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Training Based on Functional Threshold Power (FTP), Using a Power Meter

I’m trying to organize my training around the idea of Functional Threshold Power (FTP), as described in Training and Racing With a Power Meter.

At this point of the year, based on my recent Old La Honda Road ascent, I compute my FTP as 95% of 352 watts = 334 watts, rounding off to 330 to be conservative.

From there, one derives various effort levels for training. I think these levels are useful, and of great interest to me are some observations of the past year’s training—

  • For the first several months of 2011, I was training in the Active recovery to low Endurance levels; I was not in particularly good shape until April 2011.
  • As the year progressed, my power steadily increased, peaking in late October at an FTP of perhaps 360 watts (95% of 387 watts, less a little to be conservative).
  • Most of my training in 2011 in the middle of the year fell into Endurance.
  • In August and beyond, I had raised my game to spend a lot of time doing Tempo and Lactate Threshold efforts much more frequently.
  • Peak power might actually be higher carrying 4-5 pounds more body fat. To be studied in 2012 if this holds true.

Here in 2012, I am planning on focusing on Endurance in the 220-250 watt range through April or so, with a Tempo ride or two, and weekly Lactate Threshold or VO2 Max challenges, so long as my body is recovered well enough to manage them.

As the year progresses, I will reassess, but I expect to introduce more VO2 Max level workouts in hopes of raising peak power output. But at the same time I want to ensure that my Endurance training continues, as the Everest Challenge is all about maintaining power for long periods.

I find that I need to maintain flexibility in my workout schedule, for recovery reasons, so I don’t rigorously plan ahead. But this year I will plan ahead more than I have done before, and I will be sure to do more Active Recovery workouts, rather than beating on myself with too many Endurance and Tempo workouts day after day.

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