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Power Zones vs. Heart Rate Zones

bl0k3bl0k3 Posts: 12
Hi all,

As per the title, looking for some advice.

This week I completed an FTP test using my Tacx Flux trainer on Zwift, the result came out at 211W (go easy). I felt that I gave it everything, possibly starting off a bit hard, easing in the middle and then emptying the tank during the final 5 minutes.

Today I started the FTP builder program and completed the first workout - tempo session.

Following the workout when I analysed the data on Strava, I noticed that the majority of the ride was spent in HR Z2 (it seems that during the tempo sections I was fluctuating between high Z2 and low Z3).

Basically, I am concerned that these workouts may not be of the correct intensity for me to reap the maximum benefit, then again, maybe this is normal and I should persist with the program.

Any thoughts welcome, cheers!
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  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,025
    Tired of easy workouts?
    Want a challenge?
    Need to feel the speed?

    Under overs , my son, for 45 minutes -- your life will never be the same for 24 hours afterwards if you do them right.

    Get a taste for GCNs shorter version of hell. https://youtu.be/bEfCKGBJc6k
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,256
    BL0K3 wrote:

    Basically, I am concerned that these workouts may not be of the correct intensity for me to reap the maximum benefit, then again, maybe this is normal and I should persist with the program.

    Depending on how you have established your HR zones, these may or may not be accurate. But if you are training to power, then HR readings are a bit of an irrelevance anyway. Also, 'reaping the maximum benefit' largely depends on what your specific goals or performance objectives are .
  • bl0k3bl0k3 Posts: 12
    Imposter wrote:
    Depending on how you have established your HR zones, these may or may not be accurate. But if you are training to power, then HR readings are a bit of an irrelevance anyway. Also, 'reaping the maximum benefit' largely depends on what your specific goals or performance objectives are .

    By 'reaping the maximum benefit', I mean the maximum increase in FTP in relation to time spent training.

    My HR zones were established by finding my maximum and then Strava has calculated these as per their default system as far as I am aware.

    Given that my calculated FTP is 211W, I was surprised by how relatively little effort was required to maintain 185W, not that is was absolutely easy, just that I felt it maybe should have been more taxing.
  • BL0K3 wrote:
    Hi all,

    As per the title, looking for some advice.

    This week I completed an FTP test using my Tacx Flux trainer on Zwift, the result came out at 211W (go easy). I felt that I gave it everything, possibly starting off a bit hard, easing in the middle and then emptying the tank during the final 5 minutes.

    Today I started the FTP builder program and completed the first workout - tempo session.

    Following the workout when I analysed the data on Strava, I noticed that the majority of the ride was spent in HR Z2 (it seems that during the tempo sections I was fluctuating between high Z2 and low Z3).

    Basically, I am concerned that these workouts may not be of the correct intensity for me to reap the maximum benefit, then again, maybe this is normal and I should persist with the program.

    Any thoughts welcome, cheers!
    That may not be that far out. And I guess it depends on how you have established your heart rate zones.
    I used the BC FTHR system to establish my zones, although I get pretty much the same thing from working from a maximum, which I've taken from full out hill climbs/races. On my last tempo session, I was up in the top third of the tempo power range, and similarly top third of the z3 heart rate range. Give it a few more tries, perhaps, and check the accuracy of your heart rate zones, but doesn't seem that far off to me. It might also depend on how well you are warmed up and how long the session is, i.e. whether by the end of the warm up you have settled to a heart rate that is close to the level of most of the interval and whether the interval is so flipping long that you get some heart rate drift
  • robertpbrobertpb Posts: 1,866
    I presume you did a max HR test not one of those take a random figure minus age plus days in the week.

    Mine using one of those comes out at 152, whereas I'm 186.
    Now where's that "Get Out of Crash Free Card"
  • bl0k3bl0k3 Posts: 12
    robertpb wrote:
    I presume you did a max HR test not one of those take a random figure minus age plus days in the week.

    Mine using one of those comes out at 152, whereas I'm 186.

    My max. HR is accurate, but funnily enough those estimators are spot on for me! 220 - 25 = 195.

    I will look into using another method for calculating zones and see if that makes a difference.

    In terms of tempo, how do would anyone describe the feeling of exertion? Working fairly moderately but with no lactate build up?
  • stueysstueys Posts: 1,332
    If it was your first ftp test then there is a fair chance it's out a bit. FTP tests are something you tend to get better at once you've done a few. Try another one in a few weeks time. In the meantime there is nothing wrong with nudging your ftp up a bit if you feel it's low and seeing how you go. Tempo shouldn't really feel hard though.

    My normal gauge of whether my ftp is set right is a sweet spot interval session. If I'm gritting my teeth to get through an hour of 10 minute sweet spot intervals then I know I'm too high, likewise it shouldn't be easy - focus but not pain.
  • stevie63stevie63 Posts: 481
    It looks as though the intervals on the zwift ftp builder workouts start out at 3-4 minutes which wouldn’t be enough time to get your heart rate up, whereas if they were 30 minutes long then you would likely see them in z3 after 5-10 minutes. Personally I haven’t bothered with heart rate since using power though I am aware it has its place.
  • Several things here. First, set zone based on LTHR. Google training peaks training zones.

    Zwift training plans are garbage. Workouts are complex which means you'll never know why you failed or things are too easy. Perform simple repeats instead and you'll get a much better feel. You'll also be able to use your workouts to validate your power zones, i.e. maximum power you are able to sustain for 4x4 is good estimate of VO2 max. Same thing for power you are routinely able to maintain for long intervals being a good indicator of FTP.
  • FTP is yesterday’s news, it’s all about 4 does more now.
  • In terms of tempo, how do would anyone describe the feeling of exertion? Working fairly moderately but with no lactate build up?

    It depends as most zones (if you are going by the Coggan power zones) have quite a wide range, I think Zone 3 for Coggan is 76-90% of FTP. From your numbers I put the tempo part of your session at 87% which is obviously at the higher end. IME levels of exertion in Zone 3 depend on the ride duration, I would ride a tempo session at a duration of anything from 90mins to 3hrs both of which are hard sessions and leave you feeling pretty tired at the end. If I was only doing 5 minute intervals in this zone I would find the exertion levels quite easy. By the way I am not recommending you go out and ride 3hrs at tempo, I have no idea of your fitness! I would stick to the plan you are following for now and see if it increases your FTP as desired.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,256
    Ericshun wrote:
    FTP is yesterday’s news, it’s all about 4 does more now.

    The username might be different, but the random bollox is the same as ever...
  • Imposter wrote:
    Ericshun wrote:
    FTP is yesterday’s news, it’s all about 4 does more now.

    The username might be different, but the random bollox is the same as ever...

    Really, what do you reckon then? I reckon 4 does more, or 4DP, is a far superior system for measuring performance, than just straight FTP.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,256
    Ericshun wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Ericshun wrote:
    FTP is yesterday’s news, it’s all about 4 does more now.

    The username might be different, but the random bollox is the same as ever...

    Really, what do you reckon then? I reckon 4 does more, or 4DP, is a far superior system for measuring performance, than just straight FTP.

    Ironically, you are on record (under one of your many other usernames) as claiming not to train and not to measure performance, so what on earth makes you think anyone will take your views on any of this seriously?

    4DP is nothing more than a marketing exercise from Sufferfest and adds nothing useful this debate, much like yourself. You used to regularly blurt nonsense about 4DP when you were called Milemuncher, so it comes as no surprise to see that nothing's changed.
  • Imposter wrote:
    Ericshun wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Ericshun wrote:
    FTP is yesterday’s news, it’s all about 4 does more now.

    The username might be different, but the random bollox is the same as ever...

    Really, what do you reckon then? I reckon 4 does more, or 4DP, is a far superior system for measuring performance, than just straight FTP.

    Ironically, you are on record (under one of your many other usernames) as claiming not to train and not to measure performance, so what on earth makes you think anyone will take your views on any of this seriously?

    4DP is nothing more than a marketing exercise from Sufferfest and adds nothing useful this debate, much like yourself. You used to regularly blurt nonsense about 4DP when you were called Milemuncher, so it comes as no surprise to see that nothing's changed.

    The response I’d expect from someone who doesn’t actually ride much. I couldn’t give a monkey’s about measuring performance personally, but there are a lot of people who do. From an ‘outsiders’ perspective, the more metrics used, The merrier.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,256
    Ericshun wrote:
    The response I’d expect from someone who doesn’t actually ride much. I couldn’t give a monkey’s about measuring performance personally, but there are a lot of people who do. From an ‘outsiders’ perspective, the more metrics used, The merrier.

    That's also your standard response Nick, because you've literally got nothing else. You have no idea how much I ride, because I've never mentioned how much I ride. You, on the other hand, repeatedly and arrogantly remind people that you ride more than anyone else. One of us is full of censored , and it ain't me.

    You are literally the worst and most persistent troll on these forums. Repeatedly called out for talking absolute shameless bullsh1t, with five banned user accounts and now on your sixth username. I think that says it all. Please just go away and stop poisoning these forums.
  • Imposter wrote:

    That's also your standard response Nick, because you've literally got nothing else. You have no idea how much I ride, because I've never mentioned how much I ride.

    Because most people (who aren’t crowbags )don’t mention it , because they don’t have to, you don’t mention it because I suspect you don’t actually ride much ( based on what you post ).

    Imposter wrote:
    You, on the other hand, repeatedly and arrogantly remind people that you ride more than anyone else.

    I do, there’s no argument there.

    Imposter wrote:
    You are literally the worst and most persistent troll on these forums.
    Nope. That’s your crown, I wouldn’t dream of taking it off of you.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Going back to the original question I think you have to believe in the plan. On trainerroad many different sessions make up a week and each week is different. I don't think you can determine anything from just one session. Maybe tomorrow is a lot harder.

    Chopping and changing isn't a good idea either.

    Stick with it and you'll see results.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    Imposter wrote:
    Ericshun wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Ericshun wrote:
    FTP is yesterday’s news, it’s all about 4 does more now.

    The username might be different, but the random bollox is the same as ever...

    Really, what do you reckon then? I reckon 4 does more, or 4DP, is a far superior system for measuring performance, than just straight FTP.

    Ironically, you are on record (under one of your many other usernames) as claiming not to train and not to measure performance, so what on earth makes you think anyone will take your views on any of this seriously?

    4DP is nothing more than a marketing exercise from Sufferfest and adds nothing useful this debate, much like yourself. You used to regularly blurt nonsense about 4DP when you were called Milemuncher, so it comes as no surprise to see that nothing's changed.

    I agree. 4DP is only of any value if you're already in a trained state of fitness. Someone starting from an untrained state doing 4DP as their first FTP test will get a false result. Their FTP might be accurate, but the suggested rider type and how Sufferfest then create your workouts can be drastically wrong. A puncheur could be categorised as a Sprinter and end up training to the wrong strengths.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • BL0K3 wrote:
    Hi all,

    As per the title, looking for some advice.

    This week I completed an FTP test using my Tacx Flux trainer on Zwift, the result came out at 211W (go easy). I felt that I gave it everything, possibly starting off a bit hard, easing in the middle and then emptying the tank during the final 5 minutes.

    Today I started the FTP builder program and completed the first workout - tempo session.

    Following the workout when I analysed the data on Strava, I noticed that the majority of the ride was spent in HR Z2 (it seems that during the tempo sections I was fluctuating between high Z2 and low Z3).

    Basically, I am concerned that these workouts may not be of the correct intensity for me to reap the maximum benefit, then again, maybe this is normal and I should persist with the program.

    Any thoughts welcome, cheers!

    Hi,
    I don't use the zwift training plans so I'm not au fait with how long you're riding at tempo for...

    So, for e.g. If you're riding at tempo ( it looks like about 88% of ftp) for 5 mins at a time it'll feel relatively easy and HR won't go to high. On the other hand if you're riding at that power for a couple hours I'd imagine it'd be a fairly tough workout for most people

    Add on to this, that training shouldn't be defined by a single session, but by the whole of your training then it becomes impossible to say what is right or wrong intensity with the info you've provided

    Ric
    Coach to Michael Freiberg - Track World Champion (Omnium) 2011
    Coach to James Hayden - Transcontinental Race winner 2017, and 2018
    Coach to Jeff Jones - 2011 BBAR winner and 12-hour record
    Check out our new website https://www.cyclecoach.com
  • bl0k3bl0k3 Posts: 12
    Thanks all for the input!

    I think I will stick with the plan as it stands for 2-3 weeks and see if I feel it is pushing me sufficiently, followed by a retest of the FTP :cry: .

    The periods of tempo I have completed so far are fairly short, around 6 mins max. so as a few of you mention maybe that is the reason for my lower HR - it would make sense.

    Thinking back on my FTP test now I do think that maybe I went a bit hard to begin with, believing/wanting my FTP to be higher than it actually is. On the other hand, it's easy to say afterwards that you could have achieved a higher wattage, as opposed to in the moment when your body is on fire! A retest is the only way to know for sure.
  • philthy3 wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Ericshun wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Ericshun wrote:
    FTP is yesterday’s news, it’s all about 4 does more now.

    The username might be different, but the random bollox is the same as ever...

    Really, what do you reckon then? I reckon 4 does more, or 4DP, is a far superior system for measuring performance, than just straight FTP.

    Ironically, you are on record (under one of your many other usernames) as claiming not to train and not to measure performance, so what on earth makes you think anyone will take your views on any of this seriously?

    4DP is nothing more than a marketing exercise from Sufferfest and adds nothing useful this debate, much like yourself. You used to regularly blurt nonsense about 4DP when you were called Milemuncher, so it comes as no surprise to see that nothing's changed.

    I agree. 4DP is only of any value if you're already in a trained state of fitness. Someone starting from an untrained state doing 4DP as their first FTP test will get a false result. Their FTP might be accurate, but the suggested rider type and how Sufferfest then create your workouts can be drastically wrong. A puncheur could be categorised as a Sprinter and end up training to the wrong strengths.

    I’ll give you that, but someone who is at a level where they are seriously enquiring about FTP and training would possibly be at a level where this would be useful.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,256
    Ericshun wrote:
    I’ll give you that, but someone who is at a level where they are seriously enquiring about FTP and training would possibly be at a level where this would be useful.

    Maybe you could explain to the forum exactly how 4DP would be relevant to the OP, given that he has expressed no particular interest in 5s, 1min or 5min power and why FTP is 'yesterday's news'..?

    We'll wait...

    (I'm also still waiting for you to impart your expert knowledge on the Pidcocks in Pro Race. Happy to wait there, too...)
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    Ericshun wrote:
    philthy3 wrote:
    I agree. 4DP is only of any value if you're already in a trained state of fitness. Someone starting from an untrained state doing 4DP as their first FTP test will get a false result. Their FTP might be accurate, but the suggested rider type and how Sufferfest then create your workouts can be drastically wrong. A puncheur could be categorised as a Sprinter and end up training to the wrong strengths.

    I’ll give you that, but someone who is at a level where they are seriously enquiring about FTP and training would possibly be at a level where this would be useful.

    Not at all. I've been active most of the year, albeit not as active as previous years due to other commitments and did Full Frontal a couple of times, resulting in being categorised as a sprinter, with my FTP adjusted to sprinter strengths in all workouts. I couldn't out sprint myself in a race.

    For someone that is highly active, its potentially useful, but I've yet to hear from anyone that is at their peak and that has done FF/4DP to measure against their known strengths and verify its accuracy. Until then, I remain sceptical.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • bvduckbvduck Posts: 44
    edited December 2018
    philthy3 wrote:
    4DP is only of any value if you're already in a trained state of fitness. Someone starting from an untrained state doing 4DP as their first FTP test will get a false result. Their FTP might be accurate, but the suggested rider type and how Sufferfest then create your workouts can be drastically wrong. A puncheur could be categorised as a Sprinter and end up training to the wrong strengths.

    Hi guys. Sorry to jump in. David from The Sufferfest here. I just want to point out that whether you are in a trained state or not does not really matter with 4DP: like any other test out there, including a basic FTP test, it captures your current state of fitness. However 4DP does it across a full power profile, making it far more useful than a basic FTP test because 4DP knows exactly what you can do across your aerobic, maximal aerobic, anaerobic and neuromuscular systems and will set workout targets at exactly the right intensity for where you are now. FTP-based apps have to guess what you can do in those last three (MAP, AC, NM) and, more often than not - especially if you're detrained - are going to get it wrong and you won't get the right training stimulus above threshold.

    Your rider type does not affect workout targets. It is simply a conclusion drawn from your current power profile about what kind of rider you are NOW. That can change as you train more and take the test again. Your rider type is also not suggesting that, say, you are the best Sprinter out there. It's saying that, looking at your power profile and the *relative* performance between your metrics, you have the profile of a Sprinter.

    Lastly, our training plans are goal based (e.g., Time Trial, Gran Fondo, Road Race, etc.) and tailored to your particular weakness as defined by the 4DP test. The conclusions about your strengths and weaknesses are drawn from your most recent test. If you're not fit, those strengths and weaknesses are still valid.

    Ah, one more thing in response to another comment in the thread: whether you're interested in your 5sec, 1min or 5 minute power or not doesn't change the fact that it has an impact on your cycling -- and does affect how much you can improve your FTP (If that's your main interest). 5sec power reflects your neuromuscular coordination, which is about how completely and efficiently you get your muscles firing which is going to be useful for driving up FTP. Your 5 minute power - maximal aerobic power - is like a ceiling for your FTP. If you don't work on it (and do so with the correct workout targets that is only possible when you know your MAP), then your FTP bumps up against it. When that happens, it doesn't matter how many FTP-focused sessions you do, you're not going to get aerobically faster (what many riders refer to as a 'plateau'). In this situation, you need to switch focus to a training plan that will raise that MAP ceiling (4DP will tell you when you have a MAP weakness) and then you'll see your FTP lift.
    If you'd like to know more about it, our coach explains it here: https://vimeo.com/238127752

    More than happy to answer any questions if you have them.

    ps. If you're interested in knowing more about Heart Rate (since that was part of the original thread), our coaches wrote quite a thorough post ('Everything you wanted to know about HR')...it's quite detailed, but if you've got time you'll enjoy it: https://thesufferfest.com/blogs/trainin ... aid-to-ask
    David McQuillen, Chief Suffering Officer
    http://www.thesufferfest.com
    @thesufferfest
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 15,237
    bvduck wrote:
    [ps. If you're interested in knowing more about Heart Rate (since that was part of the original thread), our coaches wrote quite a thorough post ('Everything you wanted to know about HR')...it's quite detailed, but if you've got time you'll enjoy it: https://thesufferfest.com/blogs/trainin ... aid-to-ask
    I am a self confessed luddite still using heart rate. My reasoning is quite simple and was included in the link above. The other reason is that I am not a constant output machine.

    "Listen to your heart. You might be surprised at how much it can tell you."
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    bvduck wrote:
    More than happy to answer any questions if you have them.

    ps. If you're interested in knowing more about Heart Rate (since that was part of the original thread), our coaches wrote quite a thorough post ('Everything you wanted to know about HR')...it's quite detailed, but if you've got time you'll enjoy it: https://thesufferfest.com/blogs/trainin ... aid-to-ask

    That doesn't make sense to me. If I use another platform designed for a specific goal/rider type, that will set workouts designed to work on the areas required. How does 4DP help to achieve that if it works on the strengths shown in FF if it indicates that the user is a different type of rider to what they are? This is my argument that 4DP is only useful if you are already somewhere near your true strengths and not just starting out. I do enjoy The Sufferfest workouts though.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • Key workouts need to be hard. If you have another interval in you then you need to do another interval. This is why manual control is so important. Simple repeats also help you to diagnose zone problems because they are single intensity.
    BL0K3 wrote:
    Thanks all for the input!

    I think I will stick with the plan as it stands for 2-3 weeks and see if I feel it is pushing me sufficiently, followed by a retest of the FTP :cry: .

    The periods of tempo I have completed so far are fairly short, around 6 mins max. so as a few of you mention maybe that is the reason for my lower HR - it would make sense.

    Thinking back on my FTP test now I do think that maybe I went a bit hard to begin with, believing/wanting my FTP to be higher than it actually is. On the other hand, it's easy to say afterwards that you could have achieved a higher wattage, as opposed to in the moment when your body is on fire! A retest is the only way to know for sure.
  • bvduckbvduck Posts: 44
    philthy3 wrote:
    That doesn't make sense to me. If I use another platform designed for a specific goal/rider type, that will set workouts designed to work on the areas required. How does 4DP help to achieve that if it works on the strengths shown in FF if it indicates that the user is a different type of rider to what they are? This is my argument that 4DP is only useful if you are already somewhere near your true strengths and not just starting out. I do enjoy The Sufferfest workouts though.

    I'm not sure if I entirely understand your question, but I'll explain this way (let me know if I'm off base here):
    Full Frontal, the Sufferfest fitness test, gives you three outputs:
    1) A rider type (Sprinter, Attacker, etc.)
    2) Identified strengths and weaknesses (e.g., sustained efforts) along with a few suggested workouts to address each
    3) a 4DP power profile covering neuromuscular, anaerobic, maximal aerobic and aerobic metrics

    -- Your rider type has NO impact at all on your training. It simply tells you what kind of rider you are right now. I'm not sure I understand 'a different type of rider to what they are' line. Full Frontal tells you what kind of rider you are NOW - not who you wish you were or used to be. As Cycling Weekly said in a recent review of The Sufferfest, '4DP is the truth.'
    -- Your identified strengths and weaknesses are based on your current level of fitness - I'm afraid I don't understand why you don't think it would be useful to know that when you, say, aren't at a high degree of fitness. In any case, the suggested workouts are just that - suggestions: it's up to you whether you want to focus on those or not.
    -- Your 4DP power profile is then used to tailor every workout to your exact capabilities. If a workout has, say, a lot of 90 second Maximal Aerobic Power (MAP) based intervals, then the target power for those intervals will be based on your actual MAP (not a guess based on your FTP like in other apps).

    If you take on one of our training plans, they are not based on your rider type. They are based on the demands of the event (e.g., a hilly gran fondo) and then focused on helping you address your weaknesses so that you have the best performance possible.

    Hopefully that helps clear things up? If not, just let me know. I'll keep trying until we get there. :)
    David McQuillen, Chief Suffering Officer
    http://www.thesufferfest.com
    @thesufferfest
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,256
    bvduck wrote:
    -- Your rider type has NO impact at all on your training. It simply tells you what kind of rider you are right now. I'm not sure I understand 'a different type of rider to what they are' line. Full Frontal tells you what kind of rider you are NOW - not who you wish you were or used to be. As Cycling Weekly said in a recent review of The Sufferfest, '4DP is the truth.'

    TBH, knowing 'what kind of rider you are' sounds about as useful as one of those Facebook surveys which tell you what kind of fish you would be, or similar...

    Surely anyone serious enough to already be racing or training to any kind of objective would already understand where their weaknesses were. And if they didn't, they would begin to appreciate those weaknesses a few laps into their first race...
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