Coming from someone who once cried because she thought she’d failed a Max Heart Rate Test – which is basically impossible unless you don’t have a heart rate – I was pretty impressed that I subjected myself, of my own free will, to a Functional Threshold Test using Zwift this morning!
As I mentioned yesterday, Zwift has a load of workouts to choose from that are customised to your individual FTP, which is the highest average power you can hold for 20 minutes (but don’t quote me).
The workout takes you through a good thorough warm up before asking you to ride as hard as you can for 20 minutes. I read a blog post from the lovely FatGirlFit a while ago about her doing an FTP test and I remember thinking I probably wouldn’t be able to ride hard for 20 minutes. How would I judge what the right level was. Honestly, I’d been thinking about this FTP thing for a while but I was just too scared of failing. This is just ridiculous because you cannot actually fail this test. If your FTP is 1w, that’s what it is. Not pass/fail, just where you are right now.
So I thought I’d give it a go. Even when the laptop told me to “ride as hard as you can for 20 minutes” I was still thinking I wouldn’t be able to do it. Craziness. It was tough and sweaty and I wasn’t gently ambling along for those 20 minutes, which is exactly how it should be! I was really pleased when I finished – and I got an FTP of 153w. Given that Zwift had previously estimated it to be 125w, this is a good improvement and a baseline from which I can work. I’ll test again in about 4 weeks and we will see what has happened. If my training is working then it’ll increase. Now I know I can ride for 20 minutes solid (as if I didn’t before!) then it’ll just be a case of seeing if the number changes. If it doesn’t, that’s a clue to look at the training plan and fuelling plan to see why it might not have delivered the results I was after. If it improves, great, keep on keeping on!
Apart from all this, I rode for 50 minutes this morning, burned 400 calories and had a good old dose of endorphins. What more can you ask for on a Monday morning?
Another decision I made today was about focus. I have left a job in which I had access to a number of great fitness classes all in the office. Yesterday, panicking about my fitness regimes, I signed up for full membership to a gym which got me access to all their classes. I wrote out the timetables for all the centres I had access to and there was at least one class I could do every single day of the week. I was concerned about the fact I haven’t been lifting weights recently, so identified a few Body Pump classes I could go to. Body Balance would be great for flexibility. Boxercise would be a good stress reliever on a Thursday morning. However, I got up at 6am this morning and I rode for 50 minutes. I then worked a full day in the office and I walked 2km on the way home. Why on earth would I then put more stress on myself by rushing to get to a Body Balance class and sacrificing my evening? I know what would happen. I’d get in at 10pm, take a while to wind down and I’d end up missing tomorrow mornings’ ride training session. All for a session that I was just doing “just so I didn’t miss out”. What I need to do is:
- recognise that I have a whole life involving family, work, study and that training is just a part of that
- focus on the things that will deliver me to my goal. I’m riding my bike to Paris and I’m doing a load of long distance swimming events. I should be riding and swimming!
- Trust the plan. Training with The Trainer is due to restart soon, post recovery, and I will be sharing with him my desire to tone up with weights, etc. Once a week will be enough, if I work hard in that session.
It can be easy, in an attempt to do your best, to try to do it all. I need to remember that sometime doing less is far more.
So bring on Zwift Day 3. I won’t be all flexible, nor shattered, from Body Balance tonight but I will be focussed and ready to do my best, whatever wattage that turns out to be!