Friday, 8 March 2013

20 minute power test

It's been a long long while since I last did a 20 minutes power test and I really really hated it. I needed to do one, and as I have been lazy and done nothing for the last 2 days I felt like today was the day!

Considering I have recently set a 1 hour PB I was expecting to do at least as well as the 331W I achieved last time, so I set myself a target of 335W. Things started off rather well, I felt in control and had averaged 340W for the first 10 minutes, HR slowly rising to 172 bpm. At this point I started to feel quite powerful and I forgot the most important rule of a successful test; pacing. Between 10 and 13 minutes I averaged 345W and like an idiot, I knew what was going to happen and did nothing about it. I purposely wasn't looking at my HR so I didn't notice it creep up to 175 bpm, but I did start to feel the effect and my power started to drop off after 13 minutes.

HR=Red, Power=Black

By 15 minutes I was in a world of hurt (point A) and by 17 I was seriously considering stopping, sweating profusely and breathing very heavily. At 18 mins (C) I was in tatters and had to shift gear to be able to keep any power so I took 30 seconds to recover and prepare for the final push. HR dropped a little and the clock ticked down, at 19 mins signalling the final push to the finish, averaging 400W for the last 30 secs.

At the end I was completely spent and had to climb off the bike and kneel on the floor, breathing heavily for a full 2 minutes before I was recovered enough to stand up again.

The good news is that I increased my 20 minute power from 331W to 335W since the last test, using the same equipment and conditions. The bad news is that this could just be variations between the 2 tests. I am also very amazed at my ability to do stupid things (go off too hard) and hard things voluntarily (work so hard I can't stand up). If I was being chased by a bear I don't think I could have tried any harder.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Road Ride with intervals

Had a day off yesterday so I wanted to do something hardish on the road. I settled on trying to do 10 intervals of 360W (115%) x 3 minutes to get a total of 30 mins above 360W. I've got some good flat straight roads that I can use so it's like being on the turbo just with a bit more traffic.

The first 2 intervals were quite easy and the third was curtailed by poor timing which meant I found some red traffic lights. The next interval was the first of 5 up the the same strip with the 5th getting an extra minute to make up for the shortened interval, and then the last ones were on the way home.

HR (red) never got above 170bpm and power was relatively well controlled but did tend to drop off towards the end of some intervals because I was getting tired from going off too hard. The best interval was the one shown as number 13, a nice even effort throughout, but real life isn't as controlled as these intervals so I'm happy to mix it up a bit more as long as I achieve the average power.

It was actually quite a hard workout but it would be better if I could do it with less of a break between intervals, but the roads don't allow it due to traffic. As I get closer to racing I need to do more of this with shorter breaks and some harder intervals thrown in too.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Strictly Tempo road ride

With a new FTP (313W based on yesterday's ride) I set a target of 285W (tempo) for an hour on the road. As a hardish recovery ride it felt fine throughout and always comfortable. Not much to say really except that my fitness seems to have taken a step up in the last couple of weeks.

This wekk I have achieved 4 workouts, 3 of which were on the road. Total time of only 4 hrs 38mins but more than half of this was in power zones L4 or L5 so there was some good intensity in there too.

Tomorrow will be a day off and then I'll be back on it again on Tuesday.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Hour of Power and New PB!

Thursday (2 days ago) was a rest day after 2 days of hard intervals and I planned a road ride yesterday. Unfortunately I was delayed at work and had other commitments when I got home so I had another day off and several glasses of wine and some chocolate too. Not exactly the highly disciplined training I had planned in November when this experiment started.

This afternoon I grabbed an hour to myself and headed out for another Hour of Power on the sunny roads, planning to repeat the hard session I did last week when I averaged a respectable 296W.

Today I felt great straight from the start and rather than trying to maintain 275-285W between the high power bursts, I just rode on feeling with occasional glances at my power. After 24 minutes I had averaged 317W (a new record) and then went on to set a PB right out to 60 mins. Other than a slight 'wobble' at 48 mins I just felt fine, though I was on the limit at the end and pleased to stop.

At the end I had averaged 313W compared to my last 60 min PB of 308W on 1 Jan. Then I tried to even out and control my effort, whereas today the Hour of Power workout is specifically designed to disrupt your flow and I would expect that to reduce your average power. So, I guess I must have got fitter. Last year's 60 min PB was 296W and I was absolutely shattered at the end of that, so I'm quite pleased.

 Average HR was low at 163, cadence was tightly grouped around 80rpm (yes, I do pedal slowly). 1100kCals for the hour and a relative intensity of 0.999, so hard work!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Road Session

Felt good when I got home from work and, motivated by the sunshine, I decided to head out onto the road for a mixed interval session. There's also a local Strava segment I wanted to attack.

The first interval was 2 mins at 400W which felt quite easy, then I did a 3x350W and a 30secs x 530W which felt very straightforward with a nice controlled heartrate. These were really just preparations for the Strava segment so I had a couple of minutes of easy riding before I got to the start point. Unfortunately, I chose a bad day for this segment with a slight headwind all the way along it but I thought I'd still have quite a good chance as it's a shortish segment. I was SO wrong. Although I gave it everything and averaged 415W for the 2:53 it took me to complete it at an average speed of 24 mph, I was still 21 seconds of the KOM for the segment. This is a ridiculously lousy result and one I'll have to do again. The KOM averaged 27.2mph so I 'm guessing there was something going on there.

Anyway, once I'd recovered I did another 4 of the same segment targetting 360W+ for the roughly 3 minutes it took to complete it, then did some 300W intervals on the way home including a 10 min one which drained me of my remaining energy and I was pleased to get home and warm up.

Average power for the whole ride (including 2 minutes picking a motorcyclist up after he fell off) and lots of soft pedalling between intervals was a fairly respectable 230W and I used approx 1100 kCals and covered 23.5 miles at an average speed of 19.2mph.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Shorter Harder

Friday's fun knocked me out on Saturday so I didn't fancy turboing. Sunday was 'family day' and then yesterday turned into 'get-up-far-too-early-and-spend-the-whole-day-on-the-back-foot' Monday. By the time I got home I felt the need to lie down and then I woke up an hour later so I decided to bin the planned turbo session.

So, today I had to do something so I did Shorter Harder (long version). Things started off well, I had Ministry of Sound blasting out and some video of this year's skiing holiday running on the laptop and then I got skyped. I tried to carry on the session but it just got a bit weird with me shouting at the screen and looking all red and sweaty so I decided to have an early rest. I then combined the next 2 intervals to make up for it and get back on the original timeline.

On the last interval before the mid-way break I really pushed it and went longer and harder than was required because I felt quite good, and then the first 2 intervals after the break were harder and longer again. Then I started to suffer a bit and regretted showing off but I just had to dig in and keep on going to the end, sweating in the dark. Once the last interval was over I gave myself a short recovery before going all-out for 30 seconds, averaging 493W and peaking at 660W.

Overall it was a good workout and I'm looking forward to another tomorrow and the day after to make up for my weekend of laziness. After the ride I had a very dull pasta and tuna dinner and then sorted the gears out on the turbo bike because they were getting a bit lazy and didn't always change when I wanted them to.

Friday, 22 February 2013

2 Hours of Power

I've been suffering from some early starts this week so I haven't felt like doing too much on the turbo in the evenings. I got a lucky break on Wednesday and was home early enough to set up for an Hour of Power. I last did this on 13 Feb and did a shortened 54 minute version so I needed to do full hour this time. Last time I suffered around 38 minutes and I had to back off for a while to be able to recover then complete the session. I was well motivated and keen to get the whole session done...

Unfortunately, my body decided otherwise. The good news is that I was disciplined at achieving the 275W (90% FTP) baseline and 450W bursts and that I lasted longer before I failed than the last time I attempted the Hour of Power, the bad news was that it was the start of a complete failure and I was unable/unwilling to complete the hour even though I knew I really needed to. My HR wasn't excessively high, peaking at 171bpm so I'm not exactly sure why I seemed to be suffering quite so much. Obviously there are daily variations in performance, but this seems like a fairly fundamental failure to perform rather than just a weaker performance.

Today I decided that I'd try the Hour of Power on the open road rather than suffering in the heat and boredom of my kitchen. I had quite a hard day at work yesterday, including getting a bad dose of CS gas, and several glasses of wine last night, so I thought I might be lining myself up for a big failure.

After a short warm-up (it was too cold to be riding too slowly) I got on with business. Above is the 60 minutes ignoring the warm up and cool down. The good news is that I managed to complete it. I had a bit of a brain-dump after 6 bursts and I forgot to do the 7th on time, so I threw in an extra one as soon as I realised and accepted that I'd have less time to recover before the next one. Heart rate was similar to the turbo session, peaking around 171bpm but I just felt a lot better throughout the whole session and never felt like I was going to fail. For the bursts I was standing for 20 revolutions as a practice mini-sprint and there's a lot more variability on the baseline as a result of corners, traffic, junctions etc.

The excellent news is that I was consistently above the 275W baseline and my bursts were well above the 450W targets too. As a result I managed a 60 min average power of 296W (equal to my second best ever recorded power output) and at the end I was even able to surge to 312W for the last 6 minutes, though I was pretty knackered at the end. The 60 mins of hurt had a relative intensity of 0.949.

So, overall a very good day to get me over the bad turbo session earlier in the week. It's also clear that riding this on the road MUST be easier than on the turbo, possibly as it was cooler and possibly as it was possible to to the bursts out of the saddle rather than seated on the turbo. I'm sure the wine didn't help, but maybe, just maybe, that's the answer!