Cycling Topics That I have Blogged About!
Don't worry, the list will get longer, hopefully all your questions and mine as well will be answered!
2. Questions: What %FTP do you hold for 70.3? What do you recommend for 140.6? Most pros hold 80% but what about for age-groupers? This is very helpful, thank you!
Answer: I personally hold about 80-87% of my FTP power, depending on the condition. If it's hot/humid, it's typically on the lower end. If I'm feeling good it's typically on the higher end. Sometimes pros get to ride in packs within legal draft distance. Though we're not supposed to gain benefits, there is significant advantage with our 12m distance rule (in most 70.3 races). I notice that I push around 5-10 watts less when I'm behind someone than when I'm alone. For age groupers this rarely happens as most ride alone in a time trial for most of the day, holding steady power,
For age groupers, 70.3 power I'd recommend anywhere from 75% to 80%. I've seen guys do as much as 90+% but that's toward to upper echelon. For 140.6 power, I'd recommend 60-70 % of your FTP. That being said, power is something that shouldn't be taken strictly number wise. Your FTP changes daily. Your training FTP is very different from your racing FTP.
So don't get fixated on the number. The target number is a good guide, but a number is only a number. For me, say I'm trying to target 270 watts, it doesn't mean I'm going to hold 270 watts always. If there's a section where there's false flat uphill, I will hold 290-300 to keep my speed up. If there's a downhill, I might just hold 260 or 270 if I'm feeling good. If I'm not feeling good, then I'll go based on how I'm feeling/my heart rate and what I think I can hold based on experience and sensation in my legs. It takes experience (multiple races) to find out whether or not you're pushed too hard, or pushed too easy. It's not a bad idea to play around and see where your limit is. You might have a few bad races, but that's what racing is about, learning to get better. For me, I've found that I typically push slightly lower power than i could if I don't use a power meter. Whereas other folks might tend to push too hard, too early, without realizing it with a power meter. So what I'm trying to say is, the powermeter is just a tool. It's not a command center. Ultimately you have to make the decision on what pace you can push.
Lastly, always push slightly less than your target wattage in the beginning, and pushed slightly more on your second half, whether it's for your 70.3 or 140.6 race. I've found that my average speed is always higher (2-3 min faster on a 56 mile bike ) despite having the lower average power with a higher first half power than the second half power. Because once your power drops, your pace drops significantly. And negative splitting almost always gives you a consistent, and better power output throughout.
Hope this help, if there's anything I can help you with, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org