Quarq power training has become a staple in my daily routine (ok almost daily, last week I had one day off the bike). Right now Chris has me in learning mode...and I'm anxiously soaking it all in.
The first thing I realized was how much of my training time was spent either in zone 1 or zone 3+. When I go easy, I go very easy. When I go hard, I go very hard. This seems fine and dandy, except that ironman training is all about teaching ourselves to settle in and hold high zone 2/low zone 3... with the ability to surge into the higher efforts when necessary, only to quickly settle back into that z2/lowz3.
So things are-a-changing. Here are a few changes I've experienced since incorporating power into my training:
1) Zone 2 is my friend, so it's time to hang out a bit and get comfy in it's presence. I spend a lot more time in that zone 2 power and heart rate.
2) Heart rate takes forever to catch up to power...power is instant, and can change with each stroke. Power doesn't lie!
3) It will take work to get my power output to settle into a constant output and hold it. (Sometimes watching my power number jump up and down 20 beats makes me wonder if one leg is working while the other is along for the ride).
4) Climbing a hill in z2/3 is not easy. Sometimes I watch granny's go by and have to remind myself: "All good, I'm building power."
5) Going downhill in z2 is not easy. I've learned to work the downhills.
6) After a year of jumping on group rides, or with whichever friend was riding the longest on any given day, I've spent a lot more time focusing on me and adhering to my set workout goals. It feels good.
7) Within just 2 weeks I can feel the difference in my power output. I'm more consistent and my pedal stroke is much smoother with fewer breaks in the stroke. I'm already a believer.
8) My average pace for the same rides I've been doing on a consistent basis is up 1.5-2mph. This isn't necessarily because I'm going harder. It's because I'm riding more consistent. No spinny spin spin. I settle in, hold the pace and go. Every minute I'm on the bike is work...and my legs feel it when I'm done.
9) Checking out my power readings makes it a lot easier to truly measure my level of fatigue.
10) Although this training is more focused and precise, I'm still taking plenty of time to enjoy the views! Here's a few shots from Double peak...after a painful -but very fun - hill repeat workout.