Ruud, Thanks so much for your great and nice respond and explanation.
I like to add some ideas to the discussion from my side as it is a discussion we have since I can remember. It started out in the late 1970 when we had the first very unpractical wattage units , but it really got into high gear after the cable feedback heart rate monitor from Casio got replaced with the PE 250 from polar. The world got turned upside down on what is as you pointed out very nicely
the "stable" factor in this orchestra.
Than when lactate point of care units got developed ( Boehringer Mannheim's ) accusport as the leader followed by many other great small tools and now with wattage units from many great companies, we add a new kid on the Block , the NIRS portable simple small units.
So as we can see so often nothing new just have to dig back into history.
Now some add ons for some thoughts.
I like to use Ruud's great summary as a guide.
-a) From a physiological perspective you wont get much out of this ( wattage or simple performance feed backs in general.)
Absolutely agree and nothing to add on .Performance feedback have no values as such when looking for physiological information besides somebody moved.
b) I do however understand why people train like this
Same here , Ruud is bang on as it is a perfect guide to motivate yourself to create a certain effort over a certain time. Any feedback whether it is an equipment or a partner or a distance or a river or a hill side , anything which helps us to overcome the inner fight of well let's quit, is a great way to keep pushing not just to where we can go , but to where we would like to go.. It is the old Lamarck idea.
The basic idea from as you can see far back helps all of us to understand that when ever we start a relative regulated proper loading an unloading training plan we will make progress.
Than we add the dialectic contradiction of adaptation to it and we keep progressing for a long time.
Than we may reach a certain level and we start to have more problems to improve further. It all depends how early or how late we may create a LIMITER.
From this point it does not matter, whether you use lactate threshold as the Gospel for intensity , or you use FTP % and take it from a 60 Min FTP assessment or a 20 min FTP assessment.
You can take 220 - age or you can take a NIRS idea.
Any idea you use, who creates a decent controlled loading ( catabolic ) and unloading ( anabolic ) pattern will lead ultimately to some progress in performance or ability.
So to make it clear. The EMPIRIC information and experience we have, using lactate threshold , and the progress when using this Gospel we see in many people ,does not mean that the progress is because we use LT but rather the progress we see is based on the idea of Lamarck and adaptation and a more or less controlled loading and unloading pattern.
There is not one , so called test system out there ,with a test result ,who can claim that because we use this markers the person makes progress , including NIRS.
I will further down come back on this critical thought ,but the key is to have a marker, who tells you where the current limiter is so you can foccus on the weak link and once adapted to the next level , we may have a new limiter and so on.
c) Because they know what you will need in terms of performance (output = watt perspective) so that is taken as the guideline it is very easy that way
Completely agree and that is way in cycling the concept of using wattage is so successful in terms of performance improvement as it is highly motivating and in terms of money business as everybody believes in it and believes they understand it.
e) except for the wattage so that's the "stable" factor in this orchestra.
Allow me to slightly disagree in this point.
Wattage is only the stable factor, if we accept it as the conductor of the orchestra. It is completely on each coach or patient or athlete to decide, what he like s to have the stable factor.
As mentioned before, when the PE250 was introduced we change in many places the “conductor” and we argued that HR is the stable factor.
So in simple terms.
If wattage is the stable factor in a workout we may see the so often discussed Heart rate drift and at a critical and sometimes even lower wattage we see over time HR increasing due to different physiological reactions. (Heat is one of them) so stable wattage drift in HR
If we make HR the stable factor than we have a stable HR and a drift of wattage often downwards ???
Now we can have a stable VO2 and have a drift in wattage downwards.
We can have a stable SmO2 and change in tHb and drift of wattage downrds or upwards.
So I have to gently disagree, that wattage is the stable factor in the orchestra. It is was we make out of it and therefore when we believe wattage is always the same physiological load it would make sense to be the stable guide.
If we agree that wattage is not always the same physiological laod we could argue, that it can make sense to control reactions by making a physiological marker the stable factor and as such can use wattage to see, whether performance will drop is stable or even increase ?
Hope this makes some sense but pelase come back.
f) Are you targeting different systems , every day?
Yes and no.
Yes if you either plan it
And yes if you not plan it as you keep wattage as the stable factor of the orchestra. If that is planned it is great
If it is randomly unknown than it is fun and luck of the draw or nature.
No if I plan to work for a while on the LIMITER and only maintain the compensator.
No if you have no control over it for example if HR is the stable factor and you do not know how it interacts or wattage is the stable factor where we as it seems agreed that we than have randomly different stimuli on different systems.
g) Does it matter? It depends
Yes and NO
No as the key element of activity is going out and move. If the activity is somewhat planned the majority will make progress no matter what they us.. It does not matter as Fun and doing it is the key goal.
Yes it matters, when there is a risk of randomly organised activity like in cardiac patients, people in rehab and people with limited time options but still goals to reach their personal best and with people who like to make progress but seem to have reached a plateau.
h) When you get results and you feel good, who cares
Absolutely true positive reactions are great and nobody will ask any questions.
That’s why “loosing “ a race is much more positive when looking at progress than when we win.
i) When you don't it's time to do a root cause analysis
Again true but not agree, why to waste time , when we cna do the same immediately and have fun as it is not changing anything other than thinking outside the classical BOX Just my biased opinion. Why to look on a wattage meter, when I l can look on the same meter on wattage and live bio feedback whether I like to drift physiologically of and maintain wattage or whether today I like to drift wattage of as I plan to maintain physiological stability >?
k) And the more data you collect, the more likely you will find an answer.
Yes and no. No as sometimes more data’s seem to confuse more than help At least that is what I often see in my messy brain.