Well after the usual excessive festive period there was lots of hard work to do ready for the 2016 season. My weight had peaked at 91.6kg and I had drank far too much!!
I decided to do the dry-January challenge just to readdress the balance and loose some of the excess fat. At the time of starting to write this I have got 5 days left so nearly there! As I finish its the 1st of Feb and I have successfully gone the month with no booze.
I also started following Joe Wicks and his #leanin15 which is basically a healthy eating plan with recipes that only take 15mins to cook. Now there is nothing new in this eating theory and no fad involved, its just involves eating healthy home cooked food. He does however limit carb intake which is fine for somebody who does not train but for me its not quite enough so I have to adapt it. Something that he does that I already found works is eating protein and veg for breakfast rather than sugary cereals. Eggs, salmon, broccoli, spinach are staple most mornings unless a big ride planned then I would have porridge.
My training over the last 4 weeks has still been in the base period and thus building aerobic fitness. The first week back in training was just traditional base so steady rides in zone2 with plenty of volume which worked well after the heavy festive period. The following 3 weeks were sweetspot base so still plenty of base volume but with the added intensity of sweetspot sessions to further build that muscular endurance. This is basically the ability to apply force to the pedals for a sustained period of time and one of the most important cycling abilities for all riders. I built up to the staple 2 x 20min @ sweetspot with 5min recovery between which is a great session to add to your weekly plan.
After a run of punctures on my single speed I had decided to change to Tanus solid tires so I don’t have to worry about stopping to change the tube especially when the weather is cold and wet. They are a great idea and no problem with the comfort of the ride however they are noticeably slower to ride, combine this with my 74inch gear and it becomes a tough ride.
My usual rest week came at the end of the 4 week block and I used this opportunity do do some high cadence drills with low resistance on the turbo and the usual Sunday endurance ride although it was slightly tougher than normal due to the hills involved as I rode out to the coast.
I decided to do my FTP test on the Monday just due to work schedule and felt good going into it however it soon become apparent that I was going to struggle to hit the numbers and I could only hold 364watts for the 5mins. My legs just felt heavy from the start so whether it was the long ride I done the day before, general fatigue or just not feeling it for some reason, who knows. I did not give up and went on to complete the FTP part of the test and ended up with a figure of 272watts which is only just above where I started 4 months ago!
After 3 months of gains I was naturally disappointed but as with every test you cannot treat that as the be all and end all of your fitness as there are many factors that can influence it which is why its so important to test regularly and look for trends rather than focusing on one test as It may just be a blip and the next time it could be back up so I am not too worried.
There is also another interesting trend when I started to analyse the numbers, my heart rate average for the test was a whole 10beats lower at 159bpm than when I started my plan which basically means I have become more efficient which is essential for my longer rides/races. I just need to gain some of my top end power back again which should be achievable over the coming few weeks once I start training at that intensity, its much quicker to gain than the base fitness.
My plan for the next month is to continue a full period of sweetspot base but with the introduction of one v02 max workout per week in addition. These will not be hard v02 sessions and only around 30sec-3min intervals but will act as an introduction to them and will be based on my current zones which are slightly lower than previous.
Happy training and remember the season will soon be here so don’t put off those harder sessions!
My stats (Jan 16)
272 FTP, 3.02 w/kg – down 25 watts
14st 2lb (89.8kg) – down 6lb
24.2% fat – down 0.6%