Adventures with a Power Meter 3: Setting a Goal with a Plan

April 27, 2018

My focussed efforts resulting in “scary face” (see Adventures with a Power Meter: It Gets Serious) mean I now have my baseline data with an FTP of 184 W.


Setting a goal


I sit down with Will on the nice comfy sofa in the shop, trying not to fall asleep after all my extensive exertions.


Dennis demonstrates how easy it is to fall asleep

I want to look at all the numbers and understand what they mean but first Will asks, “What’s your goal?” Trying to get faster and stronger is not a goal. What does that mean anyway? Faster for short sprints? Better on hills? Stronger over long distances? I need a goal so that we can agree a training programme to achieve my aim.


Time for a time trial


I did a couple of time trials last year with Beds Road Cycle Club, an individual race against the clock on a defined route. TTs are tough but fun at the same time, pushing yourself to the limit and re-living the experience with everyone back at the clubhouse. And the cake at the end tastes amazing!


My best time on the 10 mile course is 31 min and 34 sec. Can I do it in under 30 mins?



Working out workouts


Will pulls up my data on Training Peaks. It’s sort of like Strava but with more serious training stuff. A comparison of my numbers with the Training Peaks database shows my comparative weaknesses are my short term power (5 sec and 1 min), while my relative strengths are the longer 5 min and 20 min power. And I thought I was stronger on the sprints!


But it’s in the right direction for TTs which are all about maintaining a consistent power. He sets me up a Training Peaks account and puts a couple of workouts on my calendar.   

Did I mention I like cake?


In the zone


Not this kind of zone



Training is about pushing your body hard with easy recovery in between. As Dave said, “The problem is most people don’t push hard enough when they should and don’t go easy enough for recovery.”


Zones are a way of defining hard and easy by using power data, with zone 1 being easy. The whole point of all that work to get an FTP is to define the range of watts for my personalised zones.



Power zones for an FTP of 184 W calculated using British Cycling


They correlate closely with Strava and Training Peaks.


Power Zone                            Low end of zone                    High end of zone

1. Active recovery                                                          <                   101

2. Endurance                                   10                         to                  139

3. Tempo                                          139                       to                  165

Sweet Spot                                       161                       to                  171

4. Threshold                                     165                       to                  193

5. VO2 max                                       193                       to                  220

6. Anaerobic capacity                      220                       to                  276



Garmin to the rescue!