Is Training Peaks CTL supposed to be estimated lower after program than before?

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    I just started “80/20 Triathlon: IRONMAN 70.3® Level 1 (Run HR and Bike Power, 6 to 11 Hours per Week)” this week.

    When I look at Training Peaks estimation my current Actual Fitness CTL score is at 81, at the end of plan it’s estimated to be at 64. I understand this as my fitness will be LOWER after completing the program than before? Is that correct, and if so, how might I increase the estimated CTL score + workouts to fit my needs?


    Your Performance Management Chart before and after 89/20 are not comparable. Please read this resource for more details.

    Your Performance Management Chart Is Lying To You


    One thing to be aware of is Training Peaks will default to power for completed workouts if the data is available.

    Your TSS for hr based plans will be higher than planned. Broadly speaking, this is because power measures above and below the acidosis point whereas hr only measures below the acidosis point.

    I’ve found that rTSS and TSS (from a power meter) are generally pretty close. On the other hand with hrTSS the scores can be as much or more than 20% lower on hilly courses.

    Despite the title of David’s article, he does point out that Training Peaks is not lying, but it does take considerable maintenance to be useful.

    Leyla Porteous

    To answer your question we need to look at how TP does predicted TSS. Your intensity type is run HR and Bike power. With Power, TP assumes that you will be executing each workout at a set % into the zone, when in fact you could be lower in the zone or higher in the zone and still be completing the workout correctly. Therefore, predicted TSS and future CTL will likely be incorrect. HR based structured workouts are also know to underestimate future TSS and therefore this has an impact on future predicted CTL.

    The bottom line is: predicted TSS/CTL is invalid unless you manually manipulate every single future planned TSS, which is impractical.

    The PMC is a great tool to tell you where you have been, and where you are. It is not a good tool to tell you where you are going. The resource that Gerald provided above provides more context on this issue.

    Follow the plan, trust the process, stay consistent and you will see the results.

    Now if the plans seems to easy, and is lower than you current fitness – with the peak weeks not really challenging then your best bet is to Level up.


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