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Thread: testing?

  1. #1
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    testing?

    How long should a person be riding their bike before they do their first threshold test? I have only been on my bike about three days a week for the past two weeks and want to establish some training zones for a new power app to use while on my trainer. I picked FT level of 300 just to find a tempo number to go by. I have used it on six rides and I just stay between 225 and 250 watts for an hour. Does this sound wrong to use until I can do an actual test? thanks Ryon
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    Just go do a 20min test and see where you are at. Start at 280W and slowly build to max sustainable power at 5 minutes or so. Keep driving hard to the 20min point.

    Take 95% of that average and that should be damn close to your FTP.

    The good thing about doing a test this early is that you'll have huge improvement compared to your next test. :-)
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    I would make sure your legs and heart are ready for it. When I come back after taking a break from training I do about a day of tempo work for an hour or two than a day of Endurance work for 2-3 hours. Than on the third day I do a FTP test - making sure I do a great warm up (10 minutes of high RPM reps, 5 min hard effort) than do the 20 min time trail. Like Ponch said, take 95% of your average power for the 20 min and that is what sets up your training zones.
    I wouldn't recommend trying to do the test right after a few days off the bike!

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    Well, I do not have a bunch of riding in but six semi solid days. I generally do tues. thurs. and sun. I ride around town a bunch and dont get to far out of shape with other activities. I dont think it will shock me too much. Thanks guys, headed to throw down the 20 min. test now.
    Once I have established my numbers, what is a real basic and effective way to start thinking about them in terms of early season base? thank you, Ryon
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    It's all relative really. What do you want to measure your gains by? Seems like most of the guys I know kinda like to be out of their base miles and somewhere into the beginnings of the build period.

    It makes no sense for a fit guy, for example, to do a power test after being sedantary for a month unless you are looking for "huge" artificial gains.

    You mentioned that you never got too out of shape. Having said that, yeh.. maybe you are ready for a test. Have you ever done one before when you were race fit?

    Make sure you do a solid warm up. Also, ease into the 20 min a bit conservative so you can finish strong and ramp up towards the end. Start off too fast and you will pop.

    IMO, just "picking" an ftp of 300W is sorta like guestimating where you should be on a perceived effort scale. Might be too high...might be too low. You have to be the judge of that. Might be accurate??

    Good question btw.. I don't think there is necessarily a "correct" answer here.

    Good luck today! Get some!

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    Quote Originally Posted by butryon View Post
    Once I have established my numbers, what is a real basic and effective way to start thinking about them in terms of early season base? thank you, Ryon
    Since you spent the money on a power meter, I suggest you get a coach or buy a pre-made training plan! After using a powermeter now for about 5 years and trying all sorts of training ideas and plans - a professionally made plan is worth the expense!
    Oh, and make sure you read Racing and Training with a Power Meter.

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    Lots of zone 2!!! (56 - 75% of FTP). LOTS of it.
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    averaged 292 for the twenty minutes & spent my last 6 minutes around 300-315. I initially was shooting to maintain 285 but felt pretty good so I ramped it up. HR ave. was 154 with max being 177.
    Ponch, z2 uh? going mediocre is way harder than intensity on the trainer. I only have power on the trainer so I am hoping to get a more accurate RPE with watts on the trainer to take outside. I will do three days a week on the trainer until March, is it all in zone 2?
    If you do something often enough it tends to define you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by butryon View Post
    I only have power on the trainer so I am hoping to get a more accurate RPE with watts on the trainer to take outside. I will do three days a week on the trainer until March, is it all in zone 2?
    Ponch has the right idea - he is right. Lots of riding is best.

    Are you using trainer to gauge power? That's what I do with my Kurt Kinetic setup.

    But myself being in the midwest - stuck on trainer with time constraints, I felt I need to be a little more aggressive for my "base". See my post below

    Preparing for first MTB race of the season

    You could look at this article - read part about "Pure Endurance Athletes" and riders who can only get on bike 3-4 times a week. About 5 paragraphs down in that section.
    Methods of Endurance Training: Summing Up Part 2 | BodyRecomposition - The Home of Lyle McDonald

    And / Or this Hunter Allen article
    http://roadmagazine.net/road_home/fe..._Power_Nov.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by butryon View Post
    averaged 292 for the twenty minutes
    Ponch, z2 uh? going mediocre is way harder than intensity on the trainer. I only have power on the trainer so I am hoping to get a more accurate RPE with watts on the trainer to take outside. I will do three days a week on the trainer until March, is it all in zone 2?
    Therefore FTP=292*.95 = 277. So let's make your FTP 280.

    Your Z2 would be 155-210W. Try holding 200W for 3 hours for several days in a row and you'll find it's not easy at all. The key though is being consistent and doing it for several weeks.

    There's other zone 2 stuff you can do to make trainer time more interesting:
    -Do a 10-20s hard sprint every 10 minutes. Immediately settle back into zone 2.
    -Vary cadence targets (say 5 minutes at 100rpm, 5 minutes 80rpm, 5minutes 90rpm, etc.)

    For the first couple of weeks keep your trainer sessions around Z2, save the Tempo efforts for the weekend ride. After a couple of weeks you can start integrating tempo stuff midweek.

    Are you keeping to the 14 weekly hours like you used to?
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    Yes Ponch, I am shooting for 14-15 hrs a week ideally, but I seem to be really consistent getting 12. I start fatiguing a lot when I am close to 15hrs for 3-4 weeks in a row.
    I am going to try to do the z2 stuff you posted for the remainder of February but will only be about 4 hrs a week, the snow is good still! March 1st the bike time will be at a minimum 9 hrs a week, minus a five day mountain trip. I really appreciate the help. When would you start doing some tempo stuff? I was thinking that I could start ramping it up toward the end of March a little with some long days doing some SST. What do you think?
    Im not in to big of a hurry. My major race is Marathon Nat. in July and Breck Epic in August.
    Thanks again,
    Ryon
    If you do something often enough it tends to define you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by butryon View Post
    When would you start doing some tempo stuff? I was thinking that I could start ramping it up toward the end of March a little with some long days doing some SST. What do you think?
    You could have March be a Tempo emphasis month, and April be a Tempo/SST month. May and June be SST/Threshold months (not much short intervals, since I believe for marathon races high FTP and endurance would dominate).

    If you do 14-15 hours a week (with every 3rd or 4th week being lower volume: 8 or 9 hours) with 3-4 hours of interval work (tempo/SST/threshold) per week, you'll be flying by July.
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    Thanks Ponch. Now I just need to stick to my plan. I seem to reconfigure it everytime something fun comes up tha sounds better than training.
    If you do something often enough it tends to define you.

  14. #14
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    Umm... good discussion. I'm following base building for cyclists by Chapple. Its a great read and he's in with Friel and Allan, Coggan crowd. One point the book brings out is by riding slower in base your teaching your body to use fat instead of carbs and obviously building an endurance platform from which to do your higher level training from. And... lots of level 2 work like Ponch has said here. With this said I attempted a threshold test yesterday and my numbers are down from December. In fact at 13 minutes into the test I stopped b/c my legs felt flat and my heart rate average was 10 beats higher for the same power after the 13 minutes! So...I was holding the same power as my test in Dec but my HR was up 10 more beats per minute! So instead of a threshold test it become a somewhat of a zone 5 interval instead of a zone 4 test. I shot too high assuming my numbers would be the same as Dec. So sorry to babble here but my worry is that all the zone 2 riding (2x45's and 2x60's) isn't improving my FTP. Maybe it's not supposed to right now but I sure hope all the base training with hardly anything in zone 3 or 4 pays off in build. My hope is that my FTP wouldn't go down throughout the winter but at the least maintain. Is it normal for the FTP to droop down during base?
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    This can (will?) start an avalanche of opinions.

    I followed bible last year and made gains - no where near 15 hrs a week though. (but admittedly, I am relatively new to cycling). In hindsight with volume I did last year I would have done things differently - more aggressively - due to limited time I spend on bike.

    This year with limited schedule and researching options - my off season plan - we will see how 2013 season go's...
    Preparing for first MTB race of the season

    Forum I researched - lot's of people leaning towards off season FTP maint/gain, SST, Tempo work - see daveryanwyoming reply - 3rd post down
    Off-Season Intensity

    Hunter Allen off season article - he mentions Threshold work and SST work
    http://roadmagazine.net/road_home/fe..._Power_Nov.pdf

    I do not know when you start race season - maybe look at #3 & 4 below
    Joe Friel - Five Fundamentals of Training

    Even Friel now has Z3 as early as base 1 - provided you are not lifting 'heavy weights'

    Per Friels blog post:
    Joe Friel - Base 1 Training, Part 4

    Base 1 Training, Part 4


    "Muscular endurance workouts are best saved until after strength training has reached a peak. This is typically after Base 1." Friel

    With Friel reaching a peak in strength training (ideally fininshed by end of base 1)means doing 3 sets of 6 squatting w/ 1.3 to 1.7 x body weight
    Last edited by scottz123; 02-17-2013 at 09:19 AM.

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    I find what works for me during base is to make sure to add some 2x20 at the sweet spot (at least 2x/wk) and some 4x10 FTP work (at least 1x/wk). Along with lots and lots and lots ... of Zone 2 work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mooddude View Post
    I find what works for me during base is to make sure to add some 2x20 at the sweet spot (at least 2x/wk) and some 4x10 FTP work (at least 1x/wk). Along with lots and lots and lots ... of Zone 2 work.
    What's your idea of lot's of Zone 2? Hour wise? % of total hours a week?

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    I certainly wouldnt do lots of Z2 on a sub 12h training regime. And I wouldnt confine myself to the oh-so-preached SST and threshold model either.

    Depends on your experience, events, goals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottz123 View Post
    What's your idea of lot's of Zone 2? Hour wise? % of total hours a week?
    For my Base 1 breaks down to : 6-7 hrs/wk of Zone 2, 3-4 hrs/wk of Zone 3, ~2 hrs/wk of Zone 4, 30 min/wk of Zone 5, 15 min/wk of Zone 6, and 10 min/wk of Zone 7
    Yes, I do more than just Zone 2, and the Zone 3/Zone4 stuff comes mostly from sweet spot training.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Devincicx View Post
    I certainly wouldnt do lots of Z2 on a sub 12h training regime. And I wouldnt confine myself to the oh-so-preached SST and threshold model either.

    Depends on your experience, events, goals.
    Dr. Stephen Cheung, Ph.D. co-author with Hunter Allen on recent book "Cutting Edge Cycling" has an article on Pez Cyling about intensity in 'non-competitive season'.

    "By no means is any of this suggesting that you toss out aerobic training and simply do VO2max efforts every ride throughout the non-competition season! The main conclusion from Paton and Hopkins’s review (1) should be that there is potential benefit from SMALL amounts of high-intensity efforts supplementing the aerobic training." Dr. Stephen Cheung, Ph.D.

    Off-Season Training: The Need for Intensity?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2fst4u View Post
    . My hope is that my FTP wouldn't go down throughout the winter but at the least maintain.
    Quote by Dr. Stephen Cheung, Ph.D., I realize that he is talking about sprinting.

    "the effort required to sprint at, for example, 1000 W, is very specific in terms of metabolic and neuromuscular demands. If you spend 6 months not stimulating and forcing your body to this level of effort, you will “detrain” from being able to handle this effort, and will spend a lot of time and effort building back up to this level. In contrast, just a small amount of stimulus may be enough to maintain these gains throughout the non-competitive season, allowing you to build and progress year-to-year."

    Off-Season Training: The Need for Intensity?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mooddude View Post
    I would make sure your legs and heart are ready for it. When I come back after taking a break from training I do about a day of tempo work for an hour or two than a day of Endurance work for 2-3 hours. Than on the third day I do a FTP test - making sure I do a great warm up (10 minutes of high RPM reps, 5 min hard effort) than do the 20 min time trail. Like Ponch said, take 95% of your average power for the 20 min and that is what sets up your training zones.
    I wouldn't recommend trying to do the test right after a few days off the bike!
    I guess it has been discussed before in other threads, but how accurate is the 20 minute FTP test for setting training zones? I ended up doing two 20 minute tests last week. The first one I was "under the weather" and really started struggling around the 12 minute point. Whatever I was fighting included a fever that broke later that evening. Somehow, I avoided it turning into anything like a cold or flu and bounced back all week long to feeling perfectly normal. I repeated the test 6 days later and pretty much hit my prior FTP numbers (from other years for this point in the base) that I expected to hit the previous weekend but couldn't hold.

    There is probably an element of "getting better" at doing a FTP test just based on the mind and body's ability to endure the darn thing. And with only doing one every blue moon, I always forget what a grunt it can be. That being said, is there a general +/- percentage of accuracy of an FTP test for setting training zones?

    TIA

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    I had a crappy season last year and only got back to training for 2 months now, having back issues for three weeks of January. I have been riding trails in the snow and doing an old 45 minute cyclerobix interval program I have once or twice a week.

    A good season for me is 6 to 8 hours riding a week, and I'm lucky to put in 5 hours a week right now.

    I did an LT test last night just to see where I am and I was a little shocked. After screwing around with my HR monitor for 20 minutes while trying to warm up I finally got sweaty enough and got down to business.

    As recommended by Friel I went for 30 minutes holding back just a hair for the first ten. My HR was ~177 for this period. The middle ten I upped it a bit to ~180, and then went absolutely balls to the wall for the last ten. I was absoulutely dying with 5 minutes left and had to bring my HR down from ~186 to ~183 just to finish. Lucklily my daughter dumped my water bottle on my head at this time. It cooled me down enough that I didn't puke all over the floor.

    I'm only going by my cheapo Timex which doesn't average so I'd say my LT is ~181~182 or so.

    Last time I tested was 3 winters back and I was ~179~180.

    I feel like I pushed harder this time that's for sure.

    My max HR in my 30s was well over 200, and I've certainly seen high 190s many times in my forties.

    I'm trying Carmichaels Time Crunched Cyclist this year, since Friel demands time and comittment I don't have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceBrown View Post
    I guess it has been discussed before in other threads, but how accurate is the 20 minute FTP test for setting training zones?
    Obviously, this comes from the book "Training and Racing with Power" which has 1000's of different athletes data to work off.
    From my experience it is pretty accurate. Last year I did a 20 min test 2 weeks before a MTB hill climb. During the hill climb my first 60 minutes averaged right at my FTP, and the next 30 minutes (the race was 1 1/2 hours for me) you can see my power drop away slowly. The definition of FTP is the Power you can hold for a 1 hour Time Trail. So if you don't think the 20 min TT works, you can always do a 1 hour TT to set your FTP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceBrown View Post
    I guess it has been discussed before in other threads, but how accurate is the 20 minute FTP test for setting training zones?

    There is probably an element of "getting better" at doing a FTP test just based on the mind and body's ability to endure the darn thing.TIA
    I think it is accurate, but as you noticed you also have to be 'ready' for it. If you were 'sick', you were not ready.

    In the training bible Friel schedules it at the end of a recovery week.

    I seen a video with Hunter Allen and he suggests testing after a period of rest (I think it was a couple of days easy/recovery)

    I agree with "getting better" at testing - proper warm up, mindset, not starting to hard, finding right gear, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottz123 View Post
    I think it is accurate, but as you noticed you also have to be 'ready' for it. If you were 'sick', you were not ready.

    In the training bible Friel schedules it at the end of a recovery week.
    Yes, that is where the first one was correctly located. I went ahead with it thinking my massive headache was just a tension headache at the time of the test, but by the time evening rolled around more symptoms emerged that were not there - or at least not actually known by me - at the time of the test (namely fever).

    The repeat of the test 6 days later was not at the end of a R&R week, but rather on day 6 of a week in the middle of a 12 week base period. Feeling better meant I completed the test with higher numbers, but as you mention - it was not at the end of a R&R week so the timing of it all (illness and a scheduled FTP test) just was not optimal this time around.

    Quote Originally Posted by scottz123 View Post
    I agree with "getting better" at testing - proper warm up, mindset, not starting to hard, finding right gear, etc.
    I can see that one could get quite good, or at least much better at this test simply based on experience. Based on weather and equipment, I was relegated to the basement for an indoor version (for both attempts).

    I would be curious to hear other's experiences if their FTP test numbers are similar for an indoor version of the test compared to an outdoor version given a similar temperature environment (say 70 degrees). In other words - is chasing a carrot more fun, inspiring, easier, etc... out in nature as opposed to chasing it indoors enough to have different results.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceBrown View Post
    I would be curious to hear other's experiences if their FTP test numbers are similar for an indoor version of the test compared to an outdoor version given a similar temperature environment (say 70 degrees). In other words - is chasing a carrot more fun, inspiring, easier, etc... out in nature as opposed to chasing it indoors enough to have different results.
    I cannot comment from personal experience however I've read Friel where he says this pretty much exactly. Says that in theory, the test can be conducted indoors or outdoors, however in his experience, people sometimes perform better outdoors due to the reasons you cite above.

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    +1 for that. I think you can isolate all sorts of variables on the trainer to get a more accurate picture but the mental stuff to do it seems to be a limiter for me. Structure on the trainer seems to work well for me but only if the session is under two hrs.

    Will a person test higher after getting use to being back on the bike? Im only doing three days on the bike a week, but feel 100% better than I did 2, or 3 weeks ago when I started.
    If you do something often enough it tends to define you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by butryon View Post
    Will a person test higher after getting use to being back on the bike?
    Oh, for sure. There's a lot of neuromuscular adaptations that happens when you start any activitity. Spinning pedals is still a skill.

    A cool thing to track is HR versus power while you're riding. You will find that over the weeks, you'll get more power at Z2 HR, which usually corresponds to LT Power improvement.

    Last year, my Z2 power went from 130W at 140bpm, to about 170W at 132bpm, over 2 months from the beginning of training. My FTP went from 210 to 270 over 3 months (at 163 lbs). I think a lot of it was not having any saddle time during the healing of a broken wrist.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcm01 View Post
    I cannot comment from personal experience however I've read Friel where he says this pretty much exactly. Says that in theory, the test can be conducted indoors or outdoors, however in his experience, people sometimes perform better outdoors due to the reasons you cite above.
    Joe Friel - Indoor vs. Outdoor Bike Performance

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    If you're going to be doing regular tests throughout the year then I think it's worth doing one at the start of the year too. That way you have an idea of what you can expect your trough to peak power outputs to be over the year.

    If you look at this chart of my 20 minute FTP test results between 01 January 2011 and 18 August 2012 (when I crashed badly and broke my leg) you can see how the initial test in January 2011 wasn't great. After being ill over Christmas and doing very little cycling for the previous few months, due to bad weather, it took a while to build up my fitness levels again. After that rapid increase in the first part of the year the test results plateaued. Despite continuing to ride regularly I didn't make any major gains in 20 minute power output in the second half of 2011.

    In January 2012 by contrast I'd kept riding and started the year at a higher fitness level. Both the initial test in January 2012 and my peak fitness in August 2012 were significantly better than the same dates in 2011.

    I've also added monthly hours riding to the chart so you can see my power output plotted against that.



    If you're using the Coggan power levels then 20 Minutes x 0.95 is supposed to be a rough estimate of your best 1 hour power. It seems to depend upon individual physiology how well it actually aligns though. 95% of my best 20 minute power is a lot higher than I can actually manage for an hour flat out. This chart is my best power outputs for different durations in 2012. You can see how I'm clearly "chasing numbers" a bit at particular durations.



    If you train for a certain duration then you're likely to find yourself improving at that duration but you have to be careful not to get too carried away with that, especially if power outputs below an hour aren't the main priority. Adding a report to show your longer duration power outputs can be helpful to stay focused.
    Last edited by WR304; 02-22-2013 at 01:12 PM.

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    Wow are you on the bike a lot! Average of 12 to 15 hours a week or so. Kudos.

    I could be so lucky or committed.

    Drew
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    If I didn't have bad luck then I'd have no luck at all.


    Here's a more detailed breakdown of my riding between 01 January 2011 and 18 August 2012. Looking at the big picture like this I'm quite surprised by some of the trends. It's a good example of what you can expect if you follow the philosophy of "just ride lots". I didn't really have a set plan or set goals. The only real aim was to be fit enough to get round the road club runs without getting dropped. I got hammered mostly in that respect. There were a few rides where I did make it to the coffee stop still in contact with the group though, so it was partially successful.





    For training I was doing more or less the same thing each year by starting off with hard rides in January, including some interval sessions and getting a good fitness improvement by March - April. In past years when I was racing I'd have been "racing myself fit" from that point on. As the weather improved I was losing interest in training for the sake of it and spending more time riding trails offroad instead. Enjoyable and good for bike handling but not very focused on fitness. In my power data my offroad rides always have a lower power output than road miles, which increases the amount of time spent in the lower power zones.


    The (in)frequency of interval sessions is what I find surprising. I'd have thought that I would have done more than I actually did. I tend to have themes for each year. All I did outdoors was 6x4 minute intervals in 2011 These were 4 minutes on followed by 4 minutes off. In 2012 I only did 3x9 minute over-under intervals outdoors. Of the two types of intervals I think the 3x9 minute intervals worked better for what I was trying to do. Outdoors intervals were always part of longer rides. I'd usually do intervals in the first hour and then another 2-3 hours in the hills afterwards.





    Along with the 20 minute tests I also did several 1 hour tests during 2011-2012 to see how they compared. You can see from the table above that my actual 1 hour power was a lot lower than the 20 minutes x 0.95 would suggest. The 1 hour power results were as good as I could do at the time. I definitely wasn't holding back.

    There are other test protocols too. If you read any of the Chris Carmichael books then they use the CTS test instead. That will give you different power results to 20 min x 0.95 so the specific training zones aren't interchangeable. This PDF sets out that test procedure and explains what a under over interval consists of.


    http://www.trainright.com/assets/dow...ptions2010.pdf


    LTHR Test Findings, Need Help


    My favoured turbo training session (done when the weather was bad or my mountain bike was broken) consisted of this 1hour interval session by Dr Andrew Coggan. It's a routine that I've done quite frequently in the past. I like it because it breaks the turbo training time into manageable chunks. The wattage figures are just his figures, you aim for your own zones (heart rate or power) at those durations. 30 second sprints are flat out.

    "Seriously, the best season I've had in recent years followed a winter
    during which I did the following '90/90'90' workout 3 d/wk:


    5 min w/u
    20 min @ 275 W
    5 min easy
    5 min @ 325 W
    2.5 min easy
    5 min @ 325 W
    2.5 min easy
    0.5 min at 500 W
    2 min easy
    0.5 min at 500 W
    2 min easy
    0.5 min at 500 W
    2 min easy
    0.5 min at 500 W
    2.5 min easy
    5 min warm-down


    The '90/90/90' refers to the fact that (almost by chance) the powers
    used were about 90% of the best that I could produce for that duration
    when at peak fitness. That made the session challenging enough that I
    didn't lose too much fitness over the winter, but not so hard that I
    ever dreaded the workout or burned out from doing it."
    Andrew Coggan
    Last edited by WR304; 02-23-2013 at 03:28 AM.

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