Running with Power
You can find various types of power meters to use for cycling (where power meters are typically integrated into either a wheel’s hub or the pedals) and running. Power meters for runners can be integrated directly into a GPS watch, as the Coros Vertix has done, or a foot pod that you clip onto one of your running shoes. Stryd makes a particularly effective food pod power meter.
Here, I’ll specifically focus on using power for running. As with heart rate, to use power for running you need to correlate it with your lactate threshold — typically referred to as your running functional threshold power (rFTPw) or critical power (CP). I like to use one of the tests originally designed by Stryd and adapted by Jim Vance in his book, Running with Power.
The first field test is the “3/9 test.” You should go into this workout rested. A flat course is ideal, but a few rolling hills are fine if that’s what you have. You can also do this on a track for a more controlled course. When repeating this test throughout your training program, be sure to do so on similar terrain (e.g., same course) and under similar conditions (e.g., temperature, elevation). Warm up for about 15 minutes. Run 3 minutes at maximal effort (if doing this on a track, you can run 2 or 3 laps). Be sure to record your power during the interval. Recover for 30 minutes by walking 5 minutes, running very easy for 10 minutes, walking 5 minutes, running very easy for 5 minutes, and walking for 5 minutes. Then run 9 minutes at maximal effort (if doing this on a track, you can run 5 to 7 laps). Be sure to record your power during the interval. Warm down and calculate your results when you get home.
To calculate your results of the 3/9 test, add the average power from your 3-minute interval and your 9-minute interval. Divide the total by 2. Then take 90% of that total (rounding to a whole number). This is your rFTPw.
Once you have your rFTPw number, use it to set your run power zones in your TrainingPeaks profile. Go to Athlete Account Settings > Zones > Power > Run Power. Enter your rFTPw number in the box for Threshold Value. Where it asks you to Choose Method, select “Jim Vance – Running (7)” from the drop-down menu. Press Calculate and your run power zones will be calculated. Press Apply and then Save at the bottom. Whenever you retake the running power test, be sure to update your threshold value and recalculate your zones in your TrainingPeaks profile; this will ensure your zones are up to date based on your current fitness level.
The second field test is a simple 30-minute time trial. As with the other field test, you should go into this workout rested. A flat course is ideal, but a few rolling hills are fine if that’s what you have. You can also do this on a track for a more controlled course. When repeating this test throughout your training program, be sure to do so on similar terrain (e.g., same course) and under similar conditions (e.g., temperature, elevation). Warm up for about 15 minutes. Run 30 minutes at your best effort. Be sure to record your power during the time trial; you can also collect pace and heart rate data, too. Warm down and calculate your results when you get home.
To calculate your rFTPw from your time trial results, take the average power over the last 20 minutes of the time trial. This is your rFTPw. Follow the instructions above to use that number to set your run power zones in your TrainingPeaks profile.
Instead of a shorter solo time trial, you may also use results from a recent race of about an hour in duration to identify your rFTPw. Your rFTPw (or CP) is the average power you can maintain for an hour long hard effort. This might be a 10K or 15K race for most runners or up to a half marathon for elite runners. If your race took you between 50 minutes and 70 minutes; then you can use it to gauge your rFTPw. In your TrainingPeaks file from a one-hour race, take your peak 60-minute power value (the best 60-minute average power); then take the Normalized Power (NP) for those 60 minutes. This is your rFTPw. If your race was closer to 50 minutes; then use the NP for the entire race. If your race was more than 70 minutes (but less than 90 minutes); then increase the number by 0.5% for every minute over 70.
Once you know your sport specific training zones, you are ready to put them to use in your training program. The next two chapters examine how to develop that program, starting with a big-picture look at your season and then how to implement your training through the different phases of the season.
TRAINING GUIDE CONTENTS
– Train with a Purpose
– The ABCs of Systematic Training
– The R&R of Training
– Begin with the End in Mind
2. Exercise Science Concepts
– Overreaching and Overtraining
– Energy Systems
– Aerobic Capacity
– Lactate Threshold
– Aerobic Threshold
– Muscle Fiber Types
3. Monitor Your Training Intensity
– What is Training Intensity?
– Key Indicators of Intensity
– Using Training Zones
– Training by Feel, or Perceived Exertion
– Training with Pace
– Training with Heart Rate
– Running with Power
4. Create Your Training Plan
– Prioritizing Your Events
– Overview of the Training Phases
– Choosing Your Periodization Schedule
– Filling in the Details of the Overall Plan
5. Create Your Weekly Workouts
– Creating Weekly Schedules
– Establishing and Developing Your Base
– Building Upon Your Base
– Peaking for Your Target Event
– Race Week and Race Day Warmup
6. Functional Strength
7. Recovery and Nutrition
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