Monday, 13 January 2014

And the results are in...

Well it has been another busy week of training, clocking up just over 9 and a half hours - and this is just the start!

I ended the week doing The Sufferfest 'Rubber Glove' video on my turbo trainer in an effort to measure my Functional Threshold Power (FTP). This power value can be calculated as 95% of your average power over a 20 minute period where you are going flat out. The FTP value is really useful in training and represents an average value you should be able to hold for an 1 hour effort. The number itself is useful but being able to track your progress against this number can show you how your fitness is improving throughout training.

I was tested at The University of The West of Scotland in late September and my FTP was a dismal 170W at a threshold heart rate of 120 bpm. I think I was still pretty fatigued from IM Austria in June, despite having taken all of July off and worked back slowly on rebuilding my fitness. I did a similar test at the start of my Sufferfest Training Plan in mid-October and was around 224W and my threshold heart rate was around 144bpm.

Roll forward 10 weeks and 100% completion of The Sufferfest Intermediate Cycle training plan and my numbers had improved quite nicely...

FTP now standing at 258W (average power over 20 minutes of 271.1W) and threshold heart rate now up to 164 bpm.

So, a 15% improvement in power in just 10 weeks and a brilliant jump in threshold heart rate response. This not only means I can generate higher power for longer (ergo, faster on the bike) but also my aerobic system has now expanded so that I can stay working aerobically for much longer whilst working harder.

You can see from the end of the heart rate graph below I was pushing as hard as I could - maximum heart rate reaching 182 bpm by the end of the test:

The Power was fluctuating pretty badly as I was having to use Lorna's KICKR and I think there may be an issue with the ANT+ signal controlling the device. The power numbers on Bluetooth were much more stable but since my KICKR had a bearing issue and was being replaced this was the only option available...

I suspect there are still some decent gains to be made. I've only been cycling for 2 years and I know that it takes years for cycling fitness and strength to be built up. I also dropped my cadence during the test, reverting to 'grinding' out the power on the high gears. Looking back I should probably have kept a much higher cadence (95-105 rpm) and a lower gear. This means your leg muscles spend less time under load so they don't experience the 'burn' associated with the production and neutralisation of lactic acid.

So, pretty chuffed with the progress and looking forward to getting back out on the roads when the weather improves!


Derek Stewart said...

Nice numbers Gav. Keep it up and you'll be flying on the bike at the outlaw - just remember there is the small matter of a marathon after you get off the saddle! Brilliant to see you in such good shape this early.

Dr Gall said...

Thanks Derek!

Don't worry, the idea will be to leave a little bit in the tank for a wee jog :-)

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