I'll have a stab - I'm no coach and have been using power for a little over a year, so will throw out some thoughts and look forward to hearing what the more experienced crowd think. Firstly I think you need to look at it in context - what has gone on before, whats next, what stage of your plan are you at, goals etc. It's like looking at one meal and saying "will this make me healthy?". I'm not familiar with that software and assume the grey dotted line is and accurate measure of current FTP... Having said that it looks a little 'light' to me. 3x15 at tempo doesn't seem very challenging, and the last interval was short and easier by a few watts. If working at that level i dont see why you'd want/need those long recovery intervals? If you were looking for a higher training load you could have done 3x15/20 closer to FTP, perhaps with 5 min recovery, and you could have done a 3x20 in the same time hitting closer to FTP. Alternatively you could have eliminated the rest and done a solid hour of tempo perhaps alternating the power outputs slightly to make it interesting eg 7 mins low-mid tempo and 3 mins high tempo repeated. Yesterday I was snowed in so decided to use about the same amount of time for a 3x20 at 91-93% FTP with 5 min recovery and that was a very achievable session racking up more L3/4 time for the same time on the bike. It wasnt so hard that I can't do another 90 min solid tempo session today as well. I just wish I had the absolute power numbers you did though - those are some numbers I can only aspire to for a good while yet!
Bigpkle thanks for the reply! I truly appreciate the insights. My personal belief is that a lot of experience exists on this website, and while everything must be taken through a filter of education, experience, and context there is lots to learn from others sharing the same experiences.
Your comment of context makes lots of sense to me. On Thursday I completed a similar workout but at 95% of my FTP (Steady State effort) and with an average cadence of around 90-93 (Average Power of 288 watts for the intervals). Different workload than this Tempo workout at 88% of my FTP and lower cadence of 68-75 (average power 0f 272 watts). The last interval was targeting my upper Aerobic power ranges as I was going to complete the workout at that power range (planned for 2 hours total) before getting cut short.
My endurance may not be where it needs to be (that is why I posted this workout) because this wasn't a hard workout, but it wasn't an easy one for me either. The longer recovery actually helps me complete the interval work. I have tried shorter recoveries and found myself falling short on both pacing and power. Hence the longer recovery period.
I was wondering why your 3rd interval was short - maybe you were fatigued coming in to the session or other reasons and now I understand what was going on. I dont have enough experience to comment on endurance and how it might affect recovery etc, but just have my experience that 5 mins seems plenty for me even at 100-105% of FTP.
I look forward to a few more people chiming in as well. I'm hoping to be completing 20 mins at 288w later this year but right now I have a little further to go yet /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
I believe your original question was if Tempo work is enough to produce a training load and the answer is yes. However, I believe more cyclist are better served by leveraging intensity and recovery. This workout will give you bigger gains if you used Threshold PWR and then give yourself more recovery the following day. I don't believe you spent enough time at Tempo PWR to do anything more than make yourself feel better about doing SOME work on the bike. Based on your power numbers (not taking into consideration rider weight) you are a strong rider so you've been doing something right. I'm just not thinking Tempo is your best ROI (return on investment).
Another thing to consider is what are you hoping to gain. If I was preparing for an endurance event like a 6hr MTB race I would give Tempo work a lot more attention. If I was training for Crit racing as a CAT 4/5 I would spend more time on upper threshold/Vo2max. Training should be specific to what you are trying to accomplish. http://www.critfit.net