A Taste of Power with TrainerRoad

2012-01-18 FTP Test - photo only

Last night was my first workout using TrainerRoad. This is a bad ass training tool that I wish I had a year ago when I was training for my first Ironman. This tool is a no-brainer for me since I’m the only member of of my triathlon team that isn’t using a power meter. After spending a ton of money last year on my quest to become an Ironman, I had to draw the line at race wheels and power meters. Enter TrainerRoad. This tool allows training with power without having a power meter. By specifying the type of trainer I’m using and using my Garmin +ANT USB stick on a laptop and Garmin speed/cadence sensor on the bike, TrainerRoad is able to determine my power numbers during a workout.

FTP Testing
In order to determine my FTP number using power, I had to do an FTP test. TrainerRoad has two test workouts so I selected their 20 minute test, which is a 30 minute warm-up followed by 20 minutes all out. This is used to determine your FTP, which will set your pace for all future workouts until you re-test in the future to gauge your progress.

Before the test, I set my FTP at 200 just to have a benchmark to follow during the workout. The diagram below is the report you get after a workout. You’ll notice that the blue pace is set for an FTP of 200. The yellow line is my power during the workout. During the 20-minute test, I wasn’t sure what to expect so I kept it at 200 during the first 10 minutes. Then I realized I had a lot of gas left so I stepped it up to about 230 for the next 5 minutes, 250 for the next 3 minutes and then went up over 300 for the last 2 minutes.

TrainerRoad gave me a red-green indicator to let me know when I was on/off pace which was really helpful – a lot better than squinting down at a little Garmin watch mounted on my bike trying to see mph. I also think the report above is a lot more helpful in visualizing your workout and results as well as seeing the final numbers.

So now thanks to TrainerRoad, I can start speaking the same language as my teammates (FTP, NP, IF, Power) without dropping $1k+ on a power meter. Anyone who is training without a power meter must try this tool. The $10/month they charge is a bargain compared to the alternative.

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