30 Second Power Testing

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The end of winter is feeling like its almost here. Despite the current cold spell in the UK, there is reason to be optimistic. March is just around the corner and the clocks will be going forward in just over a month which means longer days, warmer weather and a return to riding outside! More importantly though, the end of winter signals the start of my race season, which kicks off this Saturday to be exact. With that in mind, it seemed an appropriate time to get some power data in the bank, so that I can assess where the form is at, and set a benchmark to work on over the coming months.

I chose to test out my 30 second power today. It’s not something I’ve been training at all for at least 4 months so I’m not expecting earth-shattering numbers. What I do want however, is an honest number that represents the absolute highest average power I can output for 30 seconds today. Using this as a start-point I’ll be able to measure how my 30 second power adapts (improves hopefully) over the coming season.

I will be testing my max power, 1 minute power and 5 minute power in future workouts, but today I’m strictly going for 30 seconds.

I planned the session as such:

Ride easy (lower zone 2) for an hour and a half, throwing in a 30 second all out effort every 20 minutes or so. Thus allowing for full recovery in between efforts. In total the aim was to get 4 efforts in the bag.

Here are the results:

Power graph for the entire ride showing the 4 intervals

I find it interesting that my first 2 efforts both averaged over 800 watts for the 30 seconds, whereas the final 2 did not reach 800w. If I had to have guessed based on feel, I would have said the last 2 efforts were my strongest as I felt my technique had improved following the first 2. The numbers don’t lie!

30 second power test - 7.10.18

Effort #1 – Average power for 30 seconds – 808 watts

30 sec power (808 watts)

Effort #2 – Average power for 30 seconds – 809 watts (best)

30 sec power (809 watts)

Effort #3 – Average power for 30 seconds – 790 watts 

30 sec power (790 watts)

Effort #4 – Average power for 30 seconds – 795 watts 

30 sec power (795 watts)

Summary

Looking at the graphs in detail I was a bit surprised to see that each time it took about 6 seconds to reach my maximum power for the effort. When I test these efforts again in the future I will either a) try to get a quicker snap in the sprint and reach peak power sooner, or b) actually do an all out effort for about 32-35 seconds, so that when taking the average for the 30, I am already at a high power number going into the effort.

Interestingly the shape of the graph for effort 2 (which was my best effort) is slightly different to the other 3. In Effort #2 I seem to do a slightly better effort of sustaining the effort for the duration. Yes there is still a clear decline in power after 10 seconds, but compare this graph to effort #3 which was my lowest average. In effort #3 the power drops dramatically, and then rises again, which was basically me having a small (relative) rest after the initial burst, and then stamping on the pedals again for the last 10 seconds. This does not seem to be a good tactic and is something to remember in future.

So there’s my baseline 30 second power going into this year’s season of racing. As always, I’ll be working hard to push the numbers up this year.

Average power for 30 seconds

809 watts or 12.2 w/kg