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Teun van Erp, Carl Foster and Jos J. de Koning

Purpose: The relationship between various training-load (TL) measures in professional cycling is not well explored. This study investigated the relationship between mechanical energy spent (in kilojoules), session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE), Lucia training impulse (LuTRIMP), and training stress score (TSS) in training, races, and time trials (TT). Methods: For 4 consecutive years, field data were collected from 21 professional cyclists and categorized as being collected in training, racing, or TTs. Kilojoules (kJ) spent, sRPE, LuTRIMP, and TSS were calculated, and the correlations between the various TLs were made. Results: 11,655 sessions were collected, from which 7596 sessions had heart-rate data and 5445 sessions had an RPE score available. The r between the various TLs during training was almost perfect. The r between the various TLs during racing was almost perfect or very large. The r between the various TLs during TTs was almost perfect or very large. For all relationships between TSS and 1 of the other measurements of TL (kJ spent, sRPE, and LuTRIMP), a significant different slope was found. Conclusion: kJ spent, sRPE, LuTRIMP, and TSS all have a large or almost perfect relationship with each other during training, racing, and TTs, but during racing, both sRPE and LuTRIMP have a weaker relationship with kJ spent and TSS. Furthermore, the significant different slope of TSS vs the other measurements of TL during training and racing has the effect that TSS collected in training and road races differs by 120%, whereas the other measurements of TL (kJ spent, sRPE, and LuTRIMP) differ by only 73%, 67%, and 68%, respectively.

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Dajo Sanders, Teun van Erp and Jos J. de Koning

Purpose: To provide a retrospective analysis of a large competition database describing the intensity and load demands of professional road-cycling races, highlighting the differences between men’s and women’s races. Methods: In total, 20 male and 10 female professional cyclists participated in this study. During 4 consecutive years, heart rate, rating of perceived exertion, and power-output data were collected during both men’s (n = 3024) and women’s (n = 667) professional races. Intensity distribution in 5 heart-rate zones was quantified. Competition load was calculated using different metrics, including Training Stress Score (TSS), training impulse (TRIMP), and session rating of perceived exertion. Standardized effect size is reported as Cohen d. Results: Large to very large higher values (d = 1.36–2.86) were observed for distance, duration, total work (in kilojoules), and mean power output in men’s races. Time spent in high-intensity heart-rate zones (ie, zones 4 and 5) was largely higher in women’s races (d = 1.38–1.55) than in men’s races. Small higher loads were observed in men’s races quantified using TSS (d = 0.53) and TRIMP (d = 0.23). However, load metrics expressed per kilometer were large to very largely higher in women’s races for TSS·km–1 (d = 1.50) and TRIMP·km–1 (d = 2.31). Conclusions: Volume and absolute load are higher in men’s races, whereas intensity and time spent in high-intensity zones is higher in women’s races. Coaches and practitioners should consider these differences in demands in the preparation of professional road cyclists.

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Teun van Erp, Marco Hoozemans, Carl Foster and Jos J. de Koning


A valid measure for training load (TL) is an important tool for cyclists, trainers and sport scientists involved in professional cycling. The aim of this study is to explore the influence of exercise intensity on the association between kJ spent and different measures of TL to arrive at valid measures of TL.


Four years of field data were collected from 21 cyclists of a professional cycling team, including 11,716 training and race sessions. kJ spent was obtained from power output measurements and others TL’s were calculated based on the session Rating of Perceived Exertion (sRPE), heart rate (luTRIMP) and power output (TSS). Exercise intensity was expressed by the intensity factor (IF). To study the effect of exercise intensity on the association between kJ spent and various other TL’s (sRPE, luTRIMP and TSS), data from low and high intensity sessions were subjected to regression analyses using generalized estimating equations (GEE).


This study shows that the IF is significantly different for training and race sessions (0.59±0.03 vs. 0.73±0.03). Significant regression coefficients show that kJ spent is a good predictor of sRPE, luTRIMP, as well as TSS. However, IF does not influence the associations between kJ spent and sRPE and luTRIMP, while the association with TSS is different when sessions are done with low or high IF.


It seems that the TSS reacts differently to exercise intensity than sRPE and luTRIMP. A possible explanation could be the quadratic relation between IF and TSS.

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Blaine E. Arney, Reese Glover, Andrea Fusco, Cristina Cortis, Jos J. de Koning, Teun van Erp, Salvador Jaime, Richard P. Mikat, John P. Porcari and Carl Foster

Purpose: The session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) is a well-accepted method of monitoring training load in athletes in many different sports. It is based on the category-ratio (0–10) RPE scale (BORG-CR10) developed by Borg. There is no evidence how substitution of the Borg 6–20 RPE scale (BORG-RPE) might influence the sRPE in athletes. Methods: Systematically training, recreational-level athletes from a number of sport disciplines performed 6 randomly ordered, 30-min interval-training sessions, at intensities based on peak power output (PPO) and designed to be easy (50% PPO), moderate (75% PPO), or hard (85% PPO). Ratings of sRPE were obtained 30 min postexercise using either the BORG-CR10 or BORG-RPE and compared for matched exercise conditions. Results: The average percentage of heart-rate reserve was well correlated with sRPE from both BORG-CR10 (r = .76) and BORG-RPE (r = .69). The sRPE ratings from BORG-CR10 and BORG-RPE were very strongly correlated (r = .90) at matched times. Conclusions: Although producing different absolute numbers, sRPE derived from either the BORG-CR10 or BORG-RPE provides essentially interchangeable estimates of perceived exercise training intensity.