Xert training schema, rest weeks, etc

Please see this link. http://baronbiosys.com/glossary/xert-adaptive-training-advisor/?fbclid=IwAR20f5m7rBWn8kHGRpbEEFn2jPIK6RFjguia40jf_aektmMyQbvv1k3nM24

It’s written that the advisor will, among other things, advise you to " Whether you need a recovery week."

I have not seen any mention of recovery weeks anywhere else. So…will Xert actually recommend a recovery week, as it says on that support page, and if so, how?

If you have a high deficit and very tired state you will get this warning under the text of your Adaptive Training Advisor:


Given you still have a high training deficit, Extreme-2 improvement rate and Very tired status, you may want to consider a recovery week and reducing your improvement rate temporarily until freshness returns."

Simply set your IR to “Extreme 2” and your freshness feedback all the way to the left and it will probably appear as it just did for me.

Ok cool. So here’s my next question. Every training plan I have ever seen has a recovery week every 3-5 week. Are recovery weeks part of the overall Xert schema, or is that message that you saw unusual? Even in less that “extreme” training plans, I have always seen recovery weeks.

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I don’t know but I think the idea is like everything in Xert to be dynamic.

If you obviously try to overdo it (IR rate too high for what your ‘freshness’ can take) you get the message to back off.
If you go slow and steady on the other hand you won’t and maybe you don’t need a recovery week then.
If you have a surplus because you have been training more than the improvement rate you selected needs you to the text tells you to take a day off or two or however much surplus you have.
If your state is very tired (red) it tells you to take a day off or at least only do active recovery.
If you are tired (yellow) which mostly comes from high intensity stuff it tells you to only do endurance.

It will always show you some suggestions what to do if you want to train now but the text tells you if it might not be the best idea and maybe some time on the couch is in order. Or that you might consider changing your IR to get to a more sustainable state. It is up to you to decide if you want to go hard now and then take a week off or if you want to go slow and not need to. Xert is not a training plan, it is a dynamic training advisor.

At least that’s what I think, I’m no expert by any means.

No, it’s not a training plan, but the goal of both a plan and an advisor is to make me fitter and faster. My curiosity/concern is how Xert can do that (at levels less than Extreme) without incorporating rest weeks. Hopefully a Mod will clear this up.

Thanks for your input!

That question has come up a couple of times before actually, including answers from Scott. Fairly consistent with comments from @idefix as well:


Its a great question @CarmenV and I think it’s another thing that other systems miss completely. They all give every athlete the same plan, regardless of their level of fitness/training. It’s something that we’ve attempted to emphasize here and elsewhere that Xert isn’t a training plan…it’s a dynamic training program that follows a set of principles aimed to help athletes guide their training.

If you’re training level is sufficiently high and improvement rate sufficiently low, it’s very plausible for athletes to maintain a slow to moderate improvement rating without really needing a dedicated recovery week, based purely on the math. This is because the improvement rate options are in absolute units (-2 to +7 TL/week), so the improvement rates will be relatively different for each athlete. For example, asking an athlete with a TL of 10 to sustain +7 TL/week will be far too much for them, and they’ll likely burn out rather quickly. However, asking an athlete with a TL of 140 to perform a week or two or three of +7 IR, they may be able to tolerate that for a couple weeks, but they’ll also likely eventually need to reduce the improvement rate and take a recovery week. But if you’re training somewhere in between (say 50 TL or so) and increasing around 1-2 TL/week, that’s a rather marginal improvement that can be tolerated for extended periods of time because it never puts you so far into the negative that you need a dedicated recovery week. Dont get me wrong, you may still feel like you need one, or just simply want to take one every 3-5 weeks, which is totally okay! And Xert allows you to do that!

You can also do a more traditional 3-4 week build, 1 week recovery if you prefer… Just increase the IR to something like moderate-2 to aggressive-2 and leave it for a couple weeks, then reduce the IR to maintenance or taper for your recovery week. Wash and repeat.

FWIW, I’m at about 81 TL and I just leave mine on Aggressive - 1 until I feel that I need a break. Hope this helps!


Thanks, I understand the point you are making. Another question…regarding the Planner. If I go into future dates and press the Automatically Create Recommended Workout for each day, is that a way of getting a glimpse into what type of workouts Xert will be recommending for me at some point into the future in my three month plan, the workup to my event? I do see that it will push the "Progression page into the future.

Somewhat, but I would strongly recommend against that. I would recommend planning no more than about a week at a time.

The Xert Adaptive Training Plan (big picture) actually follows a pretty simple outline. In base phase, you’ll be recommended lots of Endurance workouts (mostly < TP) in order to build your low training load. As you move from Base to Build to Peak phases, the weekly focus will shift from longer focus durations (lower intensity) to shorter and shorter focus durations (higher intensity). The idea is to arrive to your target event with training distribution (in terms of Low, High, & Peak training loads) as close to the expected focus of the event as possible (i.e. if the race you’re training for has historically had a focus of 04:00, you’d want to select an athlete type of Rouleur). This is how Xert helps focus (pun intended) your training on what you need most to prepare for your event. See the example from our glossary below - notice how the weekly focus starts at endurance and works down each week until the athlete arrives at the Target Event Date with a weekly focus of Rouleur:

The Xert Adaptive Training Advisor (small picture) also follows a pretty simple pattern.

  • Very tired → Recovery (complete rest or very easy active recovery recommended)

  • Tired → High/Peak systems are tired, but Low system is still good to train - recommended workouts will be below TP in intensity

  • Fresh/Very Fresh → High Intensity training is recommended, where the specific Focus of the HIIT session depends on the training phase (as outlined above)

Note: As discussed elsewhere in the forum, the freshness feedback slider can be used to adjust Xert’s estimation of your freshness, based on your own personal feelings, which will in turn adjust the recommended workouts.

XATA will also take into consideration your total Training Load, usual activity duration, and your current XSS surplus/deficit when recommending workouts.

Once again, my (biased?) opinion is that this method might actually work a little better for athletes rather than following a strict training plan, since Xert doesn’t automatically prescribe HIIT twice per week, but rather HIIT as your schedule (and freshness) allows. This means that athletes that are highly trained & recovery quickly might have 3x weekly HIIT, while other athletes that are less trained (or may simply recover slower) might only do HIIT once per week. In fact, there was a research study that looked into doing something similar to what XATA already does, but they used HRV as a measure of freshness… I’ll see if I can dig up the paper!

Hope these answers are helpful!


Interesting! Personally I’m finding the XATA approach while in COVID lockdown is much steadier than the fewer-but-tougher rides plus some indoors that I would normally be doing at this time of year. I’m in a hilly area so can build up a lot of fatigue in a 2-3 hour ride IRL after which I will feel the need for 2-3 days off. The XATA workouts have improved my metrics for my rider type and given me a near straight line improvement on my graph in Strava compared to the jumpy nature in previous years (and never been this fit at this part of the season in the last four years). However, going outside of XATA and doing two reasonably hard workouts in successive days has resulted twice in the following message:

Two rest-days in a row are enough for me to get back in the saddle though.