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Using quadrant analysis, a feature available in WKO 3.0, coaches and athletes can drill down into important races and match specific training regimens. I exploited this feature to arrive at which cadence best defined the demands of 6 hour events for one a favorite training prescription – 15/15 Micro Bursts. I like this type of workout b/c of its versatility, effectiveness and various ways to implement.
Micro burst at its core is comprised of a 30min session consisting of 3x10min blocks where the 10min blocks are 15s “on” @120%FTP and 15s “off” @50-65% FTP. The “off” portion is just as important as the “on” portion – i.e. recovering under stress. This workout is detailed more in Andrew Coggan’s and Hunter Allen’s book, Training and Racing with a Power Meter. Figure 1 is a view of how this workout typically looks.
Before we drill into these three intervals it’s important to note based on several and multiple athlete files for 6 hour events the neuromuscular demands are predominantly in QII. Figure 2 demonstrates this fact.
I devised an experimental course characterized by a paved 10min out and back where the first 5min is on a steady 2% climb of 100ft/mile and the return 5min coming down the same 2% grade. Although 2% is not a particularly difficult gradient a smaller gear ratio was used to hit the target (425W, 120% FTP, “on”) in the 1st 5min and a bigger gear ratio was used on the return (downhill). Thus each of these intervals has a slightly different neuromuscular requirement within themselves in addition to modulating the average cadence between intervals trying to "optimize" the cadence per interval; (1st interval) high cadence ave, (2nd interval) low cadence ave, (3rd interval) ~mid cadence ave. In the graph view, you can compare the speed and cadence from each of these intervals, but detecting differences is quite difficult.
However, when you examine these three intervals with Quadrant Analysis, you can see more details. For simplicity and get to the point I combined the High/Med rpms into one range. I also used the color coded scheme in the WKO tool to make things easier to view. For reference the entire ride is in blue, the combined high/mid rpm is in red and the low rpm is in yellow.
In this view and in contrast to the multi file 6 hour QA we can quickly determine that the 15/15 Micro Burst performed during this workout doesn’t mimic the neuromuscular demands in QII enough (look at percentages). Adjustments must be made to tailor the workout and hit performances. Which adjustments? Because there was a neuromuscular difference within the interval itself (recall gear ratio and 2% gradient) it was helpful to look at the 1st and 2nd 5min intervals individually. I chose to focus only on the lower rpm interval (yellow) because it looked more relevant.
The revelation here, using QA, is that the 1st half of the interval (higher rpm / smaller gear ratio) is not as effective when compared to the 2nd half (lower rpm / larger gear ratio) if training for 6 hour events. So the necessary adjust would be to prescribe that the “on” portion hit the same FTp target but at lower than 81 rpms (probably 70rpm). If you look close for a few moments you see the 2nd half ints are in fact - POWER BOGGS!
In conclusion, Quadrant Analysis is a qualitative way to define the neuromuscular demands of racing not easily seen with graphical data and a best means to more effectively optimize training prescriptions to improve performance.
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