Author Topic: Base training  (Read 121731 times)

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: Base training
« Reply #1800 on: February 05, 2020, 10:42:35 am »
yes, wattbikes in gyms don't really work without dedicated fans (which are usually absent), still ok for zone2 or sprint training, but not much else.

Re: Base training
« Reply #1801 on: February 05, 2020, 10:51:08 am »
The only Wattbike I've used in a gym was directly under the aircon vent.  That was great! ;)

Re: Base training
« Reply #1802 on: February 05, 2020, 10:52:24 am »
that's where the ramp test comes in. it removes the guesswork of pacing, reduces the length of suffering to ~five minutes (instead of 20min or 1hr) and gives a very good estimate of one's ftp.

Problem is you can only do it indoors and if you then don't train indoors, the numbers are meaningless.
I don't use power and still prefer to find a hill and get my numbers from a VAM, essentially because I only ride outdoors and mostly on hilly terrain.
On a Wattbike, I never managed to get any decent number... I overheat and give up much sooner than I would on a real bike

How do you use the VAM in your training? Besides VAM is also affected by weather, slope, how long ascent is, how accurate the height data is.  A 5 min 17% hill will give a very different VAM figure to a 4% 30 min hill.  But even once you’ve got a VAM figure how does that help you in your subsequent training? What do you use the number for?

For most FTP is just a number used to set the intensity of their training workouts. It works very well for that as the trainers allow you to set interval intensities as a percentage of FTP.   Trainer apps could be changed to use a percentage of the max aerobic power of a ramp test instead. That would also work just as well.

But VAM, other than a current measure of your fitness and form up a particular hill, I can’t see how it helps with your training when you aren’t on that hill.
If you don’t make time for exercise now, sooner or later you’ll need to make time for ill health.

Re: Base training
« Reply #1803 on: February 05, 2020, 11:01:15 am »
keep doing whatever works for you :thumbsup:

This

S2L

Re: Base training
« Reply #1804 on: February 05, 2020, 11:20:57 am »
that's where the ramp test comes in. it removes the guesswork of pacing, reduces the length of suffering to ~five minutes (instead of 20min or 1hr) and gives a very good estimate of one's ftp.

Problem is you can only do it indoors and if you then don't train indoors, the numbers are meaningless.
I don't use power and still prefer to find a hill and get my numbers from a VAM, essentially because I only ride outdoors and mostly on hilly terrain.
On a Wattbike, I never managed to get any decent number... I overheat and give up much sooner than I would on a real bike

How do you use the VAM in your training? Besides VAM is also affected by weather, slope, how long ascent is, how accurate the height data is.  A 5 min 17% hill will give a very different VAM figure to a 4% 30 min hill.  But even once you’ve got a VAM figure how does that help you in your subsequent training? What do you use the number for?

For most FTP is just a number used to set the intensity of their training workouts. It works very well for that as the trainers allow you to set interval intensities as a percentage of FTP.   Trainer apps could be changed to use a percentage of the max aerobic power of a ramp test instead. That would also work just as well.

But VAM, other than a current measure of your fitness and form up a particular hill, I can’t see how it helps with your training when you aren’t on that hill.

Firstly, you need a good hill with the right and possibly constant gradient. Your 17% one won't work, because for sure it is not 17% all the way.
I am lucky enough to have a good hill about one hour cycle away. It's a pretty constant 10% for 1 km. My best ascent balls out and lungs on the tarmac is 4:22 (VAM 1400), the pace I can keep for an hour I know (from other longer but similarly steep climbs in the alps) is about 900 VAM, which means roughly 7 minutes for the particular hill.
So, I try to work at 110-120% of FTP for reps, which is adequate for this hill and works out about 6 minutes. If I was interested in "hill climb" specifically, then I would try to work at a higher % of FTP, maybe more like 130% and with fewer reps.

Weather doesn't seem to have an impact and the hill is reasonably well sheltered from winds, so wind direction also doesn't make a significant difference.

VAM varies very little from hill to hill, unless they are < 6% average, in which case it drops a lot. Other than that, the value is surprisingly reproducible. This is a log of my ascents, the slower ones on the right are "training reps", as you can see the time (and so the VAM) are very reproducible


Re: Base training
« Reply #1805 on: February 05, 2020, 12:37:57 pm »
that's where the ramp test comes in. it removes the guesswork of pacing, reduces the length of suffering to ~five minutes (instead of 20min or 1hr) and gives a very good estimate of one's ftp.

Problem is you can only do it indoors...

Indeed, you can't safely do a ramp test outdoors (not in London anyway, out in the sticks it might be possible), but as zigzag says it's the best way of quickly determining one's FTP. The test is designed to be short enough that it's not overly arduous, plus it's not long enough that overheating (e.g. due to a lack of a fan in a gym) becomes a problem. I can do 400W for 60s in isolation but I haven't yet managed to get to a minute at 300W during a ramp test (I usually fail to hold the minute at 275W), and it reall is only "hard" for about 3-4 minutes.

... and if you then don't train indoors, the numbers are meaningless.

Not if you have a power meter on a bike for riding outdoors, which I do (two in fact). It means I can work out what kind of a training effect my outdoor rides have and I can also keep an eye on my power output whilst riding outdoors to know if I'm pushing too hard or not pushing hard enough.

Even without a power meter for riding outdoor the numbers aren't meaningless even in isolation. Doing a regular ramp test will help show you whether your other training (done against average speed up a hill, VAM, HR or any other system) is producing meaningful and quantifiable results.

I lose the extra 30 minutes of swimming that I could fit in on a Wednesday whilst my daughter was having her swimming lesson as they've changed the lessons around and now all of the lanes are shut once the lessons begin, but it means I've now got 30 minutes free time which is perfect to finish my swim, get changed into cycling stuff, nip up to the gym with the wattbikes (which overlooks the pool) and sneak in a quick ramp test (which takes 15 minutes including a warm up and spin down). I can then be back to the changing rooms for a quick shower and be ready to collect her as she comes up from getting changed herself.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

S2L

Re: Base training
« Reply #1806 on: February 05, 2020, 03:42:49 pm »
We used to train even before power meters became available.

VAM can be measured with a stopwatch and it is done automatically with things like Strava... the error is minimum, down to rounding of seconds.

A power meter is a rather complicated unit, consisting of a strain gauge to measure torque and a unit to measure RPM. Both of them are prone to error, especially the former.
Strain gauges are incredibly sensitive and it doesn't take much to produce a wrong reading. For instance if it is on the crank, then you hit it with your shoe and you produce an incorrect reading for that pedal stroke. I am also unsure what happens when the bottom bracket ages. there is a bit of play and the response of the crank upon the pedal stroke becomes different... there are a number of ways the calibration can be altered.
I wouldn't take those numbers as Gospel... on balance I tend to trust a solid hill and a stop watch.

That said, one day I will probably buy a power meter, but if you know how to collect data, they seem to offer so little for so much money!

Re: Base training
« Reply #1807 on: February 05, 2020, 04:41:21 pm »
But if you want to train indoors and outdoors, a power meter is the most accurate way to ensure you are doing the effort you are aiming for.  Sure, you can train on a turbo using resistance and speed (ala Obree), but you can't then calibrate that to your hill (or other efforts outside, especially on the flat). Or you can calibrate your outside efforts to a known piece of terrain and a time (as you are doing with your hill), but then translating that to other terrain or indoor riding is hard.
It's possible to train in a myriad of ways. Power measuring allows you to target your effort more precisely over a greater range of circumstances. Whether that's worth it is down to the individual.

S2L

Re: Base training
« Reply #1808 on: February 05, 2020, 05:02:26 pm »
But if you want to train indoors and outdoors, a power meter is the most accurate way to ensure you are doing the effort you are aiming for.  Sure, you can train on a turbo using resistance and speed (ala Obree), but you can't then calibrate that to your hill (or other efforts outside, especially on the flat). Or you can calibrate your outside efforts to a known piece of terrain and a time (as you are doing with your hill), but then translating that to other terrain or indoor riding is hard.
It's possible to train in a myriad of ways. Power measuring allows you to target your effort more precisely over a greater range of circumstances. Whether that's worth it is down to the individual.

Agreed that indoors without power is a bit of a shot in the dark... luckily I don't do indoors...  ;D ;D

Re: Base training
« Reply #1809 on: February 05, 2020, 05:19:56 pm »
We used to train even before power meters became available.

Sure, but training with power was a huge leap in terms of structured training, it's also now not beyond the cost of mere mortals. My power meters were ~£250 each (one geared, one for fixed) which is relatively small cost compared to, say, a £2k bike.

VAM can be measured with a stopwatch and it is done automatically with things like Strava... the error is minimum, down to rounding of seconds.

The point of power is that it is immediate, you can't calculate your VAM for the last 3 seconds, you can't calculate if you've gone off way too fast on the first 30 seconds of a climb. Power gives an almost immediate reading so you can avoid burning yourself out early.

Training based on VAM relies on riding to a perceived effort level and then calculating the value after the fact. There's no immediate feedback which is what power gives you. Want to ride up that hill at a certain effort level, pick a Watt number and then maintain that all the way up regardless of the gradient.

A power meter is a rather complicated unit, consisting of a strain gauge to measure torque and a unit to measure RPM. Both of them are prone to error, especially the former.
Strain gauges are incredibly sensitive and it doesn't take much to produce a wrong reading. For instance if it is on the crank, then you hit it with your shoe and you produce an incorrect reading for that pedal stroke. I am also unsure what happens when the bottom bracket ages. there is a bit of play and the response of the crank upon the pedal stroke becomes different... there are a number of ways the calibration can be altered.
 
I wouldn't take those numbers as Gospel... on balance I tend to trust a solid hill and a stop watch.

Luckily there are people like DC Rain Maker that comprehensively test different brands/models of power meters against each other by using different types (i.e. pedal based power meters against crank based, and/or against hub based). The junk ones aside they all tend to sit within their published tolerances (1-2% generally) - that's perfectly good enough for the likes of me.

The problems you seem to think might exist within power meters don't really exist in reality (again, except for the rubbish brands).

That said, one day I will probably buy a power meter, but if you know how to collect data, they seem to offer so little for so much money!

And if you do buy a power meter you'll be amazed at how much more data they provide, data that you can't extract using a stopwatch.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

S2L

Re: Base training
« Reply #1810 on: February 05, 2020, 05:26:08 pm »

The point of power is that it is immediate, you can't calculate your VAM for the last 3 seconds, you can't calculate if you've gone off way too fast on the first 30 seconds of a climb. Power gives an almost immediate reading so you can avoid burning yourself out early.



That is the real advantage...
That said, for those who trained before HR monitors became available, fine tuning the perceived effort became a skill. I don't think I've ever burned out early... possibly I have never being able to give 100%, although I suspect I have not been far off on many occasions.

I think the point I was trying to make is that it's better to measure things properly with fewer tools than being on the "all the gear but no idea" side of things...

When I hear someone fluctuating in their FTP by 50 Watts depending on the day of the week, my eyes roll

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: Base training
« Reply #1811 on: February 05, 2020, 06:17:23 pm »
"first they ridicule. then they follow." ;)

Re: Base training
« Reply #1812 on: February 05, 2020, 06:44:57 pm »
That is the real advantage...

I think the biggest advantage is that given a set period of time to train (e.g. 12 weeks) and if you stick to the plan then you'll end up fitter/faster/stronger if you are able to train with power than if you have to use a "lesser" measure such as HR, PE, VAM, avg-speed, etc.

This is a huge deal for the "time crunched cyclist" although most people spoil it by not sticking to the plan properly. The old saying is that most people do too much riding at too high an intensity and not enough riding at low intensity - the push to "make it count" skews this - and this isn't a consequence of having more/fewer tools.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Base training
« Reply #1813 on: February 06, 2020, 09:01:04 am »
When I hear someone fluctuating in their FTP by 50 Watts depending on the day of the week, my eyes roll
The instance in this thread was in changing from a wheel on turbo which relies on spindown, tyre pressure and whole load of other things, to a direct drive turbo with a strain gauge. That's the equivalent of changing doing your VAM measurement on a nice part of the climb with a giant tailwind to choosing a sensible hill and no wind. Proper power meters give proper data.

Re: Base training
« Reply #1814 on: February 06, 2020, 10:47:38 am »

The point of power is that it is immediate, you can't calculate your VAM for the last 3 seconds, you can't calculate if you've gone off way too fast on the first 30 seconds of a climb. Power gives an almost immediate reading so you can avoid burning yourself out early.



That is the real advantage...
That said, for those who trained before HR monitors became available, fine tuning the perceived effort became a skill. I don't think I've ever burned out early... possibly I have never being able to give 100%, although I suspect I have not been far off on many occasions.

I think the point I was trying to make is that it's better to measure things properly with fewer tools than being on the "all the gear but no idea" side of things...

When I hear someone fluctuating in their FTP by 50 Watts depending on the day of the week, my eyes roll

Again we don't know when the 275 watt is from. You've jumped to.the conclusion these are from two ftp teats on the same day.
If you don’t make time for exercise now, sooner or later you’ll need to make time for ill health.

Re: Base training
« Reply #1815 on: February 06, 2020, 10:54:04 am »
that's where the ramp test comes in. it removes the guesswork of pacing, reduces the length of suffering to ~five minutes (instead of 20min or 1hr) and gives a very good estimate of one's ftp.

Problem is you can only do it indoors and if you then don't train indoors, the numbers are meaningless.
I don't use power and still prefer to find a hill and get my numbers from a VAM, essentially because I only ride outdoors and mostly on hilly terrain.
On a Wattbike, I never managed to get any decent number... I overheat and give up much sooner than I would on a real bike

How do you use the VAM in your training? Besides VAM is also affected by weather, slope, how long ascent is, how accurate the height data is.  A 5 min 17% hill will give a very different VAM figure to a 4% 30 min hill.  But even once you’ve got a VAM figure how does that help you in your subsequent training? What do you use the number for?

For most FTP is just a number used to set the intensity of their training workouts. It works very well for that as the trainers allow you to set interval intensities as a percentage of FTP.   Trainer apps could be changed to use a percentage of the max aerobic power of a ramp test instead. That would also work just as well.

But VAM, other than a current measure of your fitness and form up a particular hill, I can’t see how it helps with your training when you aren’t on that hill.

Firstly, you need a good hill with the right and possibly constant gradient. Your 17% one won't work, because for sure it is not 17% all the way.
I am lucky enough to have a good hill about one hour cycle away. It's a pretty constant 10% for 1 km. My best ascent balls out and lungs on the tarmac is 4:22 (VAM 1400), the pace I can keep for an hour I know (from other longer but similarly steep climbs in the alps) is about 900 VAM, which means roughly 7 minutes for the particular hill.
So, I try to work at 110-120% of FTP for reps, which is adequate for this hill and works out about 6 minutes. If I was interested in "hill climb" specifically, then I would try to work at a higher % of FTP, maybe more like 130% and with fewer reps.

Weather doesn't seem to have an impact and the hill is reasonably well sheltered from winds, so wind direction also doesn't make a significant difference.

VAM varies very little from hill to hill, unless they are < 6% average, in which case it drops a lot. Other than that, the value is surprisingly reproducible. This is a log of my ascents, the slower ones on the right are "training reps", as you can see the time (and so the VAM) are very reproducible



Since you don't have anyway of measuring power its a bit meaningless to say you rife at 110% of ftp.  Plus comparing to a VAM  figure obtained in the summer at altitude is pretty meaningless. Fitness is not a static variable.
If you don’t make time for exercise now, sooner or later you’ll need to make time for ill health.

S2L

Re: Base training
« Reply #1816 on: February 06, 2020, 12:16:32 pm »


Since you don't have anyway of measuring power its a bit meaningless to say you rife at 110% of ftp.  Plus comparing to a VAM  figure obtained in the summer at altitude is pretty meaningless. Fitness is not a static variable.

I don't think you got it.
FTP can be accurately estimated from VAM... my form doesn't change much between summer and winter.. I don't gorge over Christmas or put up a stone... I ride all year round, more or less the same amount, roughly 600 miles per month, give or take.

More to the point, the correlation between VAM and FTP is linear... double the power, half the time for the same hill (provided the hill is steep enough).

So, VAM is a fairly accurate indicator, like it or not. It has been used for decades before SRM cranks hit the market in the 90s...
The fact that you didn't train back then, means that you never learned those skills... which is fine.

A power meter is a convenient and direct way to get to the number you are looking for, but like everything, it needs to be used and read properly... if you find that your FTP goes up and down by more than 10-20% between seasons, I would be very suspicious whether you are measuring things correctly, or just measuring things for the sake of it.

The only way for me to improve by more than 20% are PEDs

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: Base training
« Reply #1817 on: February 06, 2020, 12:30:28 pm »
20% is pretty standard fluctuation for someone who takes it easy over the winter and ramps up the volume and intensity during the warm season. your theories appear less and less credible the harder you try to sell/justify them..

S2L

Re: Base training
« Reply #1818 on: February 06, 2020, 12:39:36 pm »
20% is pretty standard fluctuation for someone who takes it easy over the winter and ramps up the volume and intensity during the warm season. your theories appear less and less credible the harder you try to sell/justify them..

20% for me is around 50 Watts... hard to lose them (I don't know what your definition of taking it easy is, maybe you are better at it than me)... hard to gain them back.
Although some prefer to work in Watt/Kg, in which case all you need to do is put up a couple of stone over winter and that's your 20% lost without losing a single Watt...  ;D

Anyway, let's just agree to disagree

I've just signed up for a double hill climb in September... something to work at  :thumbsup:

LMT

Re: Base training
« Reply #1819 on: February 06, 2020, 12:40:18 pm »
I'd take a ramp test on a smart meter with erg mode over this VAM stuff any day of the week.

LMT

Re: Base training
« Reply #1820 on: February 06, 2020, 12:42:59 pm »
20% is pretty standard fluctuation for someone who takes it easy over the winter and ramps up the volume and intensity during the warm season. your theories appear less and less credible the harder you try to sell/justify them..

20% for me is around 50 Watts... hard to lose them (I don't know what your definition of taking it easy is, maybe you are better at it than me)... hard to gain them back.
Although some prefer to work in Watt/Kg, in which case all you need to do is put up a couple of stone over winter and that's your 20% lost without losing a single Watt...  ;D

Anyway, let's just agree to disagree

I've just signed up for a double hill climb in September... something to work at  :thumbsup:

It's hard for you to 'lose them' as you cycle all year round. Those that have a rest during the off season can have a dip in form. Try doing some VO2 work after a 4-6 week lay off.

Re: Base training
« Reply #1821 on: February 06, 2020, 04:45:31 pm »
20% is pretty standard fluctuation for someone who takes it easy over the winter and ramps up the volume and intensity during the warm season. your theories appear less and less credible the harder you try to sell/justify them..

20% for me is around 50 Watts... hard to lose them (I don't know what your definition of taking it easy is, maybe you are better at it than me)... hard to gain them back.
Although some prefer to work in Watt/Kg, in which case all you need to do is put up a couple of stone over winter and that's your 20% lost without losing a single Watt...  ;D

Anyway, let's just agree to disagree

I've just signed up for a double hill climb in September... something to work at  :thumbsup:

It's hard for you to 'lose them' as you cycle all year round. Those that have a rest during the off season can have a dip in form. Try doing some VO2 work after a 4-6 week lay off.

And that's something that I picked up from a discussion elsewhere a few days ago.   I kept riding Oct-Dec last year but stopped doing any turbo work and doing anything that I perceived to be an effort.   I didn't put my HRM on for those 3 months.

Since getting back on it at the start of Jan I have been able to comfortably increase volume but the top end efforts feel very hard.   I think I'm just getting a bit old.

Re: Base training
« Reply #1822 on: February 07, 2020, 09:13:29 am »
Yeah, cutting down on hard efforts really seems to set me back.
I stopped intensity in October because of a niggling mystery injury. The injury is still there, and while I can do low intensity stuff higher up hurts, so my FTP will be down massively. I'll be talking to the physio about whether it's worth stopping riding completely for a month or 2 and focusing on gym work to try to fix me - I suspect that will basically wreck any chance of racing the TTT at Silverstone this June. :(

Re: Base training
« Reply #1823 on: February 08, 2020, 04:53:12 pm »
Talking of data, and those interested in it, https://intervals.icu/ is worth a look (a better/more functional version of Elevate) if you've not yet seen it.

Plus the fella behind it, David Tinker, is very open to user input.  :thumbsup: