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Garmin Training Status: Unproductive

Old 08-03-22, 07:53 PM
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force10
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Garmin Training Status: Unproductive

Over the last month, Ive upped my mileage and climbing and have been feeling much stronger as a result. For the last 4-5 rides in particular, Ive been putting out some pretty hard efforts. However, for these last 3-4 rides I have been getting a message on both my edge 530 head unit and on gGarmin connect that my training is "unproductive" and that there is a "high aerobic shortage". In these same last 4 rides I've set no less than 2 dozen strava PR's on regular routes.

I guess my question is twofold: 1. Is the Garmin trainig status assessment worth anything? In the past it has seemed to fairly represent my effort. and; 2. If it is accurate/worthwhile, have I increased my fitness to a point where I ought to introduce more structure to my "training"
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Old 08-03-22, 08:54 PM
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My Garmins are the 800 version so I'm not a great source of wisdom on this subject. However, as is traditional on BF, I'll reply anyway. My guess is that the device thinks you're spending too much time above the aerobic zone it thinks is important. However your riding has obviously been productive of PRs. But maybe PRs aren't all there is, eh? There's also putting in 10 hours a week in zone 2 which is very productive of future successes. All zone 5, not so much. So try backing it off for a couple weeks and see what the device says. Which doesn't preclude one all-out hill effort per week, say, or a couple 20' sweet spot intervals. Yeah, try more structure.
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Old 08-03-22, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
My Garmins are the 800 version so I'm not a great source of wisdom on this subject. However, as is traditional on BF, I'll reply anyway. My guess is that the device thinks you're spending too much time above the aerobic zone it thinks is important. However your riding has obviously been productive of PRs. But maybe PRs aren't all there is, eh? There's also putting in 10 hours a week in zone 2 which is very productive of future successes. All zone 5, not so much. So try backing it off for a couple weeks and see what the device says. Which doesn't preclude one all-out hill effort per week, say, or a couple 20' sweet spot intervals. Yeah, try more structure.
Thanks. It seems as if it is telling me that I am not exerting myself enough when it says there is a shortage of high aerobic effort. No?
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Old 08-03-22, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by force10 View Post
Thanks. It seems as if it is telling me that I am not exerting myself enough when it says there is a shortage of high aerobic effort. No?
No, my guess is that it's the opposite. Pure aerobic effort takes place in the region below where your breathing rate increases. My suggestion is try that and then see what it says. If you care . . .
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Old 08-04-22, 07:38 AM
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I'm guessing if the people behind Garmin's metrics were pushed to answer, they'd define "training" as something like "preparing the rider (you) to ride faster for longer periods of time in the future." By contrast, your description of your rides is an amateur race week, riding anaerobically and setting PRs. Just like pro racers, you'll need some time to recover in the next few weeks, so you'll likely be riding slower and/or shorter rides for a week or two; you're doing the opposite of "training."

That said, I'm pretty suspicious of the training numbers I get from my Garmin. Recovery time is the flakiest. Long, hard ride, have to sit on the back steps for 10 minutes before I can put the bike away? 2 hours to recover. Short, peppy ride, I need 27 hours to recover (but I can mow the lawn and trim the bushes before lunch)?? So when the unit tells me I had an unproductive ride, or low training over the last week, I treat that "information" with the respect it deserves: about the same as a politician's campaign promise.
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Old 08-04-22, 09:15 AM
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I get ridiculous summary messages such as unproductive, over reaching and peaking from the Garmin 830 post ride.

I find them amusing. Why look? They arrive after the save button is pushed and I am waiting to shut the Garmin off. And there is no Garmin post ride analysis unless one is wearing a heart rate strap, even if, one has power and power zones set in the Garmin and Garmin Connect.

I use Garmin Connect. In the Garmin iPhone App, there is a better discussion and visual presentation of the summary workout. I was at the track on Tuesday for a structured workout and got a Maintaining. In Garmin Connect, it said sufficient duration and low intensity to improve my aerobic base. Really? Impacted and improved aerobic base 3.3 (green) Maintaining Anaerobic base 2.7 (blue). What was the workout? Warmup, accelerating kilo, 2xflying 500 meters and 2xflying kilos and then 8 laps behind the motor at 29 mph.

3 hours to do that workout so there was a lot of full recovery between efforts and not much riding.

I find the rules based software / AI Apps to be worthless for the training that I do to achieve my goals. I use a coach who provides workouts and I see him one or two times a week at the velodrome where he supervises training of his athletes in a structured session.

With respect to PRs, be careful if you are hitting PRs and feel amazing. The reason is that big efforts, that feel easy, still generate a lot of fatigue.

Training to achieve a goal requires measured efforts with associated rest and recovery over longer periods of time.

I find it is okay to feel great after a workout. I do not have to feel like road kill to achieve a long term goal.
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Old 08-04-22, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by force10 View Post
Over the last month, Ive upped my mileage and climbing and have been feeling much stronger as a result. For the last 4-5 rides in particular, Ive been putting out some pretty hard efforts. However, for these last 3-4 rides I have been getting a message on both my edge 530 head unit and on gGarmin connect that my training is "unproductive" and that there is a "high aerobic shortage". In these same last 4 rides I've set no less than 2 dozen strava PR's on regular routes.

I guess my question is twofold: 1. Is the Garmin trainig status assessment worth anything? In the past it has seemed to fairly represent my effort. and; 2. If it is accurate/worthwhile, have I increased my fitness to a point where I ought to introduce more structure to my "training"
​​​​​​Pushing yourself hard is part of a good training approach, but it's not the only thing you're supposed to do.

We'll have better advice for you if you can show us a screenshot of your training load focus that your high aerobic shortage is based on. Right now we don't have enough info to answer your question.
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Old 08-04-22, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by force10 View Post
Thanks. It seems as if it is telling me that I am not exerting myself enough when it says there is a shortage of high aerobic effort. No?
​​​​​​We need to see the data to be able to tell you much about what's going on, but in general exerting yourself really hard every time is how to be medium fast and burned out.
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Old 08-04-22, 01:00 PM
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If you really want to keep track of your training condition and readiness to whatever, use a training website like TrainingPeaks, Golden Cheetah, or similar. Strava not so useful IMO. Also take your resting and standing-resting HR every morning. TrainingPeaks has cheap training plans which would at least give you and example of what structured training looks like.
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Old 08-04-22, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
If you really want to keep track of your training condition and readiness to whatever, use a training website like TrainingPeaks, Golden Cheetah, or similar.


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Old 08-05-22, 10:20 AM
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Unproductive I've taken to mean that I'm not doing anything to maintain or get better. High aerobic shortage is it trying to tell you you aren't getting enough of higher aerobic HR zones in your riding.

If you just want to ride your bike, it's no big deal. Just ride your bike as you see fit, ignore Garmin.

For me the messages seem to go pretty much hand in hand with what I'd expect. Sometimes I disagree, but which of us is right I don't know since there aren't enough copies of me to go out and try different strategies.

If you are trying to improve something about your cycling, then use it's suggestions along with all the other stuff you know as tools to indicate what you might need to do.

Do you have your HR zones set up? While you say you are doing some hard rides. Too much of it might be very hard effort and anaerobic and not just high aerobic. Might be bouncing from anaerobic effort to low aerobic for your resting and missing the high aerobic entirely.

Last edited by Iride01; 08-05-22 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 08-05-22, 10:34 AM
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For 4 days, Garmin tells me my training is unproductive. Then, in the next two days, I smash all of my PRs and it says I am Peaking. Sort of like economists looking in the rear view mirror.

I cannot see any utility in anything Garmin feeds me WRT training.

It used to tell me my VO2 Max was 73 ml/kg. Pretty damned impossible for a 64 year old, especially since back of the envelope puts it down around 50.

Use TP or GC. Exert had problems, not sure if they got fixed.....very user friendly though
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Old 08-05-22, 12:40 PM
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An example today.

I did a 40 minute ride at 323 watts with a 10 minute stretch at 401 watts. At the end, Garmin congratulates me on my new FTP......269 watts. Seriously!!

Then tells me I need 54 hours to recover.

Both are total BS.
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Old 08-05-22, 01:30 PM
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Short answer: Ignore it.

Long answer: From the googling I have done in the past the unproductive status means that your training load is in a good range but the "VO2 Max" that the device calculates has decreased. So despite your good effort your fitness is decreasing either because of poor training or you've just accumulated fatigue. So in this case unproductive means "your training isn't working". All of this should be ignored for 2 reasons:
1) the VO2 Max that the device calculates is inaccurate, even relative to itself. (it's based on HR during steady efforts at sub threshold speeds)
2) Everyone knows that fatigue will suppress the expression of your fitness, and nobody ever improved without a little fatigue. So even if your HR to watts ratio really did increase because of some hard training, it doesn't mean your training isn't working.
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Old 08-05-22, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by chiggy View Post
Short answer: Ignore it.

Long answer: From the googling I have done in the past the unproductive status means that your training load is in a good range but the "VO2 Max" that the device calculates has decreased. So despite your good effort your fitness is decreasing either because of poor training or you've just accumulated fatigue. So in this case unproductive means "your training isn't working". All of this should be ignored for 2 reasons:
1) the VO2 Max that the device calculates is inaccurate, even relative to itself. (it's based on HR during steady efforts at sub threshold speeds)
2) Everyone knows that fatigue will suppress the expression of your fitness, and nobody ever improved without a little fatigue. So even if your HR to watts ratio really did increase because of some hard training, it doesn't mean your training isn't working.
I also suspect that the Garmin algorithm doesn't properly account for higher heart rate due to temperature, even though Garmin claim it does. I've noticed that on hot days, Garmin's reported "Performance Fitness" will be depressed by several points.

Like on today's ride: average temperature around 90F, performance fitness -3, even though I felt fine and was riding comfortably. Additionally, Garmin's "heat acclimation" for the ride was zero, which is ridiculous. Since they can't get heat acclimation even close to right, that increases my suspicion that they don't account for temperature's effect on heart rate.
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Old 08-06-22, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
I also suspect that the Garmin algorithm doesn't properly account for higher heart rate due to temperature, even though Garmin claim it does. I've noticed that on hot days, Garmin's reported "Performance Fitness" will be depressed by several points.

Like on today's ride: average temperature around 90F, performance fitness -3, even though I felt fine and was riding comfortably. Additionally, Garmin's "heat acclimation" for the ride was zero, which is ridiculous. Since they can't get heat acclimation even close to right, that increases my suspicion that they don't account for temperature's effect on heart rate.
Yes. I have had issues with the "heat acclimation" function as well and have been "surprised" to see it drop the past two weeks of the highest heat/humidity yet of the summer.

ETA: I suspected the heat may be playing a part in the assessment.

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Old 08-06-22, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Unproductive I've taken to mean that I'm not doing anything to maintain or get better. High aerobic shortage is it trying to tell you you aren't getting enough of higher aerobic HR zones in your riding.

If you just want to ride your bike, it's no big deal. Just ride your bike as you see fit, ignore Garmin.

For me the messages seem to go pretty much hand in hand with what I'd expect. Sometimes I disagree, but which of us is right I don't know since there aren't enough copies of me to go out and try different strategies.

If you are trying to improve something about your cycling, then use it's suggestions along with all the other stuff you know as tools to indicate what you might need to do.

Do you have your HR zones set up? While you say you are doing some hard rides. Too much of it might be very hard effort and anaerobic and not just high aerobic. Might be bouncing from anaerobic effort to low aerobic for your resting and missing the high aerobic entirely.
Hmmm. I do have the HR zones set up.
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Old 08-06-22, 05:02 PM
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I also am not really certain the word unproductive is talking about the ride just performed. I think it's looking back over a time span and how many rides you did and what certain scores were.

Stll, with my Edge 530, I can't say it's been too far off for the times I'm riding regularly. It also doesn't like it when all I do is a hard all out effort for 90 minutes or so after a break in my riding.
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Old 08-06-22, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
I also suspect that the Garmin algorithm doesn't properly account for higher heart rate due to temperature, even though Garmin claim it does. I've noticed that on hot days, Garmin's reported "Performance Fitness" will be depressed by several points.

Like on today's ride: average temperature around 90F, performance fitness -3, even though I felt fine and was riding comfortably. Additionally, Garmin's "heat acclimation" for the ride was zero, which is ridiculous. Since they can't get heat acclimation even close to right, that increases my suspicion that they don't account for temperature's effect on heart rate.
What temperatures did your watch think it was during the ride? Did you have cell reception while you rode? If you use iOS does Garmin Connect Mobile have permission to run in the background?
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Old 08-07-22, 05:40 AM
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Proper training is a mix of hard efforts with recovery periods to allow the body/muscles to recover, heal and build from the periods of high intensity training. Failing to allow the body to recover and build results in fatigue and can lead to "over training" symptoms such as the inability to raise bpm while riding, extreme fatigue and an overall malaise.
PR's are just a means of indicating one's progress over time over the same segment. How you feel that day, recovery, weather, wind, etc. also play a part but aren't included in the formula. It can be misleading especially when you are beginning a building phase and can see a "rapid progress". It generally tapers as one hits peaks and plateaus which is another reason why recovery is so important.
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Old 08-10-22, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
I also suspect that the Garmin algorithm doesn't properly account for higher heart rate due to temperature, even though Garmin claim it does. I've noticed that on hot days, Garmin's reported "Performance Fitness" will be depressed by several points.

Like on today's ride: average temperature around 90F, performance fitness -3, even though I felt fine and was riding comfortably. Additionally, Garmin's "heat acclimation" for the ride was zero, which is ridiculous. Since they can't get heat acclimation even close to right, that increases my suspicion that they don't account for temperature's effect on heart rate.
Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
What temperatures did your watch think it was during the ride? Did you have cell reception while you rode? If you use iOS does Garmin Connect Mobile have permission to run in the background?
​​​​​​For both of the features you mentioned to work, Garmin needs the temperature. They don't trust the thermometer in your computer for this, you could have it mounted next to a light that throws off heat, it could be in the sun or shade, etc. So these two features both require live temperature data from Garmin's weather service while you ride. Also both features have a cutoff temperature of 72 degrees F. The questions I asked were to help troubleshoot why this isn't working for you.
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Old 08-10-22, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
​​​​​​The questions I asked were to help troubleshoot why this isn't working for you.
And I don't have decent answers to your questions, as I don't pay much attention to external temperature reports.

What I have noticed is that when I go out on a ride that's hot, Garmin reports zero heat acclimation. So I've learned to ignore that feature.
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Old 08-10-22, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
​​​​​​For both of the features you mentioned to work, Garmin needs the temperature. They don't trust the thermometer in your computer for this, you could have it mounted next to a light that throws off heat, it could be in the sun or shade, etc. So these two features both require live temperature data from Garmin's weather service while you ride. Also both features have a cutoff temperature of 72 degrees F. The questions I asked were to help troubleshoot why this isn't working for you.
Er, what's the point of having a thermometer included in a device if the device won't use the thermometer?
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Old 08-10-22, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
And I don't have decent answers to your questions, as I don't pay much attention to external temperature reports.

What I have noticed is that when I go out on a ride that's hot, Garmin reports zero heat acclimation. So I've learned to ignore that feature.
You can ignore it if you like. It works fine for me, and it will work as intended for you too if you figure out what's preventing it. Since it sounds like you're not talking about the dead of winter that points to your device not being able to get the weather data it needs in real time. I think you mentioned using an Apple Watch in another thread, and what I suggested earlier is a common issue among iOS users. I bet if you look into that you can get this sorted out with very little effort.
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Old 08-10-22, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I think you mentioned using an Apple Watch in another thread, and what I suggested earlier is a common issue among iOS users. I bet if you look into that you can get this sorted out with very little effort.
Thanks.

I re-linked the GARMIN unit with my iPhone via Bluetooth, maybe that will get the feature working again.
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