Garmin’s Fenix 5 advertises the use of Training Effect 2.0 and will also be including a new Training Status. This was developed by FIRSTBEAT and announced as long ago as December 2015. As we know FIRSTBEAT are a leading HR-analytics company who partner with Suunto, Huawei, Jabra, Samsung, Sony and others. Indeed many of you would have seen the following screenshot from the new Fenix 5 and thought, “Hmmm, that’s different”. Well at least I did 🙂
Training Effect can be simply seen as the impact of the exercise you have just completed on your body and then the increase in the capacity/strength that will hopefully come with adaptation/recovery.
However there will be detail beneath the headline TRAINING EFFECT (TE) and one way that detail could be looked at is distinguishing between Anaerobic TE and Aerobic TE. My understanding/memory of talking to Firstbeat about this nearly a year ago was that this was initially designed with team sports in mind eg where there was a high degree of stop-start activity in a sport such as football. Initially, at least, the rigours of a 2 hour triathlon at some form of constant-ish level of exertion were not the focus.
Clearly buyers of a Fenix 5 will include team sports players. Whilst those players OUGHT not to wear a chunky watch whilst competing against others they could quite easily wear a caching HR strap such as Garmin’s HRM-RUN or Polar’s recently announced H10 and review the data later.
But what about endurance athletes? We go anaerobic sometimes, well often, don’t we?
I’m sure a few of you have been looking at XERT’s tools for cycling with power. If not, maybe you should. Simplistically if you have a 1 hour race and you average above your FTP for the first 30 minutes; then it necessarily follows that for the last 30 minutes you must average below your FTP. But precisely by how much is a tricky calculation. Sure it depends on the intensity of power-durations above FTP but it will also be impacted by how much recovery you have got in the first 30 minutes at times when you were below FTP; and of course in the last 30 minutes your recovery will increase but at varying rates. Hopefully this illustrates that it is a complex balance between your capacity and changing levels of expenditure and recovery – I don’t profess to know the detail of that but I hope you would agree that it is important in determining the level at which you can perform.
It requires a slight change in how you think. We are not quite talking about time-in-power-zones.
With Firstbeat, PERHAPS we are looking at similar abilities to XERT but with heart rate as a proxy AND with them integrated into the Fenix 5 firmware.
This then draws me back to a post I recently updated. GOMORE have a HR chest strap sensor that essentially performs a similar function but unlike XERT, it is based on heart rate and proprietary algorithms. Their STAMINA SENSOR (OK you can’t sense stamina but bear with me) can essentially tell you how you need to perform for the remainder of your exercise/race – similar areas potentially to what the Fenix 5 might be covering?
Training Effect 2.0 is different because it tracks ANAEROBIC component training load. Training Effect 1 was geared towards looking at the OVERALL impact on VO2max (cardiorespiratory fitness) of an assessment of EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption).
You’ll have seen EPOC on the standard SUUNTO MOVESCOUNT charts for quite some time perhaps?. I think the following chart is a swimming EPOC chart of mine when I was doing some testing last year.
Anaerobic load is created when performing at high intensities, specifically looking at the level of intensity as well as its duration; but also considering the recovery state at the start of the interval. My understanding is that the result of Firstbeat’s algorithm is then compared to a sport profile to determine the likely adaptation.
I suggested that this sort of functionality needed to be built into high performance sports watches back in 2014 and in relation to an imagined 930XT in 2015 (here). Hopefully 2017 will see the Fenix 5 taking us a long way down the route towards these capabilities and the 930XT WILL follow suit.
IN GADGET-THEORY: It should therefore be possible, one day!, to say that you want to run for 60 minutes and have TE=4.2/5.0 with a 45% anaerobic component to the load. You then go off and do a few ‘random’ 1km reps. The gadget should be able to guide you AFTER those intervals towards achieving those quite complex BUT TRAINING SPECIFIC goals. One of the problems here is that the algorithms will rely on some form of indexing benchmark such as LTHR/VO2max…and I’m not always convinced those metrics are entirely correct. Nor do I think that the ‘readiness’ metrics, as you start an exercise, properly take into account the exercise that you did yesterday; that the device did not record; or that you had a bad night’s sleep.
So HRV may come into play here – HRV is used, in a simple case, to determine breathing rate but it also has much more complex use cases based on the state of the body’s nervous systems; here I mean the more complex uses in the context of estimating incoming fatigue levels when a session or interval is started.
Just thinking about it is giving me a headache. I’ll get back to the day job now.
Training Status – This is potentially MUCH more interesting and useful but I don’t yet know quite so much about it and it’s implementation into Garmin’s high-end 2017 devices (Fenix 5 and …??). If, like me, you’ve used some form of Training Load calculation (ie use TSB/CTL/ATL based on TRIMPs) then the new Training Status will be the same kind of thing but, instead, based on moving averages of EPOC-related data. This sort of stuff can be VERY useful in looking at your fitness TODAY and giving feedback on if your session was productive or unproductive and/or if you are maintaining/improving/peaking.
This post WILL BE UPDATED. I’m doing some related research in my spare time.
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