I normally work at the office on Mondays but since it was MLK Day today, I was able to take Christine’s first power zone ride live! I was super excited about this, since this would be the first time I’d get to use the data from my FTP test in a ride. It was a 30-min class and consisted of a warm up (including some spinups near the end) and then two sets of the following efforts: 4 min in Z4 (lactate threshold), 2 min in Z1 (active recovery), 2 min in Z5 (VO2max), and 2 min in Z1. Christine did cue us on the beat of the music (mostly around 90 rpm), but the beauty of PZ is that you can ride at a cadence and resistance combination that works for you as long as you are in the called out zone. Or you can use the effort to work on higher cadence efforts (more taxing to the cardiovascular system) or lower cadence/higher resistance for strength.
Having ridden most of my rides with CDE since late August when I began to ride with more frequency, this format was familiar, just using different terminology. In her rides, Christine was always good about cueing the how the effort “feels,” often based on heart rate zones. With the PZ zones, I found it a little easier to be on target, and I liked that I could be at a cadence that was most comfortable to me, which is somewhere in the upper 80’s. The efforts were challenging but knowing the output range I was to stay in over the allotted time was really helpful in staying locked in and focused on the finish line of each effort. During the last set Christine played the Star Wars theme music, which was AWESOME. I loved that so much! I felt strong and capable, and it and helped me to push through the last effort especially.
I’m looking forward to doing more PZ training and also seeing how my PZ zones translate into non-PZ rides based on perceived exertion. One thing I’d like to learn more about is the training stress score, which is calculated using information about your FTP and power zones. I’m starting to do some reading on this topic, because it seems to be a useful way to measure how much/how hard you are training.