Saturday, August 20, 2016

Power Based Indoor Training for Cycling

I have always been a firm believer of indoor cycling and its benefits way back during my first few years of cycling. Being able to ride consistently in a controlled environment helps you dial into the specific workouts. It's also easier to compare one workout to another because there are less variables to think off.

This is me on my magenetic trainer some time 2013

Fast forward to 2016 I've equipped myself with the knowledge of power based training by the use of a power meter and measuring efforts via watts.  I had my first dive at this when I took my lactate test with Don Velasco and we created a baseline of my fitness. From there it opened a new world of appreciation for me on how train and race smart.

With this, I eventually got myself a Wahoo Kickr, which is a smart trainer that can electronically lock you into a specific target wattage. It can also mimic elevation terrain of real live courses, but I think we will leave that part of the story for a later blog. I've been confident I can bring my cycling training a notch higher with these specific types of training.

Currently, I have been working out using an app called Trainer Road on my Kickr. Trainer Road provides me with a structured program that lasts for 28 weeks going from base --> build --> specialty. This ensure I get to have a solid foundation of fitness before getting on race specific type of workouts one phase at a time.

Results for the first 6 weeks of training have given me a 9.5% increase in my FTP and also led me to shed 3lbs, this too gave me an extra bump on my power to weight ratio.

A typical workout on Trainer Road working on VO2 max intervals

As mentioned earlier, this is one of the beauties of indoor cycling. You are able to properly measure changes in a controlled environment and thus you see where improvements can happen, or where weaknesses can be found. Unlike when you ride outdoors, variables such as heat, wind, traffic, elevation and alike can create changes in the results of a workout even though you ride the same course each time. A truly equal comparisons can't be made from one workout to another.

A few cycling studios are applying the training methodology in the Philippines and it will be quite interesting for anyone to give it a try.

Don't get me wrong though, I love riding outdoors too! But for all other more structured and specific workouts, you will always find me indoors for these.