Is it possible to use training stress score and a few other derived metrics to manage your fatigue? Can you simply know how hard to ride by just looking at a number on a computer screen?
I recently answered a question from an athlete that went something like this:
“I've been doing riding four days per week (2 trainer days and 2 outdoor days.) I've been following this pattern for about 6 weeks now and I've noticed in the last week that I've been extremely tired and been feeling worn out. Have I been training too hard?”
This question is an excellent illustration of why training with power can be so useful: Training Stress Score (TSS) and Intensity Factor (IF) can be calculated from accumulated power data. These metrics, when combined with a performance management chart will allow athletes to calculate Training Stress Balance and can help determine when overtraining becomes a danger. It can also help you vary the intensity of your workouts and tailor them to your training needs more appropriately.
As a side note, TrainingPeaks online and Strava offer some variety of TSS as well, calculated via heart rate. That's another blog post entirely, so keeping in mind that we'll be discussing power based metrics, let's look at how you evaluate training stress and fatigue after the break: