Test Week: The 2014 Baseline

As I wrote previously, I finally got my Quarq Elsa installed this week. Now that I am back in power measuring land, and it’s the beginning of the January OS in Endurance Nation, there was only one thing on the training agenda this week: TESTING.



For the newbies, testing means basically running a 5k TT and riding a 40 minute TT. Doing so gives you an idea of your current fitness and a basis on which to set your training paces on. Let’s recap.

5K Test:

Okay, my goal this year is to be right on with the training zones. So I chose a reliable method of testing that I could repeat during the Montana winter. As our roads and tracks are covered with ice and snow, that meant one thing: dreadmill. On Tuesday, I grabbed a bunch of yellow sticky notes and covered up the speed and pace displays on our gym’s Woodway. I won’t lie; my treadmill looked like the ultimate walking desk after I set it up. After a ten minute warm up, off I went at 2% grade. Overall, it was a good and smooth effort. I was hurting, but not terribly. Final time came in a low slow 23:28. This gives me a vdot of 41. Here are my new paces. DON’T LAUGH.



At first take, one may wonder why in the world I ran a marathon this December if I was going to end up with a vdot of 41. But this score makes perfect sense to me. My marathon training added durability to my legs, not speed. I barely ever trained below 7:45 pace while getting ready for Seattle. And while my test was slow, it was a stable and smooth slow. I felt in control of my form. I think I am in a good position for finally making some changes upward in my vdot plateau.

2X20 Test

Okay, time for the bike. I picked up my new gleaming, installed crank from the LBS on Tuesday after my 5k test, and I spent Wed calibrating everything and testing the connections with my Garmin 910xt and Trainer Road. I am happy to say that there were no hiccups at all. The meter paired with both devices on the first try. After a night of rest, it was time to test out the new shiny during lunch today.

"Why do you test?"

“Why do you test?”

I booted up the scripted 2X20 test on Trainer Road as I like its warm up. And yes, I know there are shorter testing protocols, but I like my good old 2X20. It has proved reliable to me. Maybe it is all in my head, but the first thing I noticed was how smooth my new Quarq is compared to my old crank. Pedaling a Quarq made my old crank feel like I was sanding wood with my legs. After getting my legs opened up and starting up the Matrix on Amazon Prime, it was time to roll. Here’s how it played it.

The big picture.

The big picture.

Nitty gritty. I like the new power balance data.

Nitty gritty. I like the new power balance data.


Overall, this was one of the best feeling tests I have ever done. It was painful, but similar to my 5K test: a controlled and smooth pain. I played it conservative for the first 20 minutes and then opened it up for the middle ten in the second 20. Garmin has my NP at 228w and TR recommended 230w. Both are close enough, but I took the Garmin number to be sure. 228w is where I start.

I am actually greatly pleased by this. While training for Seattle, I hardly ever rode my bike. For weeks at a time. So I was expecting to be way lower than my all-time high FTP of 235w. Yes, I have been riding for about two weeks, but I still was expecting to be somewhere like 220w or 215w. I am very pleased to be starting my torture at this level.  Of course, maybe there is a difference between my old and new power meters, but I will never be able to tell. To boot, I may have been able to give some more as I still got in a easy 3.5 mile run today. I like this new durability.

Alright, time to get this party started!

About Ironvan

From couch potato to Ironman triathlete in 2 years.

Posted on January 9, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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