The dreaded cycling interval. Is this even cycling? As the end of the year nears I begin to tire of the weekly interval session. Physically, but mostly mentally. One, sometimes two, a week since January, the intensity increasing month by month.
Now it’s eyeballs out interval time, the moment of the year when intervals are best described as ‘oh my god I can taste my dinner again’ intervals. Ugh. I’d hate to see myself during an interval. What a horror show. I doubt I’d recognise the tormented soul punishing himself for no apparent reason.
The many contorted faces of Donald Trump spring to mind.
Warning: this blog post contains images of a graphic nature which some readers may find offensive. A hard interval session may actually be preferable to viewing the images within.
The FTP test is the cornerstone of cycle training plans and workouts. Without knowing your Functional Threshold Power you’ll never know which power zones you are training in and as such your workouts are likely to be less effective. Knowing your FTP will also help you pace efforts on the road or in a race.
Consider this blog a beginner’s guide to FTP, focusing on the different kinds of FTP tests, providing FTP test tips and strategies, plus a look at the best ways to improve your FTP score with better pacing.
Indoor cycling is boring, right? Mind numbing. A hamster on a wheel. In a cage. Wearing Lycra. Joy. Yet turbo training is undergoing a makeover with the arrival of smart trainers and virtual training websites such as Zwift, Bkool, Tour de Giro and TrainerRoad. The roads may be pixels but your sweat is real.
Virtual turbo rides have been invading my Strava feed for some time and given I’m a relative newbie to indoor cycling I was keen to log some indoor miles in Zwift’s virtual world. Could Zwift make turbo training enjoyable?
Seven seconds. I spent eight weeks training to be seven seconds quicker. Ha! Yet I don’t question the futility of my existence. Well, no more than usual. I’m pleased, satisfied with my progress and my new hill climbing prowess.
Two months ago I began Chris Carmichael’s Time Crunched Training Plan (TCTP) for new competitors. This was back when I was a slower rider. Now I’m a whopping seven seconds quicker up each of my two of my local hills, my previous PBs set as a man two years younger than I. Geez, I sound like a TV infomercial.
This of course is just one measure. There are many others.
A confession. I’ve been lying to you. To myself. All these years I’ve not been cycle training. I was just… riding. Riding hard for sure, too hard. Yet this is not training. This is idiocy. A recipe for burnout and overtraining.
Deep down I knew this, that’s why I used quote marks when using the word. ‘Training’, I wrote, trying to give my life rides definition, meaning. Not that I needed to. Fun and enjoyment are reasons enough yet the inner chimp does not understand such concepts.