Help understanding the power curve

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by tx246, Jan 14, 2017.

  1. tx246

    tx246 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ok. Got a powermeter this fall and have a couple of months worth of rides. I have read Training with Power and understand the concepts presented. I understand the Powercurve, zones and which are aerobic and non aerobic in nature. Like everybody, I want to move my curve UP. Mine is relatively flat. Last year I rode more than I ever have. Im not a racer and I averaged 6 to 9 hours a week. For the year, 5300 miles with several one week breaks during the training season and reduced riding after Sept. I know its not "serious" by racing standards but I guess you would say serious by recreational cyclist standards. This was my third year of riding at this volume. This year was pretty similar to last as far as average speeds and efforts (using a HR).

    My powercurve confirmed my suspicions about my ability or lack thereof. Low FTP but I can ride close to FTP forever. Not a climber at all. Confirmed by low FTP (most climb at FTP). I used that 34 rear because I have too. Curve in general is flat. My rides are seemingly high in Intensity when related as a percentage of FTP. Im pretty sure the FTP is accurate as anything above it quickly raises the HR and puts me anerobic.

    Looking at a powercurve , logic tells me that your Vo2 max wattage has to be higher than your 20min. So in theory, if you have low Vo2 wattage, you are gonna have low 20min FTP. What I want to know is how are they dependent. Does training in the Vo2 zone specifically increase FTP? Or the other way around? Longer interval training at in and around FTP create increases in FTP and Vo2. Do you have to create the "headroom" with Vo2 specific training before optimizing training for the longer FTP effort?

    Its our offseason here. Outdoor riding time is reduced. I have a trainer. Since I am on a reduced volume, Ive kicked up intensity. Going after Vo2 intervals and Tempo on rides of an hour. Longer rides outdoors at Tempo.

    Thanks for the replies
     
    Tags:


  2. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,075
    Likes Received:
    30
    Good questions. Reflects some serious thinking.

    For starters, there is nothing inherently wrong with a relatively flat power/duration curve. By contrast, I have a relatively high anaerobic work capacity relative to my FTP, but that is neither good nor bad but simply a fact.

    As to targeting your anaerobic work capacity (AWC), the answer is that yes, you can specifically target AWC with anaerobic efforts. The gold standard for targeting VO2MAX would be 5min efforts at ~90% of your maximum 5min power. But, you can target AWC with efforts at durations of anything from about 30secs to 8mins. To set your training target, I suggest finding your maximum power for a given duration and then use 90% of that number for training. So, let's say that your maximum 5min power is 200W. You could do 5min efforts at 180W. Note that I haven't used FTP at all in constructing the target power for your training efforts. It has nothing to do with FTP, but everything to do with your maximum sustainable power for the target duration.

    As to why you need to target your AWC with anaerobic efforts, it's a bit complicated but let me try to draw an analogy. When you target a performance capacity, there is a ripple effect as in throwing a rock in a pond (the wave is highest at the point of impact and radiates out with progressively decreasing height). IOW, when you target your 5min power, you will also increase your 4min power and your 6min power. But, and this is where it gets a bit complicated, the ripple effect is not symmetrical. Rather, it is more effective to the right on the power/duration curve than to the left. So, coming back to the 5min efforts used as an example, they will benefit FTP substantially but NMP (neuromuscular power) almost not at all. This is why pounding out tons of FTP efforts does little for AWC, but pounding out tons of AWC efforts benefits FTP. Weird, huh?
     
  3. tx246

    tx246 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0

    I guess the concern about centering on AWC deals with HOW does taxing/improving the anaerobic system benefit a more aerobic effort such as FTP. What physilogical changes are happening? That was my plan for this winter since riding time was going to be reduced. Ride really intense intervals like you said based on my best 2 to 5 min wattage. Then I got to thinking what if March rolls around and Im improved tin 2 to 5min in power but lousy to the right of it.

    Last year I did NO AWC work early and I think that was the downfall. Rode lots of pure aerobic. Got significantly faster at lower effort but as soon as the work load got above aerobic I failed miserably. Lots of rides the rest of the season were completed at an effort high relative to my FTP. I found I could go longer at that effort but my FTP didnt move much.

    Sounds like my intuition of trying to maximize improvements in the Vo2 zone is a workable plan for improving FTP.
     
  4. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,075
    Likes Received:
    30
    Well, attached are two documents that may shed some light on AWC and the aerobic benefits of anaerobic efforts.

    The first document is a study done in Australia a few years back in which the athletes did nothing but high-intensity, short-duration intervals. The second document is a collection of relevant comments on AWC that I have clipped from time to time.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. tx246

    tx246 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    I saw an article on the Aussie study and the TMax interval. Ive done one set and failed on the 5th interval. They are no joke. Liked the second article wished the links worked. Looks like some good info. I do have interval questions but will make another post.
     
  6. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,075
    Likes Received:
    30
    Sorry about the links. The forum has changed the url structure of their links since the document was created. I figured out how to get some of the links to work. Here is the new document with working links.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. tx246

    tx246 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ok. Im 2 months in and did what I feel is like a good FTP Test. I have a pretty defined MMC so I can get accurate bests for durations. I have been doing the AWC and VO2 based off bests for those durations. Ie 90% of my 5 min best for Vo2 ect. Now Im trying to incorporate Threshold into my workouts. Do I do the same thing? 90% of my best 12 min for a 12 min interval or do I switch over to percentage of my FTP? Seems the 90% of my best makes my interval power higher than using percentage of FTP.
     
  8. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,075
    Likes Received:
    30
    FWIW, I use the 90% rule to define training targets at different durations across the full power-duration curve. When I am fit, I have a fairly high AWC compared with my FTP. So, my target power for a 12-min effort would actually be greater than my FTP. In fact, in my case I would typically do a 12-min effort at 100%FTP-105%FTP, which pushes the effort into the L5 level. But, you can absolutely target your aerobic capacity with any L4 effort. The major benefit of the 90% rule is that you don't have to have a good estimate of your FTP. All you need is a good estimate of your max power at a given duration, which you are more likely to know if you do training efforts at that duration regularly.
     
  9. nguyenthao

    nguyenthao New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2017
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
Loading...

Share This Page

Loading...