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    Functional Threshold Power – What is it and How Does it Help Me?

Functional Threshold Power – What is it and How Does it Help Me?

Functional Threshold Power (FTP)- What a mouthful!  Well, at least it’s a pretty cool sounding mouthful.  You may hear cyclists speak about this often.  If you’ve training by using FTP, you’re a believer.  If not, you’re missing out on one of the most influential and unknown aspects of training and output for beginner triathletes.

FTP is the maximum power output you can hold for 1 hr of effort.  It is measured in watts.  If you want an example as demonstrated in a French commercial, enjoy:

Wattage is power.  Various devices measure power output for cyclists.  Power meters can be built into the hubs of bikes, integrated into the cycling trainer, or integrated into the crank of the bicycle.  The number represents the amount of effort you are generating as evidenced by the power output.  Most would ask why speed wouldn’t be enough.  Great question!

Speed would be sufficient for effort output if all other factors were equal.  If we always rode on straight and level roads, road the exact same bikes, and had no wind to contend with or cyclists to draft off.  You may accomplish this on an indoor trainer, but the variables when on the road are very different each ride.

Power numbers take everything into account as they measure your output of effort regardless of the environment.

When I ask my athletes what is the single most influential factor in them improving their speed in a triathlon, most would point to the power meter.  I’d like to think they’d point at me as their coach, but let’s not be delusional.

One of the first tests I perform on each of my athletes, other than the VO2 test, is an FTP test.  Once I [...]

Running With Confidence

I’ve had many runners lately inquire regarding their running fitness and how they can improve.  While the holidays and off season will likely set us back a bit in our fitness, we can improve running form easily and start the training season right.

I’ve yet to have a runner with an injury throughout my years of coaching.  While I may be lucky as a coach, I believe in a simple training regimen and strict adherence to the basics.

Running Form

There are innumerable debates regarding running form.  Do we heel strike or not, what types of shoes to wear, orthodics, bare feet, etc.  I fall into the mid sole striking category.  I’ve found that it, combined with a running cadence of 180 bpm allows for the best form for injury prevention and easy speed.  I recently had an athlete complete a 5 hour marathon before coming to me for advice.  Once I completed his VO2 max assessment and performed a rudimentary running form analysis, I recommended two things and had him try it out on the treadmill.  He was a heel striker and had a very low cadence of around 120 bpm.  The long stride and poor form not only caused him to run slower, but let to early muscle fatigue in endurance races.

Once he corrected those two things, he was easily able to run 8 min miles for long durations with only 2 weeks of adaptation.

The easiest way to correct the deficiencies is to download a metronome app on your phone which beeps at 180 bpm.  While you’re changing your cadence, you listen to the beeps.  It will amaze you at how much different you feel and how much more solid you run.  Running at that [...]

By |November 27th, 2015|Gear, Run, Safety|0 Comments|