I have recently taken an interest in how the workouts I perform contribute to my overall fitness and sport specific fitness. As we all can appreciate after a workout we feel more fit and after time off we feel like we are starting over. Also some workouts are tougher than other workouts.
To begin the concept of training loads, we have to start with a baseline of how tough is a given workout. Usually one would start with a 60 minute maximum effort in a given sport and then compare the workout to that effort. This is usually done with a 30 minute time trial. Then each workout is assigned a training stress score (TSS) based on the duration, intensity factor (IF) and a normalization assignment. This TSS is then translated into a training load.
Chronic Training Load (CTL) and Acute Training Load (ATL) are the two established methods for tracking training in progress. CTL looks at time frames of about 6 weeks and ATL looks at time frame of 7-10 days. If the ATL is greater than CTL you are “putting money in the bank” by improving your fitness. This time off you will lose fitness as the reduced or non-existent ATL allows CTL to fall toward zero.
I will most likely purchase WKO+ or other equivalent software, but for the time being I have started with Excel Spreadsheets for my swim training and SportTracks for my run training. I will most likely start with Excel for my bicycle training once I have a few more data points (I just got the power meter last week).
Attached are the training load files. It is apparent that I am continuing to build a run base, whereas I have reached a plateau in term of swimming fitness.