With another year of training underway, I decided to create some baselines to work with. This involved figuring out my specific zones for each discipline. I have sort of done this in the past, but never really knew what I was doing or really used the results beyond the test. However, now that I have a power meter, I figure that I better actually make the most of it.
There are numerous different ways to calculate your power & heart rate zones and I decided on using Joe Friel’s method which you can read about here in detail if you want.
I did the bike test first. This involved 30 minutes of pure pain on the trainer last week – 20 minute warm up, 30 minute time trial, and then a 10 minute cool down. Using the Friel method, your FTP is your average power over the 30 minute time trial. A lot of methods use a 20 minute time trial effort and then taking 95% of your average power as your FTP. In the end, both test appear to have given similar results.
You can see where the pain occurred.
I definitely started out too hard and then began to fade off a bit towards the end. Also, I couldn’t seem to find a single gear to hold. In one I would struggle to keep 90RPM and the other I was spinning out at 105RPM. So, I started to switch back and forth between gears each minute as you can see by the peaks and valleys.
In the end, I finished with an FTP of 275W and a power to weight ratio of 3.7 which puts me in the range of a “good” Cat 3 rider. I’ll take it!
Broken down, my new power zones are as follows:
Zone 1: 151 or less
Zone 2: 151 – 203
Zone 3: 204 – 244
Zone 4: 145 – 289
Zone 5: 290 – 330
Zone 6: 330 +
I have an outdoor time trial this weekend and it will be interesting to see how my numbers compare in an outdoor, race setting.
There was a minor fail I the test though. I forgot to wear my HRM. Doh! With the power data, I shouldn’t have to worry about HR zones too much on the bike, but it would have still been good to have.
As for the running test, I did that tonight on the treadmill. The Friel method also uses a 30 minute test for the run. However, with the run test, the first 10 minutes of the test are thrown out and only the final 20 minutes are used.
I started off with a 15 minute warmup at 8min/mile pace before ramping it up to a 7min/mile pace. Then, for next 30 minutes, I bumped up the pace gradually every 5 minutes until finishing at a 6min/mile pace.
In the end, I finished with an average heart rate of 157bpm for the final 20 minutes.
Using Friel’s calculations, my new heart rate zones are as follows:
Zone 1: 0 – 133
Zone 2: 133 - 140
Zone 3: 141 – 147
Zone 4: 148 – 155
Zone 5a: 157 – 160
Zone 5b: 161 – 166
Zone 5c: 167 +
I hadn’t planned on doing a swim test, but I actually realized that I did one without knowing it. The Friel method recommends doing a 1,000yd time trial and dividing your time by 10 to calculate your T-time. As luck would have it, I just recently did an indoor triathlon with a 15 minute all out swim. I was timing my own laps using my stopwatch and hit the 1000 mark in 14:15. That puts me at a T-Pace of 1:26/100 yards.
So, testing is complete. Time to
start continue to build!
Do you do FTP or HR testing? If so, what method do you use? How often do you repeat the tests?