Tuesday, January 27, 2009

First PIG Session

I mentioned in an earlier post that I would be increasing the intensity on my bike rides in an attempt to increase my sustained power output.  This is harder than it sounds.  Usually I just head down to the trainer in my garage and pop in a DVD, start riding.  The DVD makes the trainer ride bearable, but also distracts me from what I am trying to accomplish in my workout.

I think to get the full benefit of these shorter workouts I really need to dial in my wattage targets, so what I really need is a plan that specifies particular wattage intervals and times and gives me a clear target.  The problem is that it takes a lot of time to come up with a good plan, particularly coming up with specific wattage numbers.  If you're lucky you have a coach who can create that for you, but that is something I can't afford.

But I think I have come up with the next best thing.  The Computrainer PIG training plan.  PIG stands for Performance Improvement Guarantee.  Basically they guarantee that if you buy their product and follow their free program you will improve your functional threshold wattage by 10% (or something like that. I don't plan on buying a Computrainer.) However, you don't need a Computrainer to follow the program.  You just need any type of powermeter.  Theoretically you could even use speed so long as your trainer has a consistent speed/resistance curve that would allow you to translate power numbers into MPH.

The best part of the plan (other than that it is completely free) is that it downloads as an Excel file.  You simply input you CP30 wattage (the highest wattage you can sustain for 30 minutes) and it calculates all your workouts with power targets for the next 5 weeks.  Then you retest your CP30 and do it all over again. 

I did a 30min time trial last Saturday and held an average of 195 watts over the 30 minutes.  I think perhaps that is a little low because I felt I probably could have went a little harder, but it works as a starting point.  My first session was today with a Tempo workout with 15 minutes of warmup and 45minutes at 166 watts. I definitely worked harder than normal, so I think this is going to work.


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