Realistic power goals

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by frenchyge, Aug 9, 2005.

  1. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    What rate of improvement would be realistic to expect from a dedicated program to raise power at LT?

    Is 5%/month unrealistic? How about 10%? Would it be better to think in terms of a 1W/kg improvement in a season (or 2W/kg, for that matter)? I've always been terrible at setting measurable goals. :eek:
     
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  2. beerco

    beerco New Member

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    Depends on what time frame you're talking about.

    10% in one season sounds doable. An additional few % from season to season also seems reasonable (depending on how fit you are to begin with)

    Why not set time goals instead? e.g. I'm going to do LT work for 12weeks, let's see how far I can get.
     
  3. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Sorry. I meant 10%/month (as opposed to the 5%/month that I led-off with). :eek:

    As far as why I don't want to use "let's see how far I get," it's because that's not a goal. Using that approach, if I were to ride for those 12 wks and not improve my LT power at all, then you could argue that I still accomplished what I set out to do, which was to *see* how far I would get (and I saw that I didn't get anywhere).

    No, I want to establish a measurable goal so that I can test myself every month or so to make sure that my training plan is generating progress towards that goal. If I'm not making progress then I will modify my training plan or my goal, or both. I don't want to waste 12 weeks on ineffective training. If I find out that it's not working after 4 wks then I want to take a new approach. I want to learn to train WITH power, but I'd like to get an idea how fast I should be able to see measurable results.
     
  4. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    it'll depend on your 'trainability' and what previous training you've done (e.g., if you do 20 hrs/week at present with structured intervals etc, you might not improve much??, but if you do 3 hrs/week and now have available to you 15 hrs/week you could improve a bundle).

    i've seen riders improve both small and large amounts, depending on the above and other factors. one of the guys i coached who was a local rider winning local TTs improved 30% (~1-hr TT power) in a shade over 3 months. not everyone is this lucky!

    Ric
     
  5. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    I guess I should add some relevant info on my current fitness, since that probably affects how rapid I will see results.

    I'm 35, riding regularly for 6 yrs or so, 6'1", 170lbs. I did a 1-hr training ride (solo) last night at 286W NP, 5 min NP from the other night (solo) was 373W. Would like to win some races next year and move up in the Cat ranks.

    (Thanks Ric,) Training this year was about 5-7 hrs/wk avg, mostly level 3/4. I could probably make 10-12 hrs/wk next year for certain periods.
     
  6. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    According to the "power profiling" table that some bozo put up here:

    http://www.cyclingpeakssoftware.com/profile.html

    your hour power is three rows below your 5 min power. That in itself suggests that you may be able to increase your functional threshold power by 10%, even barring any increase in VO2max. You may not be able to get there quickly, however - I therefore agree with beerco when he suggests that you should just commit yourself to a dedicated block of training, and see how much progress you can make.
     
  7. beerco

    beerco New Member

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    10%/month is almost definitely not doable!


    I understand your need for a goal as I'm very much the same way, but unfortunately, training can be difficult that way.

    e.g. Over the winter, I train on an erg doing 2x20s with a goal of improving 5w every two weeks. This is great except that if my training doesn't go exactly as planned, I might bump the power by 5w and be un-able to complete the workout. My training would have been better off 5w less and completing the interval. I then fall into a pattern of pushing too hard and not completing the interval resulting in less overall training than if I would let things progress at their own rate.

    I think you're also missing the forest for the trees. Don't forget what this is all about: winning races. You didn't mention which cat you are, but with a threshold power of almost 290w (assuming they're not polar watts) you can win cat 5 races today. What you're probably lacking are race skills that can only be found racing. I upgraded to 3 last year after winning several 4s races (including a short tt) with an FT of only about 250 (weighing 168). So get out there and race!
     
  8. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    my gut instinct would be to say 10% at most without a change in MAP/VO2max.

    ric
     
  9. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Say it isn't so! So are the "training with power" benefits (e.g. modifying training plan based on progress toward goals) more on a season to season scale?

    I looked at that profile chart last night and I still have *lots* of blocks above me in all categories. Is it reasonable to expect that I can train myself into a higher group, or am I too far over the hill for that? :(
     
  10. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    I appreciate the comments. My thoughts were parallel to what you described from your winter training. The only difference would be that if my power did not increase how I expected, then I might try to increase volume or the distribution of power in my overall volume rather than trying to bump up my threshold power where testing didn't support that.

    Regarding the racing, I started this year as Cat 5 and did have strong finishes all season (top 10 in each race). That was without any dedicated race training, but with several training crits for practice. Next year I want to *win* some and since I'll be moving to Cat 4, I want to remain competitive there as well.
     
  11. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    virtually everyone can improve. it would just depend on your commitments as to whether or not it's achieveable (for e.g., and i know this isn't the case for you -- if you only had 3 hrs/week to train that might not be enough time to cause significant adaptations).

    ric
     
  12. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    frenchy, FWIW, I'm addressing the same question, but in a different way. I'm offering up my approach to the issue and my underlying thought process not to criticize your approach but rather to illustrate a different way of approaching the same problem.

    My ultimate goal is to be "highly competitive" in RRs and TTs beginning next Spring. I never much enjoyed crits when I raced before and I doubt that I will fall in love with them this time. I enjoy TTs because of the ability to use all my skills, both mental and physical. When I raced before, I was a good climber and only a fair sprinter. I'm guessing this time won't be much different, so I imagine I won't win many races if there are lots of guys still with the lead pack at the finish. My favorite RR would be ~100 miles with about 8 major climbs and a 10-mile climb to the finish. But, there aren't any of those for masters, so I'll have to settle for being in the lead group (hopefully) and watching the sprinters battle it out for the win. TTs are a different matter, and I want to be in contention for the win in most TTs. I have translated these objectives into power goals based primarily on a review of winning TT times in my geography. It looks to me as though if I want to be highly competitive I need a 40K MP of ~375w, but 350w would probably allow me to be with the lead group in RRs. So, I suppose my ultimate goal is 375w.

    I have no idea if that is feasible for me by next Spring or the following Spring or ever. But, that's irrelevant now. All I need at the moment is a short-term goal and a plan to get there. After that, I'll set a new goal and develop a plan to get there. At some point, I'll stop improving and that will be that. I think improvements in 40K MP can be viewed in five degrees of difficulty. The first 100w is basically "free." Unless one has a physical disability, anyone can get on a bike and produce 100w. The next 100w is also very easy. Just spending >3-4 hrs/wk on one's bike at 75%MHR should result in 200w. I don't think one needs to do intervals at all to get to 200w. The next 100w requires some form of interval training, but I think almost any combination of intervals up to and including 300w efforts twice a week will get you to 300w. At 300w, I think progress becomes much more difficult and thus the training program needs to be more carefully designed, nutrition becomes more important, etc., etc. And, very importantly, I think progress >300w is no longer assured regardless of the genius of the training plan. And, that's precisely where I think I will be in about a month. Oh, yeah, the fifth level? Well, that's >400w and I don't think I will ever face that problem.

    Beginning at 300w, I plan to set goals and a training plan in 25w increments. My plan will not be time-driven but rather program-driven with no time cap. IOW, I will design a training plan designed to get me from 300w to 325w and will follow my plan and track my progress until I reach my goal, however long that is. Then, I'll design a plan to reach 350w and so on until I stop improving. Then I'll celebrate because I will have reached my own personal Mount Everest -- I'm as good as I'm going to be. Yahoo! How many times in life can we say we have taken ourselves to our personal limits? That'll be a cool day. Then, I'll take my power (whatever it is) to the course. I'm sure I can be competitive in some citizens races if they have age groups.

    My biggest issue at the moment is deciding whether to get a coach for this next phase. Like many things, it is a question of cost/benefit. The main alternative I am considering is to take a course such as that offered by Peaks Coaching Group (with no less than Andy Coggan lecturing on physiology) and be my own coach. Or, after taking the Peaks course I might know enough to know that I need a coach. No offense to you coaches, but I think Bozo could have designed a program to get me to 300w. But, now comes the hard part and Bozo might not cut it.
     
  13. beerco

    beerco New Member

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    Are you planning on racing pro? :rolleyes:


    Have you even done 60min at 300w ave?
     
  14. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    No interest whatsoever. I only want to realize my potential with the time I have available for training.

    No, at least not since I started riding again, and I may never. I have no idea what my power was when I used to race. I'll know in the next couple of months. I suppose you're predicting that I never will. Maybe you're right. It's irrelevant.
     
  15. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    Just a point of clarification: while Hunter and I collaborate on a number of things and I am, at least on paper, the "Official Scientific Advisor" to the Peaks Coaching Group, only once have I done a lecture for him/his group. What you're presumably thinking of are the talks that I do for USA Cycling's Coaching Education program - for more details, go here:

    http://www.usacycling.org/news/clinics_coaches.php

    Note that the San Francisco seminar is now officially a "go", as is the Clermont clinic. Sam is still trying to talk me into being the "TBD" instructor at the Colorado Springs clinic in October...
     
  16. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    Yes, I found those too. I just wasn't sure if I was qualified to attend. If I am qualified to attend, I was going to try to get frenchyge to go with me so you could beat us both up at the same time -- double whammy.
     
  17. beerco

    beerco New Member

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    You may just try tempering your words a bit next time. Writing "I think Bozo could have designed a program to get me to 300w" is some serious smack talk for a guy who's had a powermeter for 2 months, planning on starting his training with a 300w threshold, yet has never ridden 60 min at 300w (what is your 60min power anyway?). I think you'll probably find it more challenging than you anticipate.
     
  18. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    I would tend to agree with Rap's intent, though (despite his exaggerated language). My training program this year consisted of HR monitored rides 3-4 times a week (5-7 hrs total), with probably one 2x20 min interval session or 45-min training crit in there per week -- certainly nothing as sophisticated as a periodized approach, nutritional program, lab testing, etc. I studied this online forum, rode hard in the time I had available (balanced with other priorities) and that, plus a little athletic ability, pretty much got me to 300W LT.

    Basically, I self-trained to ~300W. If I'd had Bozo as a coach and trainer, who knows what I could have accomplished this year. :p
     
  19. beerco

    beerco New Member

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    The 300w club is more exclusive than you think - time for you to go out and win some races now.
     
  20. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Sorry, I think I misread your previous post. I wasn't trying to imply that 300W threshold was easy to attain -- certainly I've been training to some degree for 5-6 yrs now -- but that it didn't require a sophisticated training program like the one I was trying to visualize now that I have my power meter. In other words, you can "brute force" your way up to near 300W by riding long and hard for a few seasons. Now I'm looking to refine my training program so that I can keep developing rather than plateau-ing.
     
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