Weekly training update

I’m still currently trying to work out my pattern of training – I am a creature of habit and need to feel like I’m in some kind of routine, but it’s not always possible, or perhaps desirable, to do similar sessions on the same day of each week.  Nevertheless, I’d like to develop some form of ‘training week’, whereby I can make sure I’m not slacking and have covered a reasonable number of miles at the right intensities.  At the moment I can’t even decide which day the training week should begin.  Monday is obvious, but do I want my largest efforts (which typically occur at the back end of the week) to be at the beginning or end?  Does it really matter?  I’d like to do 5 good quality sessions per week, but that is proving difficult, both physically and logistically.

There’s a minute of your life that you’ll never get back 🙂  Here’s some more wasted minutes, by way of my activities this week:

Monday 4th

Did my favourite sufferfest workout on TrainerRoad, There Is No Try.  Lately this has started to get easy, presumably because I’m getting a bit fitter.  So I scaled it up to 105% (blue block is the default, green line is the scaled-up target and yellow line is my output).  Generally speaking, I was still able to exceed the target

Trainer Road - SufferFest - There Is No Try - 3rd Match 2013

Tuesday 5th

45 Minute spin class at work.  It hurt more than usual, almost certainly because 18 hours earlier I had performed the above workout.  It was unusually hill-focused, which I found difficult (low cadence, high torque).  I was considering also doing a class on Wednesday, but given the importance I put on the following Thursday night session, I decided to give it a miss.

Thursday 7th

Having had a week off from pedalling the ‘hour of power’, I couldn’t let it slide for another week, even though I hate it.  Also, I have been exceeding the targets on other workouts for my current FTP, so I thought I’d do this session and then reset my FTP in TrainerRoad to whatever I could manage for the hour (since FTP is your power for an hour, it must be a better measure to ride for an hour, rather than the 20 minute FTP test ride I did in February).  I managed 269 watts for the hour.  This is an increase of 12 watts on my existing FTP, so I have reset it in TrainerRoad to 269.  Future workouts will now be scaled to this number.  As always, this number is not real watts, since I have no power meter yet.  But it’s all I have to work with at the moment.  Note that the NP figure (normalised power) in the image is the normalised (not measured) power for the whole session, including the first two minutes settling period).  The main session is exactly 60 minutes long and it’s this that I used to measure my FTP.

Trainer Road - Hour of Power - 7th March 2013

Saturday 9th 

There’s a new Sufferfest video, Blender.  I bought and downloaded it on Friday night and rode it for the first time yesterday morning.  I wanted this one ASAP because it’s 1 hour 45 minutes long.  Way longer than I have ridden on the turbo before.  Sometimes I want a longer training session, which I’d normally do on the road.  But if the weather is bad, I’d like a longer turbo session, and now I have one.  It’s good – it passed the time and at the end I felt as if I’d had a very good workout.  I can still feel it in my legs now, so it’s doubtful I will ride today.  See how I feel later.

Trainer Road - SufferFest - Blender - 9th March 2013

What’s notable about this workout is that it yielded a TSS (Training Stress Score) of 143.  This is easily the highest TSS I have recorded so far.  TSS is a measure of how hard you are working, for how long, relative to your own capabilities.  I think that a 1 hour ride at FTP yields a TSS score of 100.  You can use TSS as a way of adding up your weekly training efforts.  I will be using it once I have a power meter to track my progress.  If you’ve ever looked at the (absoutely fascinating) Training Peaks plots for actual tour stage rides, they often list the TSS for the riders too.  Here’s an example chart for Janez Brajkovic of Astana, from stage 17 of the 2012 Tour de France, if you’re interested.  Notice that his TSS for the ride was 317.  Things to bear in mind:

  • You can’t compare his wattages to mine.  His are real, mine are almost certainly not. Even so, to be able to produce 308w normalized for 143km at the tail end of the Tour de France…!
  • His TSS of 317 is relative to his own capabilities, so you can’t compare it to anyone else’s.
  • It’s a monstrous number!  Remember this is the 17th stage of the Tour de France!  It goes to show just what is involved for these guys.
  • Down the page, there are a couple of plots for other rides, with even higher numbers!

If you’re naughty, I will blog more about TSS and a number of other acronyms later 😉 If you got this far, well done!


Posted on March 10, 2013, in Training. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Those wattages from the tour riders are amazing. Good work on the training. I’d imagine your biggest enemy is your commute. It’s not like you can jump in the car and head off from the office bang on time and get to the gym. Keep up the good work! Stu

    • Hi Stu, thanks for the comment. Those tour riders really are superhuman, aren’t they? One might say extra-terrestrial 😉

      My biggest constraint is that I want the bulk of my training to be measurable. This means it must be done on the turbo at home. Spin classes/sessions are measurable against themselves, but not against anything else. Because I don’t generally get home until after 8pm, I am limited to a large extent. Realistically I can do 2 evening sessions per week, plus 1-2 at the weekend, weather depending (if good I will do one road ride). With the odd spin class thrown in to fill the gaps. Lately I find I am physically able to do 4-5 sessions per week, depending on length and intensity.

      Once I have a Powermeter (end March) I will be able to train effectively outside, but of course only at the weekend.

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