Author Topic: How good is the Conconi test, really?  (Read 715 times)

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
How good is the Conconi test, really?
« on: March 01, 2019, 04:43:26 pm »
Or is there a better, repeatable measure of cycling fitness.

Now I'm back on the bike I'd like to do a base test and then start doing some more regular objective repeats of the test to see progressm if any.

Yes, I know that any test is no substitute for the real world, but that's not the question, and I already know I'm good for about 100km at the moment
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

LMT

Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2019, 11:51:51 am »
Ride for an hour at full gas.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2019, 11:56:03 am »
That involves a whole lot of pain for a duration that approaches eternity...
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2019, 01:17:51 pm »
Ride for an hour at full gas.

I have a local 25km loop I can do that on, not quite an hour, but close enough
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

LMT

Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2019, 06:59:45 pm »
That involves a whole lot of pain for a duration that approaches eternity...

And?


LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2019, 07:44:52 pm »
You can get a reasonable measure of fitness with a shorter duration test, which involves somewhat less pain. Unless you are racing for approximately an hour, why use that particular test as your fitness measure?
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2019, 08:38:21 pm »
So what are you suggesting instead, given that I'm not racing at all
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

LMT

Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2019, 10:49:05 pm »
You can get a reasonable measure of fitness with a shorter duration test, which involves somewhat less pain. Unless you are racing for approximately an hour, why use that particular test as your fitness measure?

Because it is the test to do.

Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2019, 11:02:39 pm »
I don't race either but I still use the 1-hour test to establish relative fitness.  It's tough but it's also good training in its own right so why not?

Pedal Castro

  • so talented I can run with scissors - ouch!
    • Two beers or not two beers...
Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2019, 06:10:40 am »
The Conconi test doesn't measure overall fitness, it attempts to measure your OBLA (onset of blood lactate accumulation), which in itself is useful to know if you're training to race. For overall fitness measure I have always (for the last 35 years) used a loop near home,  20 miles as hard as I could followed by 3 mile cool down. When I could do that in an hour I knew I was fit enough to start racing. The key to tracking fitness is to keep the test consistent, and for me an outdoor loop is much easier to motivate for than an indoor stress test.

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2019, 07:11:48 am »
So apart from LWAB who won't actually say what he thinks, the consensus seems to be carry on using my 25 km loop.

I've used that for he last couple of years, and its a nice little circuit, but not fully objective to me as the weather can have quite an effect as well.
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Pedal Castro

  • so talented I can run with scissors - ouch!
    • Two beers or not two beers...
Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2019, 08:27:06 am »
Yes, weather does have an effect but you can take that into account. EG for my circuit the wind direction is usually SW and I do it regularly so I just make a note of wind direction and strength each time.

Oh, and LWAB is probably referring to the 2x8 minute test or similar which some find easy than the 20' test on the turbo but there are standard protocols for these "FTP" tests that are then used to guesstimate your max hour power.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2019, 08:33:02 am »
I found that my 20 minute performance improvements mirrored my 60 minute performance improvements pretty well but YMMV. Given that 'flat out' means exactly that to me i.e. unable to walk afterwards, a shorter duration of that much pain for testing my overall fitness was usually preferable. If 'flat out' for you means just a hard interval, do whatever repeatable effort that you want.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

LMT

Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2019, 08:43:45 am »
The Conconi test doesn't measure overall fitness, it attempts to measure your OBLA (onset of blood lactate accumulation), which in itself is useful to know if you're training to race. For overall fitness measure I have always (for the last 35 years) used a loop near home,  20 miles as hard as I could followed by 3 mile cool down. When I could do that in an hour I knew I was fit enough to start racing. The key to tracking fitness is to keep the test consistent, and for me an outdoor loop is much easier to motivate for than an indoor stress test.

Wow.

And you say you coached back in the day?  :facepalm:


mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2019, 09:00:02 am »
13 posts - happy days people  :D
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2019, 09:18:34 am »
useful as always Matt  ::-) :-* :-*
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2019, 09:28:55 am »
Yes, weather does have an effect but you can take that into account. EG for my circuit the wind direction is usually SW and I do it regularly so I just make a note of wind direction and strength each time.

Oh, and LWAB is probably referring to the 2x8 minute test or similar which some find easy than the 20' test on the turbo but there are standard protocols for these "FTP" tests that are then used to guesstimate your max hour power.

I do have an FTP protocol in a magzine article somewhere as well, but have never had a method of reliably estimating power until I bought this new turbo.

Remember what I said right at the begining here, I'm not racing and have no intent to race.  I do though want to get a measure of my recovery, other than pain, with an objective of being able to do a 200 again and next year stretching that to 300-400 and maybe beyond.
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Pedal Castro

  • so talented I can run with scissors - ouch!
    • Two beers or not two beers...
Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2019, 12:10:32 pm »
The Conconi test doesn't measure overall fitness, it attempts to measure your OBLA (onset of blood lactate accumulation), which in itself is useful to know if you're training to race. For overall fitness measure I have always (for the last 35 years) used a loop near home,  20 miles as hard as I could followed by 3 mile cool down. When I could do that in an hour I knew I was fit enough to start racing. The key to tracking fitness is to keep the test consistent, and for me an outdoor loop is much easier to motivate for than an indoor stress test.

Wow.

And you say you coached back in the day?  :facepalm:

Yes, I used the Conconi test with my better riders in the late 80s, probably a bit before your time as you tend to post like a 12yo.  ;)

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2019, 02:10:01 pm »
it seems that this test is about as accurate as "220-age" max heart rate estimation. it may or may not work, depending on the individual, circumstances etc.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2019, 02:35:37 pm »
useful as always Matt  ::-) :-* :-*
I should probably have been clearer: I meant that it only took 13 posts for us to get something as useful as this:


Wow.

And you say you coached back in the day?  :facepalm:

Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2019, 02:39:18 pm »
For someone not used to constant efforts the Conconi test is often easier to perform compared to a timed constant effort ride (i.e. 1h at full gas or other FTP estimation tests like 2x8' or 2x20') if you've got a trainer/GPS that records speed and HR (at a minimum).

It's considerably easier to just ride at a minimum of a certain speed on a trainer (that increases each minute) rather than having to judge riding at a constant effort level for x minutes. With the latter it's all too easy to go out too hard or too easy which can skew the results.

The Conconi test does take more interpretation though as you've got two variables to track as 'fitness' improves:
* the HR of the deflection point, which should go up as fitness improves
* the speed at the deflection point, which should also go up

(Either increasing will be a useful improvement for fitness but ideally you want improvements in both.)

Timing a known loop on open roads has its own problems with consistency: traffic, weather (temperature and wind), etc but it's often easier for many people (myself included as I don't have a turbo trainer).
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2019, 02:51:12 pm »
I have no problems with constant effort FTP types tests, the new turbo has a constant power mode I can use.  My only issue with that at the moment is I don't know what my starting point needs to be.

Perhaps it's a case of just pick a value I know I can hold, see what happens - if I blow up, lower it next time, if I'm pootling along at 145bpm HR, go harder next time
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2019, 02:52:13 pm »
useful as always Matt  ::-) :-* :-*
I should probably have been clearer: I meant that it only took 13 posts for us to get something as useful as this:


Wow.

And you say you coached back in the day?  :facepalm:


TBH I'm surprised it took that long
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #23 on: March 04, 2019, 11:09:45 am »
If you think the rows on here over training/testing protocol are bad you should go and have a look at the time-trialling forum.   One of the key agitators is actually Andrew Coggan who comes over very aggressive/rude to anyone that questions him which I think is a bit of a pity.

From what I have read the 20min * 0.95 test or the 60min test will produce very similar results in "most" cases.   In time-trialling often they just suggest using your best average power for a 25 mile time trial.   Might be just under an hour but, again, a good estimate.

The other symptom of FTP testing becoming the be all and end all is that a lot of riders are now training in such a way that they can ace a 20min test to the point where it now overstates FTP.



mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: How good is the Conconi test, really?
« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2019, 12:07:57 pm »
In time-trialling often they just suggest using your best average power for a 25 mile time trial.   Might be just under an hour but,
pfft - I wish!
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles