Friday, October 8, 2021

Random post and FTP testing on the bike

 I've been considering reviving this place and posting stuff. For now though, since I'll probably not be consistent, I'll just post an update. If you follow my instagram you might know I'm signed up for Ironman St George. So I'm back on that grind. Although I feel that "grind" is too negative. This is what I love whether it be running really fast, lifting weights, biking long or running long it's always there and I look forward to it all. Even when I take a break I'm doing something. So maybe I'll start posting training here again.

  For now though, I've been kicking around a lot of thoughts on FTP testing. I've always said it's almost more mental that physical which is why I don't like it. But it's a mostly necessary evil if you use power in order to set wattage ranges for training guidance. I fought testing on the bike for ~20 weeks and just rode by feel, which works fine and good. I sort of reverse calculated my ranges based off 2:00-3:00 rides taking that wattage and setting it as my Z2. Then extrapolating upward from there. I just typed an e-mail to one of my athletes on testing so I'll just leave that here. 

I asked her if she had a hill available to do a FTP test on. She said yes, here's my reply.  

The micro details of the climb don't matter too much, those all look great. You want a hill with a good shoulder mainly so you can ride safely, you'll be MAXING out and suffering so your handling skills may not be great at the end. You'd also want to avoid anything over ~8% grade so you can stay on top of the gear and maintain cadence somewhat. You will also want ~20:00-30:00 of warm-up to the hill, not much further away than ~6-8 miles or so.
I'll probably have you ride the hill you choose for workouts, BUT with the option that if you feel GOOD then you test. I'll also give the option for 2 X 8:00 or a 20:00 test. And it looks like you do have an option for a ONE HOUR test. If possible you'd time trial the ~4-5 miles leading up to the hill and then ride one of the 7+ mile climbs and aim for one hour hard. I feel the one hour test is the best one and you don't HAVE to max it out like you do on the 8:00 or 20:00 tests. That one hour test shows more of a true FTP based on your particular fitness type.
For example, I tested last week but because I'm coming off several years of strength and high intensity training I will test better on the shorter tests. My ENDURANCE however is lacking so I would test much lower on a one hour test. I'm better with short, hard efforts. In terms of relevance for 70.3 where you're biking for ~3 hours the longer test shows a more accurate fitness level specific to your event. The problem with all of these tests however, and one of the reasons I don't like them, is that the mental component plays a HUGE role in performance. This is why I don't think it's useful to schedule a test, rather it might be better to do the test as an option when you realize that you feel great early in a workout or ride. Plus, as I said before, all of these test options happen to also be excellent workouts.
Another thing that you'll find is that experience matters a lot in these tests. NO ONE executes the test perfectly the first time. Or the second. Learning HOW to ride 8:00 or 20:00 or an hour perfectly takes experience you only get from doing them. So in that regard you can expect to see 8:00 intervals and 20:00 intervals in the future so you're familiar with them.
And one other thing that I'll talk to you about again is that your OUTSIDE test will be ~20-30 watts higher than your trainer tests. So when you do an outside FTP test and we set that wattage as FTP, when you do trainer rides you need to DROP those ranges by ~20 watts. And the converse is more typical where athletes test on the trainer and then use that wattage when riding outside. That scenario is actually a little better because I feel everyone should drop their FTP by 10 watts by default. Rarely do we ever train too easy, instead we are always striving for the TOP end of every workout. By automatically dropping 10 watts that provides sort of a safety buffer if you will to keep athletes more consistent. And 10 watts will never make or break a workout, physiology is far from that specific.

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