There are a lot of different opinions when it comes to training theories and strategies. No matter what preferences you have, Bereda wants to make it faster and easier for you to build plans you love.
Ramp rates are one metric where there are varying opinions.
A “ramp rate”, very simply, is a measure of how much Fitness (CTL) is increasing over a given period of time. Ramp rates are worth considering because a ramp rate that’s too high could lead to overtraining and injury, while a ramp rate that’s too low is a literal plateau in fitness.
Ramp rates are typically measured in a per week basis, and a common recommendation is to increase Fitness (CTL) by 5-8 points per week, but there are also recommendations of 10-15 points per month, which would likely include a rest week.
Mesocycle vs. Weekly Ramp Rate
Bereda takes a longer-term view of ramp rates rather than focusing on the ramp rate of a single week. That’s why you’ll see “mesocycle ramp rate” used Bereda. It’s the average ramp rate over the course of an entire mesocycle.
Here’s an example:
A mesocycle’s starting Fitness (CTL) is 60
and over the course of 4 weeks,
finishes with a Fitness (CTL) of 70
That’s a total Fitness (CTL) gain of 10 points in 4 weeks,
giving an average ramp rate of 10 / 4 = 2.5 points per week.
This gives you the mesocycle ramp rate.
How do mesocycle ramp rates compare to weekly ramp rates? Depending on the length of the mesocycle there are a couple different “rules of thumb” we can offer:
3-week mesocycles: mesocycle ramp rate ~ weekly ramp / 2.0
4-week mesocycles: mesocycle ramp rate ~ weekly ramp / 1.6
5-week mesocycles: mesocycle ramp rate ~ weekly ramp / 1.4
note: this is for mesocycles that start and end with a Form (TSB) of zero.
So if you prefer 4-week mesocycles with build weeks ramping at about 5 points per week, you’ll want to use a mesocycle ramp rate of ~3.1.
Using the Mesocycle Ramp Rates for Annual Planning
Bereda lets you input your “preferred mesocycle ramp rate” into the settings section of the Overview tab. This value can be really helpful in setting up an annual training plan.
Let’s take an example where an athlete has a target ‘A’ race where they want a race Fitness (CTL) of 100. During the offseason they let their fitness decline to a comfortable value of 50. That’s a weekly training load of 350, which is equivalent to ~7 hours of endurance riding.
The periodization for the athlete is of the classic variety:
Base 1 – 4 weeks
Base 2 – 4 weeks
Base 3 – 4 weeks
Base 3 – 4 weeks
Build 1 – 4 weeks
Build 2 – 4 weeks
A total of 24 weeks leading into the race week where Fitness (CTL) = 100.
Gaining 50 CTL in 24 weeks gives an average ramp rate of 2.1, so if we use that as the preferred mesocycle ramp rate, we’ll get a good place to start. Adding training periods helps visualize and set the schedule for mesocycles.
Many training strategies call for different ramp rates at different times of the year. With the classic periodization, for example, it’s typical for fitness to increase more rapidly during the base periods before leveling off in the build periods where the athlete maintains more freshness to nail the intervals that come with the increased training intensity.
The degree to which the base and build ramp rates differ is up to opinion, but taking our example once more, we see that if we totally level off the build periods, we get mesocycle ramp rates of 3.1 for the base periods. From the discussion earlier in this post, we remember that for 4-week mesocycles, a mesocycle ramp rate of 3.1 leads to weekly ramp rates of roughly 5 points per week. This, again, is a common recommendation for weekly ramp rates.
Using an athlete’s PMC to find historically good ramp rates.
Instead of planning a season based on ballpark recommendations, why not plan based on what has worked for an athlete in the past? If you have an accurate PMC for an athlete with enough past data, it’s an easy task to measure ramp rates the athlete has achieved in the past. Bereda makes it even easier by providing a calculator for the job. Find it in by clicking (what’s this?) next to the preferred mesocycle ramp rate input field.
When using the calculator, it’s best if the total length of the period you’re measuring is 2 months or longer. Choose days at the start and the end of the period and input their date and Fitness (CTL) values into the calculator to find the average weekly ramp rate across that time.
Our recommendation is to take the peak Fitness (CTL) the athlete hit leading into a target event as the endpoint, and find the beginning of their build-up to that even some months earlier as the starting point. Even if the resulting ramp rate isn’t what you decide to use — it might be quite low and you decide to be a bit more aggressive this season — knowing what the athlete has previously achieved is a valuable reference point on which to base decisions.
Helpful? Confused? Let us know what you think by clicking the chat icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen.