The First Few Workouts

In this post I would like to discuss the first few workouts I have done on the CompuTrainer. In the interest of getting myself caught up with current workouts, I will present the data from all of the workouts I have done so far.

On Thursday October 17th I planned a workout consisting of 8 x 30 seconds @ 465w with 1.5 minutes recovery. Prior to acquiring a CompuTrainer I would never have dreamed of creating a workout holding this high of wattage for this long. I didn’t want to push my luck, so I decided to keep the number of repeats low, so I could see how my body reacted. Here is the graph of the workout results, followed by the time spent in each of Coggan’s Zones (programmed to the wattages I determined in the post on Training Zones).

Graph of October 17th


Zones from October 17th

My intention in this workout was to spend 8 x 30 seconds (4 minutes) in ANAEROBIC CAPACITY. Being cautious, I set the load on the CompuTrainer to be 465w i.e. the very beginning of the ANAEROBIC CAPACITY zone for me. It is because of this that I only spent 1 minute and 12 seconds of the intended 4 minutes in ANAEROBIC CAPACITY and the remaining 3 minutes or so in either VO2MAX (2:25) or LACTATE THRESHOLD (0:16). In subsequent workouts I would have to take this into consideration if I want to spend more time in the intended zone i.e. by setting the load on the CompuTrainer to be a bit higher than the beginning of the intended zone. Additionally, with the free mental energy I used to expend focusing on actually holding the wattage (on a standard indoor-trainer) I found this workout rather easy. So, I knew I could plan to go a bit deeper into the ANAEROBIC CAPACITY zone in the next workout.

On Monday October 21st I planned a workout consisting of 8 x (30 seconds @ 500w with 1.5 minutes recovery to 1.5 minutes @ 420w with 1.5 minutes recovery). So, the intention was to spend 4 minutes in ANAEROBIC CAPACITY (500w) and 12 minutes in V02MAX (420W). In both instances, the load I programmed the CompuTrainer to hold was well inside the intended zones. Here is a graph of the results followed by the actual time spent in each zone:

Graph from October 21st


Zones from October 21st

As you can see, I was much closer to my intentions this time round i.e. I spent 3 minutes and 43 seconds in ANAEROBIC CAPACITY (intended on 4 minutes), and 11 minutes and 13 seconds in VO2MAX (intended on 12 minutes). I think part of the reason for not hitting the numbers dead on is because I’m still not completely used to how the CompuTrainer works. My RPMs are varying quite a bit over the interval and it is difficult for the CompuTrainer to hold a constant load under these conditions. Overall though, I was happy with the outcome of this workout. It is only the beginning of the season and I am already doing workouts that would have been very difficult to do without the help of the CompuTrainer.

On Thursday October 24th I intended on doing 4 x (1 minute @ 465w with 2 minutes recovery to 45 seconds @ 475w with 1.5 minutes recovery to 30 seconds @ 485w with 1 minute recovery to 15 seconds @ 495w with 30 seconds recovery). So, the intention here was to spend 10 minutes at ANAEROBIC CAPACITY. Here is the graph of the results followed by the time spent in each zone:

Graph of October 24th


Zones from October 24th

As you can see, I was less successful in spending the desired time in ANAEROBIC CAPACITY. I spent 6 minutes and 7 seconds in ANAEROBIC CAPACITY (intention was 10), 3 minutes and 29 seconds in (VO2MAX) and 47 seconds in (LACTATE THRESHOLD). I would attribute a great deal of this to the fact that my longest interval (4 minutes @ 465w) was right on the border of ANAEROBIC CAPACITY and VO2MAX. With hindsight, I perhaps should have started the initial interval at 485w and moved up 10w each interval from there. But, I had OUA Cross Country on Saturday (which I was training through) so I didn’t want to push my luck too much, as we (McMaster) were hoping to get our first team medal in over a decade (and succeeded with a silver).

Finally, on Monday October 28th I intended on doing 20 x 30 seconds @ 510w. Admittedly, I was unsure if I would be able to do this one. 500w+ intervals were virtually nonexistent in my training last season, mainly due to the absence of a CompuTrainer. The intention here was to spend 10 minutes in ANAEROBIC CAPACITY. Here is a graph of the results followed by the time spent in each zone:

Graph of October 28th


Zones from October 28th

As you can see, I was able to get much closer to my intentions. I spent 9 minutes and 10 seconds in ANAEROBIC CAPACITY (intention was 10 minutes), 24 seconds in VO2MAX and 32 seconds in LACTATE THRESHOLD. Considering I did twenty intervals, much of the reason for not hitting the intended 10 minutes in ANAEROBIC CAPACITY was due to accelerating up to the 510w load. At two seconds of acceleration per interval, this would account for forty seconds of the discrepancy. Overall, I was very happy with the result. The workout was a bit painful from intervals 10-15, but otherwise it was not that bad. You will notice in the graph that I now have heart rate alongside the CompuTrainer data. I saved up my pennies and bought a Polar heart rate monitor, so all workouts from now on will have heart rate (thanks Gary Hutchinson!). An interesting observation in this workout is how both the peaks and valleys of the heart rate rise steadily from intervals 1 to 20. This is completely expected, just a bit of a surprise as to how predictable the body actually is.

Some of the important things I learned from these workouts are as follows. First, you should program the CompuTrainer to hold wattages quite a ways inside the zone you are hoping to stress, otherwise you may find yourself spending a lot of time in a zone you did not intend on stressing. Secondly, try and maintain a steady cadence throughout the interval so that the CompuTrainer has an easier time giving you the desired load. Third, don’t be afraid to write up a challenging workout. The CompuTrainer frees up a lot of mental energy and you just might surprise yourself with the outputs you are now able to hold.

I am now up to speed, so from now on I will post a shorter entry after I complete a workout. Additionally, after CIS cross-country I will also start logging my run training (and do the same sort of analysis) on here. The reason for not starting now, is that I would like to take the same approach I have with the biking. I.e. determine my training zones, present my logic for the season plan etc. I am at the very end of my 2013 run training season as we speak, so once it is done I will begin documenting 2014 in its entirety.