A lot of you will have trained in very different ways so far in 2020. As it has been difficult to train extensively outside, we have been focusing our training on the fitness abilities that can be trained with less time in an indoor environment. We also looked closely at the elements of fitness that decayed at the greatest rate, and focused our attention on improving and maintaining those. For most of our riders this has meant an extremely productive phase of training where we have focused on strength and strength endurance. Given what we see happening more broadly on Zwift in terms of racing and training plans, we think that a very large number of riders will have now reaped most of the gains from ‘threshold’ training, and now need to change the stimulus in order to reap any more fitness gains.
One of the key metrics we look at in WK05 with our riders is when their FTP as a percentage of their VO2Max reaches 85%. Although this is individual, once FTP/VO2Max reaches 85% it is usually a good indicator that to elicit more aerobic gains, the training focus should move more in favour of VO2Max training and anaerobic training. If you think of your aerobic fitness as a house, the aerobic and strength endurance work increases the footprint of the house, the VO2 and Anaerobic work will raise the height of the roof. This will give you more top end power and performance but will also give you room to improve further your aerobic capacity.
An example: Current FTP = 250W. Current pVO2Max = 290w. FTP/VO2Max = 86.2%
After a focused block of higher intensity training pVO2Max improves to 320w which should allow your FTP to improve to 272w or thereabouts. Improving FTP by working for increasing duration around current FTP +/-5% works well at solidifying your strength endurance but as with everything, it has diminishing returns.
If this characterises your current fitness state then it is time to move on to more challenging high intensity work starting with efforts at around 110%-120% FTP, progressing duration or intensity. For riders with a very strong fitness base, some shorter max efforts at 30 seconds to 2 minutes will be highly effective, generally between 130%-160% FTP, but at this level of intensity power levels will be very individual.
We build all of our clients’ high intensity workouts based on their individual power duration curve in WK05. You know when you have got this about right when your workout graph looks like mine did today! It is surprising how many people feedback that they were cooked in a given session but still manage a sprint finish! I knew I had dialed this in at the right level today as I could physically feel the power draining away as my FRC became totally depleted.