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.


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.