There’s a topic on 5+w/kg with lots of inspiring comments and a mine of information. But I figured it would be nice to have a similar discussion for women at a comparable(-ish) w/kg.
I have no insight as I’ve only gotten to 3.5w/kg last season, right before getting pregnant But what helped me get over my 3.2 slump was finally following the endurance diet, and even got the app on my phone to calculate my points! My weight didn’t go down much, I think 140 to 138, but the power numbers started to climb. Who knows if I would have hit 4.0 at a certain point–but right now I’m back hovering at 3.2w/kg again and am very motivated to see where I can get.
I’m also really interested in this, particularly to see if there are any differences after having read the other thread. I’m also in a similar-ish boat to you. I topped out at around 3.5W/kg last season as well, and I’m currently sitting at about 3.4W/kg and hoping to break the 4W/kg barrier in the next year or so. I know one piece for me will certainly be better consistency, but I’m curious to hear what worked for others.
I have 0 insight, but I do know one woman who in north of 4kg/w.
She is triathlete (business owner and mom). And she is one of the fastest people (men or woman) in my area (sub 16 5k recently).
Long time lurker, I’ve registered to join in with this one.
I’m getting close and hope to get there next year. I’m 64kg at the moment, my last FTP test put me at 232, but more recently I’ve held 232 for a full hour on the turbo without dying and averaged 246 for 25 minutes/248 for 20 in a time trial so I think I’ve crept up a bit since I last tested. That puts me at around 3.7. I’m 42.
The short version of how I got to this point is a coach and weight loss. The longer version is that back in my early 20s I was very overweight. I started running and got down to a 3.44 marathon. I then started getting injuries and switched to doing more cycling, but more as a leisure activity than worrying about performance - bike racing looked too scary compared to running! The weight crept back up gradually and although I did start time trialling and a bit of bunch racing I felt that I was far too old to do much more than club events and mid pack finishes in open events, and I didn’t really train that well or do much about my weight.
About this time last year I decided to do something about my weight. I was about 86kg by that point. After a few months of focussing on my diet I went to an event with a charity auction and ended up bidding on (and winning) a year of coaching for about 10% of the proper price. Stupidly cheap and I thought that even if it didn’t work out, at least I’d given it a shot. Starting FTP was around 220 at roughly 80kg so about 2.75.
The pandemic actually worked wonders for me - working from home meant time to train and rest properly, with very few social or family engagements to get in the way! And I was able to control what I ate without office snacks and networking drinks tempting me.
My FTP hasn’t shot up hugely, but even a couple of watts extra alongside weight loss helps. I’m now trying to keep my weight stable for a bit more of a build phase.
Part of why I’m lurking here is I’m trying to decide what to do when my paid for year runs out - whether to keep going with the coach (because it’s definitely working!) or whether the main factor is the fact that my compliance has been so high, and any sensible plan would have done a similar job.
This is paramount to understand! Watts not going up crazy high but w/kg skyrocketing! Heck, even if you maintained the same FTP and lost that weight would have been incredible!
Aa for what to do, you can always put your own spin on creating a training plan based on your goals. Especially using workouts and the plans from your coach already. Or if that is daunting try TRs set plans. If neither work, then you can always go back to the coach.
How many hours do you currently train? Do you do alot of it indoors or outdoors?
So you think losing the 2 lbs and eating according to the Endurance diet did it? How was your diet before then? Do you think you ate more or less, and/or just differently?
I spent a lot time doing base type stuff as there weren’t any races/events. 12-13 hours per week with 700-800 TSS. That was usually 2 structured turbo sessions (tempo or threshold - I didn’t do anything above FTP for months) and then z2/3 rides outside. There were lots of 8 hour weekends - either 4+4 or 3+5. I wouldn’t normally be able to do that sort of volume so consistently but as I say, the pandemic cleared my diary (I have no kids, I can WFH, my OH is a cyclist too so doesn’t mind, and I don’t have much family living near me). Most of the outside rides were solo because club activity didn’t really restart for a long time.
Time trialling restarted in July so since then the volume has dropped a bit to closer to 9 hours usually including one TT, one pre-race turbo session, one hard turbo session and one z2/3 ride per week. TSS more in the 400-600 range. I’ve also started mixing in club rides again.
The 2lbs just kinda happened and don’t think that made any difference really. Well, other than the fact that I hadn’t seen the 130s since middle school, so mentally that was pretty cool.
I feel the endurance diet in general just made me feel so much more fueled for workouts which in turn saw my FTP rise steadily while prior to this it was fairly stagnant. Carbs, good carbs, were all the difference.
I’m attempting to get back at it now. My husband and I are just finding our sustainable rhythm with the little one.
Will you be able to WFH once COVID kinda clears up/vaccine/etc (whatever we think will happen…)? Or will you be able to maintain almost the same training volume of you did have to go into the office? Hopefully you don’t have a long commute! That will definitely need some mental gymnastics to figure out a schedule!
I just finished reading the Guys thread/take on this. Crazy how different, both in content and delivery Glad we can have our own conversations; our bodies work so differently in some ways.
Can you tell me a bit about what changed in your diet? The reviews for Matt’s book seemed to say that it’s basic knowledge (for an athlete). I was wondering if there’s anything really different that he subscribes to, and how relevant it is for women (re: cortisol levels, menstruation or not, thyroid and metabolism etc.)
I’m not sure. I don’t need to go back to the office before the new year though.
I actually usually cycle to work, about half an hour each way. Working from home has meant I get more proper rest days and fewer junk miles. It’s probably why I can cope with decent volume though - I was already doing 5 hours a week of commuting on top of any riding I did for fun!
@ellotheth, I sent a PM with a question, so I can make sure to do the correct edit.
It is fairly simple, but I do like the cookbook. I’ve learned some great recipes to I cook quite often, such as the cauliflower bean soup, mmm…
The whole point is to get tons of carbs from good sources: fruits, vegetables, whole grains. I don’t recall anything specific for women in the book.
Sorry for dropping in (male), however when I started training in 2016 a lot of inspiration and advice came from a local Kona triathlon age grouper. She started riding a bike in the late 90s and started age grouping at Kona world championships over 15 years ago. In 2002 she was Navy athlete of the year.
Wanted to share some of her story, here is one of several podcasts and articles: https://thekonaedge.com/ironman-story-tina-eakin-alcoholism-kona/
- get a coach (partly for types As to hold you back from overtraining LOL)
- do long tempo and century rides (long as in 3-6 hours)
- do climbing rides
- do group rides to push yourself
- train in the heat
I’ve seen Tina do 2+ hours with temperature in upper 90s, roll into the Wed drop ride at 5pm, and promptly start dropping people with 230-250W FTPs (flat windy course) for a total of ~4 hours of awesomeness. Her Strava feed is a climbing KOM/QOM fest. Interesting perspective. #TeamTina
I’m at 3.61 (I will not round down to 3.6 lol) so not yet in the 4+ club but just trying to chip away at it. Slow and steady progress is my plan. So far been able to claw out 5-8 watts each assessment (I find I perform MUCH better on 20min tests than ramp) on the low and mid volume 70.3 plans. I’ve subbed strength training for the swim days since pools closed, FWIW.
In contrast to other posters, I’m trying not to focus on the weight side. While it’s tempting to say, “if I “just” dropped 10lbs I’d be there!“ I know from experience that my enthusiasm for any kind of “diet” crashes in about 3 weeks and then I lose motivation for anything, including exercise.
I will say, though, that limiting alcohol since quarantine is helpful in keeping me honest with my weekend workouts!
Definitely interested to see what’s worked for others!
@runriderandi, what is the endurance diet? Is there a link to more information I can read? Thanks for the topic!
Essentially, eat a lot more healthy carbs than you do because you need more than you think! His cookbook, Racing Weight Cookbook, has some pretty great recipes in there that I use on the regular.
Im at 4w/kg with 10-15hrs per week this year.
I’m usually pretty good at structured training through the winter (Lots of sweet spot) until the weather gets nice and then I go off the rails with lots of solo miles, fun group rides but a general lack of structure leading to plateau or gradually de-training over the summer months.
This year a September endurance MTB race with a ton of elevation gave me the motivation to stay more structured this summer and the ability to do TR sessions Outdoors was a game changer!
Doing the key workouts with structure and tracking my diet to shed a few pounds got me to 4w/kg.
I think I have plenty more gains to be had since I’ve always neglected VO2 max workouts And now I’ve figured out how to do them outdoors, I should be able reduce this limiter!
Checking back in because after saying I hadn’t done an FTP test for a while, guess what was on the schedule for this week?..
I always do a 20 minute test rather than a ramp test and averaged bang on 4 w/kg for the 20 minutes (258w at 64kg). Not quite there on the FTP figure when you take 95% of that but it’s still a nice milestone to hold 4 for 20 minutes!