Power quest

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by serpico7, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. serpico7

    serpico7 New Member

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    I recently got a powertap and have decided to start doing 2x20s to improve my FTP. Inspired by the likes of Tyson and his coach, RD, I'll post the data from my training rides. My estimate for current FTP is 152 (based on 95% * 20m TT avg of 160).

    First session was yesterday:
    1x20 @ 136 AP
    1x20 @ 136 AP

    It's near the low end of Coggan's SST (88-94% of FTP), but I was coming off a group ride where I racked up 448 TSS points two days earlier, so I figured I wouldn't kill myself on my first ever set of 2x20s.

    The quest begins . . .
     
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  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    An IF of .89 is plenty hard enough for SST work but I wonder if you're underestimating your current FTP. How long was that group ride that yielded 448 TSS? That sounds really high for a typical weekend group ride unless you rode a double century or something along those lines.

    -Dave
     
  3. serpico7

    serpico7 New Member

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    ~75 miles with some very hard solo efforts when riding solo after the group ride. But I could be underestimating FTP by a little, since that was estimated on rollers, which from an earlier post, I know you're not a fan of for max effort testing. If my FTP estimate is low, I don't think it's off by more than maybe 5 watts because I can go very hard on rollers, especially now that I've built front bumpers onto them.

    I have some fast group rides coming up over the next few weekends, so I should be able to get an estimate of FTP by looking at the wattage bins.
     
  4. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    How long did the 75 mile ride take? If it was an 8 hour or longer effort then your FTP estimate is pretty good but if it was a more typical 4 to 5 hour effort then you're almost certainly underestimating FTP and hence over estimating TSS.

    To get a TSS of 448 on a 5 hour ride your IF would be ~0.95 and would be a smokin' 1.06 if you completed the 75 miles in 4 hours. It's pretty hard for most folks to sustain an IF over .8 or maybe .85 for a ride that long especially on a group ride with variable pacing and easier sections.
    Yep, take a look at your histogram step down or NP for a hard hour or so of riding as a first cut and then you can refine that estimate during your normal training. You don't need to be dead on with your FTP estimate, but you want to be pretty close especially since you're paying attention to TSS and definitely if you also track CTL, ATL and TSB in the Performance Manager. But you don't need to do a lot of structured testing, just track your longer L4 efforts and bump your estimates up or down as necessary, you'll know soon enough if you've overestimated FTP and then you'll back off a bit.

    Good luck,
    Dave
     
  5. Dietmar

    Dietmar New Member

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    Yeah, an FTP of 150 sounds more than a little bit anemic; with that kind of power, it is hard to imagine you would be able to keep up with anything other than a Sunday-afternoon ride with the kids...
     
  6. Spunout

    Spunout New Member

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    You have underestimated your FT.

    Investigate the ride file and tell us the peak 1 hour Normalized Power for this ride. Bet is is more than 160 watts.
     
  7. serpico7

    serpico7 New Member

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    A little under 5 hours, so yes, I'm probably underestimating FTP a little. But I'll keep bumping up my SST sessions bit by bit, and I'll probably have a good handle on FTP after a few fast weekend rides.
    :eek::eek::eek:
    Correct. Peak 60m AP is 140 watts, NP is 165 watts, VI is 1.18. Does that mean my current FTP is 165 watts?

    Also, the MMP curve, which includes 3 rides since getting the PT, shows 1hr power as 140 (I guess this is reflecting the AP for the peak 60m of the group ride in question).
     
  8. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    At least 165 watts and I'd guess quite a bit more. You could use your 1 hour NP directly as an FTP estimate if it was roughly as hard as you could manage for an hour(like a hard one hour crit) but since you did an additional 4 hours of riding that day it's very unlikely the hour in question represented a near maximal effort.

    This is related to the answer above. MMP only shows what you've done so it will only reflect your FTP if you've gone out and done a dedicated max one hour effort on a well rested day. If you haven't gone as hard as you can for an hour then your FTP won't show up on your MMP curve. Folks get frustrated with the Power Profiling tool for the same reason, if you don't do a max effort for your target duration the tools and graphs have no way of knowing what you're capable of. You've got to actually do a one hour FTP effort on a good day to have it show up on that graph. I use Monod tests, Map tests and track my long intervals to estimate FTP but my actual FTP doesn't show up on my MMP curve until well into racing season when 40km time trials roll around.

    Same thing for sprint power or one minute power or any other target duration. You won't see those appear on your graphs until you go out and really hammer out some efforts at those target durations.

    I'd take a swag at your FTP being 175 to 200 watts based on what you saw during your long ride. That's just a guess, but it's easy to refine that estimate during your training.

    -Dave
     
  9. serpico7

    serpico7 New Member

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    Thanks Dave and everyone else for the feedback. To be conservative, I upped the FTP estimate to 165. Yes, it might be higher, but figured I'd start conservatively, so I don't get burned out by these 2x20 intervals.

    Today's workout:
    1x20 @ 146w AP
    1x20 @ 146w AP

    I'll keep an eye on 60m peak NP from the weekend group rides and note if it is ever higher than 165w.

    The plan, at the moment, is to do 3 days of 2x20 @ SST power, and the fast weekend ride, which should get me plenty of minutes (maybe too many) at L5-7.
     
  10. Sillyoldtwit

    Sillyoldtwit New Member

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    Ah sweet memories! ;) Tyson
     
  11. Lucy_Aspenwind

    Lucy_Aspenwind New Member

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    Congratulations on your newly started wattage quest.

    I'm glad the others mentioned that you'd underestimated your FT. In most places, a 448 TTS ride in < 5 hours might well be known as a stage of the tour de france! [​IMG]

    The great thing about the trainer and doing 2 x 20's is that the whole program is largely self-correcting as far as FT. If you greatly under/over-estimate your FT, then it shows readily in the way you do your 2 x 20's. Getting better and being productive on the trainer is definitely a skill. It has taken me a while to find the right balance of effort, frequency, duration, intensity, not to mention sanity...

    One thing about that fine lad Tyson is, he's not only very dedicated and shown a great deal of perserverance, but he's a rather genetically talented fellow as well. In short, don't let yourself get caught chasing numbers or a number. Gains come easy at the onset but later things get harder.

    If you are too focussed on a certain wattage or number, you are almost certainly going to be disappointed eventually. Read through Tyson's post(s) and you'll see that even he found the going got tougher. As someone once told me, avoid getting into a pattern of 'trainer olympics' where you basically attempt to do every session at a higher wattage than the prior one.

    Anyway, good luck and keep up with your progress.
     
  12. serpico7

    serpico7 New Member

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    Yes, I'll keep that in mind. I don't have any particular wattage goal in mind. I'll just keep training and let the numbers fall where they may.

    Today's workout:
    1x20 @ 151w AP
    1x20 @ 151w AP

    This is starting to get really tough. On the second interval, I was checking the time much more frequently, and my average cadence dropped from 107 in the first to 102 in the second.

    I noticed that the PT shows AP for both intervals as 150, yet in Cycling Peaks, it shows as 151. Any clues as to why that is?
     
  13. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    This is normal. The PT CPU does an average on the run - the algorithm is designed to save CPU memory/resources and it ends up underestimating slightly, no more than 1-2 watts usually. The Cycling Peaks number is the correct number.
     
  14. Sillyoldtwit

    Sillyoldtwit New Member

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    What can I say?!?! I loved the fine LAD bit.:rolleyes: When you're on the road to 66, to be called a lad is quite a compliment. May I return the compliment Lucy, by saying you're a fine wee lassie.
    Not so sure about the rather genetically talented bit - but if you say so.:D
    And yes Serpico, the going does get tougher. The hardest bit for me is the stress on the old quads. Towards the end of a 300 watt interval, I'm sure the quads are going to burst through the flesh to reveal red chunks of piping hot meat.:)
    But as Lucy said, dedication and perseverance are the keys. To these I might add a realistic goal which you bring to the forefront of your mind when the interval gets tough. And believe me, at the higher wattages I just couldn't do it without my MP3 player. I find that when the cadence is starting to drop off (psychological), if a track that I particularly like appears, the adrenalin flows - the cadence picks up and I add a smile, thinking you were idling, now keep going to the end of this track. If 2 or 3 good tracks come one after another, there's no stopping me.
    You don't mention HR, so I assume you're not watching it. If you are, you could be severely limiting yourself. I cover the heartrate display up until I've finished an interval to watch how quickly it falls.

    Keep at it - you'll get there.;) Tyson
     
  15. serpico7

    serpico7 New Member

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    Correct.

    This weekend's group ride generated 537 TSS points (90 miles, sub-6hrs) - based on a 165 FTP. So I guess it's pretty clear that my FTP is higher than 165. Peak 60m AP is 167w, NP is 188.

    While I should be happy that I can plug 188 in as my FTP estimate, it means I'm gonna have to work a lot harder on the 2x20's. For low-end SST work, I'd have to sustain 165w (88% of FTP).:eek: I thought sustaining 151w for 20m was tough. Now I know why Tyson labeled his thread "It's killing me."
     
  16. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Don't fret, all in all that's a good thing.

    A lot of folks struggle to achieve the same power indoors on a trainer that they can regularly produce outside on the road. So don't get too frustrated if you can't sustain the target 165 watts or higher at first. With time and practice on the trainer you should be able to narrow the gap between indoor and outdoor levels but some folks do better at that than others. In the end you can only do what you can do so don't beat yourself up if it's not right up against your normal outdoor power levels.

    Most folks, including Andy, have broadened the SST definition a bit. I was just discussing this off forum with Rick Murphy a regular here and on the wattage forums. I like a higher end definition of SST to differentiate it from old school LSD but I still include efforts down to 80% or so as long as they're held longer than the typical 20 minutes and definitely consider 85% efforts to fall into SST. I might target 30 minutes to an hour for those 85% efforts but they're still SST in my book.

    Basically if your efforts get you breathing deeply and steadily and take concentration to finish but don't wipe you out before the target time then they're good aerobic core training and will help you raise your FTP. Stuff on the easier end should be held longer and stuff on the harder end should be held for at least 10 minutes per effort with longer being better but if it gets you breathing deeply and requires solid effort then it's good training.

    Anyway, it sounds like you're on your way and I wouldn't be surprised if that FTP estimate of 188 continues to climb pretty fast over the next few weeks as you get accustomed to training indoors and putting out steady efforts.

    Good luck and keep us posted,
    -Dave
     
  17. NomadVW

    NomadVW New Member

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    Quite simply, you're not doing real 537 TSS points. It's just not possible.

    Let's assume you rode in exactly 6 hours (mileage doesn't matter). Your Intensity Factor (IF) would have to be .94 for the entire ride. If the critical power model has any validity at all, you're 6 hour power should be closer to low 80's% for an ALL OUT effort for the entire duration.

    For a large percentage of us, on a normal training load - holding 94% for our 2x20's could be a hard day in the saddle.

    Your FT is probably above 200, and maybe even around 220.
     
  18. Lucy_Aspenwind

    Lucy_Aspenwind New Member

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    I just have a hard time reconciling your indoor trainer workouts of 150-160 W and those 5-6 hour rides you've noted that generate 400-550 TSS. Maybe you aren't used to the indoor trainer yet? Or perhaps you need a better setup in terms of cooling/fan, etc and that definitely makes a difference.

    Another thing, you noted your cadence being over 105 RPM's? Is that your preferred cadence, or rather, what you use when riding outdoors? While power is power, if you are riding at a radically different cadence than you typically use then that might account for why you find the indoor work so hard.

    Oh and TSS of 537? That really strikes me as being rather unrealistic. Not that I doubt you - I'm sure you did the ride and what not, but rather I think your estimated number/value for FT is way, way too low.

    I've seen TSS values for mid-pack TDF riders on Alpine stages and even then, you are talking 300-400 TSS, but not 500+.

    I'd up that FT estimate by a good bit. Like Nomad says, at least to 200 W, if not more.

    Have you tried doing 2x20's outside on nice steady grade (sans lights, etc)? Something tells me you'd easily surpass your indoor figures and if you do, then you know the difference in power outdoors vis-a-vis indoors, is entirely based on environment, flywheel, etc.
     
  19. serpico7

    serpico7 New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback, fellow forumites. Yeah, I realize that 500+ TSS points is highly unlikely (I appreciate your examples of why it is so unlikely), that's why I mentioned that it was calculated with a 165 FTP, which I noted probably needs to be bumped up.

    I figure I'll increase the FTP estimate to 188, which was my 60m peak NP during the ride; yes, this is conservative, but I'll keep moving it as more data from fast group rides is collected. And I was wiped at the end of the ride - couldn't do anything more than sit around (and eat) the rest of the day. Speaking of eating, on this ride, the PT is showing 2510kJ of work. It seems like I can take that to be a fair estimate of Calories burned. Holy ****! No wonder I can't seem to put on any weight.

    My indoor/outdoor cadence is pretty similar. My indoor riding is on rollers, not a trainer. I don't use a fan, but am near open windows (in the northeast, so it's pretty cold outside). I don't feel like I am overheating or that heat is holding me back. As Dave suggests, maybe it's a matter of getting used to pushing hard while on the rollers.
     
  20. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Do you have a resistance unit like one of the headwind fans on your rollers? I know I can't hold anywhere near my FTP on my rollers since they lack a resistance device. I spin out my biggest gears before I get up near my FTP and even though I'm not worried about falling off them it's still disconcerting to be riding over 35 mph in the kitchen. I'm sure rollers with a resistance unit make it easier to do L4 work, but I use a trainer for that and use the rollers for rest days and fun.
    As long as you're not dripping in sweat you're probably o.k., but I run a big fan with 16" blades in front of an open window and I'm living at altitude in Wyoming where 20 below zero farenheit isn't unusual and zero is typical. Yesterday I rode the trainer with that setup and it's not the dead of winter here yet, but it was in the 20's and snowing. The fan was bringing fresh snow into the room but I was plenty warm once the SST work was under way. I'll typically warm up with a T shirt on and the fan turned off and then kick on the fan after I'm warmed up and before I start the main workout. The T shirt usually comes off a few minutes into my first SST effort. And even with a setup like that I'll go through at least a water bottle per hour during SST work.

    -Dave
     
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