Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bye bye 2013

On Sunday I had the intention to do a low carb ride. I wanted to eat a fatty breakfast instead of one with carbs so stimulate fat burning on my endurance ride. However, I only ate a little bit of Greek yoghurt and to do a 2.40min hour ride is not a good idea ;) The last hour I suddenly rode into "that wall". It came all of a sudden; I didn t feel it coming. So, good idea but bad execution. Next time I am gonna do it better. Guestimated NP 210 watts, 83km. 

Too bad this was also the last ride of the year. I wanted to do TR Darwin on Monday but I felt kind of ill. The kids, the wife have been ill as well and until now I was able to keep it away. I guess I am picking it up a bit as well......

O well. I hope 2014 will be a good year with a lot of enjoyable rides. The moral will be good anyway with my new Pina Dogma Think 2 65.1 which will be ready in March 2014.

Happy new year!



Friday, December 27, 2013

The Thumb?

The Thumb. I do not know where this name comes from but I guess if you have finished this one it's thumbs up. What was it? "3 sets of 3x3-minute VO2max repeats @ 110-120%FTP (with an extra 105%‘er to kick things off & tack on a few extra TSS points) with 4-minute recoveries between intervals & sets of intervals. " (Trainerroad).

Very nice workout. But of the Vo2max training I did until now it was the hardest one. Especially the last three intervals.


HR is going up each interval. The first four peaks are some 'warm up peaks' @ and slightly above FTP. Then there are 3 sets of 347W, 362W and 375W. As you can see I was struggling through the second last interval. I could maintain the 375W the first minute but then had to slowly let is go.....the average for that interval was 362W. Since I had a good feeling about this training and I really did not want to have a bad feeling by not being able to accomplish the training properly I tried a little mental game. The last interval I just said to myself: Just ride and ride the first minute and just see what happens after the minute, but at least stay in the first minute. When I was in the last interval I did manage and at high watts then I had to. Then I said to myself: try to hold on for 30 more seconds, and when I did this try 30 more and just see what happens the last minute and it is OK to completely break down. While hanging on the last minute for dear life I did manage to do 375 W which was good.
 
Breaking the 3 minute into smaller time pieces did help me. Maybe it can help you too when you're really struggling: make the goals a bit smaller instead of 'looking up that hill'' of AGAIN 3 minutes.....

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Good start of the week..again....

Monday TR Jepson. 4x8 minute intervals at 310 watt with 4 minutes rest in between. NP 274. I decided not to do this one at a high cadence since I was feeling still a bit ill (my lungs felt a bit sore) and I didn't want to push it too much. So a lower cadence with more emphasis on muscular strength. End of the workout I did feel a bit like 'gasping for air', but it was OK.

Today I did TR Mills. Hmmm. After my good experience with the Vo2max Billat workout (which could also have been just a good day...) this was a different one. Maybe also because I did not feel 100% yet, but anyway. "3 sets of 3x2-minute VO2max repeats each starting @ 120% FTP and finishing @ 110% FTP with 3-minute recoveries between intervals & 6-minute recoveries between sets of repeats" (Trainerroad). For me this meant 362 watt per interval. I did manage, but the last ones were hard....


1) 369 w, 147HR, 98 cad
2) 378 w, 154HR, 99 cad
3) 379 w, 155HR, 100 cad
4) 378 w, 154HR, 99 cad
5) 379 w, 155HR, 100 cad
6) 379 w, 159HR, 100 cad
7) 382 w, 157HR, 100 cad
8) 375 w, 157HR, 99 cad
9) 374 w, 159HR, 99 cad

Below an example of the Quadrant analysis. In Blue an example of the interval. All dots in Quadrant 2 represent the intervals. The three ' stripes' are the recovery periods all at low power and at higher at of cadence (for me).  I would say: mission accomplished :)


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Good start, bad end


I had good intentions this week to do 4 workouts since a week before I only could do 2. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I could actually do my workouts but I had to skip my longer weekend endurance ride, because from Friday (late) evening onwards I felt rather ill (stomach cramps and sore muscles). Just to make sure I did not overdo it I chose not to ride this weekend and maybe (if I feel good) give it a try tomorrow.
Monday I had TR Donner. 1 hour with basically 3 12 minute intervals @ 307 watts average. I was able to keep cadence at 103 which is good for me. HR went from 150, 155 to 158 in the last interval with decoupling rate below 5%. Total workout was 275W NP and 245W AP.
On Wednesday I thought I try a Billat workout. I have not done these workouts before but they are intend to improve Vo2max. Now this may sound easy but basically there are a number of diffent versions wrt intensity and duration at which you can do these (also wrt the intensity of the recovery intervals). The first thing you need to do (and excuse me, I have not done that) is to determine your power at VO2max. You can do that by doing a solid warmup and after that to do a ramp test. Start at approximately 50% of your FTP and increase the watts every 2 minutes untill you cannot maintain that anymore. Your power at VO2max will be the power of the last fully sustained two minutes.
Next you determine how long you can ride at your power at Vo2max. You can do this by doing a test a day or so later by again doing a solid warmup and then (by a rolling start) see how long you can ride at your power at Vo2max which you have determined a day before.
Another possibility is to do a 5 minute all out. This can also give you an approximation. The first minute will typically show the spike of acceleration but after that you will see a sort of balancing off of the wattage on a fairly straight line (if you didn't blow up yourself in the first minute). The average of the balancing of of the watts you can use as proxy for power at Vo2max. In general riders will be able to sustain 4 minutes at Vo2max (mind you the pros will be able to hold it longer). There are also other possibilities but maybe I write about them later.
Well then. Considering I have not done the above, but I chose the default setting of Trainerroads Clouds rest -which are 3 sets of 12 30 second Billats @ 130% of FTP on and @ 40 % of FTP off. As you can see the amount of time spend at power at Vo2max is 6 minutes per set (12*30 sec) and 18 minutes in total. Now doing them properly would mean an average power of 268 over each of the 12 minute sets which would approximately be 290 watts NP. So...to be honest. This kind of workout should not be too stressful. It becomes a different story if you would do the rest intervals at for example 60% of FTP (for me now 63%) and I would end up at approximately 330watts NP.
Now considering Vo2max (Coggan) power level goes from approx 106%-120% you could question the Vo2max stress capability of the workout as specified by TR. (mind you, 268 / 315 FTP actually is less then 100% of FTP!).
Now let's look at the three intervals because I did not quite keep myself to the TR protocol.
I should have kept 410 at max for each interval, but I tried to exceed it the first time, less the second time and 'tried' to go to 410 the last time.
1) 325 AP, (351 NP)
2) 309 AP, (334 NP)
3) 300 AP, (325 NP)
NP over the whole periode of interval 1 to end of interval 3 (including 2 rest periods of 5 minutes) was 316 W over a period of 3x 12 min + 10 min = 46 min. So basically FTP.
Look below at the 30 second smoothed lines for interval 1:
The dashed lines you see that all intervals actually crossed the 120% (upper) and 100% FTP line. Actually the upper limit actually goes a bit too high above the 120% line and in that respect taps into anaerobic capacity. However, not very long though. Also it is clear that the off periods were kind of deep as well. Too deep as far as I'm concerned. W.r.t the quadrant analysis. 50% of each set was in Quandrant I. Meaning high force and high velocity.
My conclusion is that this training was kind of a 'stuck in the middle' one. No real Vo2max (only the first one could qualify) and no anaerobic one either. Next time if I want to focus I should stick to a range of around 410 on the on and around 250 watts for the off periods which puts me in a better range. If I am wrong let me know ;)

"Rectification": Because I had a doubt wrt the trainingload to stimulate Vo2max adaption I decided to contact Trainerroad. I got an answer from their head coach Chad Timmerman and he did point out the workout is a 'really forgiving way to work at a high output level. Idea is to keep breathing at a high rate with short recoveries such that you start each successive repeat in an already aerobically-elevated state. In addition the short work intervals prevent accumulation of lactate and acid (and high muscle fatigue) so you're not completely gutting yourself".

Well thanks Chad / Trainerroad for the response. To be honest my doubt came because my legs did not feel so trashed afterwards. Did not feel so trashed? No. Because I was used to do 6x3 minutes. And at the end of such intervals your legs do feel trashed........

They also gave me a site to read more about it: http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/veronique-billat-exercise-research-377

End of the day this is a nice workout and I am trying to put the Billat ''trainingplan'' somewhere in my schedule.
O yes. to conclude. My third training was TR Haeckel. 3 times 4 ramp ups of 3 minutes each (between 95% and 105% FTP). NP 275 and AP 250. For the ramp up times it was 290 NP for 47 minutes. No problems with that one.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

WKO+ 4

Within a few weeks (at least that's what's being published) WKO+ 4 is gonna be released. Some new features have been introduced and basically as Dr. Andy Coggan puts it that a whole new fundament has been laid for powermeter analysis and training based on the new power-duration model. They have defined 5 pillar on that model namely 1) autodetection of ftp, 2) pmax and frc 3) rider phenotyping 4) individual rider adaption scores  5) new training adaption model. 4 and 5 are however still under construction and buyers of the new wko will get those updates for free when they are finished (if they ever will be finished).

To back up their new powerduration model they have 4 webinars on youtube all beginning with "new science in wko+ 4.0" and a new one by Hunter Allen which -at this moment of writing- is not published yet on youtube. However despite shooting at other models they do not provide much detail wrt their new model to make sure it isn't copied by the golden cheetahs in this world. 

I don't doubt the quality but its like: your and your models are not so good for this and that reason (or to put it differently: have a limited domain validity) and mine is good and won't tell you any details. I just thought that a company like trainingpeaks didnt need it marketingwise to "downgrade" other models to show the power of their own model. Anyway. Always good to see progress in training metrics and i am certainly going to try a trial version.

ADDENDUM:

I had a question posted on wattage group wrt the webinar of Hunter Allen to demonstrate the new wko+ 4. He replied:

"We have delayed launching of WKO4. A couple things needed to be finished up and I think we got a little prematurely excited when we announced Dec. Launch date. Look for something this late spring. "

Monday, December 16, 2013

Only two

Last week was a terrible week in terms of training. I did not have much time and I felt being 'hunt at' all week. The weekend I went away with the family and I was not allowed to bring the bike ;) So only two days of TR trainings: Palisade and Gray.

Palisade it a very nice workout. It's 90 minutes of interval. "5x9-minute intervals spent slightly above or slightly below FTP via a combination of 1-minute under-segments (95% FTP) followed by 2-minute over-segments (105% FTP); 6 minute recoveries between intervals.
It's to develop the ability to handle changes in pace during hard, sustained efforts by improving capacity to tolerate & buffer lactate accumulation & to gradually improve sustainable power (FTP) by riding slightly above my current sustainable power for brief but relatively longer periods.

Cadence should be in the 85-110rpm range and can be varied depending on resistance. For example, spend the over-segments spinning quickly at 100rpm and the under-segments grinding at 85rpm or vice versa. (Source: Trainerroad)"


In between the 'overs' I tried to maintain a higher cadence (around 105) and the overs I did at a cadence of around 96. They felt really good.

1) 319W, HR 152, cad 97
2) 319W, HR 154, cad 96
3) 318W, HR 157,cad 96
4) 318W, HR 157,cad 96
5) 319W, HR 157, cad 96

Decoupling % were also very good (low 3%). At the end I was happy it was over though. My bottom started to hurt. 90 minutes on the trainer is just not for me.

Maybe it was because of Friday the 13th but I my legs felt terrible. I was in a hurry and could't do the full 2x20 sets. The first set I managed to do at FTP, but for some reason it did not feel good. I chose to ride at a cadence at around 92. I wanted to ride at a higher cadence, but my gearing is not OK to do that though. If I want to ride with a cadence of around 103/104 I am riding at 280-290 watts. I really have to pull it up in terms of cadence to push 315 watts and that cadence level is too high for me to be honest. And riding with only one gear higher puts me at a cadence of 92 at 315 watts. While in fact I would like to ride around 95-100. This is something different from last year because I have been focussing more on cadence since October. My self selected cadence is (was?) 88, but now it just feels like I need a higher cadence, it feels better and more relaxed. Let's see whether that's also going to be the case when I do FTP trainings on the road.

 

The 'bad' feeling was something which was also 'shown' in my first 20 minutes. My HR was rising constantly at quite a high pace. On average it was 164. The decoupling rate was just below 5 which would be OK and if you look at it differently like: your HR was going up and at least it wasn't at 172 within 5 minutes you could say the effort was OK. Maybe this is a good example of: 'O, I feel bad and I just can't do my training', but you're still capable of producing the watts. Anyway, hopefully next time it feels better. as I said I could do 2x 20s; the 10 min of the second interval I did at higher cadence of 101 and 290 watts. PW:HR was 3.15%. That interval also felt better despite being the second (OK, lower watts...;)
 
This week I also posted on some forums to get some more interaction/feedback from people wrt to training with power. Also I posted a short survey on my blog (in dutch) on powermeters (which brands people have, do they do all analysis themselves, do they consider that they know everything from training with a powermeter, are they self-educated to do the analysis, people thinking about a powermeter do they know some ins and outs already, what are their barriers to buy one, what do they think of quality of lower priced brands, etc.) I made the survey in Survey Monkey (free) so I had only 10 questions i could ask and a max n of 100. Also analysis will (I think) be limited afterwards (probably i do not get an excel to do my own filtering, etc...) Anyway, that will only become handy when i have 100. For now (16 dec) I 'only' have 22. Thank you guys for now anyway!!!
 
This week TR Donner, TR Hackel, TR Jepson and a longer endurance ride are planned. Hopefully I get my CTL on track again....:)

Friday, December 6, 2013

'long time'

It has been a few 'days' since I laste posted some on my training. In chronological order I dit the following:

On Monday 25-11 I did TR Gayley which basically were 4 x 8 minutes in zone 5. I did them at 95% because I did not feel too well.

Total NP 257, AP 235
1)290 W,HR 147,cad 100
2) 290 W,HR 149,cad100
3) 290 W.HR 151,cad100
4) 295 W,HR 154,cad 101 (last 2 min above 300 watt)
PW/HR 1.54%

It felt alright in the end.

On Wednesday I just wanted to do something different so I did TR Mount Major: ''Group ride-like workout where riders spend a total of 33 minutes in the Sweet Spot (upper-Tempo/lower-Threshold) @ 85-95% FTP with the remaining time riding Aerobic Endurance between 55-75% FTP; 2-minute AE stretches between Sweet Spot efforts.
3x10-second Strength Sprints are included at the beginning of the ride to continue Force production capability as well as thoroughly warm rider.''

My first 6 minutes went wrong because TR got stuck. Instead of a WKO image this time a view on how it looks on the TR internet site:



I did not feel too well which can also be seen w.r.t my HR (PW/HR was 6.99%). Anyway, I did the watts and that's w(h)at(t)s important. When training on HR I would be training at too little stress.

Friday I did TR Newcomb: 4 sets of 2x4min Force Intervals between 90-95% of FTP; 2RBI/2RBS. Since I have been doing a lot of cadence work last time this was a nice way to focus on muscular strength. I did them around a cadence of 76. Unfortunately I could not do them with lower cadence, I already had the large chainring and smallest cog. Better would have been a cadence of around 60 but with that my watts would be too low. I nailed them very very easily with quite low heart rate on average 140. PW/HR was -3.96%. This rate is negative which means that in the second half of the workout my power came more in alignment that in the first half, although there was no real difference in the variability in the effort. Just start-up problems you could say ;) At my age I am becoming a diesel.....

On Sunday I did a 100km endurance ride outside. It went quite well, but since the roads weren't too good (it had rained days before) I rode on my X-bike. It went quite well. Halfway I passed a group and decided to stay there for a while since every now and then they did some surges and it was OK to have the feeling of a peleton. And since the roads weren;t too good I had to concentrate myself inbetween the pack. Last hour or so I decided to ride alone again. I guestimated my TSS at 144 (185 minutes, 205 NP).

Last Wednesday I did TR Cardinal. "3x10min intervals in 95-99%FT range where riders spend 1-2min at a time standing. Workout also includes 6min of low-cadence ILT (one-leggers). Target RPM while seated is 90+ and while standing is 60-80rpm depending on ability."

I did not do the standing part since I do not like to put stress on my bike when being on the trainer. It went well again. No problems really. PW:HR was -5.6% and laps were done at 296 watts.

Today I did TR Huffaker. This was basically my first workout coming in VO2max zone. "6x3-minute VO2max intervals done in 2 sets of 3 intervals where intervals quickly ramp up to the highest sustainable yet repeatable intensity you can handle. Adjust the Workout Intensity as necessary once you find this repeatable wattage. Rest between the intervals is 3 minutes and rest between the sets of intervals is 8 minutes; warmup includes 4 high-intensity priming efforts. " As I first saw it I though: Yikes.....

I did have to say I have adjusted my FTP to 315 watts (result I got I few weeks ago). Reason is that I have seen improvement in watts and the HR I have to put in and (interval)training at FTP on 305 seems to become less and less stressful.



1) 345 W,HR 160,cad 110
2) 358 W,HR 160, cad 110
3) 375 W,HR 165,cad 101
4) 375 W,HR 166,cad 100
5) 358 W,HR 166,cad 99
6) 343 W,HR 166,cad 108

Given also my maximum HR went to 182 which has been a long time I have to say it was a hard workout but I did manage to do the watts that were necessary. And guys.....always those last minute. When you enter the last minute of those intervals it always start to hurt. First two minutes I always seem to be able to control my effort and my breathing but as soon as I enter that last minute I just feel my breathing goes more deeply and I just start to feel my lungs. That said I know (I feel) I am doing good.
 

The above table shows my recovery HR for the intervals. It measures the drop (relative and absolute) of the HR at end of the interval untill 1 minute later, between 1 and 2 minutes and between end of interval and 2 minutes. Basically I recovered best in terms of HR from the first interval. After that the drop in HR was quite constant after one minute. The same holds when looking at the drops from the end of the interval until 2 minutes later. To me this figure looks quite good. Quite stable recovery rates so not a real clear sign of acummulated fatigue.

OK in terms of HR and power for the intervals you see that on average my HR stays constant at 166 eventhough the wattages fluctuate. I explained a while ago that I do not cool myself with fans or whatsoever.......

So, a good first VO2max workout. When I have time I want to write a short overview of the last two months and a small look forward to put things in perspective since I ended my first cycle of training and entering a new one.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

TR Lamarck (@95%)

TR Lamarck was scheduled today. It's a 4x 10 minute @ FTP workout. However, I chose not to do it 100% FTP, but slightly below that, 95%. Why? Because at this time of the year / this part of my build up I do not want to ride @ FTP too often. I do my Kurt trainings at SS or very slightly above, but not 100% FTP. My focus is on high cadence and sometimes on muscular strenght with low cadence drills.
 
So I just did Lamarck on 95% and tried to combine both high and low cadence. First interval high, second low, third high and last one low (only in the last 1.30min I wanted to finish with high cadence).

Here are the results:


1) 288W,HR 151,cad 100

2) 292W,HR 150,cad 77

3) 286W,HR 153,cad 100

4) 291W,HR 156,cad 80 (last 1.30min high cadence)

In every interval you see HR going up. Only in the second interval in which I did the low cadence work you see my HR being very much lower than in the first (high cadence) especially in the beginning. Why? Because I relied more on muscular strength in the low cadence. When not fatigued this is no problem, but when you already have some lactate in the legs this is of course much harder. It is also good to see the difference in HRs on high and low cadence work. High cadence just puts more stress on the cardiac system. Although there were other things that helped Lance he sure was a master wrt high cadence and if you can ride on higher cadence and put out the watts, just do it. In the final you will still have some extra left in the tank (legs).My HR recovery rates right after the intervals were done:

 
 

Basically at the end of the last two intervals my HR was higher than on the first two intervals. That is not really strange since I start to warm up quite a bit in the shed (no fan). Also the HR does seem to hold a bit longer at a higher rate after interval 3 and interval 4. After that they do drop at a faster rate than the first two intervals. After 115 sec basically only after the first interval my HR was quite a bit lower than after the other 3 intervals. Dashed lines are the low cadence intervals. Below you see the recovery rates (in absolute terms and relative % terms) 
In absolute terms my HR dropped approximately 40 beats per minute after the intervals. Only the second interval it was less. after analyzing it I have seen that in between interval 2 and 3 my average wattage was a bit higher than in between the other ones. This might be an explanation for this one. Both in absolute and relative terms interval 3 and 4 do match interval 1 on 115sec. O yeah, why 115 sec? Because the last seconds of every rest period I already ramped up and so did HR.
 
What does this tell me in all? That my recovery rate of the intervals is quite good. There is not a significant decrease in the rate of recovery in terms of HR which is a good marker.
 
Tomorrow I have TR Gayley on the program. This one is similar to Lamarck but the intervals are 8 minute instead of 10 minutes.
 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

TRs and Endurance

Last Tuesday TR Beacon was scheduled. "6x8-minute Steady State (95-99% FTP) repeats with 4-minute recoveries. Work intervals are spent very close to FTP/FTHR without exceeding it. " I had to keep cadence at least at 90 during the intervals.


I did the intervals as follows:
1) 290W, HR 152,cad 101
2) 297W, HR 154,cad 93
3) 304W, HR 160,cad 94
4) 297W,HR 160, cad 93

Last two minutes of the last 3 intervals I increased the cadence. As you can see this also caused HR bumps in the graphs. Its good to get cadence up at the end of those intervals: good for the heart/lung system.

On Wednesday I did TR Thunder again with the following data:
1) 274W, HR 145,cad 98
2) 283W, HR 148,cad 99
3) 272W, HR 144,cad 98
4) 289W,HR 151, cad 100
5) 274W,HR 148,cad 98
6) 288W,HR 154,cad 100
7) 255W,HR 151,cad 98
8) 295W,HR 152,cad 90



I tried to link this data to a previous Thunder workout I did but it was hard to find a relation with that one. I did that one at lower watts and hence lower HR. I tried to figure out whether I was doing more watts per HR but that wasn't the case. In the old Thunder workout I did 2w/HR and in this one 1.9W/HR. My HR also drifted less than in this workout. Well, what could be a reason for this is, that I did Beacon Tuesday evening en Thunder on Wednesday morning. Probably my legs weren't up for it. What also might be an explanation is that in the morning I see higher heart rates than later the day. Maybe that also has something do to with it. Anyway it was a good workout with good high cadence.
 
On Friday I did a 2.40h, 83km Endurance ride. NP 218, AP 207, HR 138, IF 0.7, PW HR 4.92%. I kept cadence on average at 95 which was good. tomorrow one more left: TR Lamarck. That will be a relatively hard one I suppose: 4 x 10 min @ FTP.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Not Superman

Last Friday I had another TR session called Clark. I only had 1 hour to do so I couldn't complete the 6 intervals; 'only' 4.


In the four intervals I did find my HR to go up quickly from the 1st to the second.

1) 282W,HR 149,cadence 97
2) 288W,HR 156,cadence 95
3) 294W,HR 162,cadence 94
4) 287W,HR 163,cadence 85

The intervals started off with 6 seconds on a high gear and get up watts quickly to increase strength (high force stomps). After that SS pace and halfway to a higher cadence (except 4th interval which had to be done at low cadence high gear). Nice workout. Especially since it emphasizes heart/lung functionality due to the higher cadence icw SS. Not too hard, but not too easy either.

Last Sunday I did a Endurance ride and also in this ride I focussed on higher cadence (94) and lower gear. It went quite well, did 2.30h and guestimated power (NP) of 200.

This week I hope to do TR Beacon, TR Lamarck, an Endurance ride and Thunder to finalize the week. Should be fun! Next week is the last week of Intermediate Base I and I'll move to Intermediate Base II.

 
 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ebbetts?

Last Saturday I did my regular 'weekend warrior' endurance ride. I rode 2.40h with an guestimated NP of 190 which means TSS of 103. HR was nice low and steady.

On Monday I did TR Ebbetts. The instructions were as follows:"4x8-minute Sweet Spot (88-94% FTP) intervals with 5-second Anaerobic Capacity (AC) tags at 150-180% FTP; 4-minute recoveries separate intervals. The tags are short enough to avoid overwhelming the muscles as long as a quick cadence is utilized, so spin quickly through the bursts and then promptly return to your pre-burst cadence." (Trainerroad). Cadence should be above 90 RPM during the intervals and ideally above 110.

Yeah right. Here are the stats:

Interval 1: cadence 101, 290W, HR 147
Interval 2: cadence 100, 290W, HR 150
Interval 3: cadence 90, 297W, HR 151
Interval 4: cadence 99, 280W, HR 153


The third interval I justed wanted to try and see whether my HR would be lower with lower cadence (higher gear) and in fact I my HR did not really jump up compared to for example interval 2. My preferred cadence is around 88-90. The last interval I didn't care much about HR I just wanted to do the higher cadence again. In all it was a nice workout. Not to hard, but also not too easy.

Today I did TR Needham which is basically the HOP. I did not have much time so I just did 45 minutes. I was sweating too much because I was wearing too much clothes so it felt harder than it should have. NP 264, TSS 75.5, PW/HR ratio was bit too high with 7.9% as far as I'm concerned, but like I said I think my clothing had a large part to do with that.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Pleasant surprise

Last Wednesday I did Tallac on the Kurt. I did not have much time so I could't do the whole hour. I only managed to do two intervals of 15 min. Basically Tallac is ''3x15-minute efforts spent in the Sweet Spot (88-94% FTP), a little harder than Tempo work but not as exhausting as Threshold work, to improve aerobic fitness - both power & endurance - in minimal time. Recovery between efforts is brief, just 3 minutes. This pace is well below FTP but still requires a high level of focus to remain on target. Further aerobic efficiency via Sweet Spot efforts by improving glycogen storage capacity, fat utilization, and the capacity for more intense workouts later on while increasing power output at moderate intensities. " (Trainerroad).
 
Today I did Trainerroad Goddard. Well. When you just see the workout in terms of average watts you think: no problem. But when the training started I was pleasantly surprised that it contained one leg drills and that the sprints had to be done at high cadence (form sprints instead of power sprints). "3x3min Individual Leg Training (ILT) + 10x30sec Form Sprints + 3x2min ILT+ 2x6min Cadence Spin-Ups; recovery varies.Increase SE (Speed Endurance) & pedal economy; improve aerobic fitness via Sweet Spot work" (Trainerroad). 
 
It's for the first time I did those one leg drills and it's quite fatigueing. At first I had problems with my coordination. My other leg also wanted to participate (I bend it behind me on the Kurt). You have to kick and pull to make sure your pedalling move stays smooth. It's nice to train your quadriceps. Also it had a sensation in my hips. Something different, but nice to do.
 
The last sweetspot interval I couldn't maintain the high cadence given the power so I switched back to make sure I could do the last minute. I could have done the watts but with a lower cadence, but that was not the intention of the exercise. Good to do something different for a masher like me. On long term I however do not think I will ever be someone who -at FTP- likes to have a cadence of 90+, but variety is always good in training.
 
 
 
 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Early signs of improvement

Training is testing, testing is training. Well, I felt like I had to do a test again since the last 4 weeks or so I have deliberately not put any (read: not too much) lactate into my legs when training. A lower cadence, with focus on putting strain on the legs (low cadence, high gear) and focus on breathing / heart rate / trying to burn fat, left me with a good feeling and a feeling my training felt less and less intense. I also got the feeling that problems related to my injury were slowly fading away (finally).
 
Now, that's all fine but at the same time I do have to make a small change in my FTP. Otherwise I will just be doing less, because I am improving. So, I did the 20 minute Trainerroad test just like 3 weeks ago.  Below you can see my feeling it show in the result.

                                                                              Power (watt)


                                                                              Cadence (rpm)


First graph shows the power, second the cadence. The red line is my old test of three weeks ago. Power for this test was very stable and consistenlty 30 watt higher, whereas a few weeks ago I started a bit too hard the first 2 minutes or so and had to back off. My new test is a good example of good pacing: getting into the right mode the first 2/3 minutes and then a stable wattage and cadence (88 rpm) until the last 1.5 minutes in which I increase the power output. My average heart rate went up from ca 120 (start) to 177 in the end. On average my HR was 167. Power to HR drift was 4.5% which I deem OK (<5%). I did feel I could do a bit more, but at the end I felt this was a good test of where I stand now.
 
The rule of thumb of taking 95% of the 330 watt for FTP setting would put it at 315watt. However, I would like to take conservatism into account and I will put it on 305 watts. Why? It was on 285 and I find the step to 315 too big. I want to build up slowly and really make sure my engine becomes very well trained (for fat burning and moving up to long tempo rides). I want to take that slow and not to overdo anything.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Paris-Roubaix in the polder

When I looked outside this morning I wasn't too happy. The road was really wet and it was still drizzling. But, duty calls so I just put on my Gabba and went for it.

I managed to keep it dry....until I was out of the street. My hamstrings were already soaking wet by then. It got even nicer when I got in the polder. The farmers did their thing and the roads were horrible. Mud, mud and mud.



















Next time they invite Johan van Summeren to do a photo shoot Castelli can call me.  You can imagine what I looked like.

Anyway. It was a nice endurance ride. I did not want to feel any lactate in my legs and I succeeded in that. However, my body did feel a bit tired, probably because of the strain that the concentration brought with it.

2.42h, 87km, 32.3km/h, HR 145, Guesstimates: NP 200, TSS 128


Thursday, October 31, 2013

2014 first try

So basically beneath you find my first try for my trainingschedule for 2014. It is built with the PMC concept in mind. It’s quite a long post in which I first explain (shortly) the PMC concept, then how my PMC looked like for 2013, and how the PMC looks like for 2014. The chart for 2014 is based on a small Excel schedule which I made to plan my training (and see effect of load in the future).
I assume you know basic powertraining concepts. If not I can refer you to these links:

PMC terminology explained
Before I start with my own PMC I explain some basic concepts in the PMC chart. The idea behind the PMC is that you track you training load (short term and long term) based on your TSS (Training Stress Score). Training Stress score is the amount of stress you put on your body during a particular workout. Training Stress Score is calculated as follows:

TSS* = (seconds x NP x IF) / (FTP x 3600) x 100
So the components in the formula represent basically how long at what intensity your workout was in relation to your FTP.

In the PMC you track short term stress (Acute Training Load) and your long term stress (Chronic Training Load) and your performance (Hence the P in PMC). By exponential weighting of CTL and ATL to take into account carryover effects of your training you can calculate TSB (Training Stress Balance)*
The idea is that Form equals Fitness plus Freshness. Fitness is represented by training load and freshness is the result of rest. Balancing the two, i.e. balancing ATL and CTL equals Form aka TSB. TSS is the metric which is used in the equations to calculate ATL and CTL (and indirectly in TSB).

Then comes the question how can you estimate the TSS? Well, some trainingplans already provide these numbers given the training you do (e.g. Trainerroad). Another source –which I use- is basically your own experience powermeter numbers from rides in which you focused on specific training zones. General rules of thumb can also be applied like these: L2 IF 0.8, 65 TSS/h, L3 IF 0.9, 80 TSS/h, L4 IF 0.95 90 TSS/h, L5/L6 IF 1 100 TSS/h. You can also use this graph to by using time and % of FTP.  

 
Knowing this is, the question rises what are your goals and what do you (given you do not have a coach) estimate your CTL needs to be at time X (time of the goals)? Of course it would be nice to have a CTL of around 120, but for that you need a lot of training time, because these numbers are basically not achievable for the time-crunched cyclist. As you saw TSS consists of time and intensity and for someone like me there’s not a lot of time during the week to build TSS, so it had to come from intensity. Ideally you would be doing a lot of time at lower intensity which causes a lot of physical processes in your body (metabolic adaptions, cardiovascular adaptions, pulmonary adaptions) that eventually has a positive effect on your FTP (given of course also mixed with training in other power zones, and given you are a responder to training pulses), but that’s for the elite / pro guys who earn money with it.
As said a CTL of 120 is basically not possible for a time-crunched cyclist. All the time spend need to be at enormous intensity and even then you will not make it given the limited amount of time you spend riding. Also you won’t be able the hold it in your training because you have your general every day stress (work, etc.). Given max 5 hours per week during winter and max average weekly 8 hours non-winter I should be happy with a CTL around 80.

By building CTL you should be careful not to build (ramp) it too quickly given your short term training stress (ATL). General rules of thumb to make sure you don’t get overtrained or get more vulnerable for disease are CTL ramp rates of 3-8 points per week. A good example of this you will see below.

My PMC 2013
The story behind this PMC is, is that there is no story. OK, let’s clarify that a bite more. I basically did not really plan anything using PMC. I just wanted to see what this graph would look like and if I would be able to get some patterns from it and to be able to learn something from it. And you will read below, I did learn some things ;)


I had a fairly linear CTL build up from approx. April 10th onwards. 28th of April was the first big CTL spike from la Philippe Gilbert (160km). This one had a TSS of 360. After that ride my ATL went to another level and short after that I did some more intense sessions and another long ride with TSS above 300. Period where my CTL drops strongly seems like I did not train, but I did. I did however not incorporate those home trainer sessions in the graph (weather was bad in that period). The sessions I did certainly did not improve my ATL but merely stabilized it. After that I build up again and about a month later I was where I was left off end of May (approx. 45 TSS/day). Around 19-6 you also see a strong CTL spike from a 360 TSS ride.
End of June CTL really rises with a top on 4-7. Those two weeks I was on holiday at the Mont Ventoux, but I did bring my bike. I did some work before the 4th as you can see in the sharp build-up of ATL. 4-7 I did the Month Ventoux 3 times (also known as Les Cingles (loosely “The Screwballs). I really underestimated that. I ate too little. First two climbs went good. I had done both sides (via Bedoin and Via Malaucenne) with 250 watt average (normalised 260). From Sault it went wrong. I got hungry and I did not drink enough. After a few km’s I completely collapsed. That is, I could only produce 210 (NP) on that climb.

Because of that my TSB was went straight downward and was very low. My immune system must have been affected since I got a bacterial infection from a small wound on my elbow….the result of that was hospitalisation and 3 weeks of antibiotics. No cycling as you can see in the curve going down to a low of 40 TSS/day.
Then I picked it up again since I wanted to do a race end of August since my season was already wasted (remember I had a goal w.r.t winning the local championship but that was at the time of my bacterial infection). In 3 weeks I tried to manage what was left, but effect of the antibiotics was larger than expected. I had no power or whatsoever in those 3 weeks, also not on the race day. I became third in the race (50m before the finish I was still in first place….) and I had to live with that (race 1 hour with NP of 309 watt). After that I went on holiday with the family as you can see from the large drop in the graph (and very positive TSB).

Learnings I take from the above:
Biggest mistake I made was to dig myself in a hole too fast during that Mont Ventoux part (ATL in one week from 45 to 65. This must have had an effect on my immune system. This is something I hope to prevent now with better planning of my training and better monitoring of the PMC.

A positive thing to see is that I did a 60 min test outside when I got back straight after Mont Ventoux and with an ATL of 65 (highest of season) I managed to do 325 watt (whereas before that it was around 300 till 310 NP).
Indirectly: Give yourself time to recover. This is the hardest lesson, because face it: when you haven’t been on the bike for a long time, you just wanna go in full gas and when you see the powernumbers are not what you want them to be than that just sucks (and makes every ride a disappointment). Riding is fun, and that’s what is should be even if the numbers are bad.

PMC 2014
Given peak periods I have designed it as follows: I want to peak end of May / beginning of June. That will be my first peak period. After that I will decrease my load / intensity to be good at end of July / end of August.

W.r.t my training plan I started to think backward from my peak periods. On a macro level I see three periods (until first week of June, but I will explain that later on). As you will see I follow a method of periodization which basically is a build up towards a (desired) peak period. It is base, build and (hopefully) peak.

October 2013 – Half January 2014: Base period
Goal: Very steady CTL of approx. 40 to 45. Content of work is mainly focused on aerobic intensities (Base I) and later on some more sweet-spot training (intervals) (Base II).

Quite a long period, but that’s the way it is. When I get back from work in the evening it is dark and I don’t feel like cycling in the dark (and hours on Kurt is not my thing). So during the week I will do Trainerroad workouts (2 x approx. 1-1.5 hours). They have great trainingplans so I will use them. The base period is divided by two periods: Base I and Base II.
Intermediate Base I (Trainerroad): ‘’Following the initial fitness assessment, this plan emphasizes pedal economy - via leg speed, speed endurance & varied cadence - and base aerobic fitness. Minor attention is paid to saddle transitioning, leg strength & brief, anaerobic power bursts, but this plan is largely devoted to improving form and establishing some base fitness’’.

Intermediate Base II (Trainerroad): ‘’It allows riders to focus more intently on growing their sustainable power through consistent use of near-threshold efforts. The intensity grows somewhat sharply as suprathreshold efforts are sprinkled in on a weekly basis in the interest of growing aerobic power in minimal time.”
During the weekends I want to do a longer (endurance) ride from 2-3 hours. Towards the end of February I will start to do more VO2max related workouts since training races will then start.

Half January 2013 – Half April: Build period
Goal: Very steady build-up of ATL to approx. 50-55. Content of work is mainly focused on sweet-spot training (intervals), but more VO2max comes into place as well.

Intermediate Build I (Trainerroad): ‘’As the racing season grows nearer, our focus on improvement of max sustainable power is split to include more aerobic capacity work (VO2max). These are the shorter, fairly Intense efforts that can make or break a rider when the pace kicks up a notch or two, or several.’’
Training of this nature also has a noticeable positive effect on sustainable power due to the "trickle down" effect of the numerous training adaptations associated with VO2max work.

Riders who aren't accustomed to this type of intensity can begin to acclimate to working at this very high level of effort and thereby increase their ability to ride more competitively. This training plan also incorporates some less-structured race simulations for variety and pacing practice.
Intermediate Build II (Trainerroad): ‘’With event(s) just around the corner, this training plan notches up the intensity even higher and prepares you for the forced rigors of riding at race intensity.

As your ability to endure greater workloads and levels of discomfort - both physical and psychological - increases, so too must your training stress if the goal is to continue to improve.’’
Also from March – April there is a more rapid increase in ATL, CTL by introducing more racing / some longer distances.

Half April – End of May: Advanced Build – peak period
Here the real suffering will start ;), but I should have a solid base by then so make the step. In this period there will be quite some rides with the combination of high volume and high intensity. This starts basically from end of April with the first cyclo in the Belgian Ardennes (which means relatively short climbs, with (often) steep parts in it). Races I see purely as good trainings, but if I can feel there’s more in it that just being in the pack, I will not hesitate. I have to make sure that I earn back the start fee at least.

From half May on I have to be very careful since I will then be doing a long weekend to ride some mountains from the Trois Ballons. This is a training weekend to test myself. This will undoubtedly have a large effect on CTL so the weeks after that I have to be very very careful. Last weekend is the time trial, and then immediately I will have to start tapering for Trois Ballons. But to be good for the time trial I also have to make sure that I taper at least some days before. But that said, a positive TSB is not necessary to perform well as long it’s not too negative.
If am be able to bring my CTL end of May to 80 or 90 I hope be good. Why 80/90? I just want to be able to see the effect of what higher training stress (and better dosed) will do to my body, and more specifically for my FTP (2013 my max was 65 just after Mont Ventoux).. So, from April onwards I have to make sure I have a CTL of around 75 to make sure I do not make the same mistake to ramp it up too quick.

As said previously, after the first week of June basically my first two goals of the year are behind me (and achieved I hope) and by then I am going on a holiday with my family. We do not have that planned yet / no timing nor how long we will go / nor whether I am allowed to take the bike (if possible).
With that uncertainty in mind  and given the two other goals are end of July and end of August I have decided to cut my trainingplan in half. For the second two I will make a new plan (hopefully also) based on my learnings from the first plan.

The above basically comes down to the following graph:

 
I have built this graph in Excel in which I have made my trainingschedule. You may like it as trainingschedule set-up as well. It is still under construction, but for the time being it is good enough for me.

I wanted to put it here, but I cannot find a good transfersite. Just give me an e-mail and I will send it to you. Just for the time being.
 
Short instruction Excel tool
Basic thing about the Excel tool is that I wanted to see some key parameters which give me an impression on the training stress, the balance and the development as well as how much input (e.g. heart rate ‘went in’). I admit, I can still add new training output metrics in graphical format (like kms per month, hours and percentage spent on training types, etc.), but that’s for later.





The Excel tool: It starts with the startvalues of CTL, ATL and TSB. I got them from my WKO3+ software. My calendar starts at 29 september 2013. If you want to make sure the graphs keep on working on the ‘Graphical overview’ worksheet then do not delete any rows on the Training schedule worksheet. Rather if your calendar starts at a different date then just put new dates in column A. TSS, ATL, CTL  and CTL ramp rates are calculated directly. The rest you put in manually. To make it easy to see where the current day is, you see a highlight in column A.

Idea behind the graphs is that you can zoom in to specific time periods dynamically which is something that lacks in WKO3+. You just see one graph and it’s not easy to go to a specific time period. If you have a lot of datapoints (years) than this graph can become handy.

I have filled my schedule until Trois Ballons. I will have more info later on how to train at that time but that will come (since at that time I also want to go on holiday). It’s not relevant for now.

I correct my planned data if I have the real data from my rides. If you have any remarks or things you would like to see just give me an e-mail and I can see whether to build it in.
*Trademark of TraniningPeaks

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

TR Carillon

Aerobic ride Carillon of Trainerroad. 2 sets of 2x10min Sweet Spot criss-cross intervals where 1min surges are spent out-of-the-saddle; 1min rest between intervals/5min rest between sets of intervals. Not a hard one, and I really have to keep myself quiet. It's hard but part of the plan....

For you heart rate junkies: On average my heart rate for the 10 min intervals at Coggan zone 2, but since I'm improving I would go for about end zone 2/beginning zone 3 for this one.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Thunder, but light

Got some time to hop on the Kurt. Simple workout of the Intermediate Base I TR program I am following right now (Although I have to admit, I must not do Needham (HOPs) now....;)

Thunder is a fairly low intensity workout with an IF of 0.8. I try to focus on heart rate / breathing instead of the powernumbers (which I have no problems achieving) since this is an aerobic workout. It's important not to get any lactic acid in the legs, adaptions should come not from lactic acid increase. That's for later in the season......save the suffering for last ;)


Most of the time my cadence was around 85 which is just below my normally self chosen cadence. The last interval I wanted to see what would happen to HR if I turned to higher gear with lower cadence, but there was not really a significant drop in HR. End of all, just a good feeling, nothing more, nothing less.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Quiet

Last week has been rather quiet on my blog. I just did not have the chance to publish anything. This evening I wanted to put some graphs on, but for some reason my Garmin did not work. I mean I did see the rides on the Garmin, but when I connect it to my laptop it does not see the rides. Whereas the rides before the last 3 I can see.......strange.....

Anyway, since TR Ericsson I did do something. Wednesday I had a 1,5hour ride outside. At a endurance pace and I just wanted to get 'my head empty'. I estimated my TSS on 64. It were 46kms, 31.6km/h/ and average HR of 146.

On Saturday I had a 2.10h ride. Also endurance pace but since there was a lot of wind I did some low cadence, high gear sets. It really puts the stain on the muscles. I was riding without powermeter, so I just made sure my heart rate kept rather constant at an endurance range. Wind in the back I increased cadence at a lower gear. Av speed was 31km/h, 68km. I estimated my TSS at 114. When I came back the legs just felt really good. The other day (Sunday) it appeared that my back tire was flat (and that explains the feeling I had on the last part of the ride ;)

Saturday I did in mind with Sunday, because on Sunday I wanted to do another HOP. I had no problems with the HOP, and I feel I should be going to an other FTP level. But, not without testing of course, so that's for next week. The HOP TSS was 95, AP 247, NP 256, AV HR 142 (for HOP 147). 

We'll see what next weeks FTP will give. For sure the trainingschedule 2014 (70% version, 0.1).

I find it difficult to write about my workouts / ideas. I have lot in my head / ideas to write about, but too little time!!!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

TR Ericsson

Yesterday I just did a one hour Kurt session from Trainerroad. I was kind of tired so I was not into a hard effort (especially not after last weekend....) I did Ericsson which had 4 intervals of 8 minutes at 90% FTP. The whole session was:

1h,AP 210, NP 231,IF 0.8,TSS 64, AV HR 128

Tomorrow I am hoping to go outside to do a good HOP.