How does Athletica calibrate itself overtime?


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Hi Patrick,

Appreciate your curiosity and thoughts. I believe you are using the Garmin Connect system. When you onboard with Garmin, we upload back in time (currently 6 weeks, soon to be much much longer), and use a modified version of the Banister (1970) impulse response model (explained in depth here fyi) to estimate your fitness, fatigue and form (freshness). Every day you train, your plan is adjusted based on this model so that your fitness (and freshness) is optimized for your race day. You can find your status on your "Plan Overview".




I'm curious to understand how Athletica stays calibrated overtime. In fact:

  • I can undertand that at day 1 after I perform a 5K test run, you may be able to derive the fitness value from the results of the test
  • What is less clear is how are you able to determine my fatigue since you don't know in which state of fatigue I came into Athletica the first place. And I don't see how you could be able to get that from the test
  • Finally, assuming you have both values at a given time, then you just go from day N to day N+1 by adding the delta coming the data from day N. But nothing being perfect, you necessarily drift from the reality because of the cumulative error margin. So, is your only way to get back on track to hope that I do another 5k test soon enough :)

You can address my questions one by one or you can direct me to an article that would clarify it all for me.

Thank you!!!

We follow these principles generally in your sport specific context and using only the data we can derive from you. We will continue to iterate as we go.

Quick question about this. I normally train at 600m elevation, but for example now I am at Bogotá at 2600m elevation. Does athletica take this elevation data into account to adapt a few days of adaptation to my plan? If not, how do I make the AI coach take this massive change of context into account so I don’t overcook myself at altitude the first few days?

Hi @CharlieStolen. Great question. In this context, you need to appreciate that your internal load (i.e., HR) will now be higher for a given external load (i.e., power output or run/swim pace). Therefore ideally you should be following more your internal load markers for anything endurance related an prolonged. Exception is short sharp interval work where you’ll need to appreciate that recovery won’t be as fast. I don’t think we are there yet in terms of the AI adapting and you need to really listen and modify accordingly. Does that make sense?

I’ll add in especially when I’ve travelled to altitude with the NZ elite squad, we would always just ride very chilled for the first few days. Simply adapting to the new environment (altitude and time zone) is enough stress as it is. Wait at least a 3-5 days before you start getting into proper training again.


Makes sense. Thanks so much for the fast response. So when traveling to altitude, just make changes to the sessions for low intensity ones, gradually build up and just let athletica modify the plan accordingly to what I get done every day. Is that the best move?

absolutely… and always listening to the body and acting accordingly.


This is focused on high altitude mountaineering but might be of interest.

But for your situation when you first go to altitude your body can’t utilise as much oxygen as it can at your normal living altitude. Your body does adapt (acclimatise) but it takes time, and most of what you’ll get in 2 weeks is increased haemoglobin / red blood cells for transporting oxygen.

One of my other passions is mountaineering :grin: and I’m very used to this acclimatisation period before you begin to almost perform at your usual level.

One of thing that has come out of the research is that older mountaineers in general acclimatise better and that relative fitness doesn’t tell you who will deal best with altitude.

As above be active but not too intense to give your body time to get your blood up to speed. Drink plenty as your blood gets sluggish as it generates the extra haemoglobin. / red blood cells.


Hey Phil! Thanks for this. It’s a really good explanation and the tips are gold. I am originally from Bogotá so I know a bit about how the body behaves at altitude even though I have been living almost see level for a few years now. I just found fascinating if Athletica adapted the training based on the principles of altitude training. Just thinking of things that a good human coach would consider and modify as a priority with this information, maybe the AI would also take into account. Surely eventually it will :slightly_smiling_face:
Thanks again for your reply!