There is a lot of research around lactate threshold, functional threshold power, and W/kg numbers and this year I decided to add a little science to my training. The one thing I'm realizing is that if you are an athlete who is motivated by the numbers and that motivates you to train harder (or better) it can be a very useful tool but if you are an athlete who is motivated by the training itself and seeing fundamental changes in your athleticism then it's probably a waste of time. I would say that I'm probably somewhere in the middle, I'm not completely motivated by analyzing the raw data and understanding what it means from a training perspective but it is useful to know that the work I'm putting on a day-to-day basis is producing changes in my fitness over the long-term. That's really where the 'art' comes into it, how do you balance the necessary improvements in your fitness by breaking down your muscles with the necessary recovery needed for those muscles to adapt and improve. It's a very tough thing to do but my body seems to tell me, I'll have a couple weeks of really great training and then I'll need a week of light to no training at all. A 2 week build 1 week recovery cycle is not a bad long term plan to follow but it does make it difficult when you start to feel really good and you know you need to hold back so you can fully recover.
In January I had an idea to start testing everyone's W/kg to make sure that the training we were doing is providing tangible results and to give us a benchmark to start from. It was a pretty sorry sight back then how out of shape we all felt and a 30k TT was so painful that everyone was knackered for quite a while afterwards. Well this week a few of us that are doing IM CDA tested our W/kg again and although the TT was no less painful it did show that we are all headed in the right direction. Somehow Robert managed to gain 0.5kg from January to March but given his reduced muscle mass over the previous