I thought I’d share a few thoughts with regard to workout levels having started a new block of training. But first a bit of background:
I’m in the military and last year while on a deployment was able to commit 6 months to structured TR training and managing my diet. I managed to increase FTP from about 260 to about 320 whilst shaving about 13lbs off my bodyweight. When I went home I was so much faster than when I left and had a nice shiny new Dogma F10 to spin around on. I spent the next 6 months doing a lot of outdoor riding, some structured outdoor workouts, a few indoor trainer sessions and quite a few fast group rides where I was able to hang comfortably with the hitters in my area. I felt extremely fit and thought I’d pushed my fitness on in the 6 months since I came home.
I’m now deployed again and started off with a ramp test to baseline, getting 319 so figured that made sense. But I am really surprised to find that I’m really struggling with the durations on the threshold workouts in SSBMV1 whilst I find that that I am comfortable in a couple of VO2max sessions that I did last week before I started the plan. I reduced the FTP to 305 as I knew the threshold work was killing me. Putting that in terms of levels, I’m finding that I can comfortably complete a 5.8 VO2max session at a FTP of 320 but really struggled with a 4.0 threshold workout even having reduced my FTP to 305. To me that’s a pretty significant difference.
So what? Well aside from the known fact that ramp tests can be over inflated by an anaerobic component, I just thought I’d add my N=1 experience into the knowledge well about levels to say that:
- riding around in an unstructured manner, no matter how much you think you’re putting in hard rides is not the same as structured training
- performance doesn’t degrade in a linear fashion across all energy systems. Levels now shows that in a very easy to understand fashion.
- linear performance across endurance, SS, threshold and VO2max is unlikely.
Interested in your opinions or if others are finding the same thing going back into structured training after a period of just having fun riding outside.