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Is Cardiac Drift the Answer to Personalized Indoor Training?

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Is Cardiac Drift the Answer to Personalized Indoor Training?

Old 02-02-19, 08:03 AM
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fstrnu
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Is Cardiac Drift the Answer to Personalized Indoor Training?

The consistency, precision and repeatability of ERG training indoors is the ideal way to harness the power of cardiac drift. While there are many reasons for this, for purposes of time I'll mention just two:

If you want to understand and consistently measure the relationship between effort and power then fixed power is the way to do that. My favorite analogy is if you go to the gym and you want to know how many times you can lift 200 lbs then you are going to find 200 lbs and lift it. You aren't going to lift 50 lbs and then 400 lbs and then 75 lbs and then try to normalize it.

On the effort side of things, under controlled conditions:
  • the effort to produce power
  • the measure of effort (HR) to produce power
  • and things that effect the measure of effort to produce power (hydration)
...are all unaffected by changes in conditions and, therefore, changes in performance from one workout to the next can be more confidently attributed to actual changes in training status (i.e. the state of fitness, fatigue and endurance).

I could go on but let's turn our attention to how to use this information:

Endurance - Cardiac drift is a measure of endurance. A lower/decreasing drift is an indication of improved endurance.

Duration - Cardiac drift can help ensure proper stimulus for endurance development. The rule of thumb is to aim for a duration that elicits between five and ten percent cardiac drift. If you are under 5% then increase duration of next workout. If over 10% then decrease duration of next workout.

Readiness - When you are able to manage a cardiac drift of 5-7% for the duration of your target event then:
  1. endurance is adequately developed
  2. your body is ready for higher intensity work and
  3. you can move into maintenance mode for endurance which for many athletes is one endurance ride per week
Fatigue - A decrease in average heart rate than coincides with an increase in cardiac drift is likely due to a suppressed (lower than average) heart rate from fatigue. As fatigue accumulates, so will cardiac drift. This is because HR suppression from fatigue often disproportionately impacts the first half of the workout (because HR can return to a normal level later in the workout after being suppressed initially) and, since cardiac drift is measured by comparing first half of workout vs second half of workout heart rate, cardiac drift will skew upward with additional fatigue. You can see this phenomenon in the set of three consecutive purple bars (7% ==> 10% ==> 13%) at the bottom of this chart.



Applicable to workouts of all intensities - Apples to apples, a decrease in cardiac drift is preferable. I monitor it for all of my workouts. If cardiac drift is lower for the same workout, then that is good. If it is higher then that is likely not good. I always control or am at least aware of and take into consideration possible impacts of hydration, nutrition, stress, sleep quality, etc. so it's not a be-all end-all.

Power vs time - I'm looking for a cardiac drift of 5-10% for all of my workouts. Among other things, this allows me to do things like assess the effectiveness of intensity-for-time substitutions. For example, if I don't have time to perform a 1x120 session at aerobic threshold then I may perform a shorter Tempo ride in its place and I know I got the intensity/duration combo right if cardiac drift lands between 5-10%.

Edit #2 - This also applies to endurance block substitution where, for example, I'll look for a second session cardiac drift of 5-10%. So if I don't have time for a 1 x 120, but I have time for 2 x 1 x 90 then I'll be looking for a drift of 5-10% from the second 1 x 90.

Edit - While possibly inferred, it's worth specifically pointing out for new cyclists that the all adds up to help to get the right mix of intensity, duration and frequency (AKA programming variables). For example, fatigue can be dissipated by decreasing workout frequency or increasing rest week frequency and so on.

Edit #2 - This is illustrated in the drop in cardiac drift from 13% to 7% in the dark to light purple bars in the chart above.

Additionally, longitudinal (trend) analysis helps to identify the patterns that work for you with respect to your ability to tolerate load/rates and your need for recovery. This is critical because, in this and other aspects, we are more different than we are the same.

Last edited by fstrnu; 02-12-19 at 07:55 AM. Reason: Formatting/clarity + see all instances of "Edit #2"
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Old 02-02-19, 08:12 AM
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Old 02-02-19, 08:25 AM
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But what is your goal?

What event or type of events are you training for?
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Old 02-02-19, 11:19 AM
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Why do I want to know how many times I can lift 200 pounds? If I can do 3 sets, it's time to put 5 more pounds on the bar.
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Old 02-02-19, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
This is critical because, in this and other aspects, we are more different than we are the same.
6 million years of evolution turned on its face by fstrnu.

Let the slowclap ensue.
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Old 02-04-19, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Why do I want to know how many times I can lift 200 pounds? If I can do 3 sets, it's time to put 5 more pounds on the bar.
It's not about the question. It's about how you answer the question which is with fixed weight. Regardless, I agree that ability to do three sets is a good indicator for putting more weight on the bar. Similarly, a cardiac drift below 5% or above 10% indicates the need to adjust power, intensity or frequency.
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Old 02-04-19, 10:23 AM
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Cardiac drift seems to be too variable to use for a basis of planning intensity or duration, when I've checked what Golden Cheetah tells me anyway. I'd probably be more inclined to try to normalize the HR (eliminate the drift) and work off that, if I wanted to base the workouts on either one.
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Old 02-04-19, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
It's not about the question. It's about how you answer the question which is with fixed weight. Regardless, I agree that ability to do three sets is a good indicator for putting more weight on the bar. Similarly, a cardiac drift below 5% or above 10% indicates the need to adjust power, intensity or frequency.
What does it mean when your cardiac drift is negative at the end of a ride outdoors?

I found the CD numbers to be all over the board when I've looked at it, so I never saw the usefulness.
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Old 02-04-19, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
What does it mean when your cardiac drift is negative at the end of a ride outdoors?

I found the CD numbers to be all over the board when I've looked at it, so I never saw the usefulness.
It means you got tired or had low blood sugar toward the end, pretty typical. So it is useful, but maybe not for programming.

I do a good bit of steady state work on my rollers. I don't have power, so I go by breathing mostly, secondarily by HR. If I hold my breathing rate steady, my speed on the rollers will climb very slowly. My guess is that's probably constant power and the speed increase is as tires and the fluid unit heat. I will see CD in steady state zone 2 sessions, maybe 7 beats in an hour if I'm totally out of shape, 2 if I'm in form. So it's useful in that way. Pretty easy to see. But I'm sure as heck not going to sit there for 3 hours to see if I can get 10% CD. Probably couldn't if I were in form. But I have better things to do. In the same vein, I'm not going to do the hour in zone 3 because I get plenty of that out on the road. When I do those zone 2 sessions on the rollers, I'm trying to fill in the bottom of the intensity pyramid. Out on the road, I'll typically get 2' in zone 1, 30' in zone 2, 3 hours in zone 3, 45' in zone 4, and 1'-5' in zone 5. I do sometimes do 15' low cadence zone 3 intervals on the rollers. When I'm in form, those aren't long enough to create CD and I'm not capable of doing longer ones. They hurt plenty that way.

I do use CD on long road rides. I watch it like a hawk. HR goes up for effort, I drink. HR goes down for effort, I eat. That's not complicated and it's very accurate.

So it's interesting to note, but not of much use really, beyond the above.
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Old 02-05-19, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
What does it mean when your cardiac drift is negative at the end of a ride outdoors?

I found the CD numbers to be all over the board when I've looked at it, so I never saw the usefulness.
Too many variables outdoors.
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Old 02-12-19, 07:56 AM
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OP updated for formatting + clarity + see also all instances of "Edit #2".
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Old 02-12-19, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
Too many variables outdoors.
Oddly enough I actually ride my bike outdoors, it's an activity called "Cycling".
The variable terrain, road surfaces and weather conditions are far more interesting and challenging than inside any gym walls for me.

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Old 02-12-19, 10:40 AM
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Thanks for sharing and congratulations, but this is a thread about indoor training. The quoted text is an answer to a direct question about cardiac drift outdoors. Did you sense some type of judgement?
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Old 02-12-19, 11:50 AM
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All this based on the premise that cardiac drift is coming from fatigue indoors and no discussion at all with regards to dehydration leading to decrease plasma volume increasing HR or elevated core temperature due to inadequate heating. We're clearly not dealing with an expert here.
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Old 02-12-19, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
All this based on the premise that cardiac drift is coming from fatigue indoors and no discussion at all with regards to dehydration leading to decrease plasma volume increasing HR or elevated core temperature due to inadequate heating. We're clearly not dealing with an expert here.
But, but, but... If you just ignore all the confounding variables, the trend is crystal clear!
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Old 02-12-19, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
Thanks for sharing and congratulations, but this is a thread about indoor training. The quoted text is an answer to a direct question about cardiac drift outdoors. Did you sense some type of judgement?
I've seen fashions in cycling "training" come and go for a while now and have observed that dogmatic belief in anything beyond the simple dictum to get out on the bike doesn't produce riders with the operational skills of calm confident bike handling in challenging terrain or the endurance, power and speed needed to get up and over it.
That being said winter is a good time to vary routines with flexibility and strength training, re-set goals for the new season, overhaul or acquire new hardware, re-check fit and build the base necessary for the new season. If forced indoors by weather rollers and a trainer are good temporary tools, never a substitute for being out on the bike. Put a set of full mudguards on the fixed gear and get back out there.

Is there "The Answer" for all to anything related to cycling training?
Nope, no such thing.

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Last edited by Bandera; 02-12-19 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 02-12-19, 02:37 PM
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Clearly we're not dealing with people who know how to read...

Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
All this based on the premise that cardiac drift is coming from fatigue indoors and no discussion at all with regards to dehydration leading to decrease plasma volume increasing HR or elevated core temperature due to inadequate heating. We're clearly not dealing with an expert here.
Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
But, but, but... If you just ignore all the confounding variables, the trend is crystal clear!
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Old 02-12-19, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
Clearly we're not dealing with people who know how to read...
I did read your post, and thats the point, you can mention them and not even discuss how they would affect cardiac drift. If your goal is for people to actually use your strategy, you need to discuss the details for people to take you seriously. If someone took your post above and tried to implement as outlined for multiple workouts, they'd have no idea what they were doing, or why things are changing or what to do to adjust. The important aspects of indoor training are brushed aside to focus on marginal gains.
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Old 02-13-19, 02:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
Oddly enough I actually ride my bike outdoors, it's an activity called "Cycling".
The variable terrain, road surfaces and weather conditions are far more interesting and challenging than inside any gym walls for me.

-Bandera


Me too!!
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Old 02-13-19, 02:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
But what is your goal?

What event or type of events are you training for?
Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
Clearly we're not dealing with people who know how to read...
Some of us are still waiting to read ... the response to our question.


Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
I did read your post, and thats the point, you can mention them and not even discuss how they would affect cardiac drift. If your goal is for people to actually use your strategy, you need to discuss the details for people to take you seriously. If someone took your post above and tried to implement as outlined for multiple workouts, they'd have no idea what they were doing, or why things are changing or what to do to adjust. The important aspects of indoor training are brushed aside to focus on marginal gains.

That's the thing ... we have yet to see the answer to "why".

For example, if I want to do some training during the winter so that I can ride a comfortable century when spring comes in September, is this the right kind of training?

Or will doing a spinning class once a week, plus some Zwift rides in the evenings, plus gradually increasing my distances outside on the weekends do the trick?

Last edited by Machka; 02-13-19 at 02:36 AM.
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Old 02-13-19, 08:47 AM
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When an upcoming car driving towards you drifts toward you because their eyes are fixed on you and you’re bike. They don’t realize they are drifting towards you because their eyes are leading the direction of their vehichle. Are you getting my drift?










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Old 02-14-19, 03:33 AM
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fstrnu, can you provide any references to accepted scientific research and testing that would let us vet your ideas and reasonably decide to follow them?
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Old 02-14-19, 09:07 AM
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https://www.researchgate.net/publica...ement/download
https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/a...nd-decoupling/

Also:

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Old 02-16-19, 08:38 PM
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I couldn't watch the videos.

The first link you posted doesn't even mention cardiac drift. I don't think that's much of a scientific reference supporting your hypothesis. It does discuss your Internal:External-Load Ratio but doesn't think much of it:
However, while practically attractive, the implementation of this approach is limited unless care is taken in controlling and quantifying the athlete’s external loads and the environment in which the exercise is completed.
I'm a little surprised that your second link is to a Friel article in the TrainingPeaks blog. Quite the contrary to what you advocate, Friel says:
So one of our goals when working on AeT is to keep decoupling to a minimum-less than 5%.
(AeT is Friel's acronym for aerobic training.) Again, this link does not support your hypothesis.

In fact, both these links support the TrainingPeaks system of using training stress and associated equations as developed by Andrew Coggan, Ph.D. Coggan's equations are also used in a great deal of other training software. The Coggan equations not only give you your current training levels, but can also be used to predict future training levels and thus to create effective individual training plans.

CD is interesting in about the same way that HRV is interesting. It's interesting, but it doesn't tell us much nor is it a good predictor of training consequences. Really. Get a Premium membership in TrainingPeaks and start charting your CD workouts there. You'll quickly see why those interested in scientific training use it or one of its many clones.

The first article to which you linked has a nice chart toward the bottom which I was happy to see. It shows a sweet spot and a danger zone for ATL/CTL ratios. The top of the sweet spot is at a value of about 1.25, which is exactly the same as what I've observed in my personal training as an effective upper limit on fatigue. Everyone loves to have their own findings confirmed.
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Old 02-16-19, 10:40 PM
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Yeah I think I'll let people be there own judge as to how much the author's think about I:E:

Internal:External-Load Ratio. The internal- and external-load
measures available with today’s microtechnology (eg, GPS) mean
that measures from these devices are becoming of increasing
interest to scientists and coaches as a noninvasive approach to
understand how athletes are coping with training and competition.
The integrated internal:external-load ratio assesses the psychophysiological stress experienced by the athlete (ie, heart rate, RPE, blood
lactate, etc) during training in the context of the external training
load completed and can be used to infer on athlete training status.
For example, an increase in the internal load to a standard external
load may infer athlete fatigue or decreased fitness, while a reduced
internal load (a lower heart rate or perception of effort to a standard
external load) indicates that an athlete is gaining fitness and coping
with training. Furthermore, this may inform on the consequences
of training programs,59 identify fatigue during team-sport competition,60,61 and identify changes in fitness or fatigue status.62 However,
while practically attractive, the implementation of this approach
is limited unless care is taken in controlling and quantifying the
athlete’s external loads
63 and the environment in which the exercise is completed.


Edit - Oh yeah, and ERG mode allows accurate quantification and total control of external load.

Regarding Joe, do you agree that decoupling has merit? If so, we can proceed.

TrainingPeaks appreciates HR. So do I. We agree on this. End of story.
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