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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.

Training levels based on Functional Threshold Power (FTP)

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