Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Resting/Testing and Power

So last week was resting and testing. I now have all the equipment I will be using for this season...and possibly the next several seasons.

Due to the fact that I was on the edge of burnout, I really took the resting seriously. I almost treated this week as a week off. i got in about 8 hours of work, much of it was easy except for the testing. Being 5 weeks out from my first race I figured now was as good a time as any for this. I needed the rest and relaxation to get my mind back into the training. I had been too focused on calories and need to refocus on trainging to get fast.

Sunday I had plans, so I did a very light early morning workout. Saturday had been a very hard running/swimming day. Sunday I did a 30-45 ride with a 30 minute jog.

Monday I swam lightly in the morning and took the afternoon completely off.
Tuesday I did my FTP Bike test...
It was an interesting test for me.
Over the weekend I decided to replace my rear tube. I had broken the valve inflating it a week prior. It held air, but I didn't want to get a flat outside.

As I started setting up for the test I noticed the new tube was flat. Ugh. So I inflated it and really just hoped it would stay inflated for the test. After about 10 minutes it blew out and put a big bubble in the tire itself. Now I have to replace both. Great.

So, for the purpose of the test I put on my race wheel, tubular vs. clincher. I'm not sure why, but the new wheel felt much easier. I started back into my warmup. I made sure to do the roll down test multiple times throughout the ride to make sure everything was calibrated and started my test with both the CT and Quarq.

I had two purposes for this test. First, it is time to test. I wasn't sure how I'd do since I had not been doing nearly as many hard rides as in the past. But I also wanted to run this test with both the computrainer and the quarq to determine the accuracy of both. Specifically I wanted to know how big of a difference there is between the two computers so I could adjust for riding outside.

My goal on the CT was 337 watts for the 20 minute test. This would give me a 320 FTP, a bump of about 5. I would then compare the quarqs readings and get my baseline for outdoor riding. Although many people have said they can push higher watts outside on the road.

As the test started, I felt strong. My warmup riding was at a pretty hard pace. I was up at 350-360 watts for most of it. So I can't say I slacked off there. The warmup was a bit longer because the flat tire too. I started the test and the first 5 minutes I was at a 345w. I felt pretty good at that point, but kinda knew I started a bit strong. It was my plan to start strong as I have this fear of blowing up. I wanted to confront that a little bit.

For the next 10 minutes my wattage steadily declined to 336. Proof that I started a bit too hard. At the 15 minute mark I really started pushing and managed to average 341 for the 20 minute test. Much higher than I thought I would.

I was using the HRM from my garmin. My max HR was 161. My RPE was very close to a 10. When I was done, I was pretty spent. If I take 5% off of my 341 I am left with 324 as my FTP. I was a bit suspicous of that wattage as it was a significant increase and I didn't feel I worked that hard on the bike. However the Quarq/Garmin combination gave me a reading of 337. So it was only 4 watts under. The two meters measure strain in two different ways, for both to match so closely tells me I actually did hit that wattage.

I am a little concerned about my position on the bike. Most of my trainer riding has been stitting up pretty straight. My aero position on the trainer was uncomfortable until I realized I had my front wheel too high off the ground. Now it's better, but I need to push myself while aero so I don't drop too many watts. Hopefully I don't lose a lot of watts as a result.

My W/Kg is now sitting at a 3.57 as I am sitting at 200lbs. That puts me in the middle of the Cat 3 group. If I drop to 190lbs I will sit at a 3.76 which puts me on the cusp of Cat 2. Again, that's on a trainer and I need to make sure that translates to outdoor riding.

I did my Swim test Wednesday morning. No rest for the weary.
10x100s 10s rest.
Finished in 13:30.
Subtract 90 seconds for a solid 12:00.
So my 1,000 yard swim was a 12:00 flat.
Which is a 1:12 average.
Pretty solid overall. Last time I did a 13:55. So I dropped 25 seconds off my total. Not too bad for not concentrating on swimming too much. The last two weeks I've really increased my swimming. So we'll see what I can do come race-day.

I decided to take some rest before my run test. So I did that Saturday morning. I followed it up with a 90 minute masters swim. So in all it was a tough day.

My goal was to try and break 20 minutes. Originally I was going to run on a track to make sure I had static conditions. But I wasn't sure hart park would be open. So with the help of the garmin I ran by my house. This time I simply chose a course with fewer hills than normal.

In order to break 20 minutes I would have to run 6:26/mile or faster.
The first mile was pretty flat and even had a slight downhill section. It finishes with a light uphill to the mile marker - 6:26 pace.

The second mile has a long steady climb, then a slight decline until the 2nd climb which is short and steep. It also had a steeper downhill section to finish the mile. In total there is very little of the 2nd mile that is flat. I can't remember my exact split as I haven't had the chance to upload my garmin yet. If memory serves it was in the 6:50 range.

The third mile was flat. possibly a light down hill. again i can't remember my split.

I finished with a 20:50...or a 6:43 pace.

At first I was a little upset. But then I came to my senses. Up until mid November of 2009, (5 months ago) i had been unable to run consistently for any period of time due to injuries. I had never done any race or training run in under 7min/mile ever. In fact, I don't know that I had ever done a single mile in under 7min/mile. It isn't that I couldn't have run a single mile that fast...but I never tried. And in reality I have done zero threshold, interval, or speed work in the last 5 months. Everything has been simply building endurance. Threshold training is going to start up this week.

So for me to get upset by not breaking 20 was a bit crazy. This was a training run with some hills. While I don't think I would have broken 20 min on a flat course, I think I would have had a good chance. Here's why.
On a track I would never have hit those hills. Trying to hold my pace for a solid quarter mile uphill really took its toll on my core. Had that not occurred I think I could have been pretty close to a 6:30 pace for the 2nd mile.
And as i approached the 3 mile mark and 5k mark I would have really picked up my pace to break 20. is a big question mark in my head. Either way, it was a great week of testing.

I followed it up with my first ride outside with power on Sunday. I had planned to do a 3 hour ride but finished with 2 hours on the bike and 30 min run. I was shocked at how easy an aerobic ride in my power zones is. At the end of the day I finished the 2 hours with an average power of 257 which is well into zone 3 or tempo.
My hip flexors were the most tired from being aero most of that ride. I really forced myself to be in position as much as the course allowed for.
It was a great ride and the power meter really taught me about pacing. I look forward to training with it and knowing what effort I am putting in as opposed to guessing.

I now have 5 weeks until Lake Mills and 6 weeks until Elkhart Lake. Elkhart is the more important race as it is a qualifier for nationals. So right now my plan is to hit it hard for 2 weeks, dial things back a little bit for one week, and then push through for 2 weeks and taper a bit for Elkhart. Pleasant Praire is 2 weeks after Elkhart Lake, I'll use my race results as a guage.
I suspect I'll have better results at PP because it is a flat course. But Elkhart is early in the season.


  1. Hey Eric, Great blog! When you have an extra $200 bucks lying around, pick yourself up a flip camcorder. And carry it with you on your training rides/runs/swims (yes swim).

    I've gotten lazy about writing and now carry my beat up digital camera on my runs as I get back into shape. The video log adds a little something extra to the written one. Here's my day 6 video - shot today:
    Take care, Kevin