A Start To The Winter

A fresh start or I should say the beginning of another winter, and it has not gone as I thought it would have done….

After a 10 day break I wanted to start properly with a 20 minute FTP test.  A FTP (Functional Threshold Power) test is an effort which can be done over 20 minutes, 40 minutes, or an hour. The test measures fitness using a power meter or heart rate monitor. These tests are typically taken every 6 weeks to see whether the fitness level has changed.

The result of the FTP was very interesting!! An average power output of around 263watts (W) compared to August where my average was around 310W! However, the previous test done before the 10 day break gave an average power output at 280W, so the 263W result wasn’t too unexpected.

This still has led me to a lot of questions. This is an average which I would expect to be doing over 3 hours, not 20 minutes. In fact, in the 3rd race in the Surrey League Ottershaw Series this was my average power output over 2 hours. This power output would also not have been enough to take a 4th place the week before in the same series. So what is wrong?

Could it be because I have not raced a time trial since almost the beginning of August or because road racing is so variable in the power output during the race that I am not able to maintain steady power output.

The FTP has probably decreased from my best in August due to me still keeping a pace that I would have been able to do during my peak in the summer. Potentially, it means I have gone out way to hard at the start of both tests and therefore severely decreased my performance in the last 10 minutes of the test due to fatigue. On the whole leading to a lower average power output.

Overall, this leaves a point and backs up, that just racing on the road will keep me fit but will not improve my racing performance.

Therefore, I will adjust my training to include more work on time trial performance as well road racing ability.

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