Training status gives you an overview of your longer-term training habits. This provides you with powerful insight into how your training is really going.
Provided by Firstbeat, the calculation utilizes several dimensions of your personal physiology. It considers changes in fitness level (your VO2 max), your current acute (7-day) training load and any change in training load, giving you guidance to help you improve your training decisions.
To explain in simple terms, when you stop training, your fitness level will decrease, but depending on your previous training load, a break from normal training routines may result in an increase in fitness level. Similarly, it’s expected that regular hard training will improve our fitness levels, but watch out — push too hard too often, and your fitness level will start to decrease due to the overtraining phenomenon.
As an example of how this works, imagine you’ve been training consistently for a number of weeks, and your fitness with normal, small day-to-day ups and downs is nevertheless increasing. This trend is automatically identified, and your current training will be classified as “productive.” Similarly, you could find yourself training very hard but notice your fitness starting a pattern of decline. In this situation, your training would be identified as “overreaching,” and additional recovery will be recommended.
The recognized training states are below.
Peaking – You are in ideal race condition. Your recently reduced training load is allowing your body to recover and fully compensate for earlier training. This peak state can only be maintained for a short time.
Productive – Keep up the good work. Your training load is moving your fitness in the right direction. Be sure to plan recovery periods into your training to maintain your fitness level.
Maintaining – Your current training load is enough to maintain your fitness level. To see improvement, try adding more variety to your workouts or increasing your training volume.
Recovery – Your lighter training load is allowing your body to recover, which is essential during extended periods of hard training. You can return to a higher training load when you feel ready.
Unproductive – Your training load is at a good level, but your fitness is decreasing. Your body may be struggling to recover, so pay close attention to your overall health, including stress, nutrition and rest.
Detraining – You’ve been training much less than usual for a week or more, and it’s affecting your fitness. Try increasing your training load to see improvement.
Overreaching – Your training load is very high and has become counterproductive. Your body needs a rest. Give yourself time to recover by adding lighter training to your schedule.
No Status – You typically need a week or two of training history — including recent activities with VO2 max results — before we can determine your training status.
VO2 max is the defining measure of cardiorespiratory fitness and aerobic performance capacity. The ability to see your current fitness level and track changes over time is a game-changer. It can help you set appropriate goals, evaluate progress and used to determine the effectiveness of your training. It can also provide the motivation you need to keep going and to reach your goals.
The Firstbeat analytics engine embedded in your Garmin cycling computer or watch reliably estimates your VO2 max by identifying, analyzing and interpreting meaningful performance data during your ride. The power you are generating is placed into the context of how hard your body is working to produce your performance. Mostly, the relationship between internal and external workloads (intensity of effort vs. watts recorded by your power meter) is linear and stable. To generate more power, your body needs to work harder.
Smart analytics capable of recognizing good data ensure that only the most meaningful parts of your performance are used to evaluate your fitness level. In practical terms, this means that you don’t need to worry about speeding up, slowing down, climbs, descents or stopping at intersections. You just warm up, cool down and ride as you normally would, without the need for any special fitness testing protocols.
Measured in terms of VO2 max, your fitness level combined with insight from your activity history provide valuable context for personalizing training effect feedback, estimating recovery time, defining the optimal range for your weekly training load and determining your current training status.
There are certain environments, however, in which your body must work harder than normal to keep up and maintain the same power output. Good examples are rides performed in hot and humid conditions or at high altitudes. A number of recent Garmin devices are capable of automatically recognizing one or more of these situations and understanding how your performance data is being affected as a result.
In addition to letting you see how well your body is adjusting to the environment, recognizing and accounting for the influence environment has on your performance improves the reliability of other metrics. This means more meaningful feedback in a growing number of tough environments.
For example, this includes the feedback you get from the training status data screen, which interprets changes in your VO2 max in light of your current training load and activity history. Left unaccounted for, the effects of uneven terrain or a measurable decrease in aerobic performance from altitude or a hotter than normal environment could mistakenly identify your training status as Unproductive or Overreaching.
How long does it take to acclimate to heat and humidity?
The speed at which your body acclimates to elevated temperatures depends on several factors.
One of the most significant factors is the difference between the conditions you are acclimating to and your normal environment. The bigger the change, the longer it takes to adapt.
Another factor is the frequency and duration of your workouts and time spent outdoors in the new environment. The acclimation processes are triggered by your direct exposure to the environment.
Evidence shows that prolonged daily outdoor exposures to challenging climates can produce the necessary adaptations in as little as 1 to 2 weeks. An athlete with a higher VO2 max typically adapts to challenging climates at a much faster rate, sometimes decreasing the acclimation period by as much as half.
Physiological Adaptations That Result From Acclimation
- Improved sweating
- Improved skin blood flow responses
- Improved cardiovascular stability (ability to sustain blood pressure and cardiac output)
- Better fluid-electrolyte balance
- Lower metabolic rate
Giving your body a chance to recover properly ensures you gain the maximum training benefit from your efforts. It also reduces injury risk and helps avoid the lasting consequences of overtraining syndrome.
Recovery time is a countdown timer that reveals when you can expect to be fully recovered and ready to benefit from a substantial challenge. This countdown timer is updated at the end of each activity. The amount of time added to your recovery timer is determined through analysis of the duration and intensity of your recorded activity interpreted in light of your current fitness level and activity history.
Any time remaining on your countdown timer at the start of a new activity is also taken into consideration.
For the most part, similar performances require similar amounts of recovery time, but sometimes it takes longer than normal to bounce back. An unusually hard workout or race performance is a good example. Another is when there is a sudden increase in your 7-day training load compared to normal. The shock of rapidly increasing your training load in a short period of time can produce residual fatigue, simultaneously increasing injury risks and the length of time it takes to bounce back.
A common misconception about recovery time is that it recommends complete rest until it has counted down to zero. Instead, recovery time is meant to indicate the time until you can expect to be sufficiently recovered for a hard workout. Many times an easy ride or run is OK — even beneficial — when your recovery time still shows considerable time remaining until complete recovery.
The amount of recovery time normally prescribed after a workout is now being adjusted based on new consideration from training effect and training load data.
What is training load?
Training load is an EPOC-based feature that helps you keep track of the combined strain of all your activities recorded with heart rate data. Your Edge cycling computer, watch and the Garmin Connect™ app provide views of your training load on a per-activity (for newer devices) and 7-day basis so you can see the immediate impact of each activity and your overall acute training load over the last week. Your chronic (4-week) training load is another load measure used internally in calculations for other features such as training status and training load focus.
EPOC is an acronym for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. It allows us to measure the impact of physical activity on your body in terms of the amount of restorative and adaptive work your body needs to perform after an activity. This is the work your body does to restore the dynamic equilibrium known as homeostasis.
Oxygen consumed is an indirect indicator of the amount of energy your body uses to put itself back together and better prepare you for the next challenge. Measuring the amount of extra oxygen your body uses after a workout compared to normal is how physiologists and sports scientists get a clear picture of the impact of an activity.
The Firstbeat analytics engine embedded in your Edge device or watch capably predicts the accumulation of EPOC in real time by analyzing heartbeat data and applying advanced mathematical modeling and machine learning.
Training Load Focus
During your activity with compatible devices, your performance is analyzed in real time to reveal the physiological impact of your activity and to understand the underlying efforts that produce it. This is achieved through understanding how various intensities and changes in intensity support and trigger adaptations in your body.
Anaerobic training load (purple): The number on the top row and accompanying colored bar show how much of your training load over the past 4 weeks was the result from anaerobic efforts. The key to increasing your anaerobic training load is doing activities that get your heart rate up quickly. These are typically high-intensity bursts of effort that are sustained for anywhere from several seconds to a couple of minutes at a time, mixed with low- to moderate-intensity recovery intervals during which your heart rate declines. Incorporating HIIT sessions into your program is a good way to make sure you get enough of your training load from anaerobic efforts.
- Key example: Interval workouts
High aerobic training load (orange): The number on the middle row and accompanying colored bar reveal how much of your training load of the past four weeks was the result of sustained moderately high- to high-intensity activity. This is the strain that accumulates during efforts where your heart rate was significantly elevated and you maintained that high level of intensity for a few minutes up to — in some cases — more than 30 minutes.
Low aerobic training load (light blue): The bottom number and accompanying colored bar shows how much of your training load over the past 4 weeks was produced during sustained low-intensity efforts. This is the portion of your training load that accumulates during “conversational pace” efforts, meaning that you are working but still able to talk and maintain a conversation.
Making the Most of Training Load Focus
The training load focus data screen provides you not only with a graphical depiction of how your training load is distributed among the three major intensity categories but with qualitative feedback as well.
- Shortage: You are lacking exercise in a training intensity category.
- Balanced: Your training is well distributed across different levels of intensity.
- Focus: Your training variety is reasonably well structured but is particularly focused in one area.
In addition to the above three categories of load focus feedback, it is also possible to get feedback that your overall training load is too low (“Below Targets”) or too high (“Over Targets”).
The work you do to achieve a balanced training load is all about the fundamentals. It’s about laying a strong foundation upon which you can build. With a balanced foundation in place, you gain the confidence you need to focus on the aspects of preparation that will give you the edge you need to succeed in your challenge of choice.
Balance Is Needed for a Strong Foundation
When your training load is both optimal and balanced, it means that you are active enough to support and gradually improve your fitness level, and the composition of your activities is diverse enough to provide a solid foundation for future improvement. It means that your activities include enough time spent at high- and low-intensity aerobic efforts along with dynamic efforts to help enhance your explosive performance capabilities.
Focus for Winning
Every athlete knows that preparation is the key to success, and to be successful you must recognize and prepare for the unique demands of the challenge you face. With a balanced foundation in place, you can start to focus and guide the composition of your training load toward a performance profile that matches your ambition or phase of your periodization schedule.
Confirming that your training is properly targeted through training load focus gives you confidence that you are on the right track. When understood and utilized properly, this data can be transformed into your personal road map for achieving your goals and performing at a high level in a wide variety of pursuits. You can easily see when your training activities are lacking in one or more areas, and once you have a strong foundation in place, you are able to shoot for the stars by ensuring the composition of your training activities match up with the specific real-world demands of the challenge you want to tackle.
Training Load: Training Effect Label of Primary Benefit
In newer compatible products, you can get an idea of how your ride or run affects your training load focus as soon as you save your activity. A new color-coded label added to the training effect summary screen describes the primary benefit of what you have just done and where you can mostly expect it to contribute.
Note that the background of these labels are color-coded (purple, orange and light blue) to match the anaerobic, high aerobic and low aerobic bars used for your training load focus. When a recorded activity has no meaningful impact in one of the intensity categories, or it cannot be identified, the label background is simply gray, and no descriptive text is displayed.
Daily Suggested Workouts Feature
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and when it comes to achieving your big-picture fitness and performance goals, what you do today matters. The Daily Suggested Workouts feature on select Garmin GPS watches and cycling computers combines the latest sports science with fitness, activity and lifestyle data captured by your device to answer this important question: What should I do today?
The broad goal of these suggested workouts is to help you improve your fitness level (VO2 max), which translates into aerobic performance capacity. Regularly performing suggested workouts will help you achieve an optimal training load with varied efforts ideally balanced for your development.
Activities covered include running and cycling training. Keep in mind that cycling workouts are power-based and require a compatible power meter.
Each workout suggested is designed to provide an appropriate level of challenge while satisfying a specific need or improving a particular aspect of performance. Your current training load, load focus, recovery time, sleep data and the profile of recently performed workouts all factor into your workout suggestions.
Some days your suggested workout will focus on building your endurance base or facilitating recovery. Other days will focus on developing maximum aerobic performance capacity, your ability to tolerate high-intensity efforts, perform and repeat dynamic intervals, or speed. Real-time guidance available during your activity tells you when to step up the intensity and when to take your foot off the gas. This can be especially helpful during lower-intensity activities where it can be easy to overshoot your mark.
Like any good workout program, consistency and variety are vital to your success. These elements are built into the workout suggestion system. Performing suggested workouts regularly ensures your progress. With time, you will notice a mixture of lighter training weeks, harder training weeks and some in between. These patterns conform to well-established training periodization methods employed by top sports scientists and exercise physiologists.
If you follow a dedicated training plan with scheduled workouts aimed at a specific event or discipline — either from Garmin Connect or a third party — your training plan workouts will take priority over the Daily Suggested Workouts. You will still be able to locate the suggested workout in the workouts menu, but your regular workout prompts will be for your training plan.
Because of how our bodies work, the type of training you do determines the type of results you can expect and the types of performances you’ll be well prepared for in the future.
Training effect is the metric that gives you a sneak peek at how each training session is expected to impact your future fitness levels. One of the most common uses of training effect is to coordinate and balance workouts that maintain and improve your current fitness level. Your compatible Edge displays the following two types of training effect measures:
Aerobic Training Effect
This measures the aerobic benefit of exercise, which should correlate with the fitness improvement you expect to get from it.
- Develops aerobic energy production
- Utilization of fat for energy
- Endurance and stamina
- Prolonged performance capacity
Anaerobic Training Effect
Your body’s most efficient method of transforming fuel into energy requires oxygen, but sometimes your demand for energy exceeds the rate at which enough oxygen is immediately available. Luckily, your body has a backup process ready and waiting. While not nearly as efficient, the anaerobic energy process can jump into action and keep you going. The downside is that it becomes depleted quickly.
- Develops anaerobic energy production
- Improved sprinting abilities
- Fatigue resistance
- Maximal performance capacity
Both aerobic and anaerobic training effects are mapped on a 0–5 scale that accounts for your fitness level and training habits.
0 – None, 1 – Minor, 2 – Maintaining, 3 – Improving, 4 – Highly Improving, 5 – Overreaching.
For a real-time assessment of your current ability to perform, look at your performance condition. During the first 6 to 20 minutes of your ride, this metric analyzes power, heart rate and heart rate variability. The resulting number is a real-time assessment of the deviation from your baseline VO2 max, with each point on the scale representing about 1% of your VO2 max. The higher the number, the better you can expect to perform. Keep in mind that your results may vary a bit during your first few rides with a new device since it’s still learning your fitness level. This will stabilize, and checking your performance condition will become a reliable day-to-day indicator of your capability.
In addition to the alert during the first part of your ride, you can add performance condition as a data field to your training screens, and keep an eye on it as your ride unfolds. The value may move around slightly as you encounter hills or strong winds, but it will trend down once you have been going hard for a while and the ride starts to take a toll on you. This is an objective way to keep an eye on how your ability to perform is or isn’t declining as you go, because it’s telling you if your body is working harder than normal to ride at your current power output. So, performance condition can give you a bit of an early warning before you “bonk.”
HRV Stress Test
If you’re wondering whether your body is ready for a hard ride or in need of a lighter effort, it might be time to check your stress score. When you’re fresh and rested inside and out, you’re better able to absorb the training effect from a tough ride. However, the same hard ride can be counterproductive if you’re tired or on the verge of overtraining. Your stress score is calculated during a 3-minute test during which your heart rate variability (HRV) is analyzed. The resulting stress score is displayed as a number from 0 to 100, with a lower number indicating a lower stress state. This measurement helps you assess what level of activity your body is ready for. More accurate results are gathered by taking the test at the same time and under the same conditions every day (recommended prior to the ride, not after). This also helps you get a feel for your own day-to-day and week-to-week variations.
You are required to stand to take the HRV stress test, because that makes the test more sensitive to low and medium levels of stress. When you are lying down, moderate levels of stress may not be revealed, but standing puts a slight load on your cardiovascular system. That load causes a meaningful drop in HRV when you have a moderate amount of stress compared to very low stress.
ClimbPro is designed to help a rider manage their effort during a ride in the following two ways:
- It shows upcoming climbs for the course, at what distance they occur and what length and gradient they are. This information is accessible in the course preview and is also available as a dedicated page within the timer loop during the activity.
- For individual climbs, a dedicated ClimbPro page automatically appears as a rider approaches a climb. This page shows the rider their position on the climb as well as the distance, ascent and average gradient remaining for that climb. This constantly updates as the rider makes progress to the top.
How are climbs classified?
The feature is designed to help a rider during more significant climbs by not detecting every uphill section during a ride. It will currently classify a climb based on the following criteria:
- Climb distance (meters) * average gradient (%) should be greater than 3,500.
- A climb must be a minimum 500 meters in length.
- Average gradient must be a minimum 3%.
We expect to continue to adapt this algorithm as we get more and more feedback from cyclists around the world.
What do the colors mean?
The colors indicate the gradient of the climb in the following ways:
- In the climb preview list, the colors indicate the overall average gradient for the climb.
- On the individual climb page, the colors indicate the average gradient for the highlighted section.
What does a rider need for ClimbPro to work?
- A rider needs to be following a course that includes elevation data. This course can come from Garmin Connect or third-party platforms and should ideally be in .fit format.
Functional Threshold Power (FTP)
Your functional threshold represents the maximum power output you can sustain for 1 hour. Your FTP estimate will form the basis for your personalized power zones and for most power-based training plans.
Your compatible Edge can detect your Functional Threshold either through a guided workout or automatically during a normal ride. Either way, by gathering heart rate data across a range of power outputs, the device will estimate your threshold in terms of power output. You will find your FTP estimate improves over time as your device learns your overall fitness level. Your compatible Edge also shows your FTP as a watts/kg value in relation to your weight and displays it on a rainbow gauge. This allows you to very quickly compare your own power-to-weight ratio against riders of different sizes.
Your compatible Edge can calculate your FTP with the following two ways:
- Using heart rate and power data, Edge takes you through a warmup followed by a gradual increase of targeted effort in 3–4 minute increments over a period of 15–20 minutes.
- Based on your heart rate response to the increasing power effort, Edge calculates your FTP value.
- You have the option to accept or reject this value. If you accept, your power zones will automatically recalculate based on the new value.
- It is recommended this test is performed on a road with constant gradient or on an indoor trainer.
Auto FTP Detection:
- If you set a personal 20-minute average power record, and if 95% of this value exceeds your current FTP estimate, we will prompt you to accept a new FTP value.
- Again, you have the option to accept or reject this value.