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Yesterday’s workout highlights fitness improvements: two workouts compared.

Monday, April 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

April
15
2013
Cooling down yesterday after a phenomenal workout.

Cooling down yesterday after a phenomenal workout.

Yesterday’s cycling training workout was awesome! I don’t think I’ve ever felt better on my bike than I did during that workout.

I did TrainerRoad’s 1.5 hour/26.9 mile “Clark” workout. This workout includes 6×8-minute Sweet Spot efforts directly preceded by 12-second, big-gear, high-force stomps; just 2 minutes of active recovery between intervals. The workout also contains some over/under cadence drills, as well as pedaling mechanics drills.

As most of you know, during most of January and February of this year I wasn’t able to ride and train very much for various reasons (flu, vacation, spring projects, etc.) and I lost a significant amount of fitness. I’ve spent the past couple of months fighting my way back to my previous fitness level, and it’s been a tough battle.

Last Wednesday’s workout, “Tallac” (examined in this blog), was the first time this year that I outperformed last year’s effort doing the same workout.

That workout was no fluke: yesterday I outperformed last November’s performance of the same workout in every respect. Last November I was in peak condition, so I feel very good about this. Here’s some data comparing the two workouts:

"Clark" workout: November 18, 2012 vs. April 14, 2013

 NORMALIZED
POWER

(2012 / 2013)
AVERAGE
POWER

(2012 / 2013)
AVERAGE
HEART RATE

(2012 / 2013)

CADENCE

(2012 / 2013)
Total Workout244 / 244215 / 216157 / 15282 / 82
Interval 1269 / 263268 / 259165 / 15787 / 86
Interval 2279 / 266276 / 264172 / 16389 / 87
Interval 3281 / 271279 / 270175 / 167 89 / 91
Interval 4272 / 269271 / 265176 / 16586 / 83
Interval 5267 / 275266 / 270177 / 16987 / 88
Interval 6264 / 293263 / 292176 / 17387 / 90

 

OK, so if you look at the first few intervals, you can see that my power output back in 2012 was slightly higher than it was yesterday. That’s because I’d manually bumped my FTP to 280 last year, where this go-round I’m keeping my FTP at 270 until I test it again. The interesting thing is that as the workout progresses I’m closing the gap on power output (riding above my target), yet my heart rate remains well below where it was last year.

By the 5th interval, instead of fading I’m growing stronger. I started putting out more power than I did last year, yet my heart rate was 8 BPM lower than it was last year. In the sixth interval I put out 10% more power than I generated during the 6th interval last year, yet my heart rate yesterday was 3 BPM lower.

Looking at the entire workout, my normalized power output was identical for both workouts, my average power output was slightly higher yesterday and my average heart rate was 5 BPM lower yesterday. Very, very cool.

The workout, which I recall was quite difficult in November, felt pretty easy to me yesterday. Check out the workout graph, especially the 5th and 6th working interval (click to enlarge):

Workout graph from the TrainerRoad "Clark" workout (April 14, 2013)

Workout graph from the TrainerRoad “Clark” workout (April 14, 2013)

 

As the workout progressed I started riding harder and faster, especially during the 5th and 6th intervals. By the 6th interval I was riding way above my target (target 245 watts, rode @ 293) and I finished the interval with a build to over 500 watts. Even after that 1.5 hour workout I still had plenty of energy, and rode half my cooldown at more than 200 watts (and that still felt like I was coasting).

There are just three workouts left in the training program I’m following. I expect to complete the program this week, and next week I’ll start the next training program in the series. The first workout in the next training program will be a re-assessment of my FTP, and I’m eager to see where I am now. I expect my FTP will be between 280 and 290. Getting my FTP over 300 is one of my goals, and I hope to reach that goal by the end of the next 6-week training program.

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