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Can the principle of coupling/decoupling be used to evaluate the heart rate-power relationship on long Zone 3 pieces?

If so, is less than 5% still the cut-off? and is 1 hour long enough to make such an assessment for Z3?

If not, is there some other analytic method to determine whether a road cyclist has plateaued for the tempo/Z3 end of muscular endurance training and should move on to the cruise interval end of ME workouts?


Joe Friel

Madeleine - Yes, it can be used. And at 5%. I don't set an outside time limit on these. Just a minimum of 20 minutes. I typically have athletes do 3-5 x 20 minutes intervals in z3 with 5 min recoveries and watch to see what happens to decoupling as the workout progresses. It's a great aerobic endurance-building workout.

David Sànchez

Its great that you come to Barcelona but would be woderful if this camp will be open for men too ...

Enjoy your time in this fantastic and marvellous city ;-)


Hi Joe. I was looking at one of your workouts post-activity comments and will use the same analysis to evaluate mine, including NP/HR. Could you please briefly tell what the abreviations "Vert", "VAF", "ZQ", "Zq/Hr" and "All BCR" mean? Thank you for the books ("Your Best Triathlon" is another masterpiece) and for sharing such knowledge. You're "The Master". Have a nice time in Barcelona! Fabio


Very useful post. Do you have suggestions for other valuable bike workout analyses for those without power meters (currently use Garmin Forerunner 310XT as my main device) assuming an upgrade to WKO+?


Joe Friel

Matt--If you're riding a calibrated trainer or a long, steady hill protected from wind then you can use speed as an output measure. It's very difficult to measure output on a bike short of power.

Joe Friel

Fabio--Those are just shorthands notes for my workouts. I like to follow various metrics over time and see if anything shows up from them. Here's what they mean...

"Vert" vertical feet climbed in workout.

"VAF" Velocity of ascent in feet. How many feet climbed per hour of workout. Borrowed from an Italian doctor/cycling coach whose name escapes me right now.

"ZQ" I use a sleep monitoring device that produces a combined sleep quality and quantity metric (ZQ) every morning on waking.

"Zq/Hr" I cancel out the duration by dividing ZQ by hours of sleep to see what quality of sleep was.

"All BCR" I rode the workout or portion of a workout (usually climbing) all in the big chain ring.

Joe Friel

David Sànchez--Thanks. We're here now. Beautiful city. Just suffering a bit from jet lag.


Thanks, Joe. Not to beat a dead horse, but how much more useful is WKO+ and its charts compared to TP without a power meter, in your opinion? Basically, would you upgrade to WKO+ without a PM based on significanly better training analysis for a triathlete?

Joe Friel

Matt--You can now do almost everything on TrainingPeaks.com that you can do on WKO. So if you don't have a pmeter just try using the pods at TP.com before going to WKO. Good luck!

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