My Start To Power Based Training

Okay, so lets chat about power. I’m still learning, so hang with me here.

My fantastic friends over at all3sports sent me a pretty little toy in the mail about a month ago now. After some confusion and back and forth chit chat, I finally got my hands on the correct sized power meter, got it installed, and got my bike trainer all set up.


Squee for new toys! And yay to getting Finley out!

And now, power. Every single person who trains with power just raves, and squees, and giggles with delight. It’s a game changer they all say. You’ll never train without it again they all say. You’re going to become such a stronger cyclist they all say.

And everyone’s gotta start somewhere, right? Right..?

I set out to do my first FTP, functional threshold power test, last week. Basically you do a light warm up, then you do 20 minutes all out, then cool down. You’re average power output for those twenty minutes is the important part. Great, I can do twenty minutes, no sweat.

I was under the impression I did well. NOPE.

I thought I did all right. I had an average power of 97watts (keep in mind my warm up and cool down are included in that number), a max of 263w, and my twenty minute test came out to an average of 122w. Yup. That gives me a functional threshold power of 116 watts. Not good.

So, since everything I’ve read says to make sure your body is well recovered and your legs are fresh, I opted to retest. Fitness testing is sometimes trial and error. It often times takes a few tries to understand how to push yourself over the time frame of a fitness test that requires you to go all out for a certain period of time.

So I rearranged my typical workout schedule and got back on the bike  Monday to retest. I felt a little fresher and thought I pushed a bit harder. And wouldn’t you freaking know it I only averaged 125 watts!? What the what!? So going off that number I’m sitting at an FTP of 119 watts, which is pretty low. My big old think legs are apparently good for nothing.

Again, right now I’m trying to learn everything I can about power. And from what I’ve read your FTP and power output can change drastically over short time frames. That must be true because there’s no way I was averaging 18mph plus bike speeds last season with that crappy low power output. I’m a bit more out of shape than I’d like to admit right now, so I think this is really the kicker. It’s proving to me that I’m out of shape, in straight forward numbers that I cannot hide behind.

So I am loading myself up with a bunch of power based workouts and I will be throwing those in at least twice a week from now on. The plan is to do six weeks of power based workouts and retest again on March 30th and see what kind of improvements I’ve managed to make. Here’s to hoping and hard training!

Who else trains with power? Tell me about it and link me to your favorite power based workouts!

What’s one thing you love about cycling?

11 Replies to “My Start To Power Based Training”

  1. TriGirl
    Did one last night. It’s a doozy. Warm up for about 20 minutes then do 3 x 10 minutes as
    6 minutes tempo 70-85% FTP, 3 minutes steady state 85-95% FTP, :50 seconds 100% FTP, 10 seconds sprint…then 3 minutes EZ before you start all over again. You should aim for a cadence between 85 and 90.Have fun!
    BTW I don’t think you should totally believe that FTP of 125. You can use this as one of your feedbacks but also use your heart rate and RPE. Using all of them helps to dial in what your real FTP power feels like.
    Next time you test you could have cheerleaders yelling at you for the 20 minute part. This helps motivate!

    1. Awesome, thank you! I will be plugging this into my Garmin so I can work it in next week.

      That’s good to know about the factors can go into it too. Makes me feel a bit better. And cheerleaders I good idea. Maybe I’ll make some tri club people come over and do it with me. I’m competitive enough that it would definitely make a difference.

  2. I train with power only on my trainer. My trainer came with a power option, but have never used power on the road. The best thing, I have found, about training with power, is that you can’t “cheat” power. It is what it is. I wish I could ride with power on the road, but it is not in the budget currently. However, since I am on my trainer alot, I find it extremely helpful. The great thing about the trainer, is that there are no excuses…it does not matter what it weather is or what time of day, you can always get in an awesome session on the trainer!

    Good luck with new workouts! I know you will find great improvements if you stick with your plan!
    Lee@tri*inspired*life recently posted…Running for Doughnuts!!My Profile

    1. Thanks! I’m pretty excited to start training with it and hope to see some good improvements Glad to hear others enjoy training with power!

  3. I train with power and am going to do my 2nd FTP test this year next week. I am hoping to see some huge improvements!!

    As for power workouts, I have a few that I love (to hate sometimes) that I have in training peaks, but I’ve also found some that I want to try, like this one…

    When I get a favorite, I’ll post it as part of my #FaveWorkout series, which I post on Fridays 🙂

    Keep working hard and hopefully we’ll both see HUGE improvements on our next test 😉
    Kecia recently posted…What does it take to do an Ironman?My Profile

    1. Awesome! I will check out this link and keep an eye out of your Friday posts! I saw you had posted the one you suggested to me last time on there and was excited, haha.

  4. I ride my mountain bike for power. Spinning up steep hills that are more than a mile in length seems equal to interval workouts….I hate my trainer!

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