I get quite a few queries on RAAM training, so I thought I would post a series on the training that I am doing, why I am doing it, and how we measure progress.
First, I use a Powertap hub. A Powertap hub has eight strain gauges inside to measure torque being applied to the hub from the cranks. The resulting output is displayed in watts. Similar to training with heart rate, I have a variety of wattage zones, and my training is geared to keep me in specific zones for various amounts of time. One key difference between heart rate and power, though, is that power is displayed immediately, in real time (1s delay), so you get immediate feedback regarding your performance. Heartrate tends to be a bit slow in responding to changes in your workout.
At the beginning of training, I did a power test to determine my "threshold" level of power. It came to about 230w. This is a level of power that I can hold for 30 minutes, up to even an hour, if necessary. All of my training levels are based on this number. When I am training at "threshold", I try to keep the wattage between 210 and 240. "Tempo" is between 175 and 210, and can be held for several hours at a time (with the correct fueling).
This week, I am doing two intense, shorter workouts during the week. These entail 40 minutes at threshold and 30 minutes at easy (just below tempo). The best way to do threshold workouts is on a hill - I use Sepulveda Blvd. Since it is almost 11 minutes to the top, I do the climb four times. I then scurry over to work, keeping the wattage between 130 and 170.
Between these workouts, I commute at easy level. This does not imply that I am taking it easy. I still need to maintain 130-170w.
On Saturday, I will do a longer, three hour tempo ride (two hours at tempo, one hour easy). Tempo gets really hard if you aren't managing your nutrition well. I've found that I don't get enough protein, so this week I am consuming more and observing the effects.
Stay tuned for more...