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Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero?
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Here's my current situation: I had a good tri season last year, ending at the half in Whistler. Then I put my TT bike away for five months and concentrated on cyclocross season. I ended the year with pretty good bike fitness after that block, and then took three weeks completely off the bike for my 'offseason'. My 2018 season started this week and I got my TT bike out and put it on the Kickr.

I'm doing a TR plan, and so far the workouts (I've only done three) are challenging but I can complete them. I'm hoping that I rebound from my three week hiatus fairly quickly in terms of bike fitness (I always knew this week would be ugly). However, it's no surprise that I'm not great at staying aero right now, as I haven't ridden my TT bike since July 30th. For example, yesterday's workout had me doing 45 continuous minutes at 1/2IM intensity. That was tough but manageable, but I could only manage to stay aero for 10 or 15 minutes out of the 45. On Monday I did 50 minutes at ~10-12% less power and stayed aero for about 70% of the time.

My question is this: At this point of the season, would you decrease the intensity to a level where you can spend 90+% of the time in aero, and then gradually raise the intensity while staying aero? Or would you leave the intensity challenging and gradually increase the amount of time you can stay aero (and focus on staying aero during rest periods, warmup, cool down, etc)?

Opinions?

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Re: Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero? [CCF] [ In reply to ]
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So redo your FTP test and do it while in your aerobars, then you’ll have a true Functional Threshold Power to base your training zones off of to meet your goals.
Last edited by: mike s: Jan 12, 18 12:50
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Re: Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero? [CCF] [ In reply to ]
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For me, I try to stay aero for any interval over like 5 minutes. If it’s shorter and really hard sometimes I’ll get out of aero if I need to keep power up. But longer intervals I stay aero since I am more comfortable that way, but also because I think it helps since that’s how I’ll be racing outside.

But I also think the winter might be the better time to push higher watts to build ftp so that you can, hopefully, hold that when you get more race specific.

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Re: Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero? [CCF] [ In reply to ]
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Aero for everything. You will get used to it in less than 3 weeks, and then you are good to go. After you do it once, it gets easier the next time around as well. I had some more problems the first time doing intervals on the bike with trainerroad but over now I can take off a whole year from cycling and pop right back on the trailer with very few Aero problems.
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Re: Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero? [lightheir] [ In reply to ]
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lightheir wrote:
Aero for everything. You will get used to it in less than 3 weeks, and then you are good to go. After you do it once, it gets easier the next time around as well. I had some more problems the first time doing intervals on the bike with trainerroad but over now I can take off a whole year from cycling and pop right back on the trailer with very few Aero problems.

I'VE TRIED THAT AND THE THREE WEEK THING IS NOT POSSIBLE FOR ME. PUBES TALKED ABOUT IT ONCE TOO caps lock off haha Pubes I beleive is liek me, I just lose power in areo, ive been trying for a few years to get the power i lose back, by staying in areo as much as possible but I can't see much improvement. I do know if i raise up a bit I have more power but I am slower. hopefully the OP isn't like me... but if he is, The real question I wish I had a answer for is the OPs question. Do i base my ftp off areo postion or upright? and I believe upright ftp test, and hold everything as long as I can with a emphasis on finishing all efforts in areo even if i bail out of areo on them part way through.
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Re: Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero? [Cookiebuilder] [ In reply to ]
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Cookiebuilder wrote:
lightheir wrote:
Aero for everything. You will get used to it in less than 3 weeks, and then you are good to go. After you do it once, it gets easier the next time around as well. I had some more problems the first time doing intervals on the bike with trainerroad but over now I can take off a whole year from cycling and pop right back on the trailer with very few Aero problems.


I'VE TRIED THAT AND THE THREE WEEK THING IS NOT POSSIBLE FOR ME. PUBES TALKED ABOUT IT ONCE TOO caps lock off haha Pubes I beleive is liek me, I just lose power in areo, ive been trying for a few years to get the power i lose back, by staying in areo as much as possible but I can't see much improvement. I do know if i raise up a bit I have more power but I am slower. hopefully the OP isn't like me... but if he is, The real question I wish I had a answer for is the OPs question. Do i base my ftp off areo postion or upright? and I believe upright ftp test, and hold everything as long as I can with a emphasis on finishing all efforts in areo even if i bail out of areo on them part way through.

You might need an aero refit if it's really that bad for you, honestly.
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Re: Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero? [CCF] [ In reply to ]
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Unless I was racing within a few weeks I would ride the trainer in a position that let me to ride as hard as I could for my plan's given intervals.
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Re: Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero? [CCF] [ In reply to ]
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I'm in the same boat as you after a year off from the TT bike and riding only the road bike or MTB bike. Since I'm doing a 70.3 in April and IM in July I'm back on the TT bike for my weekday indoor trainer rides. I've totally opted to prioritize riding in aero over riding at a higher power. I ride in erg mode and and increase power till the point I've reached the max I could sustain for the entire indoor ride (60-90 minutes typically). My logic is if I can do that, I can do it outside too, and riding outside at lower power in aero will be faster than having to sit upright all the time anyways.

I fully expect that it won't take too long before I'll be back at full power in TT position. E.g last week I could comfortably ride at 65% of FTP for an hour whereas this week this went up to 80%. Probably in a week or two I'll back at full capacity in aero.

I haven't done long rides over an hour outside yet on my TT bike since I enjoy fast group rides on the road bike more. But I expect once I'm comfortable indoors for rides of 1.5h at z2-4 I'll automatically be good for 3-4h rides outside anyways.
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Re: Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero? [Benv] [ In reply to ]
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Good to hear a success story!

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Any run that doesn't include pooping in someone's front yard is a win.
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Re: Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero? [lightheir] [ In reply to ]
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lightheir wrote:
You might need an aero refit if it's really that bad for you, honestly.

Totally agree. Something doesn't add up here. If you're having that much of a challenge maintaining/building power in the aero position then there's got to be a problem with your position. Either that or you're just not spending enough time in the aero position.

This is where data actually helps a ton because what you think you're doing vs what you're actually doing is often influenced by some bias.

Thanks, Chris
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Re: Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero? [lakerfan] [ In reply to ]
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the hard part for me is i know i am faster, every race last year i was faster but with less watts averaged ( I went lower a year ago).. I think the complication for me is the 30 watts or so is such a big swing that i can't get the time in areo in anything but zone 2 maybe i should just lower my ftp and see what happens and build from that.... my fit isn't crazy low and its pretty comfy.

insert crappy pic i made my wife take last week
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Re: Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero? [jaretj] [ In reply to ]
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jaretj wrote:
Unless I was racing within a few weeks I would ride the trainer in a position that let me to ride as hard as I could for my plan's given intervals.

I agree with this. I try to spend some time in the aero position on the trainer but I don't sweat it that much, and most of the time when I'm doing hard intervals I'm on the base bar. I do only use my tri bike on the trainer as I feel more confident that the frame will hold up to the stresses of the trainer than my old carbon road bike, so I'm staying adapted to my general tt saddle position.

I do lose some power in the TT position, but mostly I just find it more relaxing on the trainer not to obsess about staying in the aero position, the trainer is tedious enough, why make it worse and why not generate the most power I can. FWIW, I'm pretty slippery by tri standards and punch way over my very modest w/Kg in tri results, yet I don't have much of an issue adapting to the tri position once I get out on the road. I think some folks here are just overthinking the whole trainer thing.
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Re: Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero? [Cookiebuilder] [ In reply to ]
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If I were you I'd be more worried about the extra arm coming out of your abdomen, even if it doesn't affect your frontal area
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Re: Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero? [Cookiebuilder] [ In reply to ]
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You’re on the wrong saddle.
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Re: Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero? [Cookiebuilder] [ In reply to ]
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Cookiebuilder wrote:
the hard part for me is i know i am faster, every race last year i was faster but with less watts averaged ( I went lower a year ago).. I think the complication for me is the 30 watts or so is such a big swing that i can't get the time in areo in anything but zone 2 maybe i should just lower my ftp and see what happens and build from that.... my fit isn't crazy low and its pretty comfy.

insert crappy pic i made my wife take last week

We need to understand the specifics of what we're comparing here:

1. Are we talking about an FTP that is established on the trainer or outside? Or have you confirmed that your FTP on the trainer is the same as outside? It's important to note that a lot of people cannot maintain the same power on the trainer as they can outside so don't assume they're the same *unless* you know for certain.

2. Many people have a harder time maintaining ~L4 power in the aero position vs in the hoods on the trainer. In fact, that statement also applies to outside power. However, just keep in mind, challenges with achieving a certain comfort level at high power on the trainer don't necessarily translate to your experience outside.

If 1 and 2 are the case for you then I wouldn't sweat too much. 30W is definitely a big swing (unless your FTP is something like 300W) but when on the trainer try to ride in the aero position as much as possible (except when you're doing L4 intervals). If you're definitely more comfortable doing L4 intervals in the aero position outside then try to do so.

Bottom line, I don't really have a problem with anyone doing L4 intervals in the hoods (inside or outside) as long as they're in the aero position for just about everything else. Keep in mind, I'm fairly certain that someone will chime in and say that you MUST do your L4 intervals in the aero position to which I would simply respond, "No you don't and I have plenty of evidence to counter that claim."

Just remember that the best answer to your problem can only be addressed when you look at your training from a holistic perspective. If I only focus on answering the question based on what you should do during those L4 intervals then the answer would likely be different because I would have to make assumptions (probably incorrect ones) about what you're likely doing outside of those L4 intervals.

Thanks, Chris
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Re: Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero? [lakerfan] [ In reply to ]
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lakerfan wrote:
Cookiebuilder wrote:
the hard part for me is i know i am faster, every race last year i was faster but with less watts averaged ( I went lower a year ago).. I think the complication for me is the 30 watts or so is such a big swing that i can't get the time in areo in anything but zone 2 maybe i should just lower my ftp and see what happens and build from that.... my fit isn't crazy low and its pretty comfy.

insert crappy pic i made my wife take last week


We need to understand the specifics of what we're comparing here:

1. Are we talking about an FTP that is established on the trainer or outside? Or have you confirmed that your FTP on the trainer is the same as outside? It's important to note that a lot of people cannot maintain the same power on the trainer as they can outside so don't assume they're the same *unless* you know for certain.

2. Many people have a harder time maintaining ~L4 power in the aero position vs in the hoods on the trainer. In fact, that statement also applies to outside power. However, just keep in mind, challenges with achieving a certain comfort level at high power on the trainer don't necessarily translate to your experience outside.

If 1 and 2 are the case for you then I wouldn't sweat too much. 30W is definitely a big swing (unless your FTP is something like 300W) but when on the trainer try to ride in the aero position as much as possible (except when you're doing L4 intervals). If you're definitely more comfortable doing L4 intervals in the aero position outside then try to do so.

Bottom line, I don't really have a problem with anyone doing L4 intervals in the hoods (inside or outside) as long as they're in the aero position for just about everything else. Keep in mind, I'm fairly certain that someone will chime in and say that you MUST do your L4 intervals in the aero position to which I would simply respond, "No you don't and I have plenty of evidence to counter that claim."

Just remember that the best answer to your problem can only be addressed when you look at your training from a holistic perspective. If I only focus on answering the question based on what you should do during those L4 intervals then the answer would likely be different because I would have to make assumptions (probably incorrect ones) about what you're likely doing outside of those L4 intervals.

Thanks, Chris

I was hoping someone would write all that, so I could just agree. The only thing I don't agree with is 30W not being a lot if your FTP is 300. 10% is waayyy too much to give up in aero. I would not disagree that training on the hoods at full power is an ok idea, but I have plenty of data to support that hood and aerobar power can be damn near equal.

I do think this is a bike fit issue more than anything else. Your rotated back a bit and your knee flexion and thigh torso clearance are questionable (in that one poor photo).

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Re: Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero? [FindinFreestyle] [ In reply to ]
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First off thanks to everyone, this has been something I have wanted to fix for a while, It may well be I need a better fit, Utah is not the best place to get that....
My ftp is 318, that is indoors on a kickr. I bet it is 30 watts lower in areo, I only test upright. Ill post some more pics of fits over the last year, all had similar power issues. I mess around a fair bit with my fit. I really had trouble when i first started riding holding areo was pretty tough, that was 3 plus years ago, and only in the last 6 months have I started being able to train in areo or at least hold areo for a 3 plus hour zone 2 ride. So do wonder if I just built up the upright postion mucles more, and I need to catch the areo muscle up, if that makes sense. but when i start hitting the 280 plus range is when I really go from zone 3 upright to zone 4 in areo. so say 15t1-153 hr to 160 plus.
Here is my old fit, I had prettty big watts with this fit, but not all that fast compared to now. I think here my ftp was 280, and i would hold 250 or more on a half iron.


Here is right after my last fit, I went home and got a new saddle and moved a few things around





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Re: Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero? [Cookiebuilder] [ In reply to ]
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Cookiebuilder wrote:
I only test upright..... I really go from zone 3 upright to zone 4 in areo. so say 15t1-153 hr to 160 plus....

you don't say

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Re: Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero? [CCF] [ In reply to ]
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My question is why would you be doing a 45 min effort at 70.3 pace first week back, so many similar sessions and then even expect to be able to maintain it?
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Re: Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero? [CCF] [ In reply to ]
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I find it harder to hold my aero position inside than outside. I can hold my aero position for the majority of a 70.3 outside, but if I tried to hold it for 60 min straight inside, I would probably go insane. I credit a good portion of this to simply being mental. Your position is much more static inside than outside so if you are not shifting between the base bar and the aero position inside, you are really getting no movement.

My process for adapting to my aero position inside is as follows. First, anything over 105% FTP, I do in the base bar. The goal of work over 105% FTP is typically to produce the highest power I can for the duration and the power target takes precedent over any position goals. For any other intervals I set a goal for the workout of how much aero time I will do. For example, today I did 5 x 10 min at a sweet spot power range for a total of 50 minutes of work. Going into the workout my goal was to do 40 of those 50 minutes of work in the aero position. Had that work interval been at threshold, I would have spent less time in aero. I then set a goal for each interval to hit my 40 total minutes, BUT the beginning of the workout usually has more time in aero per interval than the latter intervals. For example, today I did all 10 minutes of the first interval in the aero position, but only 6 minutes of the last interval in aero position.

With all of this however, the power target is the priority. I will not sacrifice my power to stay in aero. If my power is slipping, moving to the base bar is my first order bailout. For me it is power first, aero position second. Progressively over the course of a cycle I try to increase the amount of time I spend in aero relative to the workload. That said, every time my FTP goes up I take a step back in the amount of time I can hold aero and I use the proceeding block of training to rebuild the amount of time I can spend in aero.

I believe you should test in whatever position is gonna yield your best effort and then use the training after the test to build your aero power to catch up with your new FTP. The process has worked for me and by the time I get to my races I can hold my power and position accordingly.
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Re: Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero? [Cookiebuilder] [ In reply to ]
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Not the best pics, but your basebar is kinda low and the extensions have a bit of pedestal action?. I'm guesstimating where your hip angle would be sitting up, as it's really only going to open up by a few degrees. I think those few degrees are probably the key. I also think that is a Cobb SHC, which is not high on my list of saddles which facilitate pelvic tilt. Rappstar liked it for a while, but I've not had much success with it.

Regardless, I think you are somewhat rotated back, I think your setback (or at least where you are actually sitting) is somewhat slack (not crazy slack, maybe 77° or so), and I'd take a shot in the dark and say your cranks are probably too long. So you've got maybe a just over the breaking point hip angle in the aero position, because you're slack, rotated back, on too long of cranks, haven't spent enough time there, etc. Maybe. Maybe all that is wrong. But 10% power loss is huge. You're talking a mph if you can "find" that while aero.

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Re: Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero? [FindinFreestyle] [ In reply to ]
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FindinFreestyle wrote:
The only thing I don't agree with is 30W not being a lot if your FTP is 300. 10% is waayyy too much to give up in aero.

Funny you mention this because I was actually thinking about this exact statement on my ride today.

I agree. Even with a 300W FTP, a 10% drop is still quite significant.

Thanks, Chris
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Re: Opinion please: Decrease power and stay aero while building fitness, or keep power up and slowly work on aero? [tttiltheend] [ In reply to ]
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I also think that people that are using a lower power to set their training levels on the trainer are short-changing themselves. As long as they are in the M50-54 I'm OK with that :)

(I say on the trainer because the OP mentioned TR and I assumed he meant on the trainer and not on the road)
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