Sunday, January 2, 2011

Multi-File/Range Analysis (MFRA)

I never ride my bike without a bike computer.  However, when I ride I rarely look at my computer- which displays just about everything except what I'm eating that night for dinner. I'm serious.  My bike computer(s) displays: Power, GPS coordinates, Heart Rate, Altitude/Elevation, Speed, Cadence, Temperature, CdA, etc.  I think the only time I look at my computer is when I'm going fast to see what my max speed is (I love to go fast) or when I'm ascending a long steep hill to see what my heart rate and power are (to make sure I pace myself properly so I don't cook my legs).

For me, the beauty of the bike computer is being able to download the data after the ride..and analyzing the power data either that day, a week, month or year later.  I especially like comparing similar ride files a year later to see if my fitness level (or power output) has improved or not.  Training Peaks WKO+ Software's version 3.0 has a new feature called Multi-File/Range Analysis (MFRA) which does just that- it analyzes similar ranges from multiple files. 

In the graph above, I compared a 14 mile out/back leg of Ironman Coeur D'Alene (on my Computrainer) from 14 January 2010 to 2 January 2011.  I wasn't particulary interested in seeing if my fitness level improved, because in order to do pretty much have to keep power output steady (while keeping all environmental factors equal) and compare heart rates.  I rode both legs at what I believed was a fast tempo pace.  I intentionally kept my Heart Rate below Threshold for each ride.  Even though my Power Output (and Heart Rate) was higher today (compared to last year), what I did takeaway from this analysis is the fact that my Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) was probably the same for each ride.  I'm guessing a 6 (out of 10).  That's a good thing and definitely a motivator that my training plan for 2011 is getting me in better shape than 2010.

BTW, this ride (see ride profile below) is a great Tempo ride for the base period of training.  It's got four 2-minute climbs and two 5-minute climbs of approx. 6% grade.  Unfortunately, not too many rides like this left on the menu for me.  I'm already in week 2 of Base 3 training and ready to enter the Build Phase.  The beginning of the Build Phase will be a hefty amount of Sweetspot and Threshold interval training.

If you're a Power Meter user I highly recommend buying Training Peaks WKO+ Software ver. 3.0.  It's without a doubt the BEST software for storing/analyzing power meter data files.

Power ON!  Coach Rob

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