Field test…

The forecast is pain…

As part of starting a new training plan, I need to do a field test. A field test is a great way to determine your current level of fitness, and therefore very useful when setting up your training ranges. I haven’t done a field test since 2006, not because it isn’t a useful activity, but because it hurts. A lot.

A field test involves the following:

  1. Warming up thoroughly
  2. Riding as hard as you can for 8 minutes
  3. Recovering for 10 minutes
  4. Riding as hard as you can for 8 minutes
  5. Crawling home.

8 minutes is right in the pain sweet-spot; short enough that you have to be working very hard to go all out, and long enough that it goes on forever.

So, anyway, I did the test, and ended up with the following results:

Date Description Duration Distance Work Avg power Max power Avg HR Avg Speed Avg Cad 95% HR
5/4/2013 FT #1 8:00 2.7 122 254 545 155 20.6 102 163
5/4/2013 FT #2 8:00 2.9 122 255 434 156 21.7 102 164

As test results go, these are pretty good; note that the average power, average heart rate, and average cadence are very close. It was a bit windy, so the speed was different between the two efforts. I’m not terribly excited by the average speed, but I do know at a high cadence – which was deliberate – I’m not as fast. I am disappointed by the 95% heart rate, because the last time I did the test I was able to hit 172, and the decrease is another sign that I’m not getting any younger (Max HR goes down as you age…)

Anyway, that gives me an 8 minute average power of 255 watts, which – applying the usual conversion factors – suggests 243 watts for 20 minutes, and 232 watts for 60 minutes.

After the field test, I took the rest of the day off. I’ve tried riding after a field test in the past, and it’s really not a very good idea.

So, what do you think ?