End of the (Trainer) Road (well not quite)

So looking back again at where my season finished, that was 28th October, I then began my Trainer Road plan undertaking 3 weeks of training before switching to a more polarised model. After just over 3 weeks of that I became ill, (not 100% related) and in that 2 week period I eventually settled on starting with Trainer Road again and the Sweet Spot Base Mid Volume 2 (SSBMV2).

From the 29th February I completed the first 2 weeks and immediately began to feel the bump in fitness from the mix of training that comes with that plan. During this time though, despite knowing the benefits I have become increasingly frustrated that I am being confined to the indoors.

I’ve lost that feeling of being a cyclist and to a lesser extent gone a bit soft, often bailing on the chance to ride outdoors because of a slightly unsettled forecast. I actually like riding, well like riding is a bit of push, but I certainly don’t mind riding in bad weather, the pay off you get when arriving home is usually worth as much as the weight of your sopping wet kit, I also miss tearing it up with my club mates.

Spinning back a few weeks, the purpose of doing the TR plan was to bring my fitness back up after my short man flu illness, it’s achieved it’s goal which just shows how much a factor of being consistent is. Prior to the plan I did a couple of 45 minute easy spins, a ramp test and a longer harder session before starting the plan proper with another ramp test. So overall about 4 weeks of consistent turbo training.

This week I purchased a new “smart” turbo trainer, it was a few setup issues that led to me to skipping Tuesday’s “Pettit” workout for more testing, that break in plan kind of made my mind up about getting back on the road, but with a tough session on my plan to come on Thursday I thought I’d do one more session before looking to the weekend and some outdoors action. I binned off the the Trainer Road workout in favour of something else.

The Hour of Power

Power hour 1

Having listened to the velonews podcast with Dr. Stephen “Polarised Training” Seiler for the millionth time I felt the urge to do a proper full length 1 hour test. So not short ramp test, no 20 minute test * 95%, a proper full on effort of 1 hour.

Having switched the new turbo to resistance mode and with nothing more to focus on than my Wahoo BOLT cycling computer I began my effort.

The first 20

My new trainer felt so much more stable than my previous one and comfort wise I was in the zone, my current FTP set via means of the ramp test was 284W, I was quickly averaging 292 this time out as I closed out that first 20 minutes. Heart rate was pretty stable at 166BPM average, no spikes just a solid steady line.

The second 20

Looking at the power profile I averaged 295W for this part of the test and was growing more confident, I was not tiring at all and was actually thinking at what point to push harder. I proceeded with caution though, with 40 minutes down and 20 still to go it’s very easy to run out power! One thing I had run out of was water, I used the wonder of technology to text Mrs Murph who kindly brought out a fresh bottle, this was key to completing the whole test as I was starting to feel the heat. My heart rate for this section was now up into the high 170s but still away from my max of 196.

The final 20

Feeling comfortable with the effort I began to push a little bit harder with 10 minutes left, the water had given a nice boost and I was keen to see what I could do. For the last 6 minutes I averaged over 300W and with 1 minute to go I really smashed myself, it crossed my mind to keep going after the hour but as the timer hit 1 hour I hit the lap button and started to get my breath back, 318 watts for the final minute took it’s toll!

When I say I hit the lap button at 1 hour, I mistakenly hit it with 50s to go as I was looking at ride time. This actually cost me a few watts as I was confident I could have kept that 320-330W blast at the end going for at least another 20-30 seconds but in the end I will go with the data tells me for the hour, net result 295W for 60 minutes. Ideally you don’t want or should I say you shouldn’t be able to up the power like that in the last few minutes, so effectively I could have, (probably anyway) done harder throughout.

That 295W measurement represents an 11W bump in 3 weeks but more importantly that 295W figure is a proper indication of my FTP, I’m pretty sure I could have exceeded 300W but as I say I’ll go with the data, 295W represents the highest power I have even done for 1 hour so really happy with that.

As a comparison Bradley Wiggins (did I mention I raced him once?) did 435W when achieving his hour record. Mind boggling.

Moving on

So for me now I am ditching my Trainer Road plan but not Trainer Road entirely, whilst my focus will move outdoors I now have a second bike giving me have that permanent setup ready to go on the turbo for when I feel like getting some really good quality work done. The workout list is so extensive and the package is so simple to use it would be foolish not to use the resource available, I’ll intersperse this with my own intervals too.

I will potentially jump back on to a specialty plan if I need to really target some upcoming events or races but to close, the Trainer Road plans really work, even in such a short space of time, I’d certainly recommend giving them a go. They take the mental strain out of planning your training, you just need to focus on turning the pedals, if you do that the results will come.

Next workout: Some big hills


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