I did a blog post a while ago about a Functional Threshold Power (FTP) test I took. In this test you can see what your FTP is, generally over a 20 minute period, and this determines your ability to sustain the highest possible power output. The test on Zwift can last either 45 minutes or 75 minutes including a warm up and some interval training before the actual 20 minute test itself begins and as a result 95% of the 20 minute average power is used to determine FTP. I wasn’t entirely sure what the difference between the shorter and longer one was and so opted for the longer one (because I obviously have some weird masochistic tendencies to inflict pain upon myself).
Once you have completed your FTP test the programme sets your training plans by this level and gives the ability to easily see improvements.
In my previous test I scored 169 and when I took the test last week I was 184 so good to see an improvement though the test itself still made me feel physically sick and my legs were like jelly. My aim for the end of 2016 is to break the 200 power mark.
I have an epic ride I am undertaking in August and so I figured this is good training in addition to road riding that will only benefit me in the run up and as part of my training plan and I know numerous people who train using an app called Zwift and so signed myself up on a free trial and following the test itself I have started an FTP builder training plan they offer. Weeks 1 and 2 were for those who are unfit and whilst I am not an athlete by any means I wouldn’t class myself as a newbie so I skipped to week 3 and have completed that programme over the past week.
Obviously the typical English weather means sometimes it can not be enticing to get out on the bike and sometimes too dangerous meaning turbo training is the best means of training and Zwift offers an alternative where you can do this sort of training with the added benefit of being able to train with friends who are also users. You can follow routes online with other users from all over the world in a 3D online environment.
You can sync with your Strava to load your ride directly and see all the stats from your ride including simulated elevation, average speed and also segment information.
It’s a simple concept where you put your bike on a turbo trainer and get going. I use a Wahoo Kickr, which is an impressive piece of kit and means that as I ride the courses the trainer changes the resistance in real time based on road gradient providing the most realistic experience without actually being out on the road.
You can chat with other users and they can give you a thumbs up as you are riding and you can do the same to them. Over the past week I’ve seen some quite large groups riding together and chatting along the way.
The turbo is not my most favourite piece of kit as there is no natural movement and I find it can become uncomfortable pretty quickly especially when the sessions I completed this week, covering 153 km, could last up to 1 hour 25 minutes and your husband thinks he is funny by increasing your FTP to 340 so 1 hour 15 minutes of pure torture and hell at such a high resistance I thought my knees would give out. I have a table fan on full blast, towel on the handle bars, water bottle in the bottle cage and music blaring – it is the only way I can get by on a turbo. I actually saw this advert recently and not only did it make my laugh out loud but I could totally relate to it – honest and accurate!
There is currently a free 14 day trial being offered on their site and if you are a Strava premium user you can get a two month free trial so if you fancy it get yourself signed up and give it a go!