I've added quite a few new clients in the last month and have had a lot of good questions re the training. Its good to assume that if one person is asking others may be wondering so here are some comments.
1. Endurance rides inside can be about 66% of the outdoor recommended time. If the schedules says 3 hours, but its 20 degrees or raining sideways or maybe both, two hours inside is fine. Even 90 minutes is ok. I realize some people just can't stand riding inside but any time is better than nothing. If you can do the recommended outdoor hours inside, all the better. I've done indoor centuries with the right mix of sporting events, movies, books, newspapers, etc., and these are usually in 2 or 3 rides over the course of the day. Splitting the time is fine.
2. There is no expectation that every interval on a given day will be better than the previous and that you'll get better even on the next day with similar intervals over the next few weeks. First, on a given day, if your power goes up substantially from one effort to the next (10% lets say) we have to wonder whether you're pacing too much or holding back at the start. Your field test results should give you pretty accurate ranges to ride the various intervals within. If you held back on the field test, then you'll ride too strong in the intervals. We can correct that with some adjustments to the wattage/HR zones. For those new to having a coach, learning how to ride within zones, and really pushing for specific periods of time, is a challenge. If your power drops 10%, and falls below the target zone, it is likely just a matter of getting used to the training program. This can take weeks and months. Do your best on each interval. If power drops more than 10% but Hr is still in the zone, I'd keep going. If HR sky rockets and power drops 10%+, you're done for that day, and that is ok. On the rest days, your body will adapt.
3. We will repeat the field tests in January most likely. We may or may not see improvement in just a month. Those newer to structured training may see bigger jumps than those with established histories in the sport and in year-round training. If the test results are really bad, we'll ignore them and stay with the current zones. Unless you've been off the bike for an extended time due to injury or illness, and I'm talking several weeks to a month or more, then one bad day isn't enough to make drastic changes. I would prepare for the field test like its an A race. I will have a slight taper and rest days prior to it. Get focused that day. Have a good course lined up if outside: flat or a slight slope, maybe 2%, but not a hill. Cadence should be in your idea range, whether upper 80s to low 100's. I have to admit, my cadence varies on these (90-100) but I try to get the power I want each time, whether inside or out. I've used the same road outside for 15 years and inside I pick songs that last close to 8 minutes or two 4 minute songs for each effort. I'm totally focused on the current and average power. If my cadence drops into the 80's I know I'm in trouble as I'm relying too much on leg strength and not so much on the cardio/pulmonary system. I want the right blend. Knowing what you can push for these is a learning experience. When I see the two efforts with a difference in power of more than 5% I'll typically skew the training zones to the higher number. Ideally they are almost the same, within a few watts. And at the end of each you should feel really wiped out. Not kind of tired, but seeing stars, breathing like a freight train exhausted.
Always ask yourself what your competition is doing this winter. Are they training harder? I hope not. Are they training smarter? I hope not. The training now will pay off next spring. We don't want to race into shape in the spring. We want to be racing in shape and be setting ourselves up for a few key peaks but have a steady and consistent base of really strong riding throughout the season.Our best rides should come when we need them. Keep sending questions!!