Both Brig and I have talked about stress and strain in our recent workout reviews, so let's keep building on that. This workout was an interesting one (thanks, Len Adams, for volunteering your workout 🙂). I've known Len for a while; he's a strong rider and knows his stuff. Take a look at the screenshot below of this workout.
Look at Len's power: he does this workout very smoothly (I assume ERG mode) and nails the power target, but you can see his heart rate really increases throughout the effort. This increase can be quantified in steady efforts like this by reviewing the power-to-heart-rate ratio for the effort (pw:hr). What's that, you ask? Well, that ratio takes the heart rate per watts for the first half of the selected effort and divides it by the second half to tell you how much your heart rate (strain) increased per watt generated (stress). This gives us some insight into aerobic fitness.
Please note: lots of things can affect heart rate, so no one workout should be taken as definitive, but when you look over a week's worth of workouts, you should see a pattern. For Len, I can tell he hasn't been doing a ton of riding and he's just starting to build that aerobic fitness (plus I bet his training room was a tad warm). How do I know? In the first eight weeks of this program, we hope to see most people dipping under a pw:hr of 5 (a lower score is better), and by the second eight weeks, we hope to see some 2s and 3s or better. A 7 is a tad high, BUT it is the start of the season.
So why did I make this such a basic steady-state effort? Two reasons.
First, this workout should give you a good baseline pw:hr since it's so steady.
Second, we're "testing" your FTP setting. Your average heart rate for this workout should be about 72% of your MAX (not threshold) heart rate. So let's say Len has a max heart rate of 180 bpm; 72% of that would be approximately 130 bpm. Len's heart rate was a little over that, so if this workout felt really hard, the combo of his feelings and the higher heart rate might suggest his FTP is set a little too high. Len had a lot of drift, and I have a feeling heat made his numbers higher here, so it really depends on his feelings in the ride.
I know the drag-highlight ability is only available in TrainingPeaks premium, but if you have it, what was your pw:hr ratio?