Guest poster Don Blount tackles some heavy-duty training. In the first of two posts, he explains what it’s all about.
It would only take 10 minutes and it was free.
In short, functional threshold power, known as FTP, is a benchmark of the body’s overall efficiency. It is the effort a rider can sustain for about an hour before too much lactate accumulates in their system and their body begins to break down.
There are a number of ways to test it but Graeme Street, owner of Cyclo-Core and “Recognized Cycling Expert,” according to his video, was offering an opportunity to coach me through a 10-minute indoor test to determine my FTP.
You need a few things to do the test with the video: 1) bike trainer or rollers 2) power meter or heart rate monitor 3) speed/cadence sensor.
I used rollers and a Garmin Edge 305 bike computer with heart rate monitor and speed/cadence sensor.
I was ready. But the problem was that no matter what I did I could not get the video to play completely on any of the three computers in my home. Not a one. The video would begin and play for a bit, but after about 15 minutes, it would stop. I even emailed Street for advice but it still would not work. So I viewed the video on a computer away from my home network. I watched it several times and I took copious notes.
And then I tried it again.
I set up my laptop and rollers in my garage, let the video buffer and launched it again. This time it played, for a short time. The video went as far as the warm up before it froze again.
But by this time I was familiar enough with video’s content to finish on my own. It would have been more effective with Street helping me through it as I had too much left in the tank at the end. This was not a max test but still, I did not ride hard enough.
That test showed a FTP heart rate of 156 beats per minute. I used that in my workouts and it just seemed too easy. So a few days later I did it again and calculated an FTP heart rate of 162 beats per minute. I now use that figure for my riding.
If you are interested in testing yourself and have not done so before, let me warn you this test hurts! It hurts physically and it hurts mentally.
Click here if you would like to see this Graeme Street video. The site says you can take the test anytime within the next five days but the link has been up for about two months. The test itself is free but it also serves as a promo to Street’s training systems.
Regardless of whether you use this video or decide to do it on your own, an FTP test is well worth doing. I’ll elaborate in a future post on how it impacted my riding.