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Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts?
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I have been cycling for about 2.5 years. I train on a computrainer 80% of the time and have seen improvements. However, based on my swimming improvement and running improvement, it seems like I have hit a wall with cycling. I usually hang out around 175-185 watts for a longer effort (2-4 hours). I cannot fathom how people hold 300+ watts for this long.

Also, I cannot hit my heart rate targets before my legs give out....so if the workout calls for Z3 HR, I push as hard as I can so I can survive the distance...but my HR won't approach Z3 until the very end when I am grinding it out to the point of collapsing at the end of the workout.

From an RPE perspective....I am able to push past pain and push it to a 8-9 on a scale of 1-10 during these efforts. I feel like I am working very hard.

What am I missing? Does it just take years and years to build up to 225, 250, 275+ averages for longer efforts?
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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [NeverEnough] [ In reply to ]
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A watt is not always a watt......people's weight and builds factor into it. Sure, someone may be pushing 300 watts for their FTP, but if they are a big guy, it may not be that impressive. Similarly, if you are on the smaller / thinner side, you may never even sniff 300w.....and there is nothing wrong with that.

You wattage is unique to you....it is not an absolute number that can be compared between riders. Extreme example - Fabian Cancellera can put out a helluva a lot more watts than Alberto Contador.....but FC is never gonna win the Tour de France, etiher.

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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [NeverEnough] [ In reply to ]
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That's why they're the Pro's and we're not.
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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [NeverEnough] [ In reply to ]
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Just talking about heart rate and RPE right now, Sounds like you are saying your RPE and heart rate are no matching up, ie. you feel like you are pushing a 8-9 out of 10 but your heart rate is only in zone 2. You need to establish new heart rate zones for cycling.

Watts can not be compared, watts/kg can be.
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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [NeverEnough] [ In reply to ]
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First of all there is a wide range of talent in the world. Some people are born able to do 300 watts for an hour without training. Some people will never get there.

Second of all, the size of the aerobic engine scales with height. So there will be quite a few 6'6" guys who can do 300 watts for an hour, but that won't make them remarkably fast.

While almost nobody who is 5'0" will do 300 watts for an hour, but if they can they might be in the pro-tour.

Unless you are a full time cyclist doing 20 hours a week, you can't usually hit the same kind of heart rates you can running. You might discuss this issue with your coach, or if you don't have a coach, use RPE as a zone guide rather than heart rate. Or power.

How many hours a week do you ride your bike? When I was biking ~10 hours a week I got up to an FTP of around 260 after about 3 years of consistent work. (I am 6'3" so that is not great power). Another year of 15-20 hours a week and I bumped it to 285. 2 or 3 hard rides a week and trying to stay in zone 2 (coggan, power based zone 2) most of the rest of the time.



Kat Hunter reports on the San Dimas Stage Race from inside the GC winning team
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Freelance sports & outdoors writer Kathryn Hunter
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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [NeverEnough] [ In reply to ]
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How did you determine your HR zones? Lab or field testing or some blanket formula. The formulas don't work for everyone.
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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [NeverEnough] [ In reply to ]
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NeverEnough wrote:
I have been cycling for about 2.5 years. I train on a computrainer 80% of the time and have seen improvements. However, based on my swimming improvement and running improvement, it seems like I have hit a wall with cycling. I usually hang out around 175-185 watts for a longer effort (2-4 hours). I cannot fathom how people hold 300+ watts for this long.

Another thing to consider, riding outdoors I can sustain a higher wattage for longer (about 15-20%-ish). I ride a POS trainer, but I assume that it's pretty standard across the board.
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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [jackmott] [ In reply to ]
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jackmott wrote:

Unless you are a full time cyclist doing 20 hours a week, you can't usually hit the same kind of heart rates you can running. You might discuss this issue with your coach, or if you don't have a coach, use RPE as a zone guide rather than heart rate. Or power.

I have actually never seen my cycling heart rates ever get any closer to my running heart rates over 3-4 years of 20 hours/wk. Cycling HRs are still 10-15 beats lower at a similar RPE and that discrepancy grows rapidly as I run longer and my locomotor uselessness begins to shine through. I would say that is pretty standard among full time cyclists who dabble in running.

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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [Jordano] [ In reply to ]
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10 beats is a lot closer than most newish triathletes can get it.

Maybe you started out with good legs!

Jordano wrote:
jackmott wrote:

Unless you are a full time cyclist doing 20 hours a week, you can't usually hit the same kind of heart rates you can running. You might discuss this issue with your coach, or if you don't have a coach, use RPE as a zone guide rather than heart rate. Or power.

I have actually never seen my cycling heart rates ever get any closer to my running heart rates over 3-4 years of 20 hours/wk. Cycling HRs are still 10-15 beats lower at a similar RPE and that discrepancy grows rapidly as I run longer and my locomotor uselessness begins to shine through. I would say that is pretty standard among full time cyclists who dabble in running.



Kat Hunter reports on the San Dimas Stage Race from inside the GC winning team
Aeroweenie.com -Compendium of Aero Data and Knowledge
Freelance sports & outdoors writer Kathryn Hunter
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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [runobx] [ In reply to ]
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runobx wrote:
Just talking about heart rate and RPE right now, Sounds like you are saying your RPE and heart rate are no matching up, ie. you feel like you are pushing a 8-9 out of 10 but your heart rate is only in zone 2. You need to establish new heart rate zones for cycling.

Watts can not be compared, watts/kg can be.

watts/kg only reflects how well a person can climb. Absolute watts matter when the road is flatter.
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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [NeverEnough] [ In reply to ]
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NeverEnough wrote:
I have been cycling for about 2.5 years. I train on a computrainer 80% of the time and have seen improvements. However, based on my swimming improvement and running improvement, it seems like I have hit a wall with cycling. I usually hang out around 175-185 watts for a longer effort (2-4 hours). I cannot fathom how people hold 300+ watts for this long.

Also, I cannot hit my heart rate targets before my legs give out....so if the workout calls for Z3 HR, I push as hard as I can so I can survive the distance...but my HR won't approach Z3 until the very end when I am grinding it out to the point of collapsing at the end of the workout.

From an RPE perspective....I am able to push past pain and push it to a 8-9 on a scale of 1-10 during these efforts. I feel like I am working very hard.

What am I missing? Does it just take years and years to build up to 225, 250, 275+ averages for longer efforts?

How do I hit 300 watts? I sprint up a hill as fast as I can, then when I hit 300w, I stop and vomit.


Paul
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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [g-rex] [ In reply to ]
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g-rex wrote:
runobx wrote:
Watts can not be compared, watts/kg can be.


watts/kg only reflects how well a person can climb. Absolute watts matter when the road is flatter.

W/CdA


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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [NeverEnough] [ In reply to ]
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Someone has a signature that says "genetics loads the gun" or something like that. It s a lot to do with it. I'm slightly bigger (6'3", 190#) so I pay a penalty on the bike but even after 10+ years of smoking, and a few years of much worse, I was able to jump back in and have a 1 hour FTP test over 300 watts within 18 months. This was with almost no defined interval training, just riding hard outside. I also came from a background of very high level training(Jr Nat team rower) so I had a pretty good understanding of effort levels. With a v02 max level around 82 in high school helped a ton. Probably not that high now, but even with all the bad things I did, it is still higher then a lot of people start with.
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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [g-rex] [ In reply to ]
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g-rex wrote:
runobx wrote:
Just talking about heart rate and RPE right now, Sounds like you are saying your RPE and heart rate are no matching up, ie. you feel like you are pushing a 8-9 out of 10 but your heart rate is only in zone 2. You need to establish new heart rate zones for cycling.

Watts can not be compared, watts/kg can be.


watts/kg only reflects how well a person can climb. Absolute watts matter when the road is flatter.

"only" is a little misleading. It also can represent, albeit non-linearly, a person power to drag ratio. A lighter rider usually has a smaller frontal area and will have lower rolling resistance with comparable setups.


When you swim and run a lot, you'll naturally struggle to hit higher heart rates cycling as you have a bigger "engine" than you have specific leg fatigue resistance for when cycling.


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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [NeverEnough] [ In reply to ]
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Open question to anyone: On a flat road, decent surface, negligible wind, what is YOUR typical speed (within a range) when you are pushing 300 watts?
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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [NeverEnough] [ In reply to ]
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It takes about five years of dedicated effort of cycling to reach that point where the plateu of performance becomes difficult to break through. I suspect it takes longer when balancing running and swimming. The adaptations take time, but also it is worth keeping in mind that most of the population tops out around 250w for an hour effort. I also have a hunch that many (although not all) people who claim a >300 FTP may be extrapolating their best efforts instead of what seems typical.
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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [Jason80134] [ In reply to ]
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Jason80134 wrote:
Open question to anyone: On a flat road, decent surface, negligible wind, what is YOUR typical speed (within a range) when you are pushing 300 watts?

You can answer that for a given CdA here:

http://www.analyticcycling.com/ForcesSpeed_Page.html

So anyway around 26mph if your CdA is .25, which is probably a typical decent ironman setup CdA

My CdA is a bit lower than that for short TTs, and I'm at around 27.5mph @ 300 watts, on a hilly course with wind (but the wind may be affording a slight increase in speed in this case)

of course temperature alone can change this quite a bit. On a very hot day I can do that same 27.5 @ 285 watts, for instance.



Kat Hunter reports on the San Dimas Stage Race from inside the GC winning team
Aeroweenie.com -Compendium of Aero Data and Knowledge
Freelance sports & outdoors writer Kathryn Hunter
Last edited by: jackmott: May 12, 14 9:25
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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [Jason80134] [ In reply to ]
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Alright, thanks for all of the responses....perhaps I should add some clarification.

I am 6'1" 156 lbs on race day, 159/160 during training. My BF is 8.5% (calipers) 12-13% (BF Scale).

I looked back at my last race data (Haines City 70.3). 2:39, 207 average power, 21.0 MPH, IMFL was 20.4 mph, I did not have a power meter for that race.

I have been working with a coach for the last 16 months. I am very pleased with my race performance improvements...he has done a hell of a job...and I have trained my ass off.

We train off of heart rate (bike/run)...and those zones were set 16 months ago, and I have seen definite improvement. I am faster at lower hear rates.

My coach (trust him completely) told me that some of my concern about not being able to push to higher heart rates during training can be due to training fatigue. I am sure that is the case.

My speed on the bike has improved also.....it just seems like the effort I have put in should be yielding more than a 207 avg watts for a race. Really, I don't care what the watts are....just using that as a gauge, as people on ST throw that number around. My goal is to be able to avg 22+ MPH for a 70.3 and 21+ for a full....since speed translates to lower times.

Lastly, i know there are a lot of factors to take in, but for me to hit those speed, what sort of wattage would I need to push (average). Does it just take longer to build up to higher wattage/faster speed on the bike vs run?
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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [motoguy128] [ In reply to ]
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When you swim and run a lot, you'll naturally struggle to hit higher heart rates cycling as you have a bigger "engine" than you have specific leg fatigue resistance for when cycling.

I would agree with this, if I am riding hard on the bike my legs will always be done long before I feel I've tapped out the heart/lungs. Despite no endurance sports background, I quickly became FOP on the swim and run but I am still not there on the bike. I am strong enough now to limit the damage my competitors do to me on the bike leg, particularly in short races, but I still feel the returns I see from hard bike training are far less than the other sports. IMHO heart rate is not a good indicator of effort on the bike - go by your power, not your heart rate. I could put out 250 watts at 75 rpm and probably see a 10 bpm discrepancy or more vs. the same 250 watts at 120 rpm. I use my bike HR to tell me when to take it easy, and that's about it. When I get a lot of accumulated fatigue even longer FTP efforts won't pull my HR out of Z2. I wouldn't worry too much about everyone else's watts, worry about your own. If they are increasing - great, if not, switch things up in your training. 300 watts is a rather arbitrary number - I will come off the bike ahead of some guys pushing more than 300, and I will probably be behind some guys pushing less than 230
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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [cl60guy] [ In reply to ]
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I am sure genetics must have something to do with it. I come from a family with several people that have done bike racing or triathlon at some point, and I know every single one of them easily gets over 300 for an hour. Two of us do triathlon and are in the 320 - 350 range, one is a pro cyclist and probably does > 400. And one just trains like a pro (with his pro brother) and probably floats somewhere in between.


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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [NeverEnough] [ In reply to ]
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NeverEnough wrote:
Alright, thanks for all of the responses....perhaps I should add some clarification.

I am 6'1" 156 lbs on race day, 159/160 during training. My BF is 8.5% (calipers) 12-13% (BF Scale).

I looked back at my last race data (Haines City 70.3). 2:39, 207 average power, 21.0 MPH, IMFL was 20.4 mph, I did not have a power meter for that race.

I have been working with a coach for the last 16 months. I am very pleased with my race performance improvements...he has done a hell of a job...and I have trained my ass off.

We train off of heart rate (bike/run)...and those zones were set 16 months ago, and I have seen definite improvement. I am faster at lower hear rates.

My coach (trust him completely) told me that some of my concern about not being able to push to higher heart rates during training can be due to training fatigue. I am sure that is the case.

My speed on the bike has improved also.....it just seems like the effort I have put in should be yielding more than a 207 avg watts for a race. Really, I don't care what the watts are....just using that as a gauge, as people on ST throw that number around. My goal is to be able to avg 22+ MPH for a 70.3 and 21+ for a full....since speed translates to lower times.

Lastly, i know there are a lot of factors to take in, but for me to hit those speed, what sort of wattage would I need to push (average). Does it just take longer to build up to higher wattage/faster speed on the bike vs run?

Why are you training off HR for the bike if you have a power meter? And why haven't you reset your zones in 16 months?

Honestly, those two points would make me question what your coach is doing.

I would also recommend looking at your position.....2:39 on 207w seems a bit slow (although I am not familiar with the course, so it may not be)

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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [NeverEnough] [ In reply to ]
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Stop swimming and esp running and you'll have a chance at getting there. For a year or two. Just stop.
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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [NeverEnough] [ In reply to ]
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Speed goals for races is the wrong approach. You should have power goals, or relative placing goals.

Speed can vary by like 5mph with differing heat, wind, and road surface, and of course, equipment and position choices.

Look at the recent Galveston 70.3 compared to wildflower. Guys who did 2:07 at Galveston were over 2:20 at wildflower.

Hear me now, believe me later.
Train to make more power, pace by feel or power, work on your position and equipment choices, results will come.





NeverEnough wrote:
Alright, thanks for all of the responses....perhaps I should add some clarification.

I am 6'1" 156 lbs on race day, 159/160 during training. My BF is 8.5% (calipers) 12-13% (BF Scale).

I looked back at my last race data (Haines City 70.3). 2:39, 207 average power, 21.0 MPH, IMFL was 20.4 mph, I did not have a power meter for that race.

I have been working with a coach for the last 16 months. I am very pleased with my race performance improvements...he has done a hell of a job...and I have trained my ass off.

We train off of heart rate (bike/run)...and those zones were set 16 months ago, and I have seen definite improvement. I am faster at lower hear rates.

My coach (trust him completely) told me that some of my concern about not being able to push to higher heart rates during training can be due to training fatigue. I am sure that is the case.

My speed on the bike has improved also.....it just seems like the effort I have put in should be yielding more than a 207 avg watts for a race. Really, I don't care what the watts are....just using that as a gauge, as people on ST throw that number around. My goal is to be able to avg 22+ MPH for a 70.3 and 21+ for a full....since speed translates to lower times.

Lastly, i know there are a lot of factors to take in, but for me to hit those speed, what sort of wattage would I need to push (average). Does it just take longer to build up to higher wattage/faster speed on the bike vs run?



Kat Hunter reports on the San Dimas Stage Race from inside the GC winning team
Aeroweenie.com -Compendium of Aero Data and Knowledge
Freelance sports & outdoors writer Kathryn Hunter
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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [NeverEnough] [ In reply to ]
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Stop running. Running prevents you from getting adquate recovery if you are putting in work on the bike

How you get to 300 W? Good parents and good training. If your question is more like how do you get a decent w/kg, watch your diet (which you seem to be doing).

As others have mentioned, get your cycling specific LTHR and proceed accordingly. When you want to do a test, do so outdoors, when you are not fatigued. I won'tbe surprised if you pick up another 20 watts or so

Fwiw, Coggan estimated that most could hit 4.4 w/kg with dedicated training
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Re: Cycling Fitness...how the hell do people hit 300 watts? [echappist] [ In reply to ]
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echappist wrote:
Stop running. Running prevents you from getting adquate recovery if you are putting in work on the bike

How you get to 300 W? Good parents and good training. If your question is more like how do you get a decent w/kg, watch your diet (which you seem to be doing).

As others have mentioned, get your cycling specific LTHR and proceed accordingly. When you want to do a test, do so outdoors, when you are not fatigued. I won'tbe surprised if you pick up another 20 watts or so

Fwiw, Coggan estimated that most could hit 4.4 w/kg with dedicated training

I'll have to dig up A.C.'s post...but I was pretty certain he calculated < 50% of all "middle aged" males could even hit 4.0 w/kg.

-Scott
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