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Training progress with a powertap

5858558585 Posts: 207
edited February 2009 in Training, fitness and health
I'm stuck in the middle of a couple of weeks off the bike due to illness, so it seems like a good time to have a look back at what I've done since I bought a powertap in November.
Can I expect to keep seeing the same rate of progress, if I keep increasing the intensity?
I am starting from a pretty low level, so still nowehere near competitive.

Here's a quick summary of what I have done (testing mysef against a 20km TT once in a while, which has gone from 253 W to 297 W over the 7 weeks):

Week 1
20 km TT @ 253 W
Endurance 90 min
2 x 20 @ 235 W
Tempo 50 min
2 x 20 @ 242 W

Week 2
Endurance 120 min
Endurance 60 min
2 x 20 @ 225 W

Week 3
Endurance 75 min
Endurance 60 min
2 x 20 @ 240 W

Week 4
20 km TT @ 260 W
Tempo 35 min
Tempo 45 min

Week 5
2 x 20 @ 247 W
Endurance 60 min
Criss-cross threshold 30 min
Tempo 20 min
20 km TT @ 285 W

Week 6
Off (couple of half hour cycles)

Week 7
Endurance 30 min
Tempo 30 min
2 x 20 @ 232
20 km TT @ 297 W

Posts

  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    looks good to me! You will probably see a slowing down in improvement in time, with hard hard work required to increase the TT power...
  • liversedgeliversedge Posts: 1,002
    blimey that is impressive. I have no idea if it will continue since that kind of progress seems quite amazing, from 253 - 290w for a 20k TT in 7 weeks is something I'd have said wasn't possible,esp. on your very low workload - so what do I know?

    Congratulations. :D
    --
    Obsessed is just a word elephants use to describe the dedicated. http://markliversedge.blogspot.com
  • Murr XMurr X Posts: 258
    Well done 58585!

    You could see further improvements but it is likely that they will not be nearly as significant or come as easily as the improvements you have made over the past 7 weeks.

    The high rate of progress suggests to me that you had not trained threshold very much before "week 1" and that great improvements could be made (relatively) easily.

    Are you doing the TTs on the turbo or on the road? Also what is you're weight?

    Keep up the good work, keep getting stronger and let us know how you progress in the future.
  • phil sphil s Posts: 1,128
    I'm also off due to illness right now. Had considered selling my PT a few months ago because of baby on the way and various other things, but I opted to keep it and educate myself a bit better regarding its uses.
    I'm impressed with your improvements, but like someone else suggested maybe a lack of threshold work prior to week 1 followed by a period of consistency has reaped nice rewards. The tough part comes in seeking continued improvements as the upward curve evens out. After a period of arsing about I got back into consistent training and have been working on threshold with tempo, sweetspot and threshold efforts. Started out at 300w for threshold and now up to 325w for the harder sessions, while also keeping weight at around 69-69.5kg. As the season draws nearer I hope to be more like 335w and 68-68.5kg and eventually 67.5kg well into the season.
    What was at first a very confusing set of numbers and abbreviations when I first bought the PT, now translates into a satisfying pattern of improvement. Great training device and motivator, wouldn't be without it.
    -- Dirk Hofman Motorhomes --
  • mclarentmclarent Posts: 784
    I have a question as a non-power trainer (if you catch my drift). Is training with power more beneficial to TT specialists, road racers, trackies, "professional" sportive riders, or is it just really really useful? :wink:

    I would guess TT specialists would gain the most from it?
    "And the Lord said unto Cain, 'where is Abel thy brother?' And he said, 'I know not: I dropped him on the climb up to the motorway bridge'."
    - eccolafilosofiadelpedale
  • 5858558585 Posts: 207
    Thanks for the positive feedback.
    A bit more background, I commute to work and with weekend rides average about 250-300 km a week, from April to September. After September I had a month off completely and then started back on the trainer. After about a month back on the trainer doing mostly endurance stuff I bought the powertap and that's week 1 above. So yes I hadn't done much threshold for probably 2 months before week 1.
    I'm at 75kg just now which goes down to about 70-72 when I am commuting.
    The TT's I do on the trainer, which takes around 30 mins for the 20km.
    Hopefully in the next month or so I'll be able to get outside and try a 20km on the road to see how that compares to the trainer.
    And yes, I zero the powertap every week, after getting a nasty surprise the first time I checked it!
  • DaveyLDaveyL Posts: 5,167
    All looks pretty good - can you comment on the intensitiies you chose for all the 2 x 20s? How do you feel at the end of them? Do you reckon you could do them at a higher wattage?
    Le Blaireau (1)
  • mclarent wrote:
    I have a question as a non-power trainer (if you catch my drift). Is training with power more beneficial to TT specialists, road racers, trackies, "professional" sportive riders, or is it just really really useful? :wink:

    I would guess TT specialists would gain the most from it?
    It's alround useful. Unless you don't like knowing the truth about your riding.
  • DaveyLDaveyL Posts: 5,167
    [Jack Nicholson] You can't handle the truth! [/Jack Nicholson]....
    Le Blaireau (1)
  • mclarentmclarent Posts: 784
    Haha! I work in a bank, and have been considering using that line in a number of meetings!

    In all seriousness, if they could bring out a power system that was on a par with, say, the price of a Garmin 305, I reckon we'd all be training with "power". I know there ways around the cost (like hiring), but that's not really satisfactory for most people, and when a hub alone costs £600, it really is out of reach of anyone who's not rich and/or semi-pro. Real gap in the market there!
    "And the Lord said unto Cain, 'where is Abel thy brother?' And he said, 'I know not: I dropped him on the climb up to the motorway bridge'."
    - eccolafilosofiadelpedale
  • DaveyLDaveyL Posts: 5,167
    I dunno - I got mine second hand and paid £750 for a wireless PT already built into a wheel. I know quite a few people with bikes that cost £2-2.5k, but I reckon spending the same amount of money in total on a bike + second hand PT will make me a better rider in the long-term, than having just the super-light, super-fast bike.

    Like anything though, the early adopters pay the highest price and in a few years they will probably become much more affordable.
    Le Blaireau (1)
  • 5858558585 Posts: 207
    I was aiming for 90% of the 20km TT power for the 2x20s, but didn't always hit that.
    i.e. a good hard effort but not full out.
    Since I haven't managed to do much more than 5 hours or a TSS of a few hundred a week I think I will try with more criss-cross threshold sessions instead of some of the 2x20s when I get back to training. Maybe add one session a week starting from 30mins and adding 5mins each time.
    Hopefully I can get my total up to 7-10 hours a week too but it's not easy doing the hours down in the basement!
    I agree the price is off-putting, I managed to get a used system for £500 which is still not cheap, but I do think it's money well spent if you are looking to improve.
    Even though I have only used it for a couple of months I wouldn't like to go back to not having one now, it's a big boost/kick up the backside having numbers that you can't argue with.
  • mclarentmclarent Posts: 784
    DaveyL wrote:
    I dunno - I got mine second hand and paid £750 for a wireless PT already built into a wheel. I know quite a few people with bikes that cost £2-2.5k, but I reckon spending the same amount of money in total on a bike + second hand PT will make me a better rider in the long-term, than having just the super-light, super-fast bike.

    Completely agree with that - even so, £750 is still a lot of monet!
    "And the Lord said unto Cain, 'where is Abel thy brother?' And he said, 'I know not: I dropped him on the climb up to the motorway bridge'."
    - eccolafilosofiadelpedale
  • 5858558585 Posts: 207
    An update on how I'm going. I'll add dates so it's easier to show the time scale I've measured against. All 20 km efforts indoors, the first 3 were on the trainer and last ones on rollers.

    16/11/08 - 253 W
    6/12/08 - 260 W
    18/12/08 - 285 W
    4/01/09 - 297 W
    17/2/09 - 282 W
    21/2/09 - 301 W

    Quite happy since I got ill and needed an op the week after 4/01, so was off the bike completely for 2 1/2 weeks.

    Looking at the "Power Profile" in training peaks, the 5 min data has been:

    8/11 - 3.64 W/kg
    23/11 - 4.07 W/kg
    23/12 - 4.24 W/kg
    6/2 - 4.26 W/kg
    21/2 - 4.54 W/kg

    One question I have though; when I've done the 20km TTs I use 90% of the average power to set my power zones. Since I'm doing no more than about 40 minutes all out in one go, the max 60 minute power I get recorded is lower than I can actually manage so the FT in the power profile is pretty low (the FT is just the 60 minute peak power isn't it?). Does that give any problems? The program uses the "Threshold" that I input rather than the FT it measures doesn't it? Just checking I don't need to start on 60min tests rather than 20km ones.... So the power profile is really showing 60min max and not necessarily FT unless I do regular 60 min all out efforts?
  • DaveyLDaveyL Posts: 5,167
    I don't quite understand what you're trying to say. I'm sure Alex will have better advice, but I would at least suggest using 95% of your 20 km TT power as your FTP.

    Anything to avoid a 60 min all-out effort!
    Le Blaireau (1)
  • Agree - 95% would be a better figure - often used as a conversion from 20 minute effort to 60 minute effort, though as with all rules of thumb it is by definition an approximation so may or may not be applicable to your power profile: the best way to work out FTP is to test yourself for an hour. Once in a while I think an hour all out effort is a great workout - takes determination and focus to give your all for 60 minutes.
  • For the calculation of the metrics such as IF, TSS, CTL, ATL, TSB etc etc, these are dependent on the value you enter for FTP. Yes I know folks that's a lot of acronyms but they are related to the software being asked about.

    The power profile on the other hand is simply showing you what you've actually done. That is not necessarily reprsentative of what you are capable of doing.

    Similarly, what you enter in as your FTP may be what you have actually done, but it might also be an estimate of what you think you are capable of doing.
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