Average Power and NP

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by tomUK, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. tomUK

    tomUK New Member

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    I'm just looking for some thoughts and hope that I can get some ideas/analysis.

    I generally estimate my FTP to be 220W. Occasional I do some type of formal testing but I just dislike the all-out sessions because I find when I do them I don't sleep well.

    This morning I went out on a group ride. There were times when I went off the front during climbs and also paced a few guys back into the main group. I noticed that after the first hour my ave. watts was 150 while my NP was 220W. There were times when I maxed out at 1103 watts; however, generally speaking I felt like I had more left in the tank.

    Can I make a general estimate of NP with this information or is it totally useless?

    Thanks,
     
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  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't say 'totally useless' the NP has offered another data point that says your FTP estimate at least isn't too high. IOW, you've shown you can sustain an NP of 220 for an hour as part of a longer ride which implies it wasn't your best possible hour or you wouldn't have stayed with the group much longer. So yeah, your FTP is at least 220, but it doesn't tell you whether your FTP might be higher as the group ride didn't push you to your limit for an hour.

    Seems to me it's a good confirmation that your FTP isn't lower than 220, but it doesn't tell you much about how much higher your FTP might be unless that hour happened at the beginning of the ride and you spent everything in that hour.

    What are you sustaining for Threshold intervals in the 15 to 30 minute range during normal weekly training?

    -Dave


     
  3. tomUK

    tomUK New Member

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    That's a good question. I normally do my intervals at 200-220 and in the range of 5-10 minutes... I know that is not a long period; however, I'm a little fearful to do too much high-intensity work because - as I was saying - it leave me 'strung' up a little - afterward I don't sleep good that night also, I feel irritable/anxious after.
     
  4. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    You should think about longer Threshold efforts even if that means backing them off a bit. You don't need to go 100% of FTP to get good L4 work, 90-95% is still really good training. However, you really should sustain L4 efforts for 10 minutes at a bare minimum and 12 minutes is better as a starting point for L4 work with 20 being a typical duration. It takes nearly 8 minutes for your body to transition to primarily sustainable metabolic processes which is what you're targeting with L4 work. Doing L4 efforts shorter than that and you're just priming the pump and then shutting down before you really start working the right systems.

    IOW, if your FTP is actually 220 it makes a lot more sense to do 15 to 25 minute efforts around 200 watts than 6-7 minute efforts at 220. If those are still too tough or leave you with too much residual fatigue then back them off a bit. But if you want to see progress and see your FTP rise you should make sure your L4 efforts are long enough to really target the right processes.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
  5. tomUK

    tomUK New Member

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    Dave -

    I want to take the time to say thank you for you replies. What you say makes complete sense! It's kind of you to take so much time out to answer questions.

    My wonder is a degree of 'burnout'. What I mean is maybe best explained in an example...when I was a kid I used to enjoy washing my first car. Now it has become a chore that I brought a membership to the washtub! Sometimes the lure of cycling seems to fade away and *can* be more a 'i've gotta go train today' rather than 'can't wait to get out on the bike'. Is there a cure?!
     
  6. rbarker76

    rbarker76 New Member

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    We know you can do a NP of 220 for an hour during a group ride. You said you keep your intervals 5-10 minutes about 90% of that to keep from "burning out" because more intensity for longer leaves your really fatigued. But, you are essentially doing the same stress plus more during that group ride. Sounds to me like the group ride is too much stress for your body to handle and is leaving you mentally and physically wiped to the point that you can't handle more frequent aerobic training.

    I would drop the group ride in favor of some longer lower intensity SST work with some harder L4 efforts mixed in when you feel good. Go back to the group ride after 4 weeks and you'll probably handle the load much better.
     
  7. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Sure, mix things up, don't go hard every ride, even mix up the terrain you use for harder days and above all listen to your body and don't be a slave to your schedule if you're losing enthusiasm.

    For instance limit the number of hard days per week to two or three which includes any focused timed interval work in L4 or above and the group ride which as rbarker points out may be digging a pretty deep hole that's leaving you too fatigued for other quality training. So maybe you do the group ride or maybe you skip it for a few weeks but either way only a few days where you really work yourself with focused goals (staying with the group, holding 90% of FTP for several 20 minute efforts, doing a set of 5x5 L5 intervals at 110% of FTP, etc.) and on the other days do a couple of hours of Tempo which by definition should be your own best 'fun and fast' pace not someone else's. Most folks really enjoy a couple of hours with a lot of it at 75-85% of their FTP but it get's a lot tougher to do the focused and timed L4 intervals or chase faster riders at their best pace. And perhaps some days you just roll around for a few hours at mid to high L2 pace and just enjoy covering some ground on your bike without the need to focus on holding any particular pace.

    And of course take a day or two completely off the bike or with the discipline to spin really easily for a very short ride expecting no direct training value but just to expedite recovery and spin out the legs. If you can't help but pushing harder on those rides, chasing down other riders or jamming up hills then stay completely off the bike on those days or you'll start running the risk of lower quality work on the important days and the sort of mental burnout you're worried about.

    The point is that a schedule with a few focused work days, a few mid level efforts at your own best Tempo pace and some easier and complete rest days isn't hard for most folks to sustain after they've ridden for a while. We can still get a bit fried when life and work stresses creep into the picture but no one is paying us to ride bikes so listen to your body and your moods and be willing to take an extra day off or drop an L4 session back to Tempo when you feel the need.

    If you like riding a bike and want to ride it faster it's not too tough to make a schedule, allow some flexibility and improve without a big burnout risk.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
  8. Bike N Ski

    Bike N Ski New Member

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    +1.
     
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