Today marks the 90th day of 2011 and I like to occasionally stop and see where I am relative to previous seasons. Before I get into it, I want to inform all three of you that I know how uncool it is to talk about our watts with others. Let's face it: if I really wanted to be cool I wouldn't have a blog in the first place.. and if you were really cool you wouldn't be here reading this shit.. So first I'll share the awesome flowchart explaining that no matter what you do, talking about your numbers makes you look like a tool. Okay we get it:
With that funny schematic from Velonews behind us, we can move on. Below we can look at a summary of my last six weeks and also my last 12 months of time, distance, TSS, kJ, etc. I think you will find it interesting that I have been training light every other week since returning from Florida. It wasn't a conscious decision or part of a master plan. It is basically what I've felt like doing, dictated partly by life requirements, fatigue levels, the temperature outside, and my motivation. Let's just say it's what felt right. Moving forward, I expect to build in blocks of 2 weeks during April and changing it up to 3 weeks in May. Or not. Life is unpredictable.
The chart below? Boooo-riiiiing. but still one of my favorites. I'm not going to show you the same period one year before. Just take my word for it that I didn't flirt with a CTL of 90 [in 2010] until after the 3rd week of April. CTL is the blue line which indicates "chronic training load"- a running average of the previous 28 days of training. For the data challenged, I'll give one piece of advice about this particular chart- you're not really flying on the bike until after you're deep into 100 CTL for a few weeks. Last season that period was from 8/1 thru 9/30, and I could tell that I was capable of very good things during that time. This year it appears that I'll be into 100 CTL by mid April. Let's hope I don't get sick of riding and take an entire month off the bike as I did in 2010. (See May/June, above) Maybe I'll rest a bit in May (during all those pesky road races with hills)
Lastly but not least, tonight's workout on the Kinetic Road Machine. This is by far my favorite workout. It's an unofficial fitness test, but not the kind that necessarily indicates your Functional Threshold. Sure if I did this set after a hard hour of warm-up or after a 5 minute VOmax interval, then it can be used for FT (by deducting 5% from norm power). But the way I use it, it's more a measure of how much I've adapted since the previous attempts. It's good to see that since my last attempt exactly one month ago on Feb 28, I've added 14w to my CP20 and 14w to my Normalized CP20. I do not expect you to be impressed. As I said, this is just a very good way for one to gauge their progress and determine if the training stress is forcing the good kind of adaptation. Those of you without a power meter can choose a nice 5 mile loop or stretch of road and test your fitness by doing a private TT every 3-4 weeks. Keep track of your times and see your progression. It doesn't have to be done in an "on/off" manner- that's just how I prefer to do it because it imitates criterium racing, which is where I'm interested in being successful. Anyway it goes something like this:
30:00 warm-up (intensity is at your discretion- but I don't recommend Z2 for the whole time)
1:00 FT+30-50% (for me this is a little under 5w/kg)
1:00 recovery z2-z3 (again, for me a little under 3w/kg)
Repeat total of 10 times (20 minutes total)- in the final minute, recover for the first 30 seconds and then uncork everything you have left for the final 30 seconds, then go for 45-50 if you have it in you, all out. Do it to complete failure.
30:00 cool down, z1-2
This workout does a good job of teaching you to handle the stresses thrown at you in the final 20 minutes of a criterium. You can't shut it down in between intervals- you should still be making woman noises during the "recovery" periods. I usually shift between the 53x15 and the 53x19 during this set. Everyone is different. If you drill it too hard in the first few intervals, you will not want to finish and you risk aborting your workout prematurely. Shoot for 10 minutes the first time and build from there. Usually by the end of the 20th minute, my heart rate is into the 190s, but going back and forth between 165 and 180 the rest of the time. Remember: the excuse you hear most often from riders who get dropped in their first few races of the season is "those accelerations killed me". Well here's your chance to avoid that early ride of shame back to the car.. It goes without saying that you need a base of about 1000 miles before doing a workout like this..Have fun!