Showing posts with label turbo trainer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label turbo trainer. Show all posts

Friday, 22 February 2013

2 Hours of Power

I've been suffering from some early starts this week so I haven't felt like doing too much on the turbo in the evenings. I got a lucky break on Wednesday and was home early enough to set up for an Hour of Power. I last did this on 13 Feb and did a shortened 54 minute version so I needed to do full hour this time. Last time I suffered around 38 minutes and I had to back off for a while to be able to recover then complete the session. I was well motivated and keen to get the whole session done...

Unfortunately, my body decided otherwise. The good news is that I was disciplined at achieving the 275W (90% FTP) baseline and 450W bursts and that I lasted longer before I failed than the last time I attempted the Hour of Power, the bad news was that it was the start of a complete failure and I was unable/unwilling to complete the hour even though I knew I really needed to. My HR wasn't excessively high, peaking at 171bpm so I'm not exactly sure why I seemed to be suffering quite so much. Obviously there are daily variations in performance, but this seems like a fairly fundamental failure to perform rather than just a weaker performance.

Today I decided that I'd try the Hour of Power on the open road rather than suffering in the heat and boredom of my kitchen. I had quite a hard day at work yesterday, including getting a bad dose of CS gas, and several glasses of wine last night, so I thought I might be lining myself up for a big failure.

After a short warm-up (it was too cold to be riding too slowly) I got on with business. Above is the 60 minutes ignoring the warm up and cool down. The good news is that I managed to complete it. I had a bit of a brain-dump after 6 bursts and I forgot to do the 7th on time, so I threw in an extra one as soon as I realised and accepted that I'd have less time to recover before the next one. Heart rate was similar to the turbo session, peaking around 171bpm but I just felt a lot better throughout the whole session and never felt like I was going to fail. For the bursts I was standing for 20 revolutions as a practice mini-sprint and there's a lot more variability on the baseline as a result of corners, traffic, junctions etc.

The excellent news is that I was consistently above the 275W baseline and my bursts were well above the 450W targets too. As a result I managed a 60 min average power of 296W (equal to my second best ever recorded power output) and at the end I was even able to surge to 312W for the last 6 minutes, though I was pretty knackered at the end. The 60 mins of hurt had a relative intensity of 0.949.

So, overall a very good day to get me over the bad turbo session earlier in the week. It's also clear that riding this on the road MUST be easier than on the turbo, possibly as it was cooler and possibly as it was possible to to the bursts out of the saddle rather than seated on the turbo. I'm sure the wine didn't help, but maybe, just maybe, that's the answer!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Hour of Power - nearly

Today I did a shortened version of the infamous 'Hour of Power' devised by Bill Black. It's based around 60 minutes at a solid 90% FTP (for me 275W) with 15 sec bursts to 150% FTP (450W) every 2 mins and 45 secs. In the hour you should complete 20 bursts and 20 tempo intervals between.

There are lots of variations of the ratio of power but I looked at 90/150 and thought it would be achievable although I only planned to do 54 minutes as part of a 60 min workout. I'm going to add another 3 mins until I get to the full 60 plus warm-up and cool-down.

It started off well enough until I got to the 12th burst (the big red A) when I suddenly felt pretty crappy and was happy to back off and recover for 45 seconds or so. This also ties in with my highest HR and not being able to achieve the 450W burst. Luckily my HR strap was working today so it's easy to see that my HR was nowhere near it's 175 LTHR and only up to a measly 167-170 for the 6 mins leading up to the A. I know from experience that I usually suffer if I stay in this HR zone for too long so I'm not surprised that I hated it today, though I'm always cautious to not look at HR during the workout because I don't want it to make me think about stopping when I get up to these levels.

After the A I seemed to settle down a bit and just had a bit of weakness immediately after the bursts and then I did the last burst as an all-out 30 secs at 400W. And then I was done and beaten by Bill.

Next time I won't do anything different except stick to the 275W intervals and add another interval to take it up to 19 bursts. The time after that will be 20 intervals.

Overall stats for the 54 minutes:

Work done - 945 kJ
Average power - 290W
Average HR 160
Relative Intensity .93

Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Hunted

I was going to do a roller session yesterday but after 20 minutes I stopped. Just didn't feel like doing it and I wasn't going to get much out of it. I've been feeling a bit throaty for the last couple of days coinciding with a selfish b'stard at work coughing and spluttering at an adjacent desk.

So today I planned a Sufferfest 'The Hunted' session which I found challenging and unachievable last time I did it. However, being an idiot I forgot that I was just unable to get to the end of the middle 20 minute session and had to back off. In a way this was actually a good thing because I went into the workout expecting to be able to compete it and probably tried harder as a result.

So, it went well through the first taster and then all the way through the 'middle 20' until I got to the section marked with the big red A (for Aaaaaaarrrgh!). With a high HR my body just said NO! and I had to stop, feeling quite miffed because I thought that I had completed this bit last time.

The last session was achievable, but I was really suffering on the 5x350W+ intervals at the end and was very pleased to stop and when I did I realised how hard I had been working; gasping for breath and my throat slightly constricted. I'm not asthmatic, but I think it was the same feeling.

So, I probably won't do this again for a long while. There are 2 hard bits that are too hard and the rest is too easy and really just foreplay waiting for the pain. It's quite like a race in that respect, but racing isn't necessarily the best way to increase fitness.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Back to proper training

After a great week away I was keen to get back on the turbo and back to proper training. I've managed 2 sessions so far this week. The first was on Monday morning when I did the short version of Shorter Harder.

It all seemed to go very well except my HR was way higher than I would have expected, peaking at 179bpm but I never really felt that bad. Normally 179 would be me on the limit, but I just plugged on and never really felt like I was over-doing it. Just goes to show how much HR can vary from day-to-day for the same effort.

I then had 2 days of driving around the country, eating more crappy food and sleeping in uncomfortable beds and I arrived home too late last night to do a turbo session. These are the 'wasted days' when I should be doing something but the time and then the motivation just drains away and then the day has gone.

Left work a little early so I could get a good session in tonight and I completed the longer version of Shorter Harder (the last workout I did before I got ill earlier this month). I was interested to see if my HR would be as high as it was on Monday, and it wasn't. It was much more normal, peaking at 174, which is a good.

I added 10W to 4 of the intervals and then went for a 500W surge at the end of the last one and felt quite good throughout so I don't think I've lost much, if any, fitness over the last 3 weeks of very little turbo training. I just probably haven't made any gains. Or maybe 2 weeks off and a week of skiing has actually done me some good. Time will tell.

About 20 minutes after the workout I spent a couple of minutes crouched down sorting out some clothes packing and then stood up a bit too quickly, had a dizzy spell, banged my head on a door frame and then thought I was going to pass out. After a couple of minutes sitting down I felt fine again. I'm putting it down to the crouching rather than the workout.

So that's my winter holiday and winter illness out of the way and I can get back to some proper training again and start to focus on getting ready for racing. This will do me the world of good and get rid of the frustration I get when I can't train.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Shorter Harder

Returning to work was a huge shock this morning, especially the getting up at 6am bit of it. The sitting at work bit was rubbish too.

Couldn't decide whether to do a workout or have a rest, but in the end I realised that I really should do one while I've got the chance because I don't know when work/home life may stop me. The longer version of Shorter Harder seemed to fit the bill, but the longer version with 5 extra intervals.

In the end I quite enjoyed it, with the 2011 Amstell Gold race on YouTube in the background the time seemed to go very quickly and by the end I'd almost forgotten about the sweaty pool on the floor and my 'gentleman's numbness'. After the last interval I ruined my cooldown by getting excited by the Amstell race finish and letting my power creep up and up.

It wasn't long ago that I found this workout difficult and now I can quite easily complete it even on the third day of a set. Despite the obvious fact that I need to increase the difficulty of my workouts, I just can't seem to get round to doing it. Maybe next time.....

Sunday, 6 January 2013

An easyish 50 minutes

I felt a little sore after yesterday's ride and run so I chose a simpler and easier workout today. I took ages to decide whether to do something easy or nothing at all, and in the end I went for the easy option because I knew I would hate myself if I did nothing.

After a warm up it was 4x10 at 272W, 288W, 272W then 288W with a short rest interval between them.

With an average power of 270W (86% FTP) it was a nice Zone 3-4 workout, but nothing too challenging and it was never going to hurt. I watched Stage 5 of the 2011 TdF as inspiration, the last 2 km of the race is just brilliant.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Sufferfest: The Hunted

After yesterday's shortish session I decided that Sufferfest's The Hunted would be interesting and challenging, but also achievable with my slightly tired legs from yesterday. I last did this on 20 Dec and struggled at the end of the 20 minute interval that makes up the middle of the work out. During that workout I just ran out of energy and I backed-off. I did exactly the same again today but ran out of energy slightly earlier today. Both times my Heart Rate was at 172 BPM (near my lactic threshold) and my legs were burning so, I don't know why, but this workout is a lot harder than it looks. As a result, it's something I'm determined to master.

After a decent warm-up the first interval was quite straightforward. The second (25-45 mins) went well until I struggled at around 42 mins and then the last interval (50-62 mins) was fine. I even had enough energy for an all-out blast after the last interval, but I wasn't able to sustain the 400W+ for long.

So, after 5 days off for Christmas I've managed to squeeze in 3 hours on the turbo into the last 3 days. The attrocious Yorkshire weather is starting to get me down and I don't even feel like going out on the MTB because it is just so wet everywhere.

30 minutes of fun

28 Dec. After a morning on the ski slopes of Xscape at Castleford, I didn't really feel up to doing much on the turbo but I guilted myself into it. By the time I finally got everything set up I was running a bit short of time so I planned a single 30 minute interval at 300W (roughly 95% FTP) while watching a repeat of the 4th Stage of the 2011 Tour De France. It's the one where Roy goes on a solo break and is slowly chased down (I won't ruin the end for you but it's a good stage).

I was doing well for the first 15 minutes, averaging a healthy 309W, but I though this would be difficult to maintain for the next 15 so I dropped it down to 300W. At 23 minutes I had a strange wobble where I felt like stopping, so I backed off for about a minute and then got back on the power and finished with an average of 304W (96% FTP) for the 30 minutes.
This is actully quite a good workout and the 23 minute wobble shows me that it is probably an area that I need to be working on and trying to extend my duration at higher power. So, more of this or 2x20 I think. It's just a shame they hurt so much!

Friday, 21 December 2012

The End of the World workout - Local Hero

Well, after hundreds of years of countdown I was getting ready for the Mayan prophecies to come true and for the World to end today. I thought that, if I was going to die, I may as well choose a hard workout to die to. Sufferfest's Local Hero seemed to fit the bill so I fired up the laptop, The Best of Thin Lizzie and set to work, expecting the World to end sometime during the 80 minute session. It didn't, so I had to complete the whole painful session.

During the second interval (around 25 minutes) I started to feel weak and I was starting to make excuses to give up, but I knuckled down knowing that this would be the last workout for 5 days so I really had to make it count. I didn't want to eat lots of mince pies over Christmas knowing I'd let myself down on a key workout. I did back off completely on the recovery intervals though to make sure I had enough in my legs for the work intervals and I really struggled to achieve the hardest part of the last 4 intervals; legs burning, sweat dripping, head drooping etc.

Monday, 17 December 2012

A bit of a nothing day

As my FTP has only recently increased to 314 and I have decided to use my old FTP as a basis for my workouts for another week or so.

I had planned to do a 2x20 min session at 307W, my FTP until yesterday. I didn't feel very good before the session and decided about 5 minutes into the first 20 with a rapidly rising HR that I decided to bin it and just do a 260W 50 minute session instead. I don't know why I didn't really get on with today but I'm not going to beat myself up over it. I have previously had bad days as well as good days so I'll just wait for the next good one to come along. Hopefully tomorrow.........

Anyway, in the absence of a decent graph, here's the squirrel that lives in my garden. He watches me when I'm on the turbo and I feel that he judges me. He wasn't very impressed with me today!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

I'm getting lazy

I've had 3 lazy days with absolutely NO exercise due to lots of travelling with work, 12 hour days, long cold nights and a cheap bar. I didn't really want to do anything today but I knew that I should, so I compromised with myself and planned a 2x20mins sweetspot session which then changed into a 1x45 at 93% FTP once I got going.

As workouts go, this was quite easy. I got bored after 35 minutes and started to vary my power output, a bit of out-of-the-saddle to get rid of some 'numbness' and then a final little push at the end. Not sure if the session did any good, but I needed a gentle reintroduction to the turbo before the next 3 days of planned turbo sessions.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Sufferfest: Local Hero

After a day off the turbo yesterday and having a day off work today I was hoping for a couple of hours out on the roads to do some road sessions. Unfortunately the 2 days of continual rain has flooded all the local roads so I was doomed to another turbo session. I've had the Sufferfest Local Hero workout on Golden Cheetah for a while but I have never liked the idea of a 90 minute turbo session; today I thought I'd finally give it a go. Without the video I though it could get a bit monotonous so I ran old race videos at the same time to keep me entertained (more on that in a later post).

Here's the plot for today (complete with HR monitor faff at the start). Black line = power. Red line = HR.

Ignoring the warm-up and cooldown the session lasted 75 minutes with an average power of 263W (xPower 274) based on an FTP of 307W. At the end of the session I felt like I had some more left in my legs so I threw in a couple of extra  intervals taking the whole session up to 90 minutes with a total Bikescore (TSS) of 115. Looking at the trace you can see that the intervals just touch the top of power Zone 4 (light blue, 30 mins) and just into Zone 5 (green, 10.5 mins). My HR also looks like it was under control reaching  maximum of 168 so I was never bouncing off my Lactate Threshold and thinking about stopping or even that I was suffering too much.

So overall a good session and I felt a lot better than I expected to. Doing this workout again will probably let me know if the workout needs to be done harder or whether I was just well-rested for today.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Turbo Session

Today was a Real Rides Race Day workout on the turbo. Info here, nothing to do with me!

The workout is taken from an actual race and on-screen instructions let you know how hard you should be working on a scale of 1 to 10. I currently do it with 10 being 360W and subtracting 30W for each step down. It's quite engaging and tries to recreate the surges and recoveries you get in a criterium-type race and it's nice to see the HR trace gently increase over the whole workout. Its a shame it's a bit short at just under 39 mins, another 10 mins would be good. For the 38:36 workout I averaged 296W (298W xPower, 685kJ) of which 14 mins is in Zone 5 (VO2 Max), 9 mins in Z4 and 9 mins in Z3.

Today's trace looks like this (Black line = power. Red line = HR):

 Next time I think I'll add 10W to each of these levels.

Thursday, 22 November 2012


Mid-session data view.

I use Golden Cheetah v3 when I'm doing my workouts giving a live readout of key parameters. It's completely customisable and is great for post-session analysis too. Here's a screenprint taken at the end of today's session, showing the HR, power, cadence and speed traces in the main graph, short-term power and HR in the smaller graph, as well as target power, instantaneous power, cadence, HR and elapsed time in the smaller windows. The data is gathered from a Garmin HR strap (£32) and a Powertap G2 Pro+ hub (£loads). This data is recorded on the Garmin 800 (£250 ish) as well as straight onto my laptop via a Garmin ANT+ dongle (£25).

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


After 2 days off I was looking forward to one of my home-brew turbo sessions called Shorter Harder.

Overview (based on a FTP of 306W)

Warm-up: 5 mins at 200W
8 mins at 270W
7 at 280W
6 at 290W then 3 mins rest interval (RI)
5 at 300W then 2.5 min RI
4 at 310W then 2 min RI
3 at 320W then 1.5 min RI
2 at 330W then 1 min RI
1 at 340W then cool-down

All was well until the 3 mins at 320W when I no longer wanted to continue. At the time, with sweat dripping off my nose and a lovely dinner waiting to be cooked, it seemed natural to stop there and then. However, afterwards I realised that I should have carried on no matter how uncomfortable it was; at 300-340W I wasn't going to hurt myself and I'm not going to get stronger quitting. So that's it, NO MORE QUITTING!

I last completed this session on 23 Oct to exactly the same power and felt quite good afterwards (according to the notes I took at the time) so I have no idea why tonight was so different. Here's the plot. I was going to have a pic of a pansy after my weak performance, but the plot is probably more useful. Black line = power. Red line = HR.