The “Watts up with Power?” ride is likely the slowest group ride you’ll find on Zwift, because it focuses on learning the basics of power based training while riding together on Zwift. Each ride is streamed to Zwift LIVE by ODZ on Facebook, and focuses on teaching specific principles of power-based training. For viewers that are unable to attend live, the teaching is made available for all to review afterwards.

Here is the summary for June 7th from ride leader Nate Dunn.

ATL, TSB, CTL, and the PMC. In this presentation we want to simplify all of the power training jargon and get to what matters most. How can the Performance Manager Chart (PMC) help you get better as a cyclist? (Learn more about the Training Peaks Performance Management Chart here >)

Good Data is Essential

If you hope to gain anything of value from the PMC, you need to make sure you’re feeding it good data. Here’s where to start.

  1. Make sure your power meter is accurate. Single sided power meters might not be the best option for feeding the PMC.
  2. Keep your FTP settings as accurate as possible. FTP drives TSS values which in turn define the PMC. If your FTP is not accurate, the PMC is of little value.
  3. Frequently test yourself with best efforts, either in races or training rides. If you’re rarely going as hard as you can, it will be difficult to discern what combination of CTL, ATL, or TSB makes up your best efforts.

The Basics

If you’re confused with all the power jargon here are a few of the absolute basics. For more detailed descriptions check out the many available online.

  1. ATL = Fatigue over a week
  2. CTL = Fitness over a few months
  3. TSB = CTL – ATL, Current freshness

Who Cares?

So why is the Performance Manager Chart of value to our cycling?

  1. Helps to analyze historical trends like peak power outputs in context with fatigue, fitness, and freshness
  2. Provides motivation and context for daily efforts.
  3. Models future fitness/fatigue. Visualize a taper and peak.

Peaking with the PMC

So you’ve got some of the basics down, how do we use the PMC to help plan a peak for your season?

  1. Analyze your PMC in relation to past best efforts. What is it telling you?
    1. Maybe a trend, maybe nothing conclusive
  2. Chose a CTL/TSB target to use for your next peak
  3. Model your taper/peak with TSS and see what happens
  4. For a more detailed breakdown of the taper period watch our first episode of DDA live over at the website.

PMC Limitations

Yes the PMC is a great tool, but it’s not voodoo. Here are a few important limitations to keep in mind.

  1. Only a model based on the quality of data you feed it
  2. Can be a useful tool
  3. Don’t over interpret