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 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?