This is a repost from November. I’m sneaking in a couple of 20 minute efforts this week. Here’s how to calculate your FTP

1) Week 1 after the FTP test.  OK, so not everyone did the FTP test on Friday.  For those who did, you now have a truer barometer of how much work your body can do.  
2) We dedicate today’s effort to Jackson Pollock.  I always wonder how he knew he was done?  I typically ask you the same question while in spin class.  It’s usually when you’re out of breath. 

3) Armed with training zones, you can ward off that exhausted state and go longer and farther.  Training zone levels are based on the individual.  So instead of looking at your neighbor’s console to see if you’re winning, be like Pollock, keep going until YOU ARE done.  Then compare yourself against yourself.

4) Hopefully, you took my advice and used the power zone calculator to generate YOUR training zones based on your estimated FTP.   [Remember, since we did the 20-minute test, your FTP is .95 of the number you observed in class.  

[if you add your weight, in kilograms, you’ll get a bonus metric which we’ll discuss later.]

Image Courtesy of British Cycling

5) Your FTP will be the low end of your VO2 max.  This is the point where you move from aerobic to anaerobic -- heavy breathing begins [see video below].  Hills, surges, intervals and sprints take place at or above this number.  Once here, your breathing will not improve.  You either suffer or recover.   

6) Most folks start dialing down resistance or come out of the saddle at this point.  Your ability to understand when to be above VO2 max is critical to your growth as an athlete.  Most indoor cyclists self-congratulate over a MAX watts or losing their breath consistently.  Intelligent cyclists know how to use power to gauge effort.

You may come across a lactate heart rate threshold test.  Your lactate threshold is the heart rate where lactate— a byproduct of your muscle and the work they do— rapidly builds in your bloodstream.  In truth, heart rate is an easier place to start with training, but my efforts to get yall to invest in heart rate monitors have been futile.    Since the bikes have power meters, power it is!  On an outdoor bike, power meters cost in the hundreds of dollars.  Heart rate monitors are much cheaper.  If you workout regularly, your VO2 max can be a barometer of effort on the treadmill, in a bootcamp class and other aerobic activities. 

7) Mature athletes train at varying levels of intensity.  Legendary running coach, Arthur Lydiard employs a pyramid to describe how training for a major event should be structured.  You’ve heard me complain that indoor cycling often feels like those old school sitcoms -- we seem to start over each episode like the prior week never happened.  I know I can’t get away with doing a month of endurance work, but if you are serious about 100 miles or a marathon (not a half a FULL), its best to diversify your training load.

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Lydiard’s Pyramid

8) I’m often asked about gender difference and FTP.  I didn’t intend for this post to be super long (it’s my third this week) so I’ll drop a link for ya.    Here’s a graph from Cycling Analytics which shows FTP for women riders on their site.  

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Here’s the men’s chart

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Alternatively, the table below uses kg/watts (explained by Cycling Weekly) as a metric.   If you want to get detailed, use this chart instead,

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9) My hope is to do one FTP test per quarter.  Next one will be late February.  Let’s continue to grow on the bike in 2019!