COACH FORUM: Success as a Purple Patch athlete
Mel Burdo and Liz Lindsay here to answer your questions surrounding overall Purple Patch questions. Maybe you are confused by the Baseline or you are not sure where to go for something, whatever it is, ask away. We are here for you.
Liz & Mel
Hi Joseph - great question! You can take an FTP/threshold test 2-4x a year. No more than once a quarter, and not during the meat and potatoes of a race build. If you are about to hop on a race build and have not done one, you can do it before you start or right after you start the race build to make sure you are on the right track.
A few reminders:
- Be sure you are rested, hydrated, and have fueled properly. You don't want to skew your data!
- Do not take the FTP test the day after a key session you are fatigued from. i.e. Do not do the FTP test on a Sunday if the day before you rode long and are still a bit depleted from the session.
- If FTP/threshold feels off for multiple workouts (not just one fluke session), such as it feels way too easy or too hard, that's an indicator it might be time to take one.
Hope that helps,
So my A race for 2020 is Ironman Mont Tremblant. This will be my 3rd IM (1st and 2nd IMs in Lake Placid). I am new to squad and have questions for the IM race builds. I dropped the 7 week IM build into my calendar and it appears that the longest ride is only 3 hours. There are a total of two 3 hour rides, one before the race and one 3 hr ride after the race during the first week of race recovery (8th week). I'm concerned this volume is not enough for a full ironman. Am I reading this wrong or is this the PP philosophy? My bike time for LP was 6:24 so more than double the time of the longest training ride. Can you explain this? Thank you!
Great question! You are reading the plan correctly. Why do we approach training this way? Another great question.
At Purple Patch, we realize that most athletes are time starved. We also believe that prescribing many long training sessions can make the body susceptible to injury and fatigue. We also see many athletes 'getting in the miles and time' but fail to integrate high quality training inside those long training sessions because of the fatigue factor.
We accumulate time and miles on the bike and running over the course of the week and training cycle. You will notice some weekends have rides on 2 - 3 consecutive days. This accumulation helps athletes not only fit in the training but this approach is easier on the body.
For example, you may notice two runs on one day in your Race Build, one in the morning and one in the afternoon/evening. You are still getting a long day of running, but by breaking it up, your body has time to recover. And with recovery time, being able to hit each of the sessions with much more specificity on what is being requested. Having it as one long run risk hitting a fatigue wall 2/3 of the way through, not finishing the workout as requested, and building up possible fatigue and injury.
Following this approach allows you to hit each prescribed workout as suggested. Which many times will include efforts well above what your IM effort will be on Race Day. Making you more fit and comfortable at a higher Zone will make Race Day easier for you as you've done so much above-race-tempo efforts.
If you are able to get out for longer rides, you can do this of course. But with caution. We suggest you follow the suggested workout as written. If you are able to stay out longer, do so but be firm with yourself and keep the extra mileage at a Zone 2 effort. Still feeling 'cheated'? Reverse that. If the session is 2 hours and you want to ride for 4: Begin with 2 hours at low-mid Zone 2 effort. When you hit the 2 hour mark, then begin the actual training session.
Enjoy your training Katie!
Related question about Race Build Plans and Threshold tests:
I use TrainerRoad to execute most of my bike sessions. My process is to download each bike workout from Today's Plan (in .mrc format), run it thru TrainerRoad's Workout Creator, then add that workout into my TrainerRoad calendar for execution.
I'm guessing that when I download the bike workouts' .mrc file out of Today's Plan, the workout details (% of FTP that I should be working at for each interval) are automatically calculated based on my current FTP value in Today's Plan.
If this is a correct assumption, I'm thinking that I should wait to add a Race Build to my Today's Plan calendar until after I complete an FTP assessment and update my FTP value in Today's Plan accordingly. That way, all the bike workouts in the Plan would be aligned to my new (higher, I hope!) FTP, and give me more accurate/meaningful/appropriate bike workout values throughout the Plan.
Does this logic seem sound? Maybe I'm missing something, over-thinking things, or over-complicating things??
Similar to Atfuller’s question, if you’re able to execute all of the view 2 workouts (under 12 hour view), but don’t have the scheduling to add the other swim or capacity to run (avoiding too much running) what kind of bike workouts are recommended to add if you have the energy and time (pure recovery, flush ride from the library, etc?)?
There are no prescribed “rest” days in the baseline plan and I’ve heard Matt say that “rest days” are over prescribed and that life will give you rest days. If my schedule doesn’t really force me to take rest days, any reason to take them? If taking a rest day results in scheduling that “missed” workout on the next day (maintaining the same load for the week) does that offset the benefit of the rest since you’re loading the next day heavier?
Ahhh, good question. It's good logic but the solution is easier than you may realize.
- Please access your account profile in Trainer Road. Your FTP should be listed here (or in Athlete Info or somewhere similar). Do not assume that your FTP in Today's Plan is uploading to Trainer Road. You will want to check and then manually adjust your FTP in Trainer Road to match your FTP in Today's Plan. On a side note, this is very common in 3rd party apps and needs to also be done in Zwift.
- Applying a Race Build and performing Run or Bike Assessment Tests are not related. Here's why: 1) After you perform your Assessment Test and get new Threshold numbers (FTP, Run Pace, and Heart Rate) the corresponding Zone Table listed underneath the Threshold number will update. This will give you new Zone numbers/ranges to follow based off of the threshold number you just changed. 2) This will automatically change all the Zone information listed within each of your workouts in Today's Plan, both in the Baseline Plan and any Race Builds. 3) As long as you remember to change your FTP in Trainer Road after completing an FTP test, the Zones listed in each workout will match.
- If you feel the need to do an FTP test prior to your Race Build, that is fine. I like the idea of not doing too many of them. And remember, your results are simply a snapshot of how you felt on one particular day. If you felt particularly cruddy that day and the test did not go as well as you had hoped, I would consider not entering or accepting that number.
Keep up the great work Tim,
For Alex Fuller,
This is a very personalized question. I would first consider: What are your goals? Do your goals align with adding more training sessions? How much (realistic) time and energy do you have? Would this be better spent doing something with the family or something outside of training for a bit of balance? These are good gut-check questions to ask yourself prior to simply going for an extra run. Remember, more may be more, but not necessarily.
If you clear yourself for more training:
- Are you in the Time Rich (over 12 hours) or Time Starved (under 12 hour) view?
- If in the Time Starved Version, simply click on the downward facing arrows that are located on some of the training days that week. This will bring up additional workouts that will continue to address the Weekly Summary. The Weekly Summary is the Monday feature with the video from Matt clarifying the purpose and intent of the week.
- If you are in the Time Rich version, go to the Workout Library (top right corner in the desktop version of Today's Plan) to view additional training sessions. Most of these available sessions are Supporting in nature. Meaning, they focus on Recovery and/or Technique. We do this intentionally as your week is already comprised with plenty of Key, interval based sessions. Then, truly think about what your body needs. Would you benefit from a bit of swimming drills to help your kick (there's a great Wall Kick one in there). Or maybe a simple core session or two would help you. You get the idea. Allow your body the opportunity to tell you what it needs. Then select the appropriate session and simply click and drag it to the day you'd like to execute the session.
- Usually it is recommended to focus on your weaker link and do technique sessions to strengthen those weaker links. But, when you were listening to your body, maybe it told you "Alex, you really need a nice chill bike ride with your buddies with a stop for pie'. If so, for all means, do that, even if you excel in pie eating (oh wait, I mean cycling).
I hope this helps Alex!
Elizabeth - great questions. We wrote an article a little while ago on how to estimate and then how to update once you've taken an FTP test. https://education.purplepatchfitness.com/hc/en-us/articles/360021872074-What-are-estimated-training-zones-and-thresholds-and-how-do-I-change-them-
Until then, use this chart as a good gauge:
For a wildly loose ‘guestimate’ of FTP power -- we suggest following these rough outlines until you can establish your value via a proper assignment:
Female: Total training hours are based on ‘all sports’ -- not just cycling.
Weight: under 135 Pounds - Recreational athlete: FTP 140W
Weight: under 135 Pounds - Amateur athlete: FTP 175W
Weight: under 135 Pounds - Strong athlete: FTP 220W
Weight: over 135 Pounds - Recreational athlete: FTP 150W
Weight: over 135 Pounds - Amateur athlete: FTP 190W
Weight: over 135 Pounds - Strong athlete: FTP 240W
Male: Total training hours are based on ‘all sports’ -- not just cycling.
Weight: under 165 Pounds - Recreational athlete: FTP 170W
Weight: under 165 Pounds - Amateur athlete: FTP 210W
Weight: under 165 Pounds - Strong athlete: FTP 250W
Weight: over 165 Pounds - Recreational athlete: FTP 210W
Weight: over 165 Pounds - Amateur athlete: FTP 240W
Weight: over 165 Pounds - Strong athlete: FTP 275W
Hope that helps!
Great question and it is one that depends on each individual. If you are finding yourself with extra time and it would be a mad dash to get swapped from the swim to the run and cutting the run short, for example, you are better off taking the extra time in the pool and getting in quality time there. However, sticking with this same example, if you are needing to work on running resilience and endurance, then adding in a run, even if it is shorter would help you work on this.
As a personal example, I follow the whole time-starved week/plan for the most part. However, I am aiming to work on running some road races this year, so I add in the optional runs.
Like mentioned, it is super important that we focus on what it is that we personally need and empower ourselves to say "I need to work on X so I will either make that a longer session as I have time or add in the optional X workout."
Does that help? Can I clarify anything?
Hi Mel, the question that Katie had was exactly something I've been wondering about and I love your answer. (By the way Mel and Liz, I love all your answers and really enjoyed reading these Q&A thoroughly so far!)
I have the same race build in my plan as does Katie, but my IM is in St. George in May and will be riding indoors until then - except for the tri camp in early March.
My question is - does the same logic apply if you are training 100% indoors and want to extend the longer trainer rides slightly. I imagine the 3 hour ride I might be fine with keeping at 3 hours on the trainer, but if I wanted to make it 4 hours would that make sense to ride an hour easy then start the workout? How does this compare with doing a short ride again later in the day (something I plan to do on some Saturdays until my 7 week build starts)?
We love that you love this Q&A forum so far. It is our privilege to work with such awesome athletes.
In short, Jody, yes, the same logic will apply indoors as well as out. If you want to extend your indoor trainer rides (such as the typical Saturday long ride) then, go for it. One simple reason that indoor sessions tend to be shorter than outdoor sessions is that trainer rides can feel very dull and to combat that we try to get in the meat and potatoes as efficiently as possible. Asking someone to extend a ride outside is often easy to do because it is enjoyable. However, you are welcome to extend indoors as well and can add the extra time at the beginning or end - either as a very long warm up or very long cool down. I often do this as it works with my family and life commitments that do not end just because I have an upcoming race. :)
If you would like, you can also add in another shorter ride later in the day to accumulate time with the break your body (and mind might need). Keep the effort low stress and between Z1-Z2 effort. It will do no good to push your body hard during the extension and could leave you more prone to injury. Be sure to intake great fuel during and before the longer sessions or in between sessions and treat your body nicely!
Best of luck with IM St. George - so beautiful!
I am so pleased this particular forum is helping you. As Liz said, it is our true pleasure! A few additional thoughts on your long indoor rides: I really like the idea of breaking up long indoor rides. It allows your mind and body a break as well as the opportunity to change into a new kit. When doing long indoor rides, really think about moving around on the bike to stay supple. Change positions, get out of the saddle, change your RPMs, stretch your arms, neck, and back out. Staying in aero position on an indoor trainer for hours on end can be really tough on the body and not the best approach. Variety is best for your mind and body. As is changing into a new kit!
Post is closed for comments.