The other night I did my first threshold test of the season on the bike. Even though it wasn't listed in the training plan as one or officially even called a threshold test, it sure looked and felt like one. I really haven't done any type of threshold testing since before my accident so I was a little concerned that I would overshoot the effort and wouldn't be able to complete it or undershoot the effort leaving too much in the tank. On a threshold test, you want to "baby bear" it (not too hard, not too easy, just right.....) and just right normally means that at some point you are breathing so hard that you contemplate trying to breathe through your eye lids to see if that works. Note: it doesn't.
The script of this test was to, after a warm up and a L2ish interval with the bike on the trainer, "give hard a try" for 20 minutes. In the good ole days my functional threshold power (FTP) was somewhere north of 280 watts but that seemed like eons ago and it wasn't in the so called off-season. I figured I would start at about 250 watts, see how I felt, and ramp it up a little at a time until there was nothing left. The "test" went according to plan (except the side stitch at 17 minutes) and after the magic of a power file analysis, WKO spit out my normalized power for this test as 260 watts. I was not unhappy with this number since it was still well above where I was last year at this time and in the range that I expected it to be at this time.
This morning I stepped on the scale at Weight Watchers and the number, while not where I wanted it to be, was also in the not unhappy range. I haven't been to WeWa in a while and was glad that I went. The number was down from the last time (the old ladies that work the scale got all excited) and a single pound above my low of 2009 (again right before my accident). They gave me the new 2010 Weight Watchers log book to track my weight for the upcoming year.
Both of these "tests" have provided me with numbers that will act as baselines going forward and both were in the not unhappy range. These two tests got me thinking about what's going to happen in 2010. Now that I have some baselines, I need to formulate some goals since I'll be doing these types of tests somewhat frequently and I know that goals will help me focus on succeeding. But what is succeeding? I figured that these areas, while interesting and can be used for motivation, ultimately are second class goals for me. What I mean by that is that they show progress and warrant focus but there are other goals (like actual race performances and other less tangible stuff) that will trump the weight loss and power numbers. These other goals will be what defines "succeeding."
What are they? Stay tuned. I'll publish them next week.
PS: I realized, after the fact, that while I was doing the threshold test I wasn't thinking about my injuries or my recovery. This may be the biggest threshold that I broke through.