Archive for November, 2014

First missed session

Yesterday (Saturday) was supposed to be a harder version of the SEPI workout from Thursday, shorter rest between intervals and sets but despite my best efforts the day went completely to pot and unfortunately I had to register my first fail on the TCTP. Slightly annoying as I wanted to follow up my good performance on Thursday but the plan was to make up for it with some long overdue road miles today (Sunday), so that’s what I did.

The schedule

The plan called for 120-150 minutes at endurance pace or a group ride, the latter being my initial plan. Sadly though after so much messing around yesterday, despite the help of Mrs Supermurph we just couldn’t get my new Crud Race 2 mudguards fitted in time so not wanting to offend my club mates by covering them in spray I decided to go out and do a solo ride.

The ride

I didn’t bother planning in a route, I figured I’d just aim for one of the local climbs I’d wanted to have a go at and see where the road took me. Winter miles are supposed to be about building a solid base for the coming season and this session was supposed to be no different as it called for endurance mile pace but having missed a session I decided to just go a little harder, certainly not my maximum but for the most part I kept a strong pace on both the flat and on the hills.

Having been confined to the turbo room for the best part of a month it was great to get out on the road, but the best feeling was that I could really feel that this last months consistent and structured training is paying off. I’d expected today to be a real struggle and although the ride didn’t have quite the normal elevation it flew by. The roads as it turned out, apart from the back lanes were pretty dry which made it all the more enjoyable.

The stats

Not really endurance pace!!

The only downside to this ride was that my power meter yet again failed after about 45 miles, pretty annoying as I had thought the new battery doors had solved the issue. Once this plan is completed, its’ going in for repair! But, 55 miles in the winter sunshine in the bank as I move into week 5 of the TCTP.

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Power!!!!

This week had a good portion of rest built in to it, but as mentioned previously I had to train on Monday having run out of time on the Sunday, still, I had no issues as I climbed aboard my bike in the turbo room on Thursday of this week and set about my next planned session on the TCTP.

Steady effort power intervals (SEPI)

The first time I did this session I messed up pretty badly by going off way too hard trying to replicate road power with turbo trainer power so this time having read the session brief again I was more confident in what I was trying to achieve. With the focus on hard efforts I left the iPad indoors and began my warm up, after 10 minutes endurance mile pace I began the first 3 minute SEPI.

My power interval range needed to average at least 271W, preferably around 10% higher, but with the first session in recent memory I set myself a target of 280W for the first 3 intervals and then had it in my mind (legs and lungs willing) to aim for 300W on the second set.

The results

Having built up the power steadily as required I managed to hit higher power outputs with 280W, 287W and 286W for the first 3 intervals. I have to say these were pretty damn hard but I believe I’m already seeing some benefit to this plan.

After 8 minutes recovery I began the second set, aiming this time for 300W, I had to dig in for these to hit the increased power outputs, certainly on the last one I was begging for mercy but as you can see from the lap times I hit 308W, 300W and 300W before beginning my cool down. A pleasing effort all round and good to get back off the turbo knowing I had nailed the session. Just as a guide, looking at my power curve my best road power for 3 minutes is over 400W so that’s quite a big difference.

Next post will be up soon…

Quick post today as short on time….

With flexibility for rest days this week I delayed Sunday’s endurance session until last night when I had more time and energy left to complete the workout correctly. iPad hooked up, Ghostbusters loaded up I began my 90 minutes of endurance miles.

Session didn’t pose any problems fitness wise but I was really struggling around the hour mark with pins and needles in my right foot. I’ve never managed to get the cleat positioned right on this bike and from time to time it becomes a real pain, exacerbated by the fact I’m constant pedalling for the 90 minutes. Anyway here are the stats, as you can see everything went to plan and I was working in the prescribed ranges.

Two days rest now before hitting those power intervals on Thursday, having read through that workout again, I’ve realised where I went wrong last time so looking forward to nailing it this time.

 

The weekend plan

The plan itself called for another Over / Under (OU) session on Saturday followed by Endurance Miles (EM) or group ride on Sunday, but knowing I had the whole day to myself on Saturday I had planned to do some hilly road miles and then follow that on Sunday with the OU or EM session depending how my legs were. Sadly things didn’t quite go to plan, Saturday the weather was pretty grim and whilst this may not normally stop me riding, knowing the bike was already setup on the turbo made the decision a little easier to switch to an indoor workout. Saturday I got the OU session done (more on that below), but Sunday I didn’t ride at all as parenting duties took precedence with my 1 year old boy being poorly and in need of constant attention from mum and dad, although he wasn’t on form it was actually great to spend the whole day with him, it doesn’t happen that often. I wasn’t too bothered about skipping Sundays turbo session as this week allows for 3 days rest so I just decided to move Sunday to Monday (tonight), no harm done.

The road to nowhere…

Whilst I am now enjoying the turbo and finding the workouts interesting, it’s now more than a month since I’ve actually been out on the road and I’m really starting to miss it. I miss the climbs, the turbo is good for the workouts I need to do as part of the TCTP but I’m looking forward to getting back on the road at the weekends. This is made harder when I see the rides my club mates are uploading to Strava, I really want to get back on these weekend rides soon, it’s an aspect of cycling that I really miss. In fairness the comparison to this time last year in terms of cycling could not be more different, with the birth of my son I hardly road at all in November and December so I feel I’m already ahead of where I would have been last year. I’m being consistent, 11 workouts done in the last 3 weeks on the TCTP so this is a real positive as I enter week 4.

Over / Unders (OU)

Having swapped the hilly road miles for the planned OU session, I got everything ready and began the workout. Similar session to what I did on Thursday but this time with shorted rest between intervals (RBI), 5 minutes instead of 6. Out of everything I’d done so far, this OU workout has been the most enjoyable, not because it’s been easy, far from it, but I feel it’s been a challenge to complete and I’ve nailed every interval.

I’m still not feeling 100%, I still have a cough lingering around but I’ve just carried on regardless, it’s not been a limiting factor and it’s good experience to know for next year that even if I do pick up minor bugs I can still complete sessions such as these without any long term effects. Normally I’m doing these sessions in my turbo room at around 6.30pm, Saturday I did the workout at 12pm when it felt noticeably warmer, I had sweat pouring off me as I pushed on through the intervals. I then realised I’d not turned my fan on which I’m sure had a dramatic effect on my heart rate as when I looked it was at 190BPM, which is 5 off my max, I’d expect it to be lower than that even for the final couple of “Over” intervals. The workout was really challenging and  is an area of training I have perhaps neglected in the past, being able to handle changes of pace and not blowing up is something I have struggled a couple of times with this year, although in fairness there were extenuating circumstances in both.

After completing the warm up at EM pace, I began the first set, 2 minutes at 231-242W (Under) followed by 1 minute at 255-268W (over) x 3 followed by 5 minutes recovery which I kept in EM pace. First set nailed, onto the second set. The second set saw a slight drop in the average power of the Over intervals from 260, 264, 259W in the first set to 261, 259 and 257W in the second but it was pleasing to see that I held strong despite the rocketing heart rate to record 260, 257 and 260W in the third and final set. I was really happy with the effort here and after completing the cool down my disappointment of not getting out on the road subsided with the knowledge that sessions like that will surely create some adaptations in my ability.

The data

The week ahead

The plan calls for Monday rest, Tuesday rest or light spinning, Wednesday rest before the intervals start again on Thursday. As mentioned above I’ll do 90 minutes at endurance pace this evening and then take Tuesday and Wednesday off. Tuesday I’m booked in for a sports massage so that should hopefully help keep me flexible but on Sunday I am determined to get a group ride in, mudguards are now ready for attaching so should be no stopping me.

The session brief – Overs / Unders (OU)

After the relative, if short lived disappointment of Tuesdays interval workout it was great to get back in the turbo room last night for some more intervals. On the menu this time were Over / Under (OU) intervals, these intervals are about improving your ability to handle changes in pace during hard and sustained efforts. So for example if you’re on a chain gang or fast paced club ride, you can take your turn on the front, keep a high pace as you peel off and then are able to sustain the effort and keep with the bunch and not get dropped. The power ranges I needed to work in were 231-242W (86-90% of test threshold power) for the under part which is equal to the pace of my Steady State intervals I had previously been doing and then 255-268W for the over part, which as you will have seen from my test results is the “Climbing Repeats” range. This latter range is 95-100% of my threshold so a strong effort required.

Setup

Before starting, I put another new battery in my power meter and sellotaped the battery door tightly so I wouldn’t have a repeat of Tuesdays performance, thankfully this paid off and there were zero glitches for the whole 60 minutes. I have now asked Stages to send me a replacement cover for the battery door so I’m hopeful this may solve the problem, it’ll certainly be better than sending it off to be repaired. Hope so anyway.

The workout

I wanted to be able to record all the intervals in isolation, so to help me I again printed off the session plan and stuck it to the shelf in my turbo room, (the soon to be renovated turbo room), put Pirates of the Caribbean on the iPad and off I went. One thing I noticed, is that even the warm up is now starting to pass really quickly, I think this is partly because I’m embracing the turbo and really enjoying this plan and let’s face it, if you’re enjoying something then you’ve more chance of sticking to it. Cycling is funny like that, I’m not sure anyone actually enjoys the moment they are struggling against gravity on super steep hills, or at their absolute maximum on a time trial, the enjoyment usually comes after when you get that sense of accomplishment, the sense you have given everything you can.

The power ranges are quite narrow for these intervals so I have changed my technique, rather than looking at the actual power data on my Garmin I’m just focussing on the average power on that lap and this has really helped. I don’t feel I’m surging up or down as there is less fluctuation. Last night I felt that sense of accomplishment, I’d hit the session brief, everything had gone to plan, I was drenched with sweat and I came off the turbo having really “enjoyed” what I’d done. There are more of these sessions to come in the plan so I’ll  look forward to those.

Looking back at the session from last night, in terms of actual work done it was pretty similar to the Steady State (SS) interval session I did last week, so even though there were some harder efforts (the over part), the SS intervals were longer meaning the work (measured in Kjoules) was about the same.

Weekend plan

The plan calls for another Over/Under session on Saturday and then Endurance miles on Sunday but with Saturday pretty much all to myself I’ve decided to take advantage and get some road miles in. The aim is to do around 45 hilly miles, I’ll be interested to see how I go on some of my favourite climbs after the consistent turbo “riding” I’ve done over the last 3 weeks. On Sunday depending on how my legs are I’ll do the Over/Under session on the turbo but my thinking is that it will be ok to skip that as the hilly Saturday will be a good substitute in terms of workload.

The Session – Steady Effort Power Intervals (SEPI)

After 2 weeks of similar style workouts last night’s session was quite a bit different, both in terms of duration of the intervals and the anticipated power output. The point of these intervals is “to accumulate as much time as possible at a relatively constant and extremely high output” in other words, hard efforts of 3 minutes. The instruction was to take the first 30 to 45 seconds to gradually bring the power up and then hold for the remainder of the 3 minutes, so despite not feeling 100% I was looking forward to giving this my all.

The plan was as follows, 10 minutes warm up, 3 min SEPI, 3 min recovery x 3, 8 minutes recovery and then repeat 3 min SEPI / 3 minutes recovery x 3 followed by a cool down, to assist me I pinned this up in front of me as when you’re at full effort and the brain is starved of oxygen it usually gets hard to remember things, for me anyway.

It started ok….

So having put Bad Boys 2 on the iPad (not that I was ever going to be able to follow the movie) I began my warm up at endurance pace (150-196W) as prescribed in the plan. After 10 minutes I hit the lap button and began the first SEPI, I gradually brought the power up, but not really as described, after 15 seconds I was pushing pretty hard and wondering how the hell I was going to hold it for 3 minutes, simple answer was that I wouldn’t. However before my legs started to give up the damn power meter stopped working again so I’d no idea how hard I was working (Wattage wise) but I kept pushing regardless (not that you can tell on the graphs). To rectify the issue I pressed on the battery cover of the power meter and it fired back up, so again after some recovery I began another SEPI, again it failed which annoyed me greatly and kind of knocked my enthusiasm for the session. For these types of intervals you need to be super focussed, (I’ll touch a bit more on this later), no distractions, just hard efforts but although I rectified the power meter issue with sellotape, I know, sellotape! A £599 piece of equipment being made functional with sellotape, clearly the issue is the door not shutting properly on the device, hopefully a permanent fix soon. To ensure the workout wasn’t a complete write off I did another 4 intervals of around 60-75 seconds each before cooling down and calling it a day, have to say I felt pretty dejected with the failure.

Power Intervals and me

When I started the TCTP, it was partly to experiment with how the plan would work for me and also to test my ability at doing these hard intervals as prior to this I had struggled with longer hard intervals on the turbo trainer. I’m not sure if this is physical fitness, mental strength, poor pacing or a combination of all three, it could also just mean I need to practice more and accept some early failures. Whilst I did feel a bit deflated after last night it’s all good experience for the future as at the end of this 8 week plan there is no goal, not that I am treating it as such (and partly what I am doing this blog) but it won’t be a disaster if some of the sessions don’t go to plan as long as I learn where my deficiencies are and seek to rectify them. What I am hoping to achieve is to train consistently (thus improving) and develop a plan orientated mind-set that I will need if I want to achieve my personal goals in 2015. Whilst the malfunctioning power meter played its part I could have just ignored this and done the intervals on feel, but being honest with myself I was struggling with the 3 minute durations at the power I was trying to put out.

In one of my earlier posts I wrote about my power on the turbo being way down on what I can produce on the road, the problem I think I have is that last night I was trying to hit road power numbers on the turbo again meaning I was running out of gas.

Last night was always going to be an exploratory mission, how much power could I produce in those 3 minutes, sadly with the power meter issues that data collecting exercise was null and void but there are no more SEPI intervals this week, Thursday and Saturday call for Over/Under, 2 minutes Under / 1 minute Over which I will be much more suited to. If the sellotape can hold then these should be two really good sessions where I can work hard and review the numbers effectively. Having done the initial test, I know what power range I need to work in for these intervals, that will be a great help and ensure my pacing is much better to allow me to complete the workout. Whilst I’ll do Thursday on the turbo, I’ve actually got Saturday all to myself so the lure of getting back on the road might mean I switch Saturday and Sunday around.

Keeping to plan

With the organising of my little boy’s 1st birthday party to do, last weekend was going to be a challenge to complete the required sessions for the TCTP, time crunched on the time crunched plan, but rather than miss both of the endurance miles (EM) sessions I did what I could, in the end I did pretty well. It seems so long ago now that I was actually rode my bike outside but what is really encouraging is that I am actually buckling down to the sessions required and not dreading the turbo. As mentioned before, this will serve me really well when it’s actually impossible to ride outside but it will be nice to get some hills in my legs soon though, I do miss the challenge of dragging my bike and body up those sharp gradients.

The Saturday Session

With the session focus being endurance pace I again decided to have some visual stimulation, so with the trusty iPad in place I decided on Toy Story 2 to pass away the 90 minutes. So we’ve had Predator, Talledega Nights and now Toy Story 2, an interesting mix but I’m actually enjoying watching a few films. 90 minutes of constant pedalling on the turbo trainer even at endurance pace still provides a challenge, especially when you’re suffering from a cold and coughing and spluttering a bit, but with help from Woody, Buzz and the rest of them I cranked out the session at an average of around 173W which is smack bang in the middle of the 150 – 196W range I was aiming for. The heart rate data again showed I was at endurance pace. As you can see from the picture above, I wasn’t missing too much by riding outside.

The Sunday Session – Party day and a power cut

I really didn’t think I’d be seeing the turbo today, after a day of running around and hosting my boys party (and fighting off a cold) I had almost resigned myself to skipping today’s session of 90 minutes worth of endurance miles. However, even though I was pretty tired and fancied just holding down the sofa for the evening I decided to decamp to the turbo room, well that was after saying to myself I’d leave it, then saying no get it done, then saying leave it before I finally decided to get my bib shorts on.

After a quick scan of Sky+ I decided to go for Lethal Weapon 2 on the iPad and then it was a case of settling in for the next 90 minutes. If you read my previous posts you’ll know that all is not well with my Stages Power Meter at the moment, on Saturday it stopped working a couple of times, and on this session after about 35 minutes it packed up altogether. If I am honest I felt like getting off the bike and smashing it to pieces, technology like this should just work. It’s not as if it’s being bashed around and at £599 it’s a piece of training equipment that I shouldn’t have to be returning after a few months use. It seems to be a pretty common problem with the Stages system though so I am not alone with the problem.

I’d decided after about 10 minutes pedalling to just do 60 minutes instead of 90, but what I thought I’d do is push more towards the higher end of the endurance pace to around 180-185 watts instead of the 168-173W range I’d normally be operating in.  That plan fell apart a bit when the Power Meter failed though so having monitored the power output from the display on the Tacx computer I used that to push on for the last 25 minutes. I’d estimate I did an average of around 180W even if the recorded data now says otherwise.

Tonight’s session – let the power commence

Hopefully with another new battery in the power meter it may work tonight for the interval session I need to do, after 2 weeks of similar Steady State intervals tonight will provide a bigger challenge. The focus will be on higher power outputs for the “Steady Effort Power Intervals” or SEPI as I’ll abbreviate to. These intervals will be about bringing the power up gradually and then holding for the required time, I’m not feeling 100% but I’ll be going as hard as I can. It would be great if my power meter can put in the same effort because knowing the power outputs I achieve will be really useful. The plan is to return the power meter on Saturday after I’ve done the days workout, the session being quite a bit different from the endurance miles I’ve done so far and a working power meter is vital for that. Sunday I can manage without it and then next week which will be week 4, allows for rest Monday, easy spinning Tuesday and then rest Wednesday, with a huge stroke of luck I might have a working power meter for the Thursday……………

Intro

Last night showed the advantages of being on a structured training plan. As I mentioned on my last post I felt a little below par on Tuesday and yesterday I actually felt even less energetic, admittedly it’s only a mild virus but if I hadn’t started the TCTP I would have taken the night off. But with motivation high and a real desire to complete the plan there was no chance I was going to skip last night’s session, if I have to miss a workout it will be for something more severe than a sore throat. So with Rule 5 in effect, at my usual time I entered my turbo room and got ready for action. As with the last 2 sessions I had de-cluttered my turbo room and put a film on the iPad, this time it was Blade, I figured the fight scenes and soundtrack would help. If I hadn’t seen it before I wouldn’t say I would have been able to follow the film during the turbo session but it did provide the odd distraction.

The session

Last night was a repeat of Tuesday, Endurance Miles (EM) with Steady State (SS) intervals being the main focus. So I kicked it off with 10 minutes at EM pace before starting my first SS interval, I had expected to struggle with this given that I felt less than great but to my surprise I actually felt pretty good, my heart rate was lower for all the SS intervals even though I maintained a higher power during my recoveries, the power numbers as shown below were 236W, 234W and 236W. This compared to 234, 232 and 235W on Tuesday. Those numbers are just for comparison, the objective is to average between 231 and 242. Looking at heart rate, 154BPM, 164BPM and 168BPM for last night compared to 158BPM, 169BPM and 176BPM. I’d say there is quite a difference in how 168PM feels to 176BPM.

Perhaps more noticeable than heart rate was my sweat rate, as well as an old vest to wipe my face I use a big roll of paper towels, Tuesdays session looked like the Andrew puppy had gone mental, last night I only used about 7 or tear offs. Not sure what other people do, but I also use sweat bands, this provides a convenient way to wipe the sweat away but also stops it running down onto your hands and onto the brake/gear levers, for the record I also use fingerless gloves too.

Plans for the turbo room….

Had a discussion with the mrs last night about getting someone in to make a few changes to the turbo room. “for the amount of time you spend in there you may as well get it done properly” was the quote so we’ve organised for a local trader to come round next week. This will make a huge difference to have a room that is setup properly. Currently the door opens in which kills the available space and there is only one shelf which is too high up, the ceiling is also too low for my 6 foot frame as I keep banging my head when I’m on the turbo. And with the soon to be purchased Time Trial bike I really need to maximise the space, the plan will be to rip the ceiling out which will then leave space for my current road bike to be hung up and then the TT bike kept on the turbo. Shelves in the right places, everything accessible, floor levelled, lino down, a much better environment than the damp and cramped space I have now.

Interpreting Power Data

I touched on this last week, but something I’d like to be able to understand more is my power data, for this I’m going to need a coach or a lot more reading. What I’d like to be able to know more about is form, fitness, fatigue and Training Stress Score (TSS) and how to read the data I am collecting. Having a power meter is great to know what my power outputs are and as a training tool to hit the session briefs, but there is so much more I could gain from it. Something I also noticed before last night’s session was that although Garmin Connect and Strava have my FTP set at 255W, my actual Garmin was set at 200W so I believe all the TSS data may have been incorrect, all sorted now.

Garmin Connect Screen Shot

Plans for the weekend…

Really hoping to get out on the road twice this weekend and doing a few hills, 2 hours at a time if possible, Saturday looks promising although Sunday might see a late turbo session after my son’s 1st birthday party, but the main thing so far is I’m on track which is good because next week things ramp up a bit and I’ll need to make use of the improvements I am hopefully making.

Canyon Bike

Hard work!

Last night’s session was a step up from last week, not in terms of intensity as the Steady State (SS) intervals were still to be targeted at the same power output but the duration was upped from 8 minutes to 10 minutes. I’m not sure if it was because I was suffering from any fatigue or potentially have a cold coming (throat feels a little sharp today) but I found last night much harder than last week. Last week on the first 8 minute interval I recorded 234W and 146BPM average, the 234W being in the targeted 231-242W range, this week for the first interval of 10 minutes I hit the same power but my heart rate averaged 158BPM which is quite an increase.

Session Summary

After the first interval rather than cooling down I concentrated on maintaining the Endurance Miles (EM) pace as unless I have misunderstood things, this is what I am supposed to do. The second interval showed 232W and 169BPM compared to 235W / 153BPM for the 2nd 8 minute interval last week but after this interval I decided to maintain a much lower power output for the 6 minute recovery time, in effect a proper recovery as the way I felt I wasn’t sure whether I would manage the final 10 minute interval if I didn’t back off.

The final 10 minute interval showed 235W and 176BPM, (compared to 234W / 157BPM for the final 8 minute interval from last week), so this meant I was working pretty hard. For reference I would estimate my 10 mile Time Trial (TT) heart rate to be around 185BPM average, so maybe last night I wasn’t quite feeling so good, it’ll be interesting to see tomorrow when I repeat the session what my heart rate is. You can see from the screen shots below how different my heart rate was, nothing within the tempo range last week, this week over 20%.

Heart Rate Analysis (Week 1 Top / Last Night Bottom)

Interval Summaries

Interpreting the data

Having a power meter is great, especially for the training plan I am doing but what I am not able to do is properly understand what all the numbers mean. I have a great book that I must re-read but I wonder if I would be better asking either one my club mates or the coach that some of them use to look at the data for me and explain things in more detail. I believe this is one of the greatest benefits that a coach would bring but one of the main purposes of this blog is to record not just the numbers but also the emotion of the session so I have that as a reference. Looking back, my warm up prior to the first interval last week was a little harder, so this could mean a number of things, maybe the extra effort in the warm up had me in better shape for the work ahead, or as I suspect I’m not quite feeling as good as last week, again a coach could probably tell me this.

Turbo Trainer

For my indoor training I use a Tacx Flow turbo trainer, the main reason I bought this model is that it does show power, however now that I have a power meter I don’t even look at the electronic display as the reading it shows is a mile away from what my Stages Power Meter shows, I simply calibrate the Tacx, set it to level 3 and off I go. To be honest at the moment I am not a huge fan of the Tacx, whilst it could just be my ability, my pedalling technique, being distracted by the iPad or not having the tyre in the correct contact with the turbo wheel but it never feels as smooth as I’d like. I do also think it might be worth a wipe down of the tyre and turbo wheel before starting because although there is no obvious slippage, with it being a bit damp in my turbo room it might be having an effect. My old Cycleops whilst a bit cumbersome with its manual adjustment offered a much smoother experience, maybe a bit of experimentation might help.

Summary

All in all that’s another session done, the brief hit and hopefully an improvement made. Thursday should again offer no problems in terms of completion (unless I am developing a cold), the weekend will require some juggling though as I’ll need to prepare for my son’s first birthday which is on Monday preceded on Sunday with a small family party. So it could mean, Saturday and Sunday on the turbo again which I’d like to avoid. I also need to make arrangements to get my power meter looked at as the damn thing is going through batteries at an alarming rate. At £2.50 a time it’s a cost I’m keen to put a stop to!

Onwards!

The Weekend Sessions

So for the TCTP the weekend sessions for the first two weeks of the plan are essentially about giving you a choice of either Endurance Miles (EM) or a group ride. Saturday’s ride called for 90-120 mins of group riding or EM and Sunday 90-120 mins EM on hilly terrain. Due to the time I had available I could not participate in the club Sparrowfart ride (not that I do normally but it was an option I considered) early on Saturday morning so I’d planned to ride solo in the afternoon when my partner was taking my young boy to a party, hectic social life when you’re nearly one it seems. When I say ride solo, what I ended up doing was decamping to the pain cave for a turbo session, the weather outside was pretty grim, heavy rain and a pretty strong breeze. Normally the weather would not bother me but without a dedicated winter bike and pushed for time I knew that riding and then cleaning my bike afterwards would not be possible. So with the weather looking better for Sunday I began my turbo session, with the plan to ride out early Sunday morning to give me some road miles and a change from the turbo….

Saturday

With the call for 90 minutes at EM pace, 150-190W, I figured that watching a film would be possible so I had a bit of tidy up, hooked the ipad up to the speakers, loaded up SkyGo to see what films were on. Predator, one of my all-time favourite films was on, 100 minutes running time, perfect! Both bottles filled, energy bar and paper towels at the ready (to wipe the sweat…) I began. I decided to break the 90 minutes up into 3 x 30 minute “laps”, I figured that looking down at my Garmin without the reminder of how long I’d been pedalling would make life easier, all in all it worked pretty well.

Whilst doing EM on the turbo doesn’t require any change in pace like you’d find out on the road, no big hills to climb (sadly), what it does require is constant pedalling, so no traffic lights, no downhill sections to ease the legs. Previously I’ve not been really inspired by the turbo trainer, I’d much prefer to be out on the road, if I had a winter bike I’d be outside but with the early enthusiasm to stick to the plan, the session I did today will be a positive reminder that long sessions on the turbo aren’t too bad. When the bad weather hits and it’s impossible to ride outdoors, the turbo might not seem such a poor option. In theory anyway…..

Session Stats

As you’ll see from below, I maintained a good even pace throughout the whole 90 minutes and achieved an average power output for the session within the EM range.

Clip of me on the turbo, you can ignore the session plan that was from in the week.


Sunday

With my boy enjoying an overnight stay at my parents, the plan was to ride first thing, I was looking to be on the road for 8am get some nice road miles in with a few hills and be back home for 10am as we had a busy day ahead at home. Peering through the blinds at around 6am, it was thick fog, damn. So change of plan needed, previously I might have just thought never mind and not ride at all, but I figured once we had everything done around 1.30pm I’d get some time on the bike then before my mum and dad brought Charlie back at around 4pm. But as is the case, real life again conspired against me, my time available cut from 2 hours to 90 minutes so I decided to get back on the turbo again. I wasn’t sure if this was a good idea or not, 3 hours in 2 days in the confines of the turbo room might be counterproductive but I thought this would be a good test both mentally and physically. So again, I looked for a film to put on for some visual distraction from, another personal favourite “Talledega Nights”. That’ll do nicely.

Alleviating the numbness….

Previously on the turbo, I’ve really struggled with numbness in my special areas, on the road I’ve always been fine, but any more than 35 minutes on the turbo and I’ve been worried things might never be the same down there, so I’d like to give a huge recommendation to Polaris and two styles of shorts, Saturday I wore the Polaris Pursuit Bib Shorts, and Sunday I wore the Venom Pro Bibs, both pairs giving great comfort on the turbo.

Sundays Stats

As you can see again, the numbers for the session were hit, the actually work in Kjoules done being pretty similar with only slight variances in cadence and heart rate being shown.

Week 1 Summary

Admittedly I was pretty jealous of my club mates who’s been out on the done 70 odd miles on the road on Sunday but for me week 1 has been a great success. I’ve completed all four sessions which sets me up nicely for week 2, I’ve already begun to change the way I think, I’m more organised, I don’t find myself getting stressed if I have to start my sessions later or change them around slightly, I’ve been consistent, 4 sessions planned, 4 sessions done. It’s consistency that will be the key to achieving my goals. The only concern I have today is I have quite a bit of pain in my left knee, not sure if this is from the turbo or having slept funny, hopefully it’ll clear by tomorrow.

Summary stats for week one are highlighted in yellow, will be interesting to compare them to week two and also to compare them to when I do this plan again after a re-test. So that’s it, week one done, seven more to go!