6 weeks. 15 classes. 5 POD sessions (passive training). All (kinda) completed… and then some. And I’m feeling super proud as honestly, I haven’t actually followed through on a training plan since completing Brighton Half Marathon almost 4 years ago.
Let’s digress a but first to explain how we got here. A couple months ago, I signed up to complete The Altitude Centres Power Profiling Training Block. It had been a couple months since I started working full time and reduced my teaching schedule so I had kinda lost my way when it came to my own fitness, or lack there of. After a summer of not as much road cycling as I would’ve liked, I’d lost all my bike fitness and I was keen to get a mountain bike to put my basic skills to the test as well as try out cyclocross racing. And I think this training plan really motivated me to do all that.
The programme includes a pre-test session to gauge your fitness and create a Power Profile Report which details things such as your Anaerobic Capacity and Fatigue Index. The main result I was focused on was FTP (Functional Threshold Power) as I hadn’t long completed an FTP test and it seemed to be the talk of the cycling town when it comes to understanding how fit you are. I think I could probably do a whole post on FTP so I won’t go into that now! After the testing session, you embark on the 6 weeks and voila… you test again. But don’t get me wrong. These 6 weeks were not easy… I learnt alot. Then I had to prove what I had done through the post test.
Accountability Is A Gamechanger
Like I said, it had been years since I stuck to a training plan and the last time I did was because I had Bethan (of A Pretty Place to Play) to do most of my longs run with plus I started a weekly run club at my work which both kept me accountable. I’m sure you know yourself, and you know whether you need that level of accountability or not! …Also knowing that there was a retest at the end was another form of accountability and I was so nervous on that day! I began to worry that I hadn’t trained hard enough or that I just for some reason or another wouldn’t see results.
Schedule Your Sessions Like Meetings
Working full time, studying for my MSc, running this blog… it all takes up alot of time. There were some days I’d just wake up and not feel like going to the AC to complete my session and it would be soooo easy to skip a day. But I got into a routine of sitting down at the end of each week and booking in my sessions for the following week, putting them in my diary and then working around them rather than working them around other things. I had to do this especially as I was keen to attend classes so I didn’t have to do the sessions on my own.
The Difference Between Laziness and Needing Rest
There was one week where the plan was 3 exercise sessions plus one POD session. For my second exercise session though, I just felt so drained! I couldn’t hit the power that I wanted to and it seemed pointless even being there! But I spoke to the AC and they suggested I just left the week at 2 sessions and got some rest… It was a reminder that in your progress you don’t just continually improve. Sometimes you take a step or two backwards but then the net gain is equal to improvement. But it is also important to recognise when you might just be trying to skive, huh?!
You’ll Miss Out On Other Fitness Opportunities
Yeah, FOMO (fear of missing out) can get real. There were numerous class invites I had to decline because completing my AC sessions were the priority for the 6 weeks. I really had to focus on my why during this time… and that was bigger than just being another number at another event / class. There were weeks I managed to go above and beyond – I made it to a couple classes at FlyKick, I took part in two cyclocross races, completed one parkrun and I also went along to two restorative yoga classes. I might have done more… I don’t remember. These 6 weeks have made me realise though how not having a goal or a plan can just have you aimlessly attending classes that are not of much* benefit to you!
*I use the word much lightly because of course moving is good for your physical and mental health; However I think that generic classes have their place but maybe overall don’t do much for people as individuals
My Altitude Training Power Profile Results
This is what we came for, right?! The before and after. When you complete your Power Profile test, you’re provided with a report that charts the components tested to create the Power Profile. My initial testing produced a symmetrical graph which is typical of an endurance cyclist but the actual power I produced (in my opinion) would have to be substantially higher for me to be a really good road cyclist!
So here goes:
- 12% decrease in my Fatigue Index (the lower the number the better!)
- 14% increase in my Endurance
- 22% increase in Anaerobic Power
- 31% increase in my Sprint Power
…shown perfectly in the graph below:
…and this is just in 6 weeks. So imagine the results from a longer training plan!
The actual session itself was pretty intense with a max heart rate of 195bpm (!!!) but like I said, that’s partly because I was soooo nervous and wanted to put in maximum effort. I tried to do anything that I thought would help me.. wear some slick kit (Thanks LIV), drinking workout booster coffee (from Bondi), chugging a huna chia energy gel and trying to eat at the right time!
Kinda think the six weeks paid off though… 😉
The Power Profiling Training Plan is available for cyclists, runners, general fitness and mountaineering. Contact The Altitude Centre to find out more and for prices.
If you wanna find out what training at Altitude entails (and see some really old photos!) then click here to read my Training at Altitude blog.