What does RPE training mean?
What does RPE training mean?
In this video, Brad and Coach Devlin talk about using RPE, or Rate of perceived effort as a gauge to how your training is going.
This video will tell you everything you need to know about training to RPE.
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Welcome back on to yet another edition of RIDE with Coach Parry. My name is Brad, we've got our cycling coach Devlin Eyden joining us once again. And today we are talking about RPE. And what it is, should we be tracking it? Does it play a role in your cycling training? Devlin, welcome back on, nice to touch base again.
Brad, how're you doing? Good to be back.
Yeah, very good. Great question that was asked in our forum and it's quite a, I don't want to say it's a buzz phrase at the moment, but a lot of people are talking about it. RPE, before we get into sort of how we should be tracking, what it means. What is RPE? What's the sort of layman's definition of RPE?
So RPE stands for rate of perceived exertion. So basically, what it is, is, it's a rating tool for the average person to be able to determine how much effort or how to rate your effort in whether it's racing or training or whatever it might be. It's a way for you to have a quantitative number and to put that against something if you don't have access to a power metre or a heart rate monitor or what have you. It's a very good tool to use, and it keeps things very simple, keeps things very basic. I mean, we use it here in our sports science lab on a daily basis still.
So as much as we have this high tech equipment, RPE is something we definitely keep, you keep the human aspect into your monitoring. And then at the same time, it's something we definitely shouldn't neglect and I think we can maybe get into that now sort of as we go.
Yeah, Dev, it's interesting you say keeping the human aspect because you mentioned heart rate monitors and power metres and I just get the feeling that we get too caught up in the gadgets and we forget about how our body's actually feeling. And for me, that's what RPE is, it's a way for me to say, okay, I've done this session, how was it? How am I feeling? And because we're going so far the gadget route we're losing touch with training to feel essentially.
Hundred percent. And with a lot of the more modern platforms that are being used to monitor things like training peaks, and what have you that are out there and available for all this gadgetry. Those all work on some way of quantifying the amount of training load that you doing. And the simple way of doing that is just by taking a session RPE.
So just to quickly step back, so how to rate RPE. So the actual Borg's RPE scale, so that's the guy who developed it, so that scale works on a scale of 6 to 20. Now again, you sort of want to ask your question as to why the odd, random numbers. But that's the scale that's put aside with a 6 being a very, very light effort, so sort of something that you could do all day long, close to sitting on a couch type of effort, and a 20 being your maximum effort, bleeding from the eyes, that sort of work.
Now, a way of simplifying that to make it easier is just to work on an RPE scale of 1 to 10, same sort of thing, 1 being just off the couch to 10 being the absolute hardest thing you do. Now, going back to what I was mentioning, with the platforms, they all quantify that in the sense of an easy way for you to do that, if you don't have these platforms is to take a session RPE. So if you've done a session now and you feel that was a 7 out of 10 effort, and multiply that by the duration of the RPE, you can track that as training load over a period of time.
So that's a very simple and a very effective way for us to also monitor training load, and RPE's, remember, it's based on feel. So it's not necessarily something that's only specific to training, you can use a session RPE, which is training specific, or you can have a general RPE, you work out today and if you are monitoring, these sort of things an RPE of 3 or 6 or just not feeling good today and feeling a little bit sluggish. So it's just a tool for you to be able to rate how you're feeling and to keep track and keep monitoring that over a period of time.
And then, Dev, it's one thing tracking it, but looking at those numbers, what do those numbers actually mean? Are there trends that we should be looking out for? Or are there things that we should be looking to avoid?
Yeah, so Brad again, we start to then become a little bit more intricate, but over a period of time. So you, I suppose different sessions will give you a different RPE. So if you're doing an LSD type of session will probably be a two or three out of 10. If you're doing something with a little bit more high intensity, those intervals, for instance, might be somewhere where you're sitting in a seven or an eight out of 10. So each session is going to give you something different.
So if you are tracking that on a weekly basis, weekly is a little bit too, what we refer to as an acute training load. So your acute training load is actually sort of something you're doing at every session, and that obviously will spike and you'll constantly get sort of high values and low values as you go. The biggest thing is then to plot that over a rolling average over a period of time.
Now there's a lot of research out to say, Do you work on the 28 day cycle, do you work on or four week cycle, for instance. So they are different ways of monitoring. And that then is what we refer to as your chronic training load. So how does your acute and your chronic fluctuate from each other. And you genuinely, over the period of time, you don't want to see too much of a gap between an acute training load and a chronic training load. So your chronic training load will be more of a trend line over a period of time as that rolling average. And your acute will generally spike above it in might come below it as you go depending on the training session.
But as an example, if you're sitting with your acute training loads that are all sitting quite high above a chronic curve, that's sort of an indication of possibly overtraining, so you could be pushing yourself a little bit too hard if your acute training sessions are always much higher than what your chronic curve is. And it's little things like that we had obviously where we start to get a little bit more intricate and understanding of things, but that's generally what we're looking for and the whole reason for taking something like an RPE reading over and above using gadgetry.
Absolutely, I think that is some great advice, Dev, and a great way to explain it and how to sort of track it as well. If you do need some help with your cycling make sure you check out the Coach Parry Online Training Club. We've got training programmes literally from beginner right through to advanced for various distances, both road and mountain bike as well. So definitely check us out. Head over to coachparry.com/join-cycling and we look forward to helping you become a better cyclist. Dev, as always great to catch up and we look forward to chatting again soon.
Great, Brad, thanks a lot.