Given the trauma I suffered only 22 days ago, I’m especially pleased that my body is rewarding me with strong performance only 3 weeks afterwards, and in the 3rd week of January. The fantastic bike fit at 3DBikeFit.com helped substantially.
Two days ago in Promising Early Season ~3 Hour Workout I noted promising results. With heavy rain yesterday, I did not ride, thus resting a day, which I rarely do, but with some gluteus soreness, it was a wise course.
Today, two days after that workout, I set the bar higher by aiming for increased wattage, both overall and in the four repeats. The repeats were slightly increasing in power/watts, power being the only reliable metric (wind and HR vary, plus I had a puncture on interval #3 that dropped rear-tire pressure).
Being able to complete the repeats with slightly increasing power means that the effort level was chosen well (decreasing wattage means the effort was too aggressive). Another sign that I targeted the effort level was perceptual—feeling good but noticeably tired when done—a great way to bump up fitness by enough but not too much physical stress. Goldilocks training. This kind of workout can pay big dividends as quickly as week later, in my years of experience.
My heart rate is running about 15 beats too high for this level of exertion, but that is always true in mid-winter. For 240 watts, I expect a HR of ~135 bpm in cool temperatures (78% of HR max) when in peak condition, but HR is running closer to ~148 bpm. The heart is a muscle and as it gets stronger the stroke volume increases with greater fitness. My functional threshold power (FTP) reached 302W in 2018; I’d estimate that it is currently ~250 watts, and maybe less.
Below, green is power in watt, red is heart rate (bpm). Note the uptrend in wattage and bpm over the four intervals.
Two days prior: