Tracking and analyzing your training is a major component in success... sport, life, or otherwise. By looking at where we have been we can get a clear picture of what we did well and what we could have done better giving us the chance to change our strategy the next time we are faced with the same, or similar circumstances. By adjusting your game plan you can avoid making the same mistakes twice. TrainingPeaks used to track, analyze, and plan your training can be a powerful ally in your pursuit of perfection.
Below are two power files from the Kansas 70.3 bike course, 2012 and 2013 respectively, and they tell a very different story.
I had just started using my power meter and approached this course with the wrong game plan... paying for it dearly.
Being a good climber I decided that I would attack the many hills as I saw this as an advantage. My goal wattage was 212 normalized or an IF of .85.
(Note: At the time Garmin had yet to release the firmware update for the 910 with np and normalized power so I was left with average power as my guide.)
I started hammering right out of transition with the first climb as evidenced by the first burned ‘match’. I was relentless and passing my competitors one after another. At about 15 miles in I put on a display of my climbing ability burning another precious match going well above threshold holding 330 watts for 1 minute. It’s not long after this that you can hear the crack as my power starts a steady decline all the way to the transition.
With my flawed plan of attacking the hills and hammering on the flats I totally overshot my goal of 212 np by 29 watts 241w normalized power for an IF of .94!!! Furthermore, my variability index was a whopping 1.11 (think road race... not steady pacing at all!). As seen in the picture below, this was not sustainable. At about 2 hours into the bike I wanted to go home, and heading into T2 I was praying for something to happen so that I would not have to explain the dreaded DNF. Needless to say that after expending all of my energy on the bike I had a horrible run and a very long day.
Click the photos to access the files from the race...
Using what I had learned from analyzing my 2012 power file in TP I decided that this year I would be fairly conservative and hold back on the hills.
Every hill I climbed I shifted into the small chainring and tried to keep it below 280 watts (close to my FTP), this paid off in far less matches burned. Not only did I conserve energy but this gave me a chance to refuel as I watched my competitors hammer up and away from me (at least in the early part of the race), and rather than trying to maintain by wattage on the descents I used this as an opportunity to spin out my legs, recover, and prepare for the next hill.
In the flats I was able to maintain a steady wattage and was easily hitting my goal of 220 NP and .80 IF while producing a much better paced race with a VI of 1.06. I knew things were looking up when at two hours into the bike I couldn’t wait to start running. I maintained this steady wattage all the way into T2 and was rewarded with the best run I have had at the 70.3 distance.
By playing conservatively and not burning matches frivolously I was able to maintain my goal wattage from start to finish and still have enough in the tank for a great run.