Targeting 200 watts for 1 hour

Dear Biking Gods/Goddesses

I’m on week 9 of TR. I’m definitely seeing improvements. I’m a bit of an older (49) overweight rider (232 lbs) rider, but my endurance and sprint are getting better and better. Last weekend I did a 116 km ride (72.5 mile) ride. I also feel more explosiveness now that my injuries are settling down. I currently at 1.70 watts/kg. So I’m not winning any mountain climb races anytime soon, but hey I’m in better shape that 3 months ago!

I’ve set a personal goal of holding 200 watts for 1 hour outdoor (I am sure some of you are laugh that its super easy, but I find the really good riders are actually pretty humble and nice). My current season best is 194 watts/hour so not too far to go but I’ve teased it a few seasons and I want to crush it this year.

I will use a long steady 7% grade local mountain climbing route for testing my current 1 hour outdoor best that I typically do ever few weeks or so.

My question…what is the fastest way to get there? It seems that base TR is taking me down a pretty good path in that my next few rides have 4x10s at 95-99% FTP (Darwin), so rides like that can’t hurt I’m sure.

Meanwhile I’m working on the KG part of the Watts/KG ;~)

Thanks for your input!

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Sweet Spot Base> Sustained Power Build> 40K TT

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Keep working through the program. You’re still in the newbie gains phase and have a lot more left. Other than that, an hour long effort at the upper end of your threshold will be mentally difficult, so start thinking about strategies to maintain focus and concentration. Maybe switching up your cadence, sitting/standing (if you can) and little milestones up the climb.

Good luck and report back when you do it.

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Also, do remember to fuel properly prior to the day you will give it your best i.e. carb focused foods a day, maybe two in advance. Plus a good nights sleep will always do you wonders for those tough, demanding days on the road :slight_smile:

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Just wanted to say… Screw anyone who would laugh at or tease someone who has set a goal for themselves and puts in hard work to reach that goal. The numbers themselves aren’t the point, they’re just a tool to challenge ourselves, to quantify what we’re capable of, and for a feeling of personal satisfaction when we improve and succeed. Your goal is just as valid as anyone else’s. :+1:

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Activity is only one cornerstone for building fitness, diet and recovery are just as important to maximise your body’s adaption, the latter two are more amplified as your age increases.

Press the reset button and revisit your wish to take the quickest route to your goal.

The last cornerstone is to remember to enjoy your cycling and not let the numbers overtake the reasons for cycling. I burnt myself out a few years ago as riding turned to be all about numbers rather than looking up at the countryside and taking in the sights and aromas of your surroundings. Or simply cycling with mates.

What I’m trying to say is keep it real, enjoy the journey but make the journey sustainable on terms of long term aims and health benefits.

With winter coming and a second peak certain except for the scale and nature consider a smart or turbo trainer to lock in and build on your summer gains.

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Any of the plans with a focus on sweet spot workouts should get you there in the not too distant future.

Also remember to pace yourself when you do the hour. If your goal is 200w for the hour. Do 200w from the start. Don’t go out too hard and blow yourself up.

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Sounds like you’re relatively lucky if you have a steady climb that you can use for an hour effort. It’s flat round me so I don’t have that luxury but I do find the recovery week workouts, if done outside are a great way of training sitting at a steady power target for longer periods of time. Outdoor workouts have been great for this - without them it’s amazing how easy it is to get distracted and drop pace, or increase pace based on landscape, weather etc. Having a climb makes it easier but if you also want some training without using the climb then that would be my advice.
You could also use an outdoor workout on the day you attempt your 200w - Laramie, the outside variant of Collins is a 70 min workout at a steady state you could use on your head unit - sometimes just seeing the workout laid in front of you can be motivation to hit those targets and keep pushing. Like Gary says though, don’t start above target, better to ramp up for the final 10-15 mins if you can than start too hard and find you’ve put too much effort in to get to the hour mark.

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First of all, 200W for an hour is a nice goal and one I would be very happy with. Good luck!

If you watch the Ask a Cycling Coach podcast, episode 239 has a checklist of how to get the most out of your training time but - spoiler alert - what they come back to time and time again is consistency which for most of us means not overdoing it and making steady gains. As Amber has said, slow and steady is usually the fastest way to get somewhere.

In terms of specifics building to a 40km TT block would seem perfect. Don’t forget that an hour long effort - regardless of the power it’s at or who is doing it - is largely aerobic so don’t be afraid of making some of your sessions easy efforts. (Zone 2 if you use zones), it’s all money in the bank.

I think it’s an awesome project. Have fun.

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Thanks. I’ve got the consistency dialed in pretty darn good right now. I haven’t missed a workout since I started.

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I live in North Vancouver so right in the mountains and the climb is just 10 minutes away! Yes I do count myself as very lucky as its an amazing city.

We actually have 3 mountains (called the triple crown) that all have the long, steady, consistent climbs. Also great rolling hill rides with no cars too. Again I do feel lucky.

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4x10 is a good start, follow a progression of connecting the intervals together by shortening the rest intervals, connecting 4x10 into 2x20 into 2x30 into 1x40 into 1x60 etc.

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I’m 227 lbs and 48 years old, with only 1.5 years of cycling history, so I’m very much in a similar situation, though perhaps with less experience. My thoughts in addition to what’s been said already:

  1. It took me a while to figure out that I need to do TWO things to be a stronger rider: building strength to put out higher power is one, but the other is building muscle endurance so that I can put out a certain amount of power for a longer time. Stay aware of which one is stronger/weaker over time so you can improve.

  2. The “right” progression is Sweet Spot, then Sustained Power Build, then 40K TT. But don’t hesitate to redo the whole Sweet Spot block if that helps you gain better fitness and endurance, both of which are needed if you want success at building power in Build. Or do SSB, then Build, then back to SSB, then back to Build. SSB helps you get fitness and endurance, Build helps you get power.

  3. The high-intensity interval workouts are great for improvement. But while they’re not generally in the plans, the “Zone 2” long-slow endurance rides where you stick to 60% power (or up to 70% HR) for a loooooong time are a totally separate, but also totally awesome way to improve. Coach Chad and many others have made it clear that both the power and quantity of cellular mitochondria increase significantly from Zone 2 rides, and that this is a different adaptation than what you get with high intensity.

  4. Lastly, while consistency is most important, volume also helps. If you’re doing at least Medium Volume, great. If you’re doing Low Volume, then try to add one or two Pettit rides per week. Or better yet, add a long Zone 2 ride on the weekends so you get a solid dose of Endurance each week and increase your volume.

  5. It seems to me that the easiest way to track your progress is to create a Strava segment (private or public) on the climb you want to do, of a distance you believe will be just slightly longer than you’ll need for your 200W hour-of-power. Now you have a consistent test every time you ride it, and you can watch your speed/power/time increase without the tracking becoming a source of work.

  6. Just to repeat because of how important it is: Sleep. Rest. Recover. Eat well. Shortchanging yourself on any of those is harmful to the health of your training.

I’m at 199W FTP overall, with decent power (400W for 60 seconds), but terrible endurance (only 155W for 60 minutes). Working primarily on endurance right now, hopefully to the point where I can do 180W for an hour, or 150W for two hours. So yeah, I feel ya… it’s hard and it’ll take time, but we’ll get there. :grinning:

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I’m not sure I know what you are saying is the difference between these two. Usually when people say to go SS, Sustained Power Build, to 40K they mean SSBI, SSBII, SusPB, 40K so that would include “the whole Sweet Spot block”. Sorry if I’m misinterpreting what you are saying.

fastest? Could be individual. My beliefs are based on getting started in 2016 in my mid fifties. What worked for me initially was riding with a fast group on Wed night and doing longer and longer sweet spot efforts (trying to stay with group). Although not structured, it ended up looking vaguely like 4x10 going to 3x15 going to 2x30 and eventually doing 1x60. I also increased volume to at least 6 hours a week, and did long rides on the weekend. The thread that redlude97 shared is where I would start.

Over time I’ve learned that once volume and a certain level of aerobic endurance is established, I do better with a hard block on Tue/Wed evenings, followed by a hard ride on Saturday. Being fresh for two hard rides a week is important, especially as age impacts recovery. During base with mostly sweet spot and tempo work that equates to 500-600 TSS per week, and 2-3 days of not riding.

You’ll get there, and I hope you enjoy each small victory as you progress >200W sweet spot intervals from 20 to 60 minutes!

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My apologies if I was not clear enough. My text should have said “don’t hesitate to REDO the whole Sweet Spot block”. My bad, I’ll edit the post above. Here’s what I meant… the “right” or “expected” progression would be:

SSB1 --> SSB2 --> Build --> Specialty

What I’m saying is that it’s not intuitive for someone starting out on TR, but it’s entirely OK – and for some riders is the best way to get faster – to do something like:

SSB1 --> SSB2 --> SSB1 --> SSB2 --> Build --> Specialty

…or perhaps:

SSB1 --> SSB2 --> Build --> SSB1 --> SSB2 --> Build --> Specialty

Is that a better illustration?

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Thanks! That’s what I thought you were trying to get at but I just wanted to make sure! Especially cause OP said he was new to TR.

I agree that just because SSB is ‘base’ doesn’t mean it’s worse or more of a beginner thing than ‘build’. You can make huge gains in SSB and sometimes more than build depending on what stimulus you need.

based on numbers given, your current ftp is 179W or 180W, correct? And personal best for an hour, from a previous season is 194W? If yes then you should be able to bump current FTP by say 15%, which takes you to 207W FTP, and then 200W for an hour is a hard 97% push at that FTP. If you were able to bump current by 20% that would be a target FTP of 216W and 93% push to snag that 200W hour of power.

Yeah It’s misleading (in a previous post).

My home bike is a Keiser M3I. It has a power meter and claims to be +/- 1% accurate. Not a smart bike.
My outdoor road bike has Garmin Vector 3 pedals. Also claiming similar accuracy.

However, if I put my Garmin pedals on the Keiser it reads about 20 watts higher side by side (Garmin is higher).

I also have one ride that is very questionably high 212 watt outdoor 1 hour ride (but I strongly suspect that it was a false measurement as the PM wasn’t calibrated, plus comparatives on the exactly the same course showed it too high).

I’ve been measured in the lab as high as 220 watts a couple years back. However, I want to see that 200 watts “in reality” outdoors.

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three years ago I field tested an hour of power and WKO/Garmin/Xert modeled my FTP at 275W (271W average, 278W normalized). Since then my ftp has yo-yo’d between 220 and 250W, except for this year when I bumped it up to 260W in May. FWIW I attribute that to a) two sweet spot blocks (Feb and April) that averaged around 9-11 hours/week (and 500-700 TSS/week), b) a lot of zone2 riding, and c) following a plan with more rest designed into the plan (versus TR’s mid-volume). Fresh is faster.