By Robin Hiers
At the end of 2013, I had decided that my 2014 race year would consist of sprints and Olympics so that I could focus more on speed. After two years of iron distance racing my body needed a break from those long training hours & distances. I hired Dani Grabol as my triathlon coach and we’ve spent the last year working on my weakness (swimming!) and continuing to build on my strength (the bike!). After a year of strong and steady work, I thought I put down some thoughts about successes, struggles, and those moments that make you grow as an athlete – and how my strength (the bike) got stronger.
One of the most valuable things I learned this year was how to work with power and how to train within your FTP (Functional Threshold Power). At the end of 2013, I won a power meter from Podium Multisport! Yes!
But it took me a bit work – physically and scholastically - to truly understand what it was doing for me and how to train within my FTP. I am one of the original folks that ride on a regular basis out of the Energy Lab. When I started at Energy Lab in October of 2012, my FTP was about 130. By the end of 2013, I was riding at 180 and toying at times with 190/200. During these hard Energy Lab rides I would be tired but just thought it was because I was working really hard. During most of my races this year, I’ve operated at 180/190 & in Energy Lab I would at times push it to 200 FTP for the entire class. Interestingly enough, I did gain some speed compared to 2013 but I wasn’t seeing significant increases that my coach and I thought we would see.
Robin at Energy Lab with Sadie
I finally was able to do a FTP test in August (I was racing a lot!) and my coach found that I should be operating off a 170 FTP. I found myself upset that I was working SO hard and she was telling me to back off to a lower FTP #. She explained to me (with a backup article (linked here) that what I was doing was essentially operating in ‘no man’s land’. I was doing the workouts & races but if I continued at that higher FTP # I wasn’t going to get faster and I was potentially going to get hurt. It still took me a bit to get my arms around what was happening. I hear so many people saying, well I want to eventually have an FTP of 250. In many cases it could happen but that shouldn’t be the goal. The goal should be to race smart and with that you will become faster. So now I am riding at 170 and actually getting faster!
2014 has been one heck of a year! I raced the Tri The Parks race series and won the overall female for aquabike and I’ve also won the USAT Southeastern Female 45-49 Aquabike division!
Special thanks to Podium Multisport, Matt and Andy for all your help and insight…oh, and that sweet new ride!
My Sweet New Ride!