// //

Friday, July 21, 2017 - Welcome, guest user!

Coggan’s Power-Based Training

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

November
7
2012

My legs were not sore after Sunday’s ride, but they definitely felt fatigued. On Monday I did a very light recovery ride (45 minutes/11.63 miles), and felt pretty good afterwards.

Yesterday I felt like I was ready to get a harder workout in, and so I resumed my current training plan on TrainerRoad. At 1.5 hours and 27 miles, the indoor workout I did yesterday (called “Antelope”) was a fairly long one. “Antelope” contains 5×10 minute intervals in the Sweet Spot, but I actually spent most of that time riding at Threshold (here’s the actual workout data). The reason I rode harder than my currently measured “Sweet Spot” is because I feel my FTP has improved, and that affects all my training zones. More on that further down.

I’ve had a few people ask me to talk in more detail about “Sweet Spot”, “Tempo”, “Lactate Threshold”, “FTP” and some of the other terms I’ve been throwing around recently, and so I’d like to do that this morning.

All of these terms relate to Andrew Coggan’s “Power-Based Training Levels“.

The foundation of power-based training is the athlete’s Functional Threshold Power, or “FTP”. Functional Threshold Power is, simply put, the maximum average power an athlete can sustain for one hour.

Determining FTP can be accomplished with a reasonable degree of accuracy by performing one of the standardized FTP tests, either the “8-minute test” or the “20-minute test“. You’ll need a bike with a power meter, or an indoor trainer with an accurate virtual power curve to take one of these tests. Both of these tests are available on TrainerRoad.

TrainerRoad has extremely accurate VirtualPower curves for a large number of indoor trainers. I highly recommend the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine, which TrainerRoad fully supports. For my in-depth look at the TrainerRoad software (and a more detailed discussion of FTP), check out my TrainerRoad review. You may also want to give my Bike Torture Chamber article a gander, which has detailed photographs and itemized lists of everything I use for indoor cycling training.

Once you determine your FTP, then you can begin to do power-based training. Here are the Coggan power zones (click to enlarge):

Coggan Power Training Levels

Coggan Power Training Levels

 

The “Sweet Spot”, which is heavily utilized when doing power-based training workouts, falls between high Tempo and low Lactate threshold–roughly 85% to 95% of FTP. Riding in the Sweet Spot is a little uncomfortable and requires focus, but you shouldn’t be out of breath. Training in the Sweet Spot does wonders for increasing your FTP, and so you’ll spend a considerable amount of your training intervals in this zone.

For example, the six week training program I’m currently following on TrainerRoad (Intermediate Base I), starts of with the 8-minute FTP test (all subsequent workouts are scaled to the athlete’s ability based on the results of that test) and then has a series of workouts that are designed to improve FTP (among other things, of course). This program is working: yesterday’s workout was the halfway point of this training series, and I felt like the Sweet Spot was no longer as challenging as it was when I started the program just 3 weeks ago. When I started the training program my FTP was determined to be 270, and after yesterday’s workout I manually bumped it to 280. The FTP test should be repeated every 4-6 weeks, but TrainerRoad encourages manual FTP adjustments between those test if the athlete feels it’s time. This adjustment will make my workouts harder, but relatively speaking they should not seem harder. That’s because I’m a stronger cyclist now than I was three weeks ago.

When I reviewed TrainerRoad I was quite impressed with the value it provides for such a small monthly fee. Now that I’m seeing tangible and measurable real-world results after just a few weeks, I am even more enthusiastic about the service. If you want to take your cycling to the next level (and don’t want to spend a small fortune doing it), definitely give TrainerRoad a shot. I think you’ll be happy with the results.

John Stone Fitness Comments

10 Responses to “Coggan’s Power-Based Training”
  1. Everybody gets sick sooner or later. I caught a cold for the first time in two years recently and it came at a point that I had trained and ridden myself into the ground. I personally cant ride/train 7 days a week, I need two recovery days or my body gets rundown. If you do have a cold make sure you take some airborne and zicam. In my experience this really helps shorten the cold.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    • I was supposed to go mountain biking this morning (and I really wanted to), but I decided the most prudent thing to do was (gasp) actually take a day off from riding.

      I know I said I was going to start riding 7 days per week, but I’m sort of questioning the wisdom of that right now. I think 6 days of training per week is probably a better choice for me, with one day completely off and one of the training days being a fairly light recovery workout.

      GD Star Rating
      loading...
      • It just depends on intensity level of the training. 7-Age/10 = number of days a week you can train intensely.

        Other days should be recovery days. You can do recovery rides on off days. Though b/c you’re so intense, you would probably need to wear a heart monitor to remind yourself to limit your heart rate on recovery days!

        GD Star Rating
        loading...
        • I assume the above formula follows proper order of operations: ((Age/10) – 7)? That would mean just 2.6 days of intense training for me, which I’ll round to 3.

          I think that’s about where I am now. The indoor training workouts I am currently following are not easy, but they are (for the most part) not super intense, either. That will change as my training progresses, however.

          The road ride I did on Sunday was definitely a challenge at the pace I set (and not having anyone to draft off of). I will probably be doing at least one big road ride per week now.

          Some of my mountain biking rides are for pure fun, and on those I ride hard, but I don’t kill myself. I usually do one intense MTB workout per week or go for Strava records.

          GD Star Rating
          loading...
  2. John are you still posting Nutrition anywhere? I’m interested on nutritional information now that you’re riding longer rides. Are you doing breakdowns on proteins, carbs, fat intake on 50 mile rides. Or are you just listening to your body and scale measurments to determine your nutrition and just kinda feeling your way? Maybe a blog is in order on someone training as you do currently versus how you used too for muscle growth. I’m someone who likes to hit the gym 3 days a week and also endurance rides on off days so I’m wondering your thoughts on how to feed my body through both?

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    • I am not tracking my calories or diet right now, and that’s by design. Part of the way I’ve worked to free myself from all the meticulous calorie and macro tracking is to simply not do it when I’m maintaining. I can tell you that I’m pretty much eating the exact same foods that I ate when I was cutting earlier this year, but much more of them. I estimate that I’m taking in more than 4,000 calories per day right now.

      I am experimenting with different pre, post and intra-ride foods, drinks and supplements right now. I plan to write a blog on that subject once I have more data and have formulated opinions on some of those things.

      GD Star Rating
      loading...
  3. My old roommates were competitive (CAT-1) cyclists and they were almost always sick for a couple days after their races. I’ve heard the same thing from people who run marathons. I’m guessing the immune system slows down while your body recovers from the race,making a body more susceptible to infection.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    • Interesting. That would explain a lot. I guess it’s all relative (age, conditioning, experience, training time) how far and how often one can push their body. I suppose that as I continue my training I’ll be able to increase the length of my rides and the intensity of my rides without suffering any ill-effects.

      GD Star Rating
      loading...
      • John, when you started serious weight training, did you get sick more often? I’ve often wondered whether there is a causal relationship between the stress heavy exercise puts on the body and its ability to fight off infection. The evidence is thin, but when I began heavy lifting in my mid 20’s, I noticed that the number of colds I was averaging per year increased dramatically. In the 25 years since I stopped weight lifting I’ve had only three colds: once in ’87, once in ’92, and the third time in ’97. There’s been nothing since then.

        GD Star Rating
        loading...

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...

You must be logged in to post a comment. Not yet a member? Registration is fast and free!