This is a power profile chart of an athlete from June 2009 and today. The yellow bars indicate that this cyclist is on par with his FTP levels of about 6 months ago. What is more exciting is that it seems that his progress from 6 months ago is being carried over into this season. It is expected that his FTP for this year will be significantly higher this year.
I thought I would post my current Chronic Training Load (CTL) graph for anyone interested. Following the blue line can be an eye opening experience for as I have realized that my gains early on last month were steady but it is now time to step things up just a notch. Typically, you want an increase of about 5-8 TSS points per week. I had 3 rest days per week for a while and have decided to now kick that back to 2 rest days in order to keep my CTL climbing at a rate of about 6 TSS per week. I always felt that 4 rides a week for me were the magic number. One long ride, two intervals days with varying intensities, and a climbing day. Riding 6 days a week may work for others but I would rather spend the other 2 days in the weight room or with the family since the extra 2 days only seem to add to my fatigue and I do not get the same amount of bang for my training minute as I would by spending that time in the weight room. Anyways,,,I am off topic now. Bottom line is what you measure usually improves,,,,but be conservative and have patience with your CTL gains. Your blue line should look a bit like a stair case leading you to your fitness goals.
The Y-Balance test (illustrated above) is a simple evaluation that I perform with all my initial local and visiting clients in order to determine their strengths and limiters when it comes to returning to sports after a long lay off and/or injury. It is also a good activity to perform with chronic endurance athletes who have developed muscular imbalances due to the constant and repetitive nature of their sport. This test is unique in that it identifies your dominant side, flexibility and limiting muscular development. By the way, the gentleman in this video is not me. It is the inventor of the Y-Balance test. If you follow the link above you can go to his site and buy your own and/or view more video's on the benefits of this useful tool.
I am often asked how does on-line coaching for fitness and/or competitive sports work? It is really quite easy with the help of TrainingPeaks.com. As your coach I would first send you a "Coaching Invitation" to your email account. If you were to accept the invite you would be added to my "Coaching Client Account" and have a free TrainingPeaks.com membership compliments of me. From this point you would then complete several questionnaires on TrainingPeaks.com and several emailed from me in order to help determine your strengths and limiters, time available, work/family schedule, fitness goals, and any events you are interested in particpating in.
Once we have an idea of where you are currently at and where you would like to be in 3-6 months we then begin to build your Annual Training Plan. This is you customized plan that is built around your goals, strengths, limiters, and any events you are considering. The "Annual Training Plan" drives your "Weekly Calendar" (please see above). The calendar depicted above is several weeks of training that is developed by me as your coach. This plan is a living organism that changes based on your schedule, response to training, and your goals and objectives. Each of the workouts depicted above are emailed to you daily. You are able to comment and download workout results directly back to me in order for me to determine if the workout met our goals. Each workout has meaning and a purpose. This promotes motivation, goal based training, and a way to accurately measure progress.
The most common way of measuring your response to training is by using a heart rate monitor. We initially have you do a field test to determine your 30 minute average heart rate (Lactate Threshold Heart Rate) and from here we determine your heart rate training zones in the run and/or the bike. Daily workouts are based off of heart rate training zones in order to precisely communicate to you what level of exertion you should be putting out for that given workout. If you are a triathlete we do not use a heart rate monitor to measure effort in swimming but use pacing and stroke rate to determine levels of exertion in the pool.
If you have a GPS system for the run or a power meter for the bike I am also able to closely track your progress, response to training, training stress, and race performance. Examples of these types of analysis can be viewed within this blog.
This workout was so so. Felt tired most the way through and especially fell apart on the last 2 intervals. 82 rpms seemed to be my most efficient rate. I went out too hard on the first interval but feel that muscular endurance was my limiting factor and not aerobic endurance. I will have to look at the quadrant analysis for this one but I am guessing I am mainly in quadrant II with low cadence and higher power. Wanted bigger gains on this one but that seems how it works. 5% gains here and there and then all of a sudden a big jump. Fatigue was playing a factor here since I just completed a 2 x 20 minute effort 2 days ago.
If you are tired of the same old story then roll some intervals. Change is good and mixing it up with intervals is the way to go not just for your body but for your mind. Above is a WKO+ file analyzed by yours truly. I have been experimenting with using a lower cadence early on this year to help transfer strength gains in the gym over to the bike. After I get my power up to where I want it to be (It really is never high enough.) I plan on increasing my cadence and possibly bumping things up even more. At the minimum I will be able to maintain the power output easier if the cadence jumps up 5 rpms or so. If you take a close look at the above file you will begin to understand how using a power meter and WKO+ together can become very motivating and eye opening. I have compared this years results with last year on the bike and was surprised how far ahead I am just by doing varied interval workouts during the week. These workouts don't take more than 60 minutes and let me tell you....they do the trick. Granted, you won't be smelling the roses on any of these workouts but you will be getting stronger.