What would you have done differently if starting again?

I’m now onto week 3 of using xert, i’m loving the structured workouts however still thoroughly confused by it all and the weekly stats/deficit/surplus etc stuff despite reading the help (not had much time to spend on the podcasts so far, not a podcast person either). I’ll get there no doubt but it all feels like a bit of an overwhelming nightmare and not only do I seem to be stuck in a “very tired” loop but have been watching my FTP go down not up when trying to manually schedule workouts to keep me in a surplus (as the auto select keeps leaving me with a deficit).

It made me wonder, if you went back to your first weeks on xert with all the info you have now:

  • What would you do differently?
  • What are the key things you didn’t understand then that you now understand?
  • What things did you obsess over that you now know aren’t that important?
  • Whats the most important thing in your opinion to seeing improvements?

FWIW, not sure if relevant to the above - focus is 100 mile ride, max i’ve done so far on an outdoor ride is 30 miles however this was almost 2 years ago as I prolapsed a disc in my back not long after and have only been able to get back to cycling since November last year.


Hi Donna,

Xert has indeed a steep learning curve and is not so easy to master.
But once you understand all the terminology and concepts it makes a lot of fun and is very usefull.
About the very-tired loop. How many training do you do each week? Do you train every day in order to keep up with the Xert advise or do you take regular restdays?
Reason why I am asking is because Xert will not advise restdays. That is something you just should plan yourself on a regular base. Xert will take the restdays into account and show you the effect afterwards. Don’t be afraid to take a restday even if Xert says you have a training deficit.

If you still have the feeling that your “Form” is not inline with your real life feeling (e.g. Xert shows your very tired, but you are not) then the “Freshness Feeback” slider can be used to bring Xert inline with your real life situation. You can find the slider under your “Goals” button. Adjust it and see what the effect is on your Form in week planner.

This makes also good reading about the “always tired” subject: http://baronbiosys.com/faq-items/why-is-my-training-status-on-the-fitness-planner-always-showing-as-very-tired/

Good luck and I am sure you will figure it out soon.
Gr Johan B

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Thanks! I’ll take a look.

I usually plan in 2 non cycling days a week, these are the days I usually do a couple of miles running on. I don’t bring my runs into Xert though so doesn’t affect anything.

Following the injury to my back I very much listen to my body on when it needs a rest however definitely feel it’s showing me as over tired too much currently so will try adjusting the slider a little.

It could also be that your data has gaps.
The FAQ has an article about that: http://baronbiosys.com/frequently-asked-questions/#collapse-1-5420

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Ok, it’s probably worthwhile me deleting any data I put in before last November in that case then? I had a 12 Month gap between that and the last regular cycling period due to my injury.

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It’s worth reading up on the decay setting. The default is called ‘optimal decay’ which means your signature degrades over time, also when increasing training. That makes it easier to breakthrough (potentially only back to the same level as before the decay) and keeps your signature up to date. This should be used if you are riding hard enough to breakthrough in your training… if not eg you mostly do endurance rides In base phase, it’s best to set to ‘no decay’ - it will then actually increase your signature the more you train. The setting is in your profile.
That was probably my biggest learning in year 1 :blush:
Other than that, it’s important to train consistently, but also fine to miss workouts as the training advisory adjusts… I almost never plan ahead in the planner


If you came back from recovery since November 2019 I would definitly not add any data/rides from before November. I believe I read somewhere that the Xerts algoritm’s dont handle gaps in data really well. Besides that your abilities might have changed from before and after the incident. It would make sense to me that the base to work from is your situation after the incident.

FTP dropping is just like @wescaine says. Due to the Decay setting your FTP (in Xert called TP) drops like gravity. You have to produce top efforts on regular base to keep it up to the same level. This often happens during races or tough workouts. If you more like a modest rider (in the intensity sense) then you could switch your decay setting to none or small like advised.


Yes. And if you have started from scratch in November, you might want to override the TL estimate Xert adds to your signature. It could be way too high… Alternately, Xert needing at least some three months, you could consider deleting everything from before January 1st…

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Thanks all,I’ve deleted all workouts pre 2020 and recalculated which has pushed my TP up to just above what my FTP test said when I last did one on Zwift (a few months ago now) which would make more sense given i’ve been riding more consistently over the last couple of months and especially since the lockdown in the UK.

I’ll take a look at the signature decay, is it reasonable to assume that FTP won’t decay too much when training for endurance? I’d like to keep it as realistic to the reality as possible so when working out what i’d like to average I can bring that into the calcs but also don’t want to feel deflated by it not showing a little improvement (i’m set for moderate-1 goal).

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You could try ‘Small Decay’ if you mostly do similar (sub) LTP workouts. But, either way, you should really try to force a BT every now and then.


Thanks Robert, maybe i’ll plan a hard effort in once every couple/few weeks and see what happens. Because of my focus being the 100 miler, the training offered is usually below TP but often longer workouts than i was doing before.

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Below LTP = lower threshold power. In theory you should train that to get up, but as it is related to TP, it will if you force TP breakthroughs. Mind you, bronze BT’s showing an increase in HIE only are good too - in your case, your peak power matter less, but try to throw in an all out sprint every now and again. You can do that on a (virtual) road with an incline too - you won’t go that fast, but you’ll be pushing Watts in the same way.

Your LTP is the power should - in theory and depending on several, also circumstantial, factors - be able to hold for a very long time, if not for ever…


I am more or less in the same situation as you Donna.
I am currently training for the Race Around the Netherlands wich is an Ultra Endurance Race.
Doing 200+km each day where finishing is more important for me than being first. So speed is not of that utmost important. That’s why I choose initially to go for the “Time-Trial” Athlete Type which seemed to fit that profile best.

But after some discussion on the forum I decided to change that back to “Climber”, the same as last winter when I did some small criterium like races. Reasoning behind is that it would give me some more power when going trough hilly area (Yes, we do have that in The Netherlands :-)) while at the same time it wouldnt have any negative impact on my endurance speed. It gives you that little extra turbo and prevents you from becoming a low-speed diesel.

So the way I am currently organised it that I do one long endurance ride in the weekends (120-160km).
Once a week I participate in a Zwift race which are often that hard that it provides me the desired breaktrough.
Once a week I do have a restday. Often after the Zwift race for obvious reasons :slight_smile:
And the rest of the weekdays I do workouts prescribed by Xert.


This is a great topic, thanks Donna. I’m going to pin this to the forum as I think many people will find this helpful.

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I might have to remove the ride that Xert states is my last breakthrough as it now looks like it might contain some glitchy data.

Decided to try a group ride today with the whole idea that it would keep me at a stronger pace than I’d comfortably choose to sit at, I felt it was a strong effort for me but no breakthrough! Not sure what I need to do to force another breakthrough to show up!! (I know this will look like a weak effort for most of you but my happy place is about 105w which is 1.7kg/w at the mo (I blame isolation cake :rofl:)


Why do you think that? Power spikes, or what?

And no effort is a weak effort - you got close to a BT, but you need to pull MPA further down, i.e keep a strong / max effort going until MPA drops below your actual power and BOOM!

Don’t give up, you’ll get there :+1:

The breakthrough ride was lower heart rate, lower peak and overall power too. I wasn’t trying as hard yet my MPA dipped a lot quicker.

Does this suggest my fitness has improved so much in the last month it believes it’ll take more to wear me out?

It never gets any easier, that’s for sure :joy:

But yes, that makes sense. Two things: if you just got started and got this, your data was perhaps lacking a bit, or Xert didn’t know you well enough yet.

On the other hand, if you start from (basically) zero, after an injury, you will gain fitness pretty fast, if you set your mind to it.

Believe me, Xert is smart enough to get you to bleed through your eyes eventually, if you let it :sunglasses:


Simplest way to force a BT is on your trainer with one of the BT workouts from the library.
Select Workouts in left menu and search for “breakthrough”. Select one and try it.
Since you have a Snap you’ll be in resistance mode which is preferred for a BT.
Notice how a BT workout tests different components of your fitness signature.
Try pushing things (make it hurt) during the prescribed efforts and you’ll get things done. :slight_smile:
You’ll want to do a BT style workout (or group ride with similar efforts) every few weeks or so. You will also be warned by XATA if your signature is getting stale.
As your signature gets dialed in any changes may be minor but things will trend upwards as you progress through the phases (base, build, peak, taper)
The best place to monitor those changes is under Progression; scroll down to the XPMC chart.