This another post in a series where TrainerRoad head coach Chad Timmerman answers questions from our users.  This question came into support@trainerroad.com

Hi, first of all I have to say that your software is just great and gives me so much motivation for my indoor workouts, compared to my earlier work this winter. But since I’m not used to beeing coached during my workouts, I have some questions for you.

Last night I did the workout “Monitor” (http://www.trainerroad.com/cycling/rides/30631) and I followd the onscreen instructions with inclining and decreasing cadence. Since I didn’t change gear during the intervall, my power was much higher than the target and I guess I might have overstepped the sweetspot quite a bit. Was this the intention or should I have changed into a easier gear, maintained the power, but increased my cadence?

My next question is about the target power during the workout. I can use my last workout as an example here aswell. As you can see I tend to output a much higher power than target during the warmup, but also the breaks inbetween the intervalls. This is because I feel that the target power is way to low. It is as a matter of fact hard not to “push” harder, since I have to be focused just to keep my power low enough. In other words I feel that I almost aint doing anything at all. Can this be right?

PS: I don’t think this will be the last questions;)

PPS: Keep out the great work!

Here’s Chad’s response.

Sometimes it’s difficult to balance the cadence goals and the power goals, so within each workout I try to be clear on what takes precedent. In the case of form-specific workouts, e.g. workouts dedicated to cadence/leg-speed, the rpm ranges are the target and wattage is secondary, but with most other workouts the rpm ranges are recommendations rather than hard rules.

So while form is always a factor in any workout, certain workouts target leg-speed over watts and in those cases I try to encourage riders to focus more on cadence, less on watts, and this might mean shifting. When it comes to Sweet Spot work, focus on the watts more than the recommended cadence, shift if necessary, and if any of the on-screen directions seem confusing then let me know and I’ll have a look at them.

With regards to the recoveries, they are necessarily easy because the work intervals are quite demanding. If you find yourself working at a high percentage of your estimated threshold power during recovery, then it’s likely that you’ve underestimated your sustainable power and this will result in under-challenging intervals and/or too-fresh feeling recoveries.

Based on what I see in your recent pass at Monitor, my guess is that you’ve underestimated your hour-power a bit. If you’re new to power-based training then it’s important to recognize that there’s a learning curve to assessment – especially indoors – and accurately determining your true threshold power takes practice. Either that, or your threshold power has improved and it might be time to increase your FTP!

-Chad



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Nate Pearson

Nate Pearson is the co-founder of TrainerRoad. He is an avid triathlete and cyclist, husband and father of two. His training is fueled by great coffee, BBQ and pie.

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