3 Triathletes, 3 Computrainers and 1 FTP test

3 Triathletes, 3 Computrainers in 1 gym going all out for 20 minutes.

No pictures taken during the test, too much sweat and concentration for that, but it pretty much looked liked this! (Photo from google images www.bikesportmichigan.com)

That was the scene on Saturday morning, in Simon Wards gym in North Leeds. Myself, Dan and Wardy were having a crack at an FTP test (functional threshold power test) using our Computrainers (fancy pants turbo, that you attach your bike into, for those not into the cycling lingo- mum, this explanation is for you!)

Well done Wardy and Dan, both showing great progress, from your last tests. Best of Luck at Ironman Austria this coming weekend.

An FTP test, is a great way to measure your cycling fitness, it is a great way to track progress. Do a 20minute test, use the numbers in your training, train for a month, do another test, repeat and repeat.

Today was my 4th test this year. Here are my results for my 4 tests this year.

5th January 182w (30 minute test) 165 HR avg, 174 HR max 3.4w/kg

18th February 211w (30 minute test) 165 HR avg, 180 HR max 4.05w/kg

19th April 223w (30 minute test) 166 HR avg, 177 HR max 4.4w/kg

18th June 242w (20 minute test) 165 HR avg, 178 HR max 4.82w/kg (currently 50kg in weight)

My weight has gone down from 54kg to 50kg as I have gone from off season, to winter training, to summer racing. At the same time, my watts have gone up through out the winter training and into the summer racing.

Yesterday's results, getting closer to that 5w/kg mark:

Compared to last year, my final test of the 2015 season was on 25th May, which was my best result of the year.

25th May 2015 223w (20minute test on turbo) 165 HR avg, 180 HR Max 4.46w/kg

So I am pretty happy with my bike progress this year. A big change has been using the computrainer since January. Using it 2 or 3 times every week for Tempo rides, VO2 max sessions, hills reps, both long and short and sweet spot interval sessions. I used a turbo trainer last year mainly for sweetspot long interval sessions, so this year, with the Computrainer we have put into practice the knowledge from Craig at OTE in terms of polarised training; hard being very hard and easy being easy. Massive thanks to Craig (OTE performance centre ) for sharing his knowledge following a VO2 max testing at the end of last season.

I have been using Golden Cheetah Software (free software you can download to analysis your data) This has been a big learning curve too, thanks to Adam, who has been showing me how to use it and what the graphs mean and what its showing me in terms of where my weaknesses are and strengths lie. (Stuart Marshall LBT introduced the software to Adam, then Adam read the book Training and Racing with a Power Meter, 2nd Ed.Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan, PhD. The book is a good introduction to the graphs of Golden Cheetah )

I love the power graphs Golden Cheetah creates. Like these bellow, they really show you if you had hit the right zones for your work outs.

Below is Golden Cheetah power graph for an 80 minute computrainer tempo ride, Zone 1 for warm up/warm down, Zone 2/ Sweetspot between Zone 2 and zone 3 for tempo.

Hill session, Zone 1 for the warm up/warm down, zone 3 for the tempo before and after and Zone 6 for the short sharp hill reps.

I also like training peaks for viewing the power graphs, I have the free version so a lot of what I can't access I use golden cheetah for.

The graph below is from Training peaks, showing a VO2 max hill session I did a week before WTS Leeds, it showed me I was hitting good form, though at the time, I was cursing Coach Lou for setting me this as it was pure pain.

Through consistent use of the Computrainer a variety of sessions that work the different energy systems and using Golden Cheetah and Training peaks to analyse my data I have tracked progress.

Please don't read this thinking numbers, watts and HR are everything, maybe I have made this up to scare the opposition!? Sitting on a turbo for 20 or 30 minutes testing your fitness is just one way to gauge your fitness level. depending on what racing you are doing, determines what you want to be good at; Crit racing or cyclocross is very different to long time trials or Ironman. So as Coach Lou says "Comparison can be the thief of Joy!

Thanks Computrainer for helping me make my legs, lungs and heart stronger.

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