Thank god for coffee.
Caffeine has been my best friend, as I start the winter turbo sessions.
Adam, has been perfecting the coffee, using the new Mr Whipster to get that milk all frothy, check out the layers.
January marks the start of some hard, above threshold work on the computrainer. Throughout November and December Coach Chris at Total Tri Training had me focusing on strength work; hills, big gear, low cadence riding. He told me to be patient the hard work would start after Christmas.
Before Christmas I would alternate between using the bikes at the OTE performance centre, when it was particularly cold in the garage. When I was feeling more hardy or/and the weather was warmer I would use the computrainer in the garage. I did a few sessions on the road, but it really makes you realise how unreliable the road is for specific efforts. Car's pulling out in front of you, headwind one way, a tail wind the other, slight up, slight down, Your are trying to hit a set cadence, a nice low 60rpm and all of a sudden your spinning at 80rpm. I will continue to alternate between heading to the OTE performance centre in Leeds, using the computrainer in the garage and hitting the road, variety is the spice of life, and keeping mentally fresh allows consistent training and we all know, consistency is king.
Dark, winter evening spent on the computrainer, no view but good workout
I started the winter training, by visiting the OTE performance centre and doing a Vo2 max test with Craig Stevenson. It was good to compare the test to the same time last year.
The key findings were:
-My first turn point, known as VT1, the point your body goes from being more aerobic to more anerobic had improved from 135w to 185w. Good news as 135w was totally shit! It showed me why i suffered so badly in the Ironman in 2015, my 'steady IM pace' was actually quite Anerobic for my body, hence destroying me, far more than it should have. I had set out to improve this in 2016 and did more riding around 135w and in my heart rate range from 136-146 beats (this was based on my testing results). Good to see my efforts have helped improve my VT1.
- My threshold was 219w which corresponded to my first 20 minute test on the computrainer the week before, where I recorded 215w for 20 minute Time trial. I was slightly down on max watts, not surprisingly as I had just had several week off at the end of the season. The OTE performance test uses a ramp test, where you cycle on a stationary bike and the watts increase. The aim is to stay on top of the cadence, as soon as you can not keep up the cadence the test ends. In my case at 11 minutes. Yes different to the 20 minute all out test, but it is good to compare and see they match up.
215w was down on my best of 240w that I did the 20 minute test in June 2016 but way above the 184w I achieved on a 30 minute test, at the same point in November last year. I wrote about last years computrainer ftp tests in this blog.
Always cold to start with in the garage but once the hard work gets going, I end up in sports bra and shorts.
From using the computrainer and training with power last year, I learnt how I could improve my threshold (ftp score). I went from 184w- 240w in 6 months. Consistent sessions and focusing on above threshold intervals. I put out the fastest bike split in several races, though these occurred in Olympic distance races (My report from Leeds ITU and Slateman are here). I struggled to hold a good percentage of my ftp score in longer races, especially in 70.3 races.
That is the aim this year, to improve my ftp, but to also improve my ability to hold 80-85% of my ftp over 90km. Last year I was managing 70-75% which in all honesty is more Ironman pace than 70.3 pace.
I have a goal, I have some great resources in terms of the OTE performance centre and the computrainer and I have some hard sessions coming my way from Coach Chris at Total Tri Training. Time to crack on.
If you enjoy reading about training with power, then Pro Triathlete Lionel Saunders has a great blog, where he talks in depth about his training and racing, sharing his stats in a very honest and open way. Rob Wilby from Oxygen Addict has done 2 brilliant interviews with Lionel on the Oxygen addict podcast, well worth checking out.
If you are in Leeds, OTE performance centre is having an open day on 19th Jan, more info here
If you are keen to keep riding outside this winter, nothing like a good group ride in the sleet and snow to build friendships! Then make sure your bike is winter proof with a TopFlap, you can get a custom club one or buy one for the generic designs, if you are in Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Rose design is just the job!
Good luck with working on your own weaknesses and making the strengths even stronger this winter.
Not many watts, but a nice Christmas in Spain with my mum. Here she is having a go on my bike. Had a break from the computrainer, now it is time to get back to work on it.