TrainerRoad - Short Power Build

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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alastairb
Posts: 102
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:36 pm

by alastairb

Looking for a little bit of feedback / guidance please. I started the plan about 4 weeks ago and am struggling with it. The FTP test put me at 292 watts, but I'm struggling to get through the high intensity intervals; no problem with the threshold workouts but I'm having to reduce the intensity on the Vo2 intervals by 5-8% to make them repeatable.
Appreciate it varies by person, but does anybody else find them unrealistic?
I've used a coach in the past and his workouts were nowhere near this brutal!

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roadman
Posts: 227
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:56 pm
Location: London

by roadman

If you mean the 40/20s, it best to use slope mode for those.

But agree, in general doing 3.5 min @ 120% ftp repeats is pretty brutal...

AJS914
Posts: 1962
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

How confident are you in the FTP figure? Everything I've read indicates that a 20 minute test usually over estimates FTP. Rolling the intensity back 5% sounds like a good solution.

Rubik
Posts: 104
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 1:59 pm

by Rubik

True vo2 max intervals at 100% vo2 max are nigh impossible. Just really, really, really hard.

I did about 8 sessions this year and only managed to just eek out two complete sessions. But that was after doing a whole bunch of "kinda vo2" sessions at 115-120% ftp which turned out to not be anywhere near vo2 max, which was closer to 130%.

So if it's basing them off some calculated vo2 max from a 5 mmp or something, good luck! If it's just an arbitrary percentage of ftp, then you can very likely work up to them a bit by reducing it as suggested above and then trying to increase it over the following weeks. I started out at about 110% ftp and worked up to doing about 25-30 mins at 118-120% in 4-5 minute intervals. Took about 4-5 weeks before I could hit those higher percentages, though.

And that was all outside on a steep climb, which I'd consider to be quite a bit "easier".
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cerb
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 4:59 am

by cerb

I had the opposite problem to you. VO2max repeats were ok, but threshold work was really tough. Initially, I dialled the workouts back by 5% at the start and put them back to 100% for the last few intervals if I had anything left. I gradually built this up throughout the programme until I was putting it up by 2-5% by the end.

One thing I do find about a number of the TR workouts and programmes is that they do push you REALLY hard. This means that it's not only difficult for your legs/lungs/heart but also on your mind. I recall a few workouts from short power build I was actually scared to get on the trainer and start because they looked so brutal. I found that getting over this and getting your mind in the game as well is part of the process to getting through the workouts...

In the end, turning it down 5% is only saving you 15W for a VO2max interval (maybe 2-3mins). Your legs can probably do it, but the mind is usually what holds us back.

I found a few things that helped me get into and through these types of workouts were:
- Only look at the current interval, not all of the intervals ahead.
- Watch something other than the interval time remaining. I like to watch my cadence and try to keep it steady.
- Distract yourself from the interval. Try to concentrate on your pedal stroke, muscle activations, smoothness... really anything other than the wattage and the sufferring.
- Mentally break the interval up into smaller blocks. If you can get through half, you can certainly hold on for <1min more!
- Do a slow countdown. Don't watch the interval timer and instead count down in your head, but do it slowly. For a 2min hard interval, I slowly count to 75 - when I get there, I look at the timer and usually find i've only got <30sec to go. This is a big mental win and gets me through 9/10 times.

glepore
Posts: 1090
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:42 pm
Location: Pa USA

by glepore

I don't do trainer road, but do 40/20's at 125% using ergvideo. The basic setup is 6x of those in two sets then 4x at 150 in two sets. Really hard. I don't watch the timer, I do try to forget whether its interval 2 or 4 (this really helps, just eat whats in front of you) and for the first couple weeks I don't expect to do 100% of the time on each interval. Its get better, but never easy.

Doing these indoors, make sure you're ftp test was indoors. The load of a trainer is different than the dynamic load outdoors, by maybe as much as 10-15%.
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alastairb
Posts: 102
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:36 pm

by alastairb

Thanks all.
I started Short Power Build following a period of pretty broken training due to illness and a house move, but the FTP test was done on the trainer so should be representative.
Decided to go back to base (mid volume Sweet Spot) and build it back up...
You make a good point about the psychological aspect of TrainerRoad; some of the workouts are plain intimidating and I've been surprised to get through them.
Should be back on build in ~8wks and, hopefully, with slightly more solid foundations, will see more success!

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Connor
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:47 pm

by Connor

I've found trainer road works you incredibly hard, which I suppose is a good thing... the point is to get faster. It's just getting the mental to match the physical

JackRussellRacing
Posts: 220
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2016 4:32 pm
Location: North Carolina, USA

by JackRussellRacing

Connor wrote:I've found trainer road works you incredibly hard, which I suppose is a good thing... the point is to get faster. It's just getting the mental to match the physical


+1

I am in week 6 of the Sweet Spot Base I (mid volume) and indeed it can be challenging. I think the weekly TSS was around 450 throughout the program, and next week (currently in the recovery week now) I'll transition to Sweet Spot Base II which ups the TSS. I absolutely love TrainerRoad. The simple, straightforward interface works well for my style of indoor riding: no b.s., just get the job done. I find the text to be generally useful, but certainly there are times when I say "just STFU and let me suffer through this interval".

No question about it though -- TrainerRoad is making me faster/stronger. Maybe any structured training could do the same and a disciplined approach is all it takes. Having said that, I'm up to 3.5 w/kg on 20-minute efforts. I don't Zwift much, and Sufferfest is a 'sometimes treat'. TrainerRoad is my bread-and-butter partner in the pain cave.

jmaccyd
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:12 pm

by jmaccyd

They are incredibly tough workouts. I sometimes find it can just be an 'on the day' thing where all the stars align and I manage it, and on another day I fall short. I moved my VO2 workouts back a day (from a Tuesday to a Wednesday) to allow a bit more rest from a weekends riding and that little bit extra helped me reach the figures, I also set the 'lap' on my Garmin to see what I manage on the first interval and that gives me a figure to try and keep above as I do the rest of the intervals.

cdncyclist
Posts: 58
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 12:10 am

by cdncyclist

alastairb wrote:Thanks all.
I started Short Power Build following a period of pretty broken training due to illness and a house move, but the FTP test was done on the trainer so should be representative.
Decided to go back to base (mid volume Sweet Spot) and build it back up...
You make a good point about the psychological aspect of TrainerRoad; some of the workouts are plain intimidating and I've been surprised to get through them.
Should be back on build in ~8wks and, hopefully, with slightly more solid foundations, will see more success!

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When I read your first post I was wondering why you are in the build phase (do you have races coming up soon?) and if you had done a solid base first - this answers my questions.

High intensity intervals are hard, but in my opinion even more painful and difficult (and perhaps less useful??) if you don't have a rock solid base first.

I am not sure what trainer system you use, but I find that ERG mode for shorter high intensity intervals just doesn't work - somedays I feel great and smash them out, other days you are just barely getting through them - aiming for a target but not having a target dictated to you by the trainer seems to be less psychologically damaging for me!

tomee
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2014 8:52 am

by tomee

im currently in week 5 of the sustained power build and did a FTP test 2 days ago which raised my FTP. Took a days rest and this morning i failed to finish a long interval (105%) session (Stevens +3). I had to lower my intensity after each interval and stopped after 45 mins.

like you i tend to think it has overestimated my FTP or possibly fatigue still?

Nefarious86
Moderator
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by Nefarious86

You're not going to finish every session every time, it happens.

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tth86
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2014 8:26 am

by tth86

tomee wrote:im currently in week 5 of the sustained power build and did a FTP test 2 days ago which raised my FTP. Took a days rest and this morning i failed to finish a long interval (105%) session (Stevens +3). I had to lower my intensity after each interval and stopped after 45 mins.

like you i tend to think it has overestimated my FTP or possibly fatigue still?


I used to struggle with these suprathreshold repeats, changed my views by looking at the intervals as repeats of shorter 20min test effort, still tough but became easier. I can empathise, prior to this, I've personally performed these workouts at sub 105%(about 100-103%) in the first couple of intervals but I'm not using Smart trainers thus I can dial back whenever I feel like it.

JBeauBikes2
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:00 am

by JBeauBikes2

I’m aboht to start the Short Power build as well after finishing the Sweet Spot Base. Funny enough, I did a 20 Min power test tonight and my new FTP is set to 292 8)

I started riding 16 months ago but did some extensive research in training programs before deciding on TR and here’s my 2¢

First, what’s your training background like? You could have a really solid Threshold and still a weak VO2 Max for your fitness. That’s why TrainerRoad offered a Short, General, and Sustained power build to strengthen specific zones. Maybe your V02 just isn’t as strong as your threshold? If you have done a lot of VO2 training in the past then ignore though.

What type of trainer are you using? I had a Wahoo Kickr gen 1, and my first FTP test gave me 290. I updated the software three weeks later and got my butt kicked by the Sweet Spot base, was used to doing 260 watt intervals and had to dial it back to 225. It could be a miscalibration or inaccurate, especially if it’s not a smart trainer.

I did the Short power build during race season last summer, so I had substantial base. If you completed the full 12 week sweet spot base you should be good to go. Like somebody above me said, TrainerRoad works you really hard. Maybe stick with it and give your body another week to adapt? You’ll never improve your VO2 if you back away from it. Most amateurs don’t have a problem with base, they struggle with Threshold and VO2.

Most amateur races are less than 1.5 hours, even 1 hour. Some people are convinced you need 12 weeks of 10-15 hours before you can do intervals, but that’s just not the truth. Pros get insane base so they can throw watts after 100+ miles for 8 months a year.

If you feel comfortable with going back to base, go for it! But personally I think you would be better off doing the Build and doing them at 95% or as hard as you can take.

Good luck!

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