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Input vs Output

One of the things I love about endurance sport is that it generally rew

ards me for the effort I put in. Until I read this tweet by @Alan_Couzens I was reasonable happy that I knew what I was doing and how to reach my goals.

When I purchased my first power meter in May 2015 I saw an immediate step improvement in my cycling… not over-night but consideringĀ  I wasn’t new to cycling at that time the improvement was noticeable to say the least.

Why was that? Because for the first time ever my cycling training sessions were measurable and that forced me to keep them honest. A three hour zone 2 ride without a power meter used to be 3 hours at a constant ‘zone 2 feeling’… not exactly clear. Once I got my Power Meter and did an FTP test, my 3 hour zone 2 ride became extremely difficult.
Hour 1 had that ‘zone 2 feeling’.
Hour 2 required little more than some focus to keep zone 2 power.
Hour 3 was a descent into a world of discomfort just to hold that zone 2 power.

What happened over-night was that my input dramatically changed. As a result so did my output – my performance.

The classic nordic 4×4 became excruciatingly difficult with a power meter.
Previously I cycled to a heart rate cap on each interval. Once I used power I found that at a given 4 minute power my heart rate increased with every subsequent interval. The stimulus became stronger and as a result my performance became better.

What Alan’s post made me focus on was how many other inputs I’m ignoring.

For example. BEFORE I started to train, what state was I in?
How did I sleep? Shouldn’t a better sleep give me a better chance of hitting my training targets?

How was my diet? Did it match my training targets?

What about my stress levels – that’d surely effect my training targets?

About those training targets? What are they?

3 hours at Z2 – gives me a solid 210 TSSĀ  – a hard session.
4 hours Z1 Z2 – gives me a solid 210 TSS – a pleasant session.
2.5 hours in a hilly race – gives me a solid 210 TSS – hard as hell.
3 hours easy with a 30 second sprint every 6 minutes. – gives me a solid 210 TSS – Brutal hard session