.
I’ve been wondering why I always had to “Select Activity” on the ones that i have planned, but I just read on the forums that it will automatically select it for me when it’s within 2 hours of the expected start time - I don’t know about anyone else, but the default start time of the activity is always 11:58pm, who trains that late?!

I’ve all but given up on the recommendations at the moment and am just choosing my own set of workouts for a given week based on XSS/hours and a reasonable ramp rate - but I feel like I have to be missing something, as this is clearly not what the product is intended for.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the product and many of the insights and data that it provides are really useful, but as a tool to structure my training, I’m not understanding that yet.

Start here as many topics and tips covered in this thread including answers to your questions –
Beginner questions - Support - Xert Community Forum (xertonline.com)

Let Xert get to know you first. Don’t fill in the Planner other than for a week at a time if you have specific training block in mind (once you have learned Xert). Most of us don’t populate the Planner and you’ll understand why as you discover how Xert works.
If you follow a particular weekly pattern XATA will recognize that a week from today.

Set normal training time if you want under Goals (Training Status/Advice as of]. Or leave it at 11:59 PM for as of “end of day” or 1:00 AM for “start of day” advice.

If you set a TED 120 days out from now you are in Base phase which will only be endurance rides suggested. Plus you will get an occasional warning to go for a BT which you can do by manually selecting a BT workout from the library and ride it in slope mode.

Agree with @ridgerider2 and only other comment re: always getting endurance suggestions is to check your athlete type is not one of the triathlete / very long focus ones (even if you are a triathlete - plenty of discussion about that and the potential confusion in the forum). To get higher intensity workouts you need to move down to at least climber, if not GC specialist or Rouleur.

And if you don’t want to follow the periodised approach of starting with base / endurance only, you can select continuous improvement - that will give you a mix of workouts with high intensity at the focus duration near that of your athlete type

Appreciate the feedback @ridgerider2, @wescaine

To clarify what I have (had) configured at the moment:
I’ve selected Time Trialist as that’s the distance I’m looking to improve - whether an hour should be considered “endurance” i guess is up for debate.
There’s months of my historical data imported from Garmin, and then several weeks of my using Xert, so i feel like if it doesn’t know me by now, then when will that kick in?
I had it set in Continuous mode to start with and have since set a TED for about 6 weeks out (at the time i’d set it) in the hope that it would recommend more than just today’s ride - in either scenario, I’m not in the Base phase.

Choosing Time Triallist as Athlete Type will peg the advice in that quadrant (endurance).
Try GC Specialist (All Rounder) and notice the difference in recommendations especially in Build or Peak phase. Setting a TED 6 weeks out from now will place you in mid-Build.

Here’s my mod of the spider chart that shows grouping by focus type.

Reference –
Program Phases – Xert (baronbiosys.com)

Choosing your Athlete Type – Xert (baronbiosys.com)

Most of the time trials I’ve ridden tend to show up as GC Contender or Climber as the athlete type. I had decent enough success at TTs using GC Contender as my athlete type, especially so on lumpy courses. Some of the athlete types can be a bit wide of the mark, for example for Gran Fondo riding or long distance events I’ve seen people get recommended Climber as an athlete type to pick, rather than the more obvious Century rider. Maybe they could do with a bit of an overhaul or at least new guidance on how and why to pick an athlete type.

Thanks @ridgerider2, @SecretSquirrel - I’ll give the Climber/GC Specialist a go as my athlete type and see how i get on - only reason I went for TT is that it’s the discipline I wish to improve on and GC/Climber are already my strongest attributes going by my spider chart:

I’d agree that perhaps there needs to be some better direction on selecting the athlete type, as well as the other settings in the goals page.

For me it’s been really difficult to get a feel for the long term benefits with Xert; many of the other platforms would provide a full on plan that I see what I’m going to expect and easily adjust when i know i have to switch a day around - but with Xert, I never know what I’m going to get until the next day at which point it’s not so easy to just make my day work around it - in addition, throughout the 30 day trial (in continuous improvement mode) all I saw was low intensity endurance rides which is a bit off-putting.
I’m going to finish out the block of rides I already have planned this week and next, and then set a longer range TED to get a feel for how the XATA recommendations approach Base/Build/Peak.

Yes, takes a leap of faith and the flexibility will seem unnerving to anyone accustomed to calendar based plans. Not only can the calendar be completely blank, you always have a choice of alternates on any particular day, plus the option to vary the time you can train today, plus an option to free ride outdoors. Yikes!
However, there is an aha moment along the way when you realize “whoa, this is so much better than following a filled-in calendar plan”. Your XPMC chart will reinforce that belief.

I assume you’ve seen my 120 day indoor experiment thread –
Pre-Base to TED; 120+ days; 100% recommended workouts completed at 100% difficulty - General - Xert Community Forum (xertonline.com)

Another shock for those weaned on SSB training is how much easier Xert’s Base will feel although some workouts share similar characteristics. Xert’s strain model is different though and their progression is a hybrid polarized approach that changes focus and intensity as you move through the phases.

I encourage newbies (esp. trial users) to experiment rather than stick with any one set of parameters. For example, use Filter to see what would be recommended if you change duration and athlete type (Focus) or difficulty (diamond count). Play with the Freshness Feedback slider 10 pts at a time and watch changes in either direction (recommendations and form prediction on the Planner). Change ATP type and ramp rate (IR) and watch what happens with the ATP slider
You can always change things back to what you plan to use for the time being. :wink:

NB Now I know whose wheel to jump on before the county line sprint.

I’d not read your post actually - some very impressive improvement numbers in there. Did you supplement any of the on-the-bike training with Strength training at all?

If I put in a TED much further down the line (say April) Xert reckons I can boost my TP by 22% at moderate-1; which I’d be hard pushed to believe to be honest but I may well give it a go (it would push me comfortably above 5W/Kg for the first time ever)
I’ll finish this block of training and go for a BT to get an accurate set of numbers before setting out on a longer Xert journey and hope that those numbers are achievable (time-wise, I can just about expect to manage the weekly hours shown in the goals)

I feel like my spider-chart is horribly misleading as some scores are measured in plain-old-watts, and others in W/Kg - but being a small fellow in both size and weight, i’d wager i’m not the wheel to jump on for any sprinting if you want to a) go fast, or b) get a good draft

Those predicted gains under Goals vary by Athlete type and IR setting. Try selecting different entries and watch what changes.
Not to dash your hopes :wink: but it’s a theoretical value you could obtain if you able to handle projected TL hours and intensity over time compared to where you’re at now.
Reality lies somewhere in between. :sob:
By the time I got through Build phase my projected number was pretty close.
I believe the prediction is based on x% improvement per week for current ramp rate.
At some point you’ll start hitting a limit of what you can handle and attain during a particular training block. You may end up dialing things down or take more rest days in between or possibly insert recovery week (off-season setting) before changing back to desired IR. In this respect the number is a moving target.

I didn’t do any kind of gym work with weights during that time but I was exercising with resistance bands and kettlebell on my rest days (usually Monday). Just basic stuff.

Related –
How accurate are the TP predictions for the training programs? I think mine is way off - General - Xert Community Forum (xertonline.com)