Week in Review (Build 1, Phase 3, Week 2)

This week was a bit disappointing. First off, towards the end of the week I had some obligations, so I knew training was going to suffer those days. I tried to plan around this though and got in a good chunk of training at the beginning of the week. I was headed to Windsor/Harrow (my home town) from Thursday until Monday and I had my girlfriend bring my bike and CompuTrainer down with her when she arrived on Saturday. I don’t know what happened, but when I plugged the CompuTrainer into my small laptop I had a very different experience from previous times. Suddenly the wattages I was holding previously were extremely difficult and the powermeter on my bike was reading over 30 watts higher than what the CompuTrainer was apparently holding. When I first got the CompuTrainer I had to call and have them explain to me how to edit the rider settings so that the heart-rate alarms would stop going off when my heart-rate went over 100. I only did this on my desktop (the computer I use the CompuTrainer on 99% of the time) so I think this may have had something to do with this, as the hear-rate alarms were going off the entire duration. For future purposes, I will call and write the process down so that I can do this on any different computers that I use. That being said, I got burned really bad on the workout done with my small laptop computer (Monday December 9th).

First off, here is what I intended on doing this week:

Tuesday December 3rd: OFF

Wednesday December 4th: 60 minutes @ ENDURANCE

Thursday December 5th: 3 x (12 minutes @365w with 5 minutes recovery to 2 minutes @420w with 2 minutes recovery) (85 minutes total)

Friday December 6th: OFF

Saturday December 7th: 60 minutes @ ENDURANCE

Sunday December 8th: 105 minutes @ ENDURANCE

Monday December 9th: 3 x 15 minutes @ 365w with 5 minutes recovery (85 minutes total)

The week started off really well. I have reached the max duration (60 minutes) for my shorter ENDURANCE rides. On Wednesday, I held about 265w for the 60 minutes and had almost no heart rate creep. Any creep you do see is likely because I increased the wattage progressively as the ride went on. Here is a graph of the ride:

60 Minutes at ENDURANCE

On Thursday I successfully completed the intended workout of 3 times through 12 minutes @ 365w to 2 minutes @ 420w. This workout surprisingly was not that difficult. Interestingly, I can handle 2 minute intervals at Vo2Max, but anything over that and I really start to struggle. This was a good confidence boost. Here is a graph of the results:

Thursday's Workout

Unfortunately, things started to go downhill after that. On Wednesday I woke up with a bit of a pain in my knee. I am still very early into my run training and I may have pushed it a bit too hard on the downhill section of my long run on Tuesday. That being said, after pushing through a painful 4 kilometres on Friday, and then a painful 10 kilometres on Saturday, I decided to scrap the 60 minute ENDURANCE ride I had planned for Saturday night. Sunday I did manage to get in my long ride, but unfortunately I forgot to pack my heart-rate monitor, so there is not much interesting data to present there. Here is the graph regardless (I left the RPMs on to give it some substance):

Sunday Long Ride

I have been riding at around 245w for the long ride. I will continue to do this until there is virtually no heart-rate creep. I have a suspicion that there would have been very little in this ride, but I won’t know for certain until next week. On Monday I had the odd experience I described at the beginning of this post. About a third of the way through the second 15 minute interval I had to abandon ship. My logic was that I would be better off doing the workout the next day (Tuesday) instead of failing miserable for another half an hour. Here is a graph of the results anyways:

Monday's Workout

Overall, the week ended on a disappointing note. When you are in a good training rhythm and you are sidelined by technical difficulties and injury it can be very disheartening. Unfortunately, due to stupid decisions, I will have to take a few days off of running now. Fortunately, it is still very early in the season, and I have come to find that these sorts of situations are often a blessing in disguise in terms of added recovery time.


Sweet Redemption!

I am writing this post immediately after a workout as I am feeling inspired. First off, I intended on doing a hard workout on Wednesday October 30th. The workout was to consist of:

  • 1 minute @480w with 2 minutes recovery to 2 minutes @420w with 2 minutes recovery to
  • 1 minute @490w with 2 minutes recovery to 2 minutes @430w with 2 minutes recovery to
  • 1 minute @500w with 2 minutes recovery to 2 minutes @440w with 2 minutes recovery to
  • 1 minute @510w with 2 minutes recovery to 2 minutes @450w with 2 minutes recovery

I must mention that on Saturday October 26th I raced OUA cross country, then immediately after I went to Mississauga to speak at the OAT banquet (which I had been stressing out about for a few days prior). Then on Sunday and most of Monday I crammed hardcore for a midterm on Monday night. Then all day Tuesday and early Wednesday I worked nonstop on a presentation due on Wednesday morning in one of my fourth year classes. I felt absolutely terrible all day Wednesday, but I decided to go through with the workout anyway, motivating myself with the mantra: “No Excuses!”

The workout started out okay, but by the end of the first 2 minute interval (@420w) I knew it was going to be extremely challenging, if not impossible. I kept pushing anyway. By the end of the second 2 minute interval (@430w) I was starting to feel nauseous. On the third 1 minute interval (@500w) my cadence dropped significantly and I almost lost it. Then, on the fourth 1 minute interval (@510w) I finally got “burned” (to quote Thierry Guertin!). With about 15s to go in the interval, my cadence dropped so much that I couldn’t push the pedals anymore!! It was terrible! I tried to psych myself back up in the recovery period but things were going downhill fast. About 1 minute into the fourth 2 minute interval (@450w) I got burned again. I almost gave up and stopped trying to pedal, but fortunately, the CompuTrainer released the force for a few seconds allowing me to get the cadence up to a decent clip before resuming the load, and I gave it another shot. But, after about 10 seconds, I got burned again. Once again, I resumed pedalling to the best of my ability and was able to finish the interval, with an average much lower than the intended 450w (390w according to TrainingPeaks!). I put my head down on the handlebars and nearly puked afterwards. I felt about ten times worse after the workout than I felt before. Here is a graph of the results:

October 30th Workout

The next day I awoke with a pounding headache and felt much the same as the day before. I had a run workout planned (8x1k to 3k tempo) and decided I would do it off the bike (40 minutes at EASY). I felt poor on the bike but then started to feel very woozy when I got out for the run. By the fourth of the 1k repeats I had to stop. I ran a 3:40 kilometre!!!! In the summertime I had a few 25k long runs where I averaged 3:40 per kilometre for the entire run!! I decided to call it quits and jog the 6 kilometres home. About two kilometres down the road I got so nauseous that I had to stop and puke. I knew then that something was wrong. After a very long jog I decided to go to the clinic to get checked out.

Fortunately there was very little line and I got in almost immediately. The doctor was very nice and told me that it appears there is nothing wrong with me. The only thing he thought it might be is that my blood pressure may have been lower than usual for some reason (which apparently can cause feelings of nausea and a general awkward feeling in your body). As a precaution he sent me for blood work and urinalysis. I decided I would wait for the results to come back, and if they came back normal I would chalk it up as a bug.

The next day I felt 100 times better. I didn’t want to push my luck so I took the entire day off. Saturday I felt good as well, and decided to take the entire day off as well. Today, Sunday November 3rd, I decided it was time to get back to training. I intended on doing a 1 hour 10 minute long ride. I wrote a challenging bike workout for my girlfriend to do on the CompuTrainer and I coached her through it. It was very inspiring to watch. She wanted to quit on several occasions, and was moaning and groaning in agony, but kept pushing herself onwards. She completed the workout and every interval in it. It inspired me very much, so I decided I would repeat the Wednesday October 30th workout. The only catch was that as punishment for the weakness I showed on Wednesday, I would increase all of the wattages by 10w. So here is the workout I intended on doing:

  • 1 minute @490w with 2 minutes recovery to 2 minutes @430w with 2 minutes recovery to
  • 1 minute @500w with 2 minutes recovery to 2 minutes @440w with 2 minutes recovery to
  • 1 minute @510w with 2 minutes recovery to 2 minutes @450w with 2 minutes recovery to
  • 1 minute @520w with 2 minutes recovery to 2 minutes @460w with 2 minutes recovery

This time the workout went much differently. From the get go I was feeling much stronger. I was able to make it halfway through the second 2 minute interval (@440w) talking to my girlfriend (admittedly, hyping myself up talking about the Ironman 70.3 World Championship). I hit the wall pretty hard on the second half of the workout. But, I never got burned!! My cadence dropped a bit on the fourth 1 minuter (@520w) to about 77 RPM, but I was able to keep the pedals turning. The fourth 2 minute interval (@460w) was VERY challenging, and I achieved a max heart rate of 170 BPM (which is quite high for me) but I was able to complete the workout in its entirety! It was a very satisfying feeling! Here is a graph of the results:

November 3rd Workout

I definitely learned something about myself this week. I can no longer handle the stress of procrastination like I used to be able to! In the past, it has been nothing for me to start studying for a midterm two days out, and then do fairly well. This time round was very stressful, and I think I became ill because of it. I am now undertaking the necessary changes in my scheduling so that I do not have to push my mind and body to this extent again (with the exception of racing!)!

Major thanks to my girlfriend Erin for the inspiration!!

Initial Difficulties

In this post I will discuss the difficulties I first encountered with the CompuTrainer and explain how I resolved them. First, I would like to present the TrainingPeaks version of the graph of my FTP test data from my Garmin 500. In my post on the FTP test I presented the graph drawn up by Garmin Training Centre and it auto-smoothed the data giving it a bit of a cyclical appearance. Just for you Thierry, I upgraded to a Premium TrainingPeaks membership so I could zoom in on the data. The effect seems to be completely gone:

Garmin 500 Data in Training Peaks

On a related note, TrainingPeaks Premium is so cool! If you like numbers, you will not be disappointed!

A large part of this blog will be devoted to documenting my entire experience on the CompuTrainer- the good, the bad and the ugly. So, from the get go I will be completely honest. I was very overwhelmed by the software. I felt like I had went back about fifteen years into the past. My grandfather was an electronics technician, and I remember quite vividly going over to his house on many occasions and him having those big grey magnifying glasses on while he was soldering things onto a motherboard. That being said, I was exposed to computers at a very young age, so young I can still remember using 5-1/4” floppys- when floppys were actually floppy; and having to navigate via MS-DOS Prompt. But, it has been quite a while since those days now, and my university experience has not required me to take any courses in programming.

I say this because I awoke on Thursday October 17th ready and motivated to do 8x30s at 465 watts with a minute and a half recovery. Being someone who doesn’t read user-manuals I immediately turned on the CompuTrainer and expected to be doing this workout within a few minutes. I did a quick Google search and discovered that I would have to use the CompuTrainer Coaching Software, so I installed it. And then the blast from the past happened. I opened it and this was what I saw:

CS Main Menu

There was no button I could click to tell it to do 8x30s at 465w with a minute and a half recovery!!! So I delved a little deeper and discovered that I would have to either pay $75 for software through TrainingPeaks that would allow me to write this workout, or I would have to learn the syntax of the CompuTrainer CS software and write the workout myself by hand in Wordpad. Being cheap, I chose the latter. But, avoiding the manual at all costs, I tried to search for a free way to do this without having to teach myself something new. Here is a link to a little program that does an okay job of doing this:

There are limitations to that program though; for instance, you cannot tell it to start at 0 watts and gradually increase to 200 watts over the span of ten minutes. Eventually, I caved and read the six sentences or so in the manual that explains how to do this yourself. I felt like a bit of a fool afterwards because it really is quite easy. I will briefly explain how to do it, but I would recommend reading the six sentences in the manual that eloquently explain the process.

First off, if you want to do a workout, you have to click on the “source” menu and then make sure “real time” is selected. Once you have done this you then click on the “start” menu and then click “charts.”At this point the CompuTrainer must be on and connected to the computer. A box will then pop up asking you to select a file. This particular aspect of the software runs files of the .erg extension. To create a file with this extension all you have to do is open a new Wordpad document and then write the name of the file followed by the .erg extension. So for example: CompuTrainerFile.erg.

Now that you have a blank .erg file all you have to do is type this template into it:


Next, in between the “course data” and “end course data” sections you must type out every instance of your workout. The format that the software accepts is as follows. Say you want to start with a load of 0 and to increase the load to 200 watts gradually for 10 minutes. The CompuTrainer will do this if you type this:

Warmup Example

From left to right, top to bottom it reads: “at time 0 start at 0 watts and then constantly increase the wattage until the 10th minute at which point I want the wattage to be 200.”

That is basically it. So let’s say after your 10 minute warmup you want to do 2x5m at 300 watts with 2 minutes recovery in between at 100 watts. It would look like this:

Workout Example

So far, I can’t really think of any workout I would ever want to do where this simple formula wouldn’t work. If you’ve got the money, then I’d probably recommend investing in TrainingPeaks Erg+ software which does this whole process for you, all you have to do is tell it the workout you want to do.

Once I learned how to write up a workout and finally got onto the CompuTrainer to do it, I was completely blown away by how amazing it is. You don’t have to think about anything. You can just spin your legs and suddenly the load is 500 watts and all you have to focus on is keeping the legs turning for the next 30 seconds. There is no way to describe it other than amazing. You don’t realize how much energy you expend when you have to focus on holding the power at a particular wattage. The CompuTrainer frees up a ton of energy and allows you to just focus on what matters: working hard!! I totally see how and why the people at CompuTrainer offer a Performance Improvement Guarantee. I am already doing workouts that I would never have been able to do on a standard indoor set-up.

What I find really interesting about the CompuTrainer is that you really have no choice whether or not you are going to do the workout you planned on doing. Well, that’s not entirely true…either you do it, or you don’t do it at all. Unlike the standard indoor trainer where if you’re not feeling it that day you have the option of holding a lesser wattage, the CompuTrainer gives you the load and you must push it. If it’s too much, then your cadence will slow down so much that it will be impossible to push. I am already tempted to write up some insane workouts and see if I can even do it. A new issue I am battling with now is that workouts are so much fun! I did a workout this morning, and right now at 10:30 p.m. I am looking over at the bike contemplating doing another one. It very much reminds me of playing a video game.

In my next post I will describe the first couple of workouts I did and discuss the changes to my training plan that occurred afterwards.

Phases of First Build

In this post I thought I would describe my bike training for the next six months, and attempt to justify my methods. As I mentioned in my last post, I follow Jack Daniels’ Running Formula for my run training. In his section on “the season plan” he recommends four phases in the build up to a race. I am training for a half-marathon (off the bike), so I am looking at the corresponding training phases of this type of event. Phase 1 is comprised mainly of EASY paced runs and eventually some strides. In phase 1 you are increasing the mileage and allowing your body to adapt to running for progressively longer periods of time. Phase 2 should have a primary emphasis on REPETITION and INTERVAL paces, with only a secondary focus on THRESHOLD pace. Phase 3 should have an emphasis on INTERVAL pace with only a secondary focus on THRESHOLD pace. Phase 4 should have an emphasis on THRESHOLD pace. I discussed the meaning of these terms in my last post.

I have followed this formula for about two years now with my running and have seen a steady increase in performance as a byproduct. When I got equipped with power on my bike it was only natural that I would follow the same type of formula. Using Coggan’s terminology here is what Daniels’ four phases look like to me:

  • Phase 1: Emphasis on ENDURANCE and ACTIVE RECOVERY wattages with short NEUROMUSCULAR POWER bursts added in during later stages of the phase.
  • Phase 2: Emphasis on ANAEROBIC CAPACITY with a secondary focus on VO2MAX wattages.
  • Phase 3: Emphasis on VO2MAX wattages with a secondary focus on LACTATE THRESHOLD wattages.
  • Phase 4: Emphasis on LACTATE THRESHOLD wattages.

I should mention that from experience and preference I have developed phase 4 to have a primary focus on LACTATE THRESHOLD, and start with a secondary focus on VO2MAX, but as phase 4 comes to a close the secondary focus shifts to ANAEROBIC CAPACITY.

I have started my bike training with a 2.5 month build that will end on December 31st with another FTP test. In my mind, I am pretending to train for a 60k time-trial. My second build will start on January 1st and will be for a real 90k time-trial i.e. the U.S. Pro Championship on May 3rd.

Biking is my main mode of transportation. On Monday and Friday I coach across town, which is a total ride of about 22 kilometres, and on Wednesday and Saturday the commute to and from coaching is about 16 kilometres. Thus, I estimate I travel by bicycle an average of 80-100 kilometres per week just in commute. It is for this reason that I begin my first build in my bike training plan with a blend of Phase 1 and Phase 2. I do not feel it necessary to have a phase entirely dedicated to ENDURANCE and ACTIVE RECOVERY biking. I have taken about a month off from bike workouts (after Muskoka 70.3), but I have probably travelled around 400 kilometres by bike in that time. So, the first phase in my first build will have an ENDURANCE and ANAEROBIC CAPICITY emphasis, with a secondary focus on VO2MAX.

I started this first build on Tuesday October 15th, and it will end on Tuesday December 31st, so this means I have about 11 weeks to train (77 days). From experience, I see my biggest gains in phase 4 (LACTATE THRESHOLD emphasis), likely because this is closer to the physiological demands of the particular kind of racing I am doing. That being said, I have chosen to spend three weeks in a blend of phase 1 and 2 (Tuesday October 15th to Monday November 4th); three weeks in phase 3 (Tuesday November 5th to Monday November 25th); and five weeks in phase 4 (Tuesday November 26th to Monday December 30th).

The first week of training looked like this:

Tuesday October 15th: FTP test (50m total)

Wednesday October 16th: 30m bike avg. 231w

Thursday October 17th: 8 x 30 seconds @ 465w with 1.5m recovery (42m total)

Friday October 18th: OFF

Saturday October 19th: OFF

Sunday October 20th: 30m bike avg. 220w

Monday October 21st: 8x(30s @ 500w with 1m recovery to 1.5m @ 420w with 1.5m recovery) (65m total)

As you can see, the total time spent on the bike was 217 minutes. The main part of the FTP test was 20 minutes at 408w, which falls into the VO2MAX zone. Additionally, I spent 8 x 1.5 minutes at 420w, which also falls into the VO2MAX zone. Thus, I spent 32 minutes at VO2MAX, which is about 15% of my weekly mileage. I spent 8 x 30s at 465w, as well as 8 x 30s at 500w, which means I spent about 8 minutes at ANAEROBIC CAPACITY, which is about 4% of my weekly mileage. I spent 30 minutes at 231w, as well as another 30m at 220w, so I spent about 60 minutes in the ENDURANCE zone, or about 28% of my weekly mileage. Finally, the remaining 117 minutes was spent mostly in the ACTIVE RECOVERY zone. Here is what I just calculated in chart form:


Time spent in minutes

% of weekly mileage

Active Recovery









Lactate Threshold






Anaerobic Capacity



Neuromuscular Power



Keep in mind that these are just approximations based on the wattages I programmed the CompuTrainer to hold. It is very unlikely that I actually spent zero minutes in the LACTATE THRESHOLD zone because at the very least I would have had to have passed through it to get into VO2MAX. If you need more accuracy than this you’ll be happy to know that TrainingPeaks determines the exact time spent in every zone, including the few seconds you may spend accelerating to a zone. At a later date I may switch over to TrainingPeaks’ more precise data analysis tools, but for now a pencil and calculator is my preference.

The last thing I would like to mention is that even though ANAEROBIC CAPACITY only made up about 4% of my weekly mileage, this was still predominantly the focus. This wattage is very taxing, and even at the end of this phase, the most I will get up to is 8-10% of weekly mileage. The point is that the workouts in this first phase will be either purely in the ANAEROBIC CAPACITY zone (like Thursday’s workout) or will have a large ANAEROBIC CAPACITY component (like in Monday’s workout).

In my next post I will describe the difficulties I encountered with respect to the CompuTrainer, when attempting to do the two workouts I mentioned above. Soon after I will do another post on the actual results of the workouts and discuss any adjustments that should be made to the training plan based on the results.

Training Zones

First off, I made in error in my last post. I am utilizing a Garmin 500 on my bike, not a Garmin 405 (that is what I use for running). Additionally, I forgot to mention that immediately prior to the FTP test I weighed in at 159.4 lbs.

Now, this time round I would like to determine my training zones that I will utilize for the next 2.5 months. First, I should mention that my first encounter with the scientific basis of training came when my friend Gary Hutchinson introduced me to the book Jack Daniels’ Running Formula. I now look at everything related to training through that lens. In Daniels’ book he claims there are basically four paces in running (one more when prepping for a marathon). First is EASY, which is “59-74% of Vo2Max.” From my experience, EASY pace is not all that easy…in fact, I only had one week this year where I was able to hit the EASY pace for all of my easy runs. EASY is much different then joy running or active recovery jogging. The second pace is THRESHOLD, which is “85-88% of Vo2Max.” For an adult, this is approximately the maximum pace you can hold for an hour. Third is INTERVAL, which is “95-100% of Vo2Max.” If you’re an adult in decent shape, this is approximately the maximum pace you can hold for 5 kilometres. Forth is REPETITION, which is considerably faster than INTERVAL. For a distance runner, this is about one notch under an all-out sprint.

I mention this because Coggan’s seven zones most closely resemble this- and so I think I may be partial to his training philosophy. As a side note, I think Coggan’s zones (listed in the link) better depict running than does Daniels’ zones. For instance, if Daniels’ included Coggan’s Zone 7, he could perhaps change the subtitle of his book to “Proven programs 100m to the marathon.” Anyways, Coggan’s zones are what I use in bike training.

In order to calculate what your zones are all you need is your FTP and a calculator. The first zone is ACTIVE RECOVERY, which he defines to be any wattage less than 55% of your FTP. My FTP is 387w, so: .55 x 387 = 213w. Therefore, I am riding at ACTIVE RECOVERY pace anytime I am below 213w. The second zone is ENDURANCE, which is defined to be 56-75% of FTP. For me that would be: .56 x 387 = 216 and .75 x 387 = 290. You’ll notice that there is a gap between the high end of ACTIVE RECOVERY (213w) and the low end of ENDURANCE (216w). This would have been eliminated if I had kept more decimal points in my FTP, but for my purposes I am cool with just rounding the low end of ENDURANCE pace down to bridge the gap i.e. I am riding at ENDURANCE pace when I am between 214w and 290w. The third zone is TEMPO and is defined as 76-90% of FTP. For me this is 291-348w. The fourth zone is LACTATE THRESHOLD, which is defined as 91-105% of FTP. For me this is 349-406w. The fifth zone is VO2MAX, which is defined as 106-120% FTP. For me this is 407-464w. The sixth zone is ANAEROBIC CAPACITY, which is defined as 121-150% of FTP. For me this is 465-581w. The seventh zone is NEUROMUSCULAR POWER, which is undefined in Coggan and Allen’s book, but I define as all-out.

I find it helpful to have at least a slight mental image of what is going on physiologically when you are training in each zone. As a wise-man once told me: “you need to train deliberately and purposefully.” Thus, I often refer to the chart explaining the adaptations which occur while training in each zone (found in Training and Racing with a Power Meter) before I begin a workout (a different chart with the same explanations can be found at the bottom of the page this sentence is hyperlinked to). These zones will become your new best friend, so I suggest converting them into a chart and printing several copies. I prefer to write by hand than to type, so here is a scan of the chart I made with my training zones:

Scan of Training Zone Wattages

In my next post I will explain my logic for the first block in the first phase of my bike training. This phase will last three weeks and started last Tuesday with the FTP test. I will quickly follow this with another post explaining my first workout on the CompuTrainer and the difficulties I experienced. I will say, that once the difficulties have been resolved (i.e. you achieve a certain level of competency with the CompuTrainer) it is singly the most amazing biking tool I have encountered. I now totally see why and how CompuTrainer offers a Performance Improvement Guarantee.

By the way, check out this sick set up (shout out to my girlfriend for letting me turn our one bedroom apartment into a bachelor pad with a training studio):

Shot of Projctor Screen

FTP Test

Today marks day one of my build up on the bike to the Ironman 70.3 U.S. Pro Championship in St. George, Utah. I haven’t done any training since Muskoka 70.3 on September 8th, so I thought it would be best to start with a test to determine where my Functional Threshold Power currently is. In my last post I said that I would follow Coggan and Allen’s FTP testing protocol, which in a nutshell consists of a 5 minute all-out effort followed by a 20 minute effort holding the highest wattage possible, and then taking 95% of the average wattage of the 20 minute hard effort to be your FTP. I decided I would alter this a bit to keep my training log consistent. The last time I performed an FTP test was December 26th, 2012. In that particular instance I warmed up for 20 minutes and then held the highest wattage possible for 20 minutes. I then took 95% of the average wattage over the 20 minutes to be my FTP. During that test I held 373w. This works out to an approximate FTP of 355w (.95×373=355). I decided to repeat this exact same procedure today.

First off, I should mention that I have been wondering about the accuracy of my Quarq Cinqo Saturn powermeter. At Muskoka 70.3 I held about 335w for the 94k bike course (339w normalized). It was good for the fastest bike split of the day. Here is power vs. time from the race:

Muskoka Power

But, I have done some research on wattages from other professional triathletes (Training Peaks has published many files) and know that this is on the higher side. Thus, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to remain sceptical. It doesn’t vary from day to day, so it is alright to use in training, but the numbers may not be meaningful for comparison. Anyways, I am quite confident that the CompuTrainer Lab Model is very accurate and so today I planned on measuring the results of the test with both the CompuTrainer and the Quarq, and finding out once and for all if the Quarq on my bike is accurate.

Additionally, I should mention that I was a bit overwhelmed by just how much the CompuTrainer has to offer. I stayed up until 3 am last night tinkering around with the 3D Course Builder and other fun stuff…it reminds me of the days when I used to play video games…it is very addictive! Also, I ran a new in-practice 10k pb (with the help of my dad’s awesome pacing and encouragement!!) yesterday of 31:24, so I was expecting this to have at least a slight effect on my performance.

First, I aired both front and back tires to 120 psi. I then did a 20 minute warm-up. During this time I ran the CompuTrainer calibration program to ensure utmost accuracy (afterwards there was 3.10 lbs of press-on force). At about 13 minutes into the warm-up my good friend Gary Hutchinson popped into my head and I realized I wasn’t wearing my heart rate monitor, so I hopped off for a second to put it on. After 20 minutes and a few accelerations I started the 20 minute max effort. I chose to do it on a flat 10 mile strip (pre-made in the CompuTrainer Racer One Software package). I started off a bit ambitious and by 5 minutes was averaging around 415w. It started to catch up with me and dropped to around 411w by 10 minutes. From 13 to 17 minutes was quite painful, but I managed to keep the watts fairly steady. Once 20 minutes had passed I paused the course and lapped my Garmin 405, then saved the CompuTrainer data.

I was very pleased with the results. According to the Garmin 405 I averaged 415w for the 20 minutes. According to the CompuTrainer I averaged 408w for the 20 minutes. My average heart rate over the duration was 158 bpm, with the maximum of 169 bpm occurring right at the end of the effort. As you can see the heart rate steadily crept upwards the entire time (Garmin 405 data):

Heart Rate and Power on Garmin

Here is a graph of the CompuTrainer data for the 20 minute hard effort:

CompuTrainer Data Graph

I was very happy to discover that my Quarq Cinqo Saturn powermeter is only off by around 7w. I can live with this, but still have a bit of scepticism. After cooling down I then calculated what I will take to be my FTP. 408x.95=387.6w. This number is VERY important as I will base all of my subsequent workouts and training intensities on it from now until December (when I will taper and repeat this exact same test again).

Over the next couple of days I will write another blog post about how I will utilize my FTP that I determined today to create a chart containing all of my target wattages for bike workouts over the next 2.5 months. Check back on the weekend for this.

Today’s the Day!

Blogging about my journey in the world of triathlon is something I have been meaning to do for several years. Well, today is the day!

My motivation for writing this blog is twofold. First off, I would like to have a place where people who are interested in my journey can go to find the latest happenings in my training and racing. Secondly, I have entered into a partnership with RacerMate, the producer of the industry-leading cycling training device called the CompuTrainer. I thought it would be interesting (and useful) to document my use and progression with the device from day one. Many of the top professional triathletes in the world train on the CompuTrainer, but what is even more interesting is the fact that they offer a Performance Improvement Guarantee! I am excited to spend an entire winter on the device and see what kind of performance gains I can achieve. I plan on documenting my use of the CompuTrainer in its entirety, including wattages, workouts, etc.

One of the cool features of the CompuTrainer is its Interactive Real Course Video. In order to utilize the feature to its fullest extent I have purchased a video projector. Additionally, my understanding girlfriend Erin is allowing me to paint one of the walls in the office/training room white so that I can project the image to a size of about 120”. I haven’t done much biking over past winters, but I have a feeling that this winter it will be difficult NOT to bike!

The next few days will be spent getting familiar with the device, mounting the projector to the roof, painting the wall, etc. but I plan on starting my cycling training on the CompuTrainer on Tuesday. Next season (2014) my main focus will be on qualifying for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Mt. Tremblant, Quebec. My first race in this endeavor will be the U.S. Pro Championship in St. George, Utah. This means that I will need to establish my training wattages for at least the next several months, and I will do this by following Allen and Coggan’s FTP testing protocol. I will perform this test on Tuesday, and that will be the subject of my next post. Check back Wednesday for the results!

Picture with CompuTrainer