Vets cycling and running some initial observations.

After being injured for about 6 weeks I'm just about back in the swing of my running season ,my first for 11 years.

Got a bit of data now and it's quite interesting.In my 4 races I've been the fastest over 65 in 3 of them and 2nd in the other.Today out of 161 finishers I was 4th, age graded that's a measure of my percentage to that ages world record,which I was very surprised at. I was 37th overall.Today was a Park Run so the quality of the field sort of compares to a cycling sportive ,certainly not comparable to an open time trial where these days I routinely finish in the bottom 20% even in sportives in the last couple of years I've just about scraped into the top 50%.I'm not at full gas at the running yet and do expect to improve a few % over the next 4 to 6 weeks.

I've lost about 12% of running speed over 11 years. but that's about what the running age standards predict.I'm on average 5lbs lighter now but I fear that's mostly leg and other muscle wasteage.

One thing really strikes me, the new cycling VTTA standards don't do me any favours at all.I,m typically in the bottom 50% in a VTTA event on standard.Having a standard of 1.06.00 for a 25 for a 40 year old  is much too slow given that all the older targets have been reduced and makes it hopelessly bias in favour of younger vets.

It takes me some time to recover from a running race so I'm only run training every other day and that training is 80% very easy and 20% at or above 5k race pace.This seems to be working and reduces the risk of getting injured which seems to be the big problem for over 60's runners.

Got a smart turbo and Zwift last week, done about 65k on it so far.I'm in the slowest 10%, nearly everyone zooms past me, I have no chance of getting on wheels(which reduces the resistance,very clever)why do they try so hard? It's probable that my turbo is slightly under reading my wattage,  going to try to recalibrate it next week. It is fun though and I will stick with it for the winter. Where I have tended to go wrong with my cycle training in the past is the relative lack of high end , ie  race and above race pace, work.

Anyone got any Zwift tips?

  1. I have not used Zwift although I have been tempted to give it a go. I'm sold on TrainerRoad and use it all the time. Started two winters ago and in the space of 6months it got me from a long 1:01 to a mid 55 over 25 miles. Without doubt, the best money I've spent as far as competitive cycling is concerned. I think if you want something that you can dip in and out of, then zwift is the way to go but if you want something more structured then I would go with Trainerroad every time. 

  2. Thanks Alex it's pretty clear that a lot of the overall improvement that has happened to TT times over the past couple of years is down to Trainerroad and the like. I'll probably stick with Zwift up to Christmas and then in the new year if I look like I might race next year (and that's a big if) then I'll switch to Trainerroad,there's no point in going nuts with the training this time of year.It's going to take me some weeks to get my head round what Zwift offers.

  3. Tried the Zwift FTP test, the 20 minute one. Zwift rather over estimated what I was capable of so pushed me much too hard in the warm up, accordingly I slowed down dramatically in the second half of the test and ended up with a FTP of 161 watts (169 actual for the 20 minutes).I was rather hoping for at least 180 with the vauge notion of  a target next March/April of 195 plus.

    I am talking serious pain here and a massive puddle of sweat on the floor.

    Anyway at least I have a benchmark now and should be able to improve on it  next time, without any special training, simply  by better pace judgement.

    Not going to try for at least 10 days though.

    PS.Why did I put a helmet on my avitar! Don't tell Lisa.

  4. Yes, it takes a few attempts before getting the pacing correct, although it's easier once you have a benchmark. In TrainerRoad, there are two different ftp tests. One is a 20 minute effort while the other is 2 x 8mins. I have tried both and I get very little, if any difference from the results.  But I have settled on the 2x8 simply because it is mentally easier to deal with. 


    A couple of other points. I do see a variation in my power according to the temperature. My ftp tends to go up in the winter when it is colder; cooling has a massive effect for me on the turbo. Worth trying to keep that variable as much under control as possible when doing your tests. Also worth insuring that tyre pressures are as consistent as possible (unless you have direct drive.). 

  5. Could n't wait so did another FTP test today the 20 minute one (I can cope with this fine and it's close to a 10mile TT effort).

    Up 8 watts to 169 off a 177 actual .This time a much more controlled warm up and not taking  much notice of Zwifts warm up wattage sprint targets (245, you're joking!) and a slower start, in effect I got 8 watts just on better pace judgement.I certainly did n't try harder.

    I've got 3 windows open very close to the set up but you're right I still need a fan.

    I will try to recalibrate the turbo wattage readout every ride.

    Zwift is certainly very addictive,will try to do a steady virtual group ride over the weekend say a 50k sportive/audax, there are lots of races but I'm nothing like good enough even to hang on.

  6. Yes, I calibrate twice during a TR session. Do an initial one at the very start, then recalibrate after 10 minutes, or as close to as possible (most TR sessions have a 10-12min warm up). The second calibration allows for the fact that the fluid in the turbo and the tyre has warmed up, which again can effect the power readings. TBH I don't worry too much about the individual sessions now as it is more important to see your trend over a block of time. Again, the TR blocks in their plans are usually 6-8 weeks and all start with a FTP test. 


    John, will have a go at Zwift this weekend to see what it's like. Quite curoius now. (I suppose I could always cheat and say I'm 60kg to bump my ftp/kg ratio up a bit)  ;-)

  7. More Zwifting today, the London Boxhill loop (there was vitual rain on Boxhill!).

    Tried a bit harder then I intended mainly bacause I cranked the turbo setting from the default 50% to 100% this means that when the route goes up hill the turbo setting should automatically adjust to feel as close as possible to the real thing.In truth on my set up it's somewhat harder ie it took me well over 16 minutes to climb BoxHill ,putting out just under 150 watts.I was in 34 *24 most of the time.Will try 75% next time.

    Club rides are beginning to appear on the rides list Hillingdon Slipstreamers and Deeside Thistle to name 2.

    Also there are group rides that are aimed at the less strong riders ie me.Say aimed at 1.5 watts per kilo or 2.0,stronger riders would choose a 3 watts per kilo group ride.Pro team Dimension Data have a sociable ride this afternoon at 1.5 w/k.

    Beginning to think I might have a virtual training camp week some time in January using these group rides.

    Off to Switzerland (the real thing) tomorrow for a week, found an open running time trial race on Sunday which might be fun,start any time between 10am and 3pm enter on the line you get a timing chip, start when you want and the follow the marker arrows for your chosen route of 3 (4,7 or 10k).

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