CTL stagnation 16 weeks training plan Aconcagua

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  • #6322

    I am previously training for Aconcagua in December. I have done my first 8-weeks customized training plan with UA and CTL went up as planned. Now I am in the follow-up 8 weeks plan and my CTL is not increasing as expected in fact it did not change for the last 2-3 weeks. I have read TFNA but could not find out what the reason might be. Does this indicate I am training too far below my aerobic threshold? Should the aerobic base work outs be longer or should I increase intensity(HR)?

    Thanks for any comments!

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    Anonymous on #6326


    Thanks for the good question. CTL (Chronic Training Load) is a proxy for fitness developed by Training Peaks. CTL is a nonlinear, weighted, running average of the daily TSS (Training Stress Score) for the past 42 days (6 weeks).
    TSS can be determined in a number of ways. In our mountain sports we are limited to using the heart rate calculation of TSS (hrTSS) as opposed to running TSS (rTSS) which is pace based and only works for runners in mostly flat ground or power TSS developed for cyclists using power meters. hrTSS is by far the least accurate of these 3 measures of training load because heart rate is not a good predictor of training load. HR response to exercise intensity is non linear and very individual. But we’re stuck with it as the best tool for our sports.

    Some things to keep in mind about CTL then:
    1) It is an imperfect metric.
    2) It is the best one we have ever found for monitoring training.
    3) It relies on the hrTSS
    4) hrTSS relies on an accurate measure of your Anaerobic Threshold (not aerobic threshold)
    5) You must accurately define your HR zones in the TP zone calculator
    6) Failure to do either step 4 or 5 and the hrTSS will become even less accurate.
    7) When hrTSS is not accurate CTL will no longer be meaningful

    So, Yvonne? Have you converted all your aerobic workouts to hrTSS? Are you assigning adequate TSS to the strength workouts? HR is useless for calculating training stress from strength training so you have use other methods which I have discussed at length in he forum. Look under Training Peaks. Have you (re) established your anaerobic threshold? If not you should do that. The test is explained in detail here; https://uphillathlete.com/diy-anaerobic-test/
    Then have you set all your zones correctly?

    Do all these things and your CTL should be more reflective of your fitness. Even if it is not bear in mind the point #1 I made above. CTL is an imperfect metric. If you are familiar with statistics think if it like correlation (r*2). I’d give CTL an r*2=.8-.9 or about 80-90% of the observed effect can be attributed to the cause (a rough definition of “correlation”).


    copilot67 on #6328


    thanks for the quick repley. Could you give a rule of thumbs of the CTL score needed for Aconcagua? (I know Denali is around 75)

    So this means adding TSS for the vertical workouts (10-20 depending on amount) and for the strenght training around 50/per hour?

    Thank you again for helping with these questions


    Anonymous on #6358


    On the weighted Z3 water carries uphill these are much more demanding than the Z1-2 uphill water carries and I usually use a TSS of about 150/hr of uphill ME work. If done correctly these these workouts will stay in your legs for a few days and you need to do easy recovery work after so be sure the HR is low for those rec workouts.

    As for a TSS for Aconcagua. We don’t have a lot of data points on that mountain but definitely less than Denali so I’d say 60-70 should be a good target for you. You have enough time to get those additional 20 points. You should increase the amount of vertical gain you are doing each week as that is the most specific training you can do for your climb.

    Strength TSS can be in the range of 50-80TSS. The way to judge this is to see how long you remain tired from those workouts. 24 hours? then 50. 48 hours then 75 or so. Just be consistent


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