Power Training to a new FTP

2017040504It’s 8:47pm on Wednesday April 5th. 9 ½ weeks till Ironman Cairns and I’ve got 48minutes left on zone 4 of my Normatec Recovery boots we picked up at Kona last year. This post is about todays effort and monitoring my improvements and reactions as a self-coached athlete using Joe Friel’s book Your Best Triathlon as my general guide.

The day started early at 5AM with 1 piece of fried bread and 3 fresh farm eggs from Chelsea. At work by 6AM and at 10:30 after eating an apple, banana, blueberries, and a full package of Clif Shot Bloks I headed to the work treadmill for a 1 hour AE Z2 run. I had the fan on me and watched CNN. After 10minutes of increasing pace and HR to 7:03/mile and HR of 132 I maintained for roughly 30 minutes. As soon as HR reached 135 or zone 3, I reduced by .1mph. I hit my goal of 45 minutes in solid zone 2 and finished the 1 hour covering 8.26 miles at 7:16/mile and avg HR of 129 in Z2 for me. Compared to last week I improved from 7:28/mile for 1 hour on avg HR of 130. So in 1 week my economy improved as I get back into the swing of the season. It’s important to note that this 7:16/mile pace is what I held last night on my 4x8min at pace zone 3 and was in zone 4 threshold HR of 145-150. And THIS is why I do a lot of my runs outside now. I’ve been going about my training all wrong with too much emphasis on treadmill work thereby missing improvements by not training correctly in the right zones.

After, lunch was frozen peas and string beans and left over homemade pasta with pesto. I had 4 glasses of tea throughout the day, had 1 mini Mars bar and a bowl of ice cream I snuck from the freezer. 5pm bus home and drank 200mg of caffeine in my ARO supplement. I also had a large vegan brownie made of dates) and prep’d a bottle of Gatorade and endure for my 2 hour ride.

The workout was the same as last week: 30min w/u, 20min FTP test broken into 5min increments, 10min rec, then 2x8min w/ 4min rec at Sweet Spot, then AE Z2 to 2 hours. I’m doing this to make sure my metrics are all true based off of a current and accurate FTP. And, one can only do well in tests by getting used to the pain.

I’ve put last week and todays effort into excel for comparison purposes. What you’ll see is that my FTP is back over 301 after increasing 3.1% in 1 week. My approach was to pace it better by starting in the 310’s, maintaining, and finishing strong. I did so successfully but on my lower HR. Even my sweet spot efforts (which were actually at threshold because I messed up the calculation from the trainer, my power was up by 7% but HR down noticeably. The full rides intensity was better than Ironman New Zealand only 5 weeks ago of 240NP vs to todays 246NP and HR of 123 vs todays 125.201704051So what can we take away from this? Well, training with Power is hands down the best measure of increasing fitness and is why I have improved since 2013. My FTP is also still very low compared to my PB of 345. I still have a lot more to improve and if I can test next week back at the higher HR’s my FTP will surely improve again. Also, pacing was much better and more realistic in this second attempt. Further, maintaining an accurate FTP is critical for measuring true performance gains and structuring the intensity of weekly workouts. But why the lower HR? Well the temperature was colder in the house, I’m down 2 pounds since last week, and my conditioning with the training volume over these 3 weeks: 24.8 hours, 26.4 hours, 27.9 hours (planned) is helping me to quickly get conditioned.

I have not tested at anything other than 20minutes. My power numbers are large but because I’m a big athlete, my Cat rating is not greater.


For dinner, wife FiFi made a vegan meal for falafel in sauce with potatoes and carrots over white rice. I had 2 bowls, it was delicious!!!

I hope you have found something meaningful in this post. Stay tuned!

Note the following fitness graph from Strava includes power and HR for bike and run. the 3 dips are after each season starting with Ironman Western Australia, Ironman Cairns, Ironman Hawaii, Ironman New Zealand, and now my ramp up to Ironman Cairns.


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