If I was as fast as Dave Zabriskie, I wouldn’t worry too much about testing for my upcoming triathlons. But since I’m not one of the world’s fastest time trialists, I guess I’ll stick to the testing protocols to measure my performance.
This past Wednesday I had my first such test. Nothing too crazy, but a simple 8 mile time trial following a warmup. It should be noted that the only reason it was 8 miles rather than say, a 10K, is because the road I was using doesn’t have a turnaround for four miles.
Overall, my performance was decent considering it was my first such test and I haven’t really focused in on my threshold training on the bike yet. I averaged 242 watts and 19.8 mph on the way down and 232 watts and 23.2 mph on the way back for an average of about 237 watts and 21.4 mph. There was a slight headwind on the way down which subsequently transformed into a tailwind on the way back which explains the slightly faster speeds despite the lower wattage.
The point of all this nonsense is twofold. First: I wish I was a faster cyclist. Second, nothing comes without a little hard work. At first I was discouraged by these results; I was starting to struggle towards the end of the test and the speed/wattage is still well below where I’d like to be.
Then I realized something: my training is realistically only about two and a half months in and I spent the first half a month not really “training” but rather trying to get back into the routine of working out on a daily basis. I started looking back to some of my earlier rides and runs to see the improvements. The average speed on my endurance rides has gone up by about four miles an hour at the same heart rate over longer distances and the pace of my endurance runs has dropped by about 1:30 a mile at the same heart rate over longer distances. Overall I’d say I’ve made pretty decent progress over the last two months.
Now, as the date for my first race is just under three months out and I’m about to enter my third base period, I’m going to start increasing the frequency with which I work at my threshold, especially on the bike. I’ve already been including threshold work on some of my run workouts and I’ve seen the results come through on my other runs. I’m hoping a focus on threshold work on the bike will yield similar results. It’s one thing to average 21.4 mph over the course of 8 miles…doing it over the course of a 40K race is a whole different animal.
On a side note…if I end up buying a computrainer again in the next month or two, don’t be too surprised.