What Is TSS?

Sunday, January 1, 2012 | By TrainingPeaks
Email this article

By using TrainingPeaks' Training Stress Score® (TSS®) system you can gain points for virtually any sport or activity. This allows any endurance athlete the ability to quantify their workouts based on their relative intensity, duration and frequency of workouts. One single value can now represent how hard, and how long you worked out. 100 points earned by a pro is relatively the same as 100 points earned for a beginner because TSS is relative to each person's threshold.

This is the same system used by elite and pro level athletes to track their fitness for over five years. Dr. Andy Coggan and Hunter Allen pioneered TSS with the original seed concept being developed by Dr. Eric Bannister's heart rate-based training impulse (TRIMPS).

You don’t need an expensive power meter to start using TSS to track your training. TSS works for cyclists, runners, swimmers and triathletes. In fact any workout that contains heart rate data can be assigned an hrTSS value. Additionally, pace can be used to calculate a pace-based TSS value for sports like swimming and running. Now triathletes can track their entire training program on one all encompassing graph-- The Performance Management Chart.

Once you start to understand the simple scoring system, you will even be able to assign a daily point score through perceived exertion. Here are some tips if you are just getting familiar with TSS:

  • You earn 100 TSS for an all out, 100%, 60-minute workout. Of course most workouts are not completed at 100%, so most workouts will accumulate less than 100 TSS per hour.
  • You can earn more than 100 TSS within a single workout (as long as it is longer than an hour), but never more than 100 TSS per hour.
  • Think of intensity as an RPE value on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the hardest. If you exercised at a level 5 for two hours, then you would accumulate 50 TSS/hour or 100 total points. It wouldn’t matter if you were training for the Tour de France or to simply complete your first triathlon.

The really powerful benefit of tracking your daily TSS is your ability to leverage the TrainingPeaks Performance Management Chart to easily track fitness progression over time. TrainingPeaks will accurately calculate fitness (known as a Chronic Training Load™ or CTL), fatigue (known as Acute Training Load™ or ATL), and finally a freshness or form factor (known as Training Stress Balance™ or TSB).

We all know that fitness isn't built through occasional exercise. The Performance Management Chart can be one of your best kept secrets. Consistency and progression over time are the real secrets to long-lasting fitness.

To learn more about Training Stress Score and how to use the Performance Management System please visit the following pages:

Get the latest news

Join Us