It’s a pretty good bet that in order to get where you want to go, you need to know where you’re at. The problem is, we’ve become so used to GPS gadgets, smartphone apps, and digital maps that our way finding abilities are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Don’t get me wrong: I think technology provides a great assist for navigation and a million other tasks and I believe it can make us more efficient and effective in plenty of ways. I also think we’re becoming a bit too reliant and need to take a step back every so often and get back in tune with what’s happening out there, and what’s going on inside of ourselves, instead of always focussing on the screen in front of our face.
As a coach, I can only create a truly effective road map to help an athlete accomplish a goal if I have a measure of his/her capabilities before we begin. This kind of assessment takes many elements into account: injury history, athletic experience, past training regimes, job requirements, family situation, etc. At the beginning of and throughout various training cycles, assessments also take place to gauge a person’s current level of fitness. This gives me metrics to prepare individual workouts going forward and allows me to gauge how effective the last phase of training has been
For cyclists — and the cycling component of triathlon training — a key assessment is the FTP test. The gold standard in FTP testing occurs in a lab, but like thousands of coaches around the world, I’ve been using the 20 minute test with athletes for years. Here’s the gist: after a solid warm up, the athlete goes all out for 20 minutes and measures average power [watts] and heart rate [bpm] for the session. Then, using a calculator like this downloadable Excel Spreadsheet from Lifetime Athletic [where I coach POWER Cycle], a person plugs in their numbers and gets their threshold numbers and personal training zones.
Just Google Training with Power and you’ll find a ton of resources, or download out my LT Clinic Follow up [Word .doc] which provides a synopsis and cheat sheet to help you get started.
If you’d like to talk about your destination and how best to get there, fire me a note and we’ll set up a time!