Sunday, April 17, 2011

A small update

Just on the training, mind.

The last three weeks since Rudy Project #1 have been interesting in terms of the ol' power development. I was quite happy with what I managed then, as I'd built on my power at the Chippenham hilly at the start of March. If I could hold that for the rest of this season, I'd not be doing badly.

But there has been no slacking off since then as Ric is determined that we can push through last year's plateau. We haven't changed things since Feb/March either: my absolute training load has gone up slightly with longer sessions but my relative load has started to level off. That means that 'a lot of training' now feels normal, which means I'm fresher for each session, which means I find it easier to increase power from week to week.

This is important in the threshold workouts (the oft used 2 x 20min) as these give a very good idea of what your current 1 hour power (FTP) is. From experience this year, if I can average X watts for a 2x20 session (not counting rest) then I can add a few watts on top of that on race day for an hour.

It also tracks well to tempo power in certain circumstances, but because that's not maximal it's harder to draw a comparison. And longer rides don't seem to change much, although I have added about 10W in the last couple of weeks to my long rides, which is nice. Compared to similar rides I was doing last year, I'm about 25W up. That's good and I am hoping to get near that across all power levels.

What's better is being able to recover from these rides very quickly. And being able to put in hard efforts during the ride without knackering me for the rest of the ride. It's a particular kind of fitness (most would say it's base but I think Alex and Ric of RST refer to it as depth) and it feels amazing as it gives you almost complete control over your body.

Case in point: I did 3hrs on Saturday at a hard endurance pace, down towards the Mendips. In the middle I went up the Burrington Combe climb the fastest I've ever done in training. I turned around at the top, rode down and did it again at exactly the same speed and power as the first time, modulating power according to the changing gradient but still maintaining control over the effort. I got to the top and rode home at pretty much the same power and heart rate as the first part of the ride. Result: fastest Mendips ride I've done on the road bike. Power numbers to match.

Previously if I did this my heart rate would stay high after the climbs, my legs would be shot and my power would drop 20-40W. It's very nice not to have that happen.

Drinking booze at Phil N's birthday for the rest of the day probably wasn't the best recovery option but today's long ride went surprisingly well.

Next up: two mountain time trials, one in Buxton on Friday and the Beacon RC Little Moutain TT on Sunday. Both 1hr30-1hr45 so I won't get an idea of my one hour power just yet.

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