Power Distribution vs Heart Rate Distribution

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by Porkyboy, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. Porkyboy

    Porkyboy New Member

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    Hi

    I wonder whether I could have some expert advice as I am quite new to training with power. I am using a CompuTrainer and will shortly take delivery of a PowerTap SL 2.4, I put all my files into the CyclingPeaks (C/P) package for storage and analysis, I am happy with the setup I am using and confident that my power readings are accurate.

    My current FTP I believe is about 275W, I am currently setting my power training bands using the C/P package and the Coggan banding system which seems to be straightforward and easily understood, whether I will migrate to a higher number banding system (RST) will be a decision I will make when I have more experience and based on need.

    I have 2 main questions:

    If I look at the power data for a workout I did say last night I don't really understand the output. The session I did was 4x5 minute efforts with 5 minute recoveries, I did each of these efforts at 300W. If I look at the power distribution profile it distributes the power as follows:
    • AR 17.8%
    • E 36.3%
    • TE 0.5%
    • TH 10.2%
    • VM 35.2%
    If I look at the HR distribution graph it distributes the HR profile as follows:
    • AR 1.0%
    • E 40.5%
    • TE 23.4%
    • TH 35.1%
    • VM 0%
    My question is, is this session predominantly Threshold or VO2 max training and why?

    My second question concerns how long one should work at one level before increasing the trainer load or power output? What I mean by this is if I am doing a 2x20 session at 275W for both efforts how long should I do this for before say increasing the load to 280W and indeed by how much should the load be increased when it is increased? My gut feeling is to run with the same wattage for say 4 weeks for a session and then increase it by perhaps 5W but should the load be increased sooner/by more, or whatever in order to maximise training adaptations?

    Thank you for your help.

    PB
     
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  2. sidewind

    sidewind New Member

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    I'd take the average powers of the 5 min intervals to see if they are in the VO2max (L5) range. Don't know how CompuTrainer works, but at least with PowerTap very easy to verify.

    For 2*20 min intervals and power increase I use both personal feeling and trial & error methods. Wether I feel I could sustain more power, I just add 10 Watts on the other interval, or try to continue up to 25 or 30 mins. And if I can't hold the increased wattage, just drop back to original or 10 W below.
     
  3. Porkyboy

    Porkyboy New Member

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    Thanks, the intervals are done in ergometer mode with a constant power/load of 300W throughout, 300W is therefore the average which falls into VO2 max training but the resulting HR falls into threshold training. My query is what level does this mean I am training at? Power says VO2 max, HR says Threshold :confused:

    Ok, think I'll start with 5W increments and see how I go, thanks for your help.

    PB
     
  4. sidewind

    sidewind New Member

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    I'd trust the power figures. The HR may increase a lot during an interval due to warming or just due e.g. eating a sandwich before workout.
     
  5. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    A: VO2max, because you're training by power. ;) If you weren't looking at the power figures you might think it was a predominantly Threshold session, but now we know better. :)

    Ideally you would use some form or formal or informal testing to determine when your FTP has increased, and then recalculate all the levels and interval powers from that, but there are ways you can estimate when your FTP has increased if that's not practical.
     
  6. Porkyboy

    Porkyboy New Member

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    Great, that's what I thought the answer should be.

    Understand, typically though how much and how soon would one tend to expect to be increasing load/power would you say, in your experience?

    Thanks.
     
  7. Sillyoldtwit

    Sillyoldtwit New Member

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    As someone who lives on the trainer, I can tell you when to increase the wattage. It's very simple; when your intervals become easy, in other words after completion of the last interval you think "eh I could have gone on longer". In the beginning 10 watt increments are fine but as you progress and things become tougher as you near your immediate plateau, then increase by only 5 watts. Eventually you'll be fighting for every watt when you approach your genetic limit. Luckily I haven't reached that point yet.

    Hope that helps. TYSON ;)
     
  8. Porkyboy

    Porkyboy New Member

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    Hi SOT

    Thanks for that, I thought that might be the best approach to take! I was wondering whether there was any mileage or science in the so-called "breakthrough" session whereby a sudden increase in load/power might be employed in order to try to bring about a breakthrough in performance up to the next level. Never really understood the idea myself, sounded a bit too much like a shock to the system!

    Thanks again.
     
  9. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Some caution is healthy, however, when viewing the power distribution graph because it doesn't tell you the duration of each excursion into a particular zone/level and yet that's important for assessing the physiological adaptations that should be expected. For example, a 2hr tempo ride on the short, rolling hills near my house will typically show more total time spent in AC (level 6) than in TH, VO, or TE but that doesn't mean that I should expect the same benefit as a session of 1-min intervals. You can use the distribution chart for structured interval sessions, but for outdoor rides where power is fluctuating more, I'd suggest looking at average or normalized power (or IF) when attempting to characterize a ride.


    Short answer: IME, +5w every 2-4 weeks depending on the amount of L4 focus and time of the season (quicker progress early, then slower).

    Longer answer: My method for 3x20s is to set a target power (275w in your case), and ride so that avg power during the interval does not drop below that level. That typically means that my AP is 1-3w higher than the target on the first two intervals, depending on how I feel. Then I push as hard as I can on the last one and see where I end up relative to the target. When the average of all 3 intervals is 5w higher than the target, the target (and FTP) increases by 5w, I get a pat on the back, and the whole thing starts over. In reality it's like the others have said, when perceived exertion drops a bit then it's time to increase the load.
     
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