Ebbetts

So onto the first proper workout, “Ebbetts”, I’ll let coach Chad give you the reasons:

Description

Ebbetts is 4×8-minute intervals between 88-94% FTP with 5-second high-power tags between 150-180% FTP. 4-minute recoveries separate the intervals.

Goals

Ebbetts’ primary goal is to improve your ability to sustain pretty high levels of your FTP for longer periods of time, i.e. increased muscular endurance.

Additionally, you can achieve increases in glycogen storage capacity, fat utilization, and your capacity for more intense workouts later on.

Ebbetts also aims to increase your ability to generate a lot of power in a very short period of time via increases in how much muscle you can activate as well as how quickly you can do it.

Getting started

I started this session by swapping out my TACX skewer for a new Cycleops one, this seemed to keep my turbo trainer from moving around as much, I did still have the feeling of leaning over, but given my past position / saddle issues I’m not going down that alley again! It was fine in the end once I’d moved the turbo a bit, think it’s all in the head anyway.

So Ebbetts then, 4 x 8 minute efforts at sweetspot with ramp ups of power every few minutes. Good lord!! Pre workout I necked a gel, after the warm up I dealt with the first interval nicely, then the second before necking another gel, it felt hard going and I was feeling a bit tired (session started after 7pm) so the gel was needed.

Ebbetts graph.PNG

ERG mode – lack thereof

My set up at home is pretty basic, no fancy screens, no fancy trainer, just a Cycleops Jet Fluid Pro 2 (dumb) trainer and my Stages power meter. I then pair Trainer Road with my iphone and off I go.

ERG mode essentially controls the power you put out (you still have to pedal!), a trainer without ERG mode, well the power regulation is all on you. I prefer this to ERG (admittedly ERG is great for other packages like Zwift or anything where climbs and simulating gradient changes are needed), the only challenge is that sometimes you often end up going over the wattage required. Having said that I can see a case for both methods though.

For me though, this can add fatigue a bit quicker but as long as you are within 5-10 watts then it should do you no harm, it does take some concentration though, which no doubt adds to the cognitive stress that you’re under. Remember that your brain burns glucose, yes, even mine.

The final laps

The 3rd interval was a bit up and down but to be honest I prefer having the power tags as it breaks it up and you then only have to focus on 2 minutes at a time, anyone can do that. I do however need to work on my cadence, I naturally start going slower on the turbo but as long as it’s 80+ I can work on it.

4th and last interval dispatched, I gave the final power tag some real effort and then began my recovery with 5 minutes cool down and then after a quick shower I tucked into a chicken dinner I’d prepared beforehand.

Summary

A solid session under my belt, nice to complete it without too much trouble which is also a good indicator that the FTP test and the values it gave me are accurate.

Next Workout: Kaweah (tough one)

It Ramps Up Quickly

Having basically had 3 weeks off the bike through illness and other stresses the idea of starting off my Trainer Road Sweet Spot Base (SSB) (Mid volume 2) plan with a ramp test was a little daunting. I’ve not done any hard efforts for quite a while so burying yourself on a test, although essential, was not going to be fun and so it proved. The Ramp Test is performed to set your training zones by way of giving you an FTP (Functional Threshold Power) figure, power being measured in watts, more on that below.

Having finished my season at the National Hill Climb on the 28th October I’ve had no real focus, I initially started the SSB plan, doing about 2-3 weeks of it but then dropped it to start training polarised, I’m not going into that here but my feeling was I’d need to up my training hours a bit to benefit, something I’d struggle with and indeed when I did up them for 3-4 weeks I got sick. It wasn’t solely down to that but it made me rethink things and with an enforced break I felt that the SSB plan would be ideal to follow for 6 weeks to allow me to regain fitness, the tough part was that I’m starting from a low base.

pmc

Without getting too technical my CTL, (basically a measure used to gauge fitness) was down at 38, peak form in summer would be 60-63, solid form would be around 50-52, 38 is way off, you can see from the graph above where my illness kicked in. So onto the ramp test..

Previous Episodes

Prior to that first attempted plan I did a couple of ramp tests to see how they stacked up with my current FTP which was based on a different testing procedure. There are numerous tests you can do, in its purest form you can go all out for 1 hour but most people do a 20 minute test (preceded by some hard efforts) and subtract 5%. Race data is also a good way of obtaining this power number.

Trainer Road have standard protocols but also the ramp test, it’s shorter than the others but in the 3 practice tests I did they all came out within 1-2 watts so I believe they work well for me, I will periodically test using the longer methods just to ensure that remains true.

Ramp Test Result

ramptestprevious11.11

My previous ramp test as you can see here had me failing at 394W, this gave me an FTP of 294. This is calculated by multiplying my best 1 minute power by 0.75.

Latest ramp test

ramptestfinalsteps

ramptestgraph

My current test had me failing at 378W, giving me an FTP of 284W. Not too bad, especially given the lack of hard efforts recently and the fact I’m still not feeling 100%.I could not give any more, especially after a busy day at work and in a cold outhouse. For reference, for me this is just over 4.2 w/kg (watts per kilogram).

The Plan

So this is how the standard SSB  Mid Volume 2 plan looks, this is the first 3 weeks.

theplanssb

You can shuffle things around to suit when you want the hardest days, I’ve got a schedule that looks like this:

  • Monday: Off
  • Tuesday: 1 hour difficult
  • Wednesday: 1 hour easy
  • Thursday: 90 minutes difficult
  • Friday: Off
  • Saturday: 1 hour difficult
  • Sunday: 2 hours moderate

Total: 6 hours 30 minutes

I have had to change around the first week though as I was unable to train on the Thursday.

This lasts for 5 weeks, the 6th week is a recovery week which allows your body to take onboard the fitness gains and recharge you for the next block. Given that I have an important event on the 24th March (7 weeks from now), it’s my intention to overload my system on that recovery week, then taper the following week so that I am fresh. Having completed this initial base phase I’ll then look to move to the next phase which is the build phase.

Main Targets

24th March – The Magnificent 7 (essentially 7 closed road hill climbs with moto escort between them). I wanted to be in the best shape for this, but sadly I won’t quite be at the level I hoped given the last 3 weeks.

May – August – Road racing / Crits. We should have a good nucleus of riders from my club (South Normanton Cycling Club “SNCC”) that are getting stuck in this year so I’ve decided to dip my toe in again as well.

September to October – Hill Climbs

Next Workout: Ebbetts.

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