AI expecting a higher load on bike workouts

Hi, I was invited over from Slowtwich to share my experience so far with Athletica AI.

I’ve been using it for a few weeks (although I signed up back in November with the black Friday deal). I am using it to prescribe my bike workouts, I created a 26-week plan using the low volume option, and it gave me 4 rides a week, and I manually added one more ride on Fridays; just an easy recovery ride before the big ride on Saturday.

Now, what I have been experiencing is that my bike workouts, even though I do them as the AI prescribed them, meaning I am within the power range it provides, I keep ending up with a lower load than what is expected.

Say that Friday ride. I selected the “Recovery” option from the drop-down menu, and it gave me a Zone 2 ride, I manually made it a 60-minute workout. So far so good. Now, the load it is expecting from that workout is 44.

I did that workout using TrainerDay, I gave myself about 10 minutes of workout starting at the bottom of my Zone 2 range, and then I did 45 minutes right in the middle of my Zone 2, and then a cool down. I ended up with a load of 32. The AI was expecting a higher load from my recovery workout, even though I performed it within the range it prescribed for me.

The same thing happened with a VO2 workout earlier in the week. All the intervals are within the range it tells me, but the AI was expecting a load of 37, and I ended up with a load of 26. Again, I’m underdoing it.

If I export that recovery workout from Fridays to an MRC file and load that into Trainer Day I end up with a 60’ ride at a constant power of 198W. I think this is where that discrepancy may be; maybe the AI is expecting similar watts to what that MRC file is saying, but if that’s the case, what is up with the range it is giving to prescribe the workout?

If I am to meet the goal load it’s expecting, and because I can’t just start pedaling at 198W from the beginning, I will either have to extend the workouts or ride at a higher intensity.

Is anybody else experiencing this?

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Well it makes sense that the load is different if you have a range of Watt for your intervals. May the load is calculate for the average (middle point) in the range?
If you cycle more on the lower end, the load is lower, if you cycle at the higher end, the load is higher.
I dont know if the average is the target, but if so - try to be closer to the target.
But I get the point, that it feels odd.
I think ranges are great for outdoor training, indoor I would specify the Watt-Target.

I’m pretty sure that’s what’s going on. The “planned” MP^4 was 196W, and according to the AI my Zone 2 range is from 166 - 224W. The middle point for that range is 195W, so it’s talking the half-point and calculates the expected load based on that.

My MP^4 for my ride was 168W, taking into consideration warm-up and cool-down, hence the lower actual load. Now that I look at it more closely those were outside of the range.

What I’m thinking is that I need to add my WU/CD to the time it prescribes; if it says 60 minutes, I need to do those 60 minutes + WU/CD, and that’s pretty obvious to me, but I still find it rather strange that workouts are prescribed with such a wide range, and then the mid-point is chosen to calculate the load. 198W although endurance watts for me, they wouldn’t feel like recovery.

I used TrainerRoad for the past 6 years or so, and I’m more used to just giving exact watts for the effort that then I can tweat during workouts depending on how I’m feeling.

My load on the bike had been lower on all of my Z2 rides as the range is 150 - 200 and I’ve been riding to keep HR in range so power has been 160ish when I started using Athletica about a month ago. Now the average watts are closer to 170 and the HR is the same and the load is very close to the prescribed amount.

If you are doing the workouts on an indoor training platform like Zwift it kind of just takes the midpoint and assigns that for the set.

I find I get maximum benefit to edit the workout and give myself a 5 min WU on Z2 rides and settign the power targets to a reasonable amount in the range for my harder efforts.

We have the same thinking, Dave. I’ll do the same thing and add the warm-up to the total prescribed time, instead of making it part of the prescribed time. This means that tomorrow’s workout is 45’ @ Z2, I’ll add a 10-minute WU at the start and build to a power I feel comfortable with, that is within the range and feels in the zone, and guided by HR and RPE.

This also means that my workouts are going to be a bit longer than prescribed.

So basically what you are missing is planned in Warmup and Cooldown, right?
Sometimes it seems to be planned in, for steady zones it isnt.

Here is an example:

I would wish that they could integrate a view like here on

Here isn’t a warmup included:
If i export the zwo, it will use 197W while in the software the range is 164-221W.
I think the range is given for outdoor rights since there it’s not as easy to target a precise watt-target, right?
If i would do this workout, I would also plan in a ramp warmup…

I do all my sessions outdoors and treat ranges as exactly that, a place to reside during the intervals. Sometimes I might be towards the bottom of the range, other times near the top.

For endurance I tend to go by heart rate ranges, for everything else I’m paying attention to power ranges for the most part. VO2 max I like to see HR at end of each interval, but I don’t have it showing during.

Here’s a tempo workout yesterday done outdoors. I rode 30mins less than proscribed but my load was 10 higher. All because I was working towards the top of the power range during the intervals.

The AI treats the session as planned if the duration and load are within about 15-20% from what I can see, Sometimes I do more than planned, sometimes less and I leave the AI to do the adjusting to what I’m doing, to keep me on track.

Yeah, I can see how ranges outside make more sense, but indoors they don’t in my opinion. Or maybe it’s just the fact that I’ve been riding with fixed numbers indoors for so long that I’m accustomed to it.

I’m going to upload the ERG from my HIIT workout to Trainer Day and ride it as-is and see how it feels, maybe it’s fine for workouts with intervals, but not for steady-state efforts like a recovery ride.

Hey @tulkastri. Thanks for jumping over and checking out Athletica. I’ve had a deeper look into your profile and my gut says that some of these load issues relate to your profile settings. In particular it is possible that your 20’ power is too high relative to your critical power number. If you have a very high threshold number then Athletica reads lower easier power numbers easier and lower than they might actually be. Your Performance Profile numbers in your settings also look to be a bit off. Please let me know if you’d like us to consider these further - just DM me here.

That’s a really good point, because I think my CP is too low. Albeit I haven’t done a true CP test, but I know my FTP is hovering around 280W.

I recently did a climb in my area and Xert “detected” my CP at 310W, which to be honest is too high I think.

I know how I ride when my FTP is above 300W, which is why I know it’s not there, but I don’t think my FTP is as slow as the AI think it is.

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@Prof what is your suggestion? I didn’t set my CP, that was calculated by Ahtletica AI I believe, I only entered my 20’ power.

I would shift your 20’ power closer to your all-time CP (244w). That number would align more with the 30/30 session you did last week. Its usually better to start it lower and then you’ll be prompted to raise it if need be but everything you’ve mentioned suggests that this should be the first step. Let me know if I can assist you further.

@Prof got it. I have dropped it down to 270 and see how that goes. Not so sure what the relationship is between CP and 20’ but I’ll try it like that.

One other thing I am considering is that after I finish some commitments I have right now with my training, I will perform the assessment week and try and set my thresholds that way, I recently got a lactate meter and I’d like to get some data there too.

Thanks for the help.

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I have to do assessment week (FTP, Profile …) next week. Feel free to join :slight_smile: EU Timezone. Send me a message if interested

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