General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Power meter training zone question Rss Feed  
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2018-08-10 5:37 PM

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Subject: Power meter training zone question
I have a question for the power meter users out there. The power ranges that are set up like:

Zone 3 Tempo 76-90% of FTP

There has been information published too, about how to train most effectively in the zones. Continuing the zone 3 example, the amount of time should be 30 minutes to 8 hours.. Less than 30 minutes is not effective in attaining the workout goals.

My question is this: When designing intervals for a workout, can you do two 15 minute intervals at zone 3, or does the minimum amount of time in the zone (in this case, zone 3), which is 30 minutes, have to be done all together in one block. Makes a big difference in how you structure workouts.

thank you!


2018-08-10 8:45 PM
in reply to: kz9jvq

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Subject: RE: Power meter training zone question

Where are you getting this information about 'time spent in different zones'?

Absolute numbers such as '30 minutes to 8 hours' (that's quite a range!!) are very suspicious without some reference points, such as:

  1. How much do you train per week?
  2. What is your goal race?
  3. Where are you in your overall training plan ('periodization')
  4. What are your relative strengths and weaknesses as a cyclist?

Without accounting for the answers to questions like these, and many others, any recommendations about 'time spent in zone X' are nonsense.

2018-08-13 8:27 AM
in reply to: Experior

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Subject: RE: Power meter training zone question
Sorry. I chose brevity in the post. I have been seeing information on "No-go" zones, appears to effectively be amounts of time where you won't gain optimal benefit from the training zone. Often it seems to be if you spend too little time in a zone. The idea is that you aren' eliciting adaptation, or at least at a level to warrant the time spent. It has been around for awhile but most recently I saw it in this posting: https://www.powertap.com/post/blog-training-with-power-principles-no... The gist of the article is that to train in a zone effectively there are max and min times you want to spend in a zone to get the most training benefit. The article does recognize training still needs to be personalized based on an athlete's needs. It didn't cite research so I thought I would ask the question I posed in the original post. The article seems to cite the table I had the question on from Coggan's work. I just started training with power about a month ago and have his book ordered but haven't gotten it yet. You asked about my training. I have been a triathlete for 8 years. Do all formats except IM (not enough time), and changed jobs in the last year and travel 50-75% so I have been revamping my training to get the most out of the time I have (reason for the power meter). I am on a HIM structured periodized training plan right now in in week 8 of 16. I train between 8-12 hours a week when home and 6-8 when on the road.

Thanks,
Scott
2018-08-14 9:45 PM
in reply to: kz9jvq

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Subject: RE: Power meter training zone question

Got it.

Coggan's book will be useful.  I would also recommend the book by Allen and Cheung.  Maybe a little dated, but still very relevant, I think.

One thing I'd take away from both books is that there are benefits to be had from training at recovery, easy, moderate, and hard intensities, and that where you choose to place your eggs will depend on a variety of factors, including current strengths and time to train, among many others.

There's a nice section (on periodization) in the Allen and Cheung book where they go through various types of emphasis that you might choose, and what studies have shown the benefits of them can be.  They discuss Coggan's 'level 3' (around 88 to 94 percent of threshhold power, so roughly what you are talking about, slightly more intense) and they discuss why some consider it a 'sweet spot' for training -- it is excellent for promoting aerobic adaptations.  They go on to say that whether you should target a lot of training here depends on many factors, which we've already mentioned, but they do also say that time trialists and triathletes are among those most likely to want to target this zone as much as possible.

This makes a lot of sense to me, because we (time trialists and triathletes -- leaving aside draft-legal events) are not trying to put in big moves, or to match big accelerations.  We are trying for a sustained effort over X miles, for X typically 20-100, very roughly.

At the same time, if your VO2max is suffering, then you need to do shorter more intense intervals.  And if you can pedal like a demon for 90 minutes but then fall apart you probably need to include more longer easier efforts.  A lot depends on where you are.

As far as your specific goals right now, unless you have reason to doubt your plan, I'd stick to the plan.  Presumably, at this stage, it will have you doing more race-specific training (slightly below the range that we're discussing -- longish intervals over and extended ride, with the intervals more in the middle to upper portion of the range would also be very solid pre-race training IMO), followed by tapering.

Good luck in your race!  

2018-08-14 9:53 PM
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Subject: RE: Power meter training zone question

And I guess I never really did answer your specific question.  You can definitely break 'time in zone' up into intervals, especially as the level of intensity increases.  In fact, you should be doing that.

For example, the Allen and Cheung book that I mentioned (I'm sure Coggan does it too but I cannot find my copy right now) gives a sample week where you are targeting that zone and the workouts include things like 4x10 and 2x20 minutes intervals.  You are better off doing it this way than trying to ride hard for longer each time as that sort of effort will fry you.



Edited by Experior 2018-08-14 9:53 PM
2018-08-16 11:52 AM
in reply to: Experior

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Subject: RE: Power meter training zone question
Thank you so much for the additional information. The Allen and Cheung book sounds great, think I am going to get a copy of it as well. Sounds like a lot of good discussion. I appreciate your thoughts and suggestions! Good luck on your race season as well.

thanks,
Scott


2018-08-16 12:55 PM
in reply to: kz9jvq

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Subject: RE: Power meter training zone question
When I started getting into power another BT triathlete suggested I do 2 quality workouts a week like these:

1. 70-75 minutes. Something like 5x5' at threshold followed by a 10' interval just below threshold. So 35' total interval time surrounded by a warm up, cool down, and rest time between intervals.

2. 80-90 minutes. Something like 4x10' or 2x20' at tempo or sweet spot. Like 85-90% FTP.

As you get closer to race day, maybe workout #1 backs off some of the intensity and the intervals get a little longer like 3x8' followed by a 12' interval at 90-92%.

After consistently following this concept I noticed my outdoor riding speeds and ability to climb have improved.

Roland
2018-08-17 11:34 AM
in reply to: kloofyroland

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Subject: RE: Power meter training zone question

Originally posted by kloofyroland When I started getting into power another BT triathlete suggested I do 2 quality workouts a week like these: 1. 70-75 minutes. Something like 5x5' at threshold followed by a 10' interval just below threshold. So 35' total interval time surrounded by a warm up, cool down, and rest time between intervals. 2. 80-90 minutes. Something like 4x10' or 2x20' at tempo or sweet spot. Like 85-90% FTP. As you get closer to race day, maybe workout #1 backs off some of the intensity and the intervals get a little longer like 3x8' followed by a 12' interval at 90-92%. After consistently following this concept I noticed my outdoor riding speeds and ability to climb have improved. Roland

Those types of workouts above have been my bread and butter training for sprints and Olys.  If you're going longer obviously you'll be adding a long ride in there, too.  That 5 x 5', and then 10' is tough - that 10' will crush you if your rests are short enough.

There's a training plan on BT here (for free) that is an FTP builder (Winter Cycling Plan).  Same concepts, some VO2 max work, lots of sweet spot work.  There are a couple of workouts in it that are damn near impossible. 

2018-08-17 2:32 PM
in reply to: jmhpsu93

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Subject: RE: Power meter training zone question
Originally posted by jmhpsu93

Originally posted by kloofyroland When I started getting into power another BT triathlete suggested I do 2 quality workouts a week like these: 1. 70-75 minutes. Something like 5x5' at threshold followed by a 10' interval just below threshold. So 35' total interval time surrounded by a warm up, cool down, and rest time between intervals. 2. 80-90 minutes. Something like 4x10' or 2x20' at tempo or sweet spot. Like 85-90% FTP. As you get closer to race day, maybe workout #1 backs off some of the intensity and the intervals get a little longer like 3x8' followed by a 12' interval at 90-92%. After consistently following this concept I noticed my outdoor riding speeds and ability to climb have improved. Roland

Those types of workouts above have been my bread and butter training for sprints and Olys.  If you're going longer obviously you'll be adding a long ride in there, too.  That 5 x 5', and then 10' is tough - that 10' will crush you if your rests are short enough.

There's a training plan on BT here (for free) that is an FTP builder (Winter Cycling Plan).  Same concepts, some VO2 max work, lots of sweet spot work.  There are a couple of workouts in it that are damn near impossible. 



Do you happen to know what they are? I'd like to try them.
2018-08-17 2:56 PM
in reply to: kloofyroland

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Subject: RE: Power meter training zone question

Originally posted by kloofyroland
Originally posted by jmhpsu93

Originally posted by kloofyroland When I started getting into power another BT triathlete suggested I do 2 quality workouts a week like these: 1. 70-75 minutes. Something like 5x5' at threshold followed by a 10' interval just below threshold. So 35' total interval time surrounded by a warm up, cool down, and rest time between intervals. 2. 80-90 minutes. Something like 4x10' or 2x20' at tempo or sweet spot. Like 85-90% FTP. As you get closer to race day, maybe workout #1 backs off some of the intensity and the intervals get a little longer like 3x8' followed by a 12' interval at 90-92%. After consistently following this concept I noticed my outdoor riding speeds and ability to climb have improved. Roland

Those types of workouts above have been my bread and butter training for sprints and Olys.  If you're going longer obviously you'll be adding a long ride in there, too.  That 5 x 5', and then 10' is tough - that 10' will crush you if your rests are short enough.

There's a training plan on BT here (for free) that is an FTP builder (Winter Cycling Plan).  Same concepts, some VO2 max work, lots of sweet spot work.  There are a couple of workouts in it that are damn near impossible. 

Do you happen to know what they are? I'd like to try them.

Enjoy the pain!  I always dreaded the start of the 4'x6's, week 8 I think it is.

https://beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/training/training-plans-view.asp?planid=10919#

2018-08-19 12:43 AM
in reply to: Donto

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Subject: RE: Power meter training zone question


2018-08-20 10:48 PM
in reply to: kz9jvq


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Subject: RE: Power meter training zone question
Originally posted by kz9jvq

I have a question for the power meter users out there. The power ranges that are set up like:

Zone 3 Tempo 76-90% of FTP

There has been information published too, about how to train most effectively in the zones. Continuing the zone 3 example, the amount of time should be 30 minutes to 8 hours.. Less than 30 minutes is not effective in attaining the workout goals.

My question is this: When designing intervals for a workout, can you do two 15 minute intervals at zone 3, or does the minimum amount of time in the zone (in this case, zone 3), which is 30 minutes, have to be done all together in one block. Makes a big difference in how you structure workouts.

thank you!


I would consider spending a little money and try out Trainerroad for a couple months. You can find a plan that works for what you want to do and it gives you the workouts. Just input your FTP. . . and boom, it will tell you how long at what power. Makes life simpler and you'll get great results. Combined with an ERG capable smart trainer. . . it's a powerful tool.

As far as impossible workouts. . . I did Wynne +1 tonight which looks real innocent on paper, I even thought it might be fun. . . but by the time I got half way through I was cursing at the trainer. That hurt. . . a lot.
2018-08-28 1:37 PM
in reply to: kloofyroland

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Subject: RE: Power meter training zone question
Hi Roland

Thank you for the workout suggestions. I am doing one quality workout per week that match what you suggested. The others are more endurance oriented. I like the ideaf adding another. I will certainly look at that. Faster is always good!!!
Thanks,
Scott
2018-08-28 1:43 PM
in reply to: kz9jvq

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Subject: RE: Power meter training zone question
I have been travelling and haven't looked in a little while at the string. Mike, Michael, Roland, Ziggie. Thank you all for the input. I appreciate it. You all have given me off season tools to consider as well as answered the question. I will have to look more into Trainer Road too. Haven't used one before. I have a trainer and rollers but MUCH prefer to be outside on the road whenever possible.

Thanks!
Scott
2018-08-29 1:37 PM
in reply to: kz9jvq

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Subject: RE: Power meter training zone question

Sure thing! And I agree, road beats trainer every day, but there's no denying that the trainer can be very efficient sometimes.

Oh and, minor point, I just realized that I mentioned "if your VO2max is suffering" above, which is silly.  I meant "if power at VO2max (or efficiency) is suffering..."  You can't really do much to change your VO2max itself (besides getting older...).

2018-08-29 2:02 PM
in reply to: Experior

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Subject: RE: Power meter training zone question

Originally posted by Experior

Sure thing! And I agree, road beats trainer every day, but there's no denying that the trainer can be very efficient sometimes.

Oh and, minor point, I just realized that I mentioned "if your VO2max is suffering" above, which is silly.  I meant "if power at VO2max (or efficiency) is suffering..."  You can't really do much to change your VO2max itself (besides getting older...).

Or "if you're suffering at VO2 max..", 'cause you should be or you're not there.



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