The “Watts up with Power?” ride is likely the slowest group ride you’ll find on Zwift, because it focuses on learning the basics of power based training while riding together on Zwift. Each ride is streamed to Zwift LIVE by ODZ on Facebook, and focuses on teaching specific principles of power-based training. For viewers that are unable to attend live, the teaching is made available for all to review afterwards.
Here is the summary for April 19th from ride leader Brett Jenner.
Power-Based Training: Where to Begin (*Bonus: Benchmark Testing for Triathletes)
Owning a power meter is often said to the be best investment a cyclist or triathlete can make–after hiring a coach that is. These devices allow us to quantify our efforts, guide our training, create benchmarks for training and racing, and inform us of increasing and decreasing levels of fitness.
While providing many key metrics we must also consider what, fundamentally, is required for an athlete to be successful? Beyond the obvious traits of grit – determination – passion – sacrifice – work ethic etc… what else is required?
The best answer I have come up with includes the following;
- Smart Training Plan: French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery famously wrote “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” That one may be obvious but important to note it is just one part of a multi-part mixture here.
- Accountability: I believe that two of the drivers of performance are accountability and community; both of which a team provide. It is one of the reasons that I have always embraced trying to build belonging and community with my athletes.
- Education and Feedback: Because you don’t want to learn all of life’s lesson the hard way… and feedback is essential to the process, be it numerical, muscular, or from an outside source like a coach.
- Community: Perhaps the number one reason that Zwift-based TeamODZ has been as successful as it has. Community, in the end, speaks to that sense of belonging that we all have and, as mentioned earlier, can be a powerful driver of performance.
While cyclists interest lie in bike FTP, I was sure to include the following benchmark swim and run sessions for triathletes;
- Swim 100 yard or meter and 1000 yard or meter times done after a proper warm-up. As a note here, I prefer to keep the warm-up consistent for my athletes allowing for limited variability between tests.
- Bike FTP: 5min, 20min test for seasoned athletes or 3 x 8min for beginner.
- Run – unless you are using a running power meter, you are going to want to setup your heart rate training zones based either off recent race results (i.e.10k or 15k) or a 30min best-effort run done after a proper warm-up.
The key is that no matter how much we try to take the guesswork out of endurance or multisport events, there will always be the need for energy management (pacing), gut feeling, and the necessity to train the ‘inner animal’ to be successful. All of the information and tools in the world can help create a picture for you, and deliver some practical real-world information but remember: this will never be a game of mathematics. It will always retain some pure and dirty straight-out racing. Use the tools to help you, but never at the cost of understanding the following things:
- How it should feel
- How it does feel
- What to do with that feeling
So go ahead and embrace the adventure and enrich your life with something challenging but fun. Do this, and the benefits will bubble up, and your vigor and passion for the everyday will continue long into the season.