Am I going hard enough? I am really tired today, this feels really hard today, should I back off?
Questions that you, no doubt, ask yourself. Specificity in your training is one of the most confusing topics for many athletes to execute. It is not about chasing a specific number of watts or a specific heart rate. Matt Dixon explains the Purple Patch approach to Training Zones.
In order to establish training zones for riding and running training, you will execute threshold assessment workouts. These workouts will provide the framework to ensure your training zones are aligned with your current state of fitness and training levels.
In riding, we will establish:
Functional Threshold Power (FTP)
Heart Rate Threshold
Threshold Power (if you utilize a running power meter)
In running, we will establish:
Running Threshold (Pace)
Heart Rate Threshold
It’s not about improvement: We don’t view these assessments as a test of self-worth as an athlete, or a direct measure of your performance readiness for improvement as an athlete. While we may see threshold gains in some areas, the primary lens is to align your objective measurements with the subjective descriptions and intent from prescribed training intensity.
Functional Threshold Power: Many athletes are confused around the meaning behind what is most commonly referred to as FTP. There is no magic. It is essentially the power that you are able to maintain for 45 to 60 minutes (dependent on experience and level). We gain an estimate of this by completing a 20 min best-effort time trial and taking 95% of that average output. This is a more approachable and repeatable method to gain metrics and framework.
How often should I perform the assessments?: Unless you know your values when joining Purple Patch, we will want you to execute assessment sessions within a week or so of commencing your journey. It is important data to grab in order to apply specificity within sessions. Following the initial assessment sessions, the timing of subsequent assessment sessions should occur when:
- Training feels too easy: Sessions begin to feel easier than the description and expected perceived effort outlined within the workout. It is likely you need to reset.
- Fitness drops: Following an extended break -- either expected or not -- we may expect a drop in baseline fitness, so assessments might be in order. Examples might be following an end of season break or getting back from an extended illness.
- Quarterly: The body is a complex mechanism, and frequent assessments, about every 8-12 weeks are good to drop in as you progress along your journey. Don’t always expect more, more, more. That isn’t our quest or realistic.
How do I perform an Assessment: Simply head to your personal workout library in Today’s Plan and search under the bike and run for ‘ASSESSMENT’. You will see three different assessments:
- Ride FTP Assessment for Training Zones (Indoor)
- Ride FTP Assessment for Training Zones (Outdoor)
- Run Threshold Assessment for Training Zones
Simply choose the appropriate workout that you want to perform and click n’ drag it to the day that you want to perform it. It should upload to your apps.
Note: If you drop in your assessment prior to the baseline plan populating that day, you will receive no other workouts on that day from the baseline plan. Something to be aware of!
Ensuring the zones are established: Once you complete your assessment you will receive a notification of your results. You must apply the results so that your threshold and assessment information will populate in every workout going forward, as well as your profile.