Friday, January 2, 2009

More on Power Profiling, Older Athletes and Females

Continuing with the discussion on what the power profiles of athletes are for Kona qualification, we turn the focus to older athletes and females.

When I say older athletes, I mean any athlete over the age of 35. Now that doesn't seem old to many people, but it is this point which we tend to find the beginning of a sliding scale on the two times body weight in pounds for FTP equation, (2xBW=FTP).

The sliding scale means we begin to take 0.5% off for every year over the age of 35, to determine the FTP value which is a performance marker for qualifying for Kona. For example, a 36 year old male triathlete wanting to qualify for Kona, would compare their FTP to the value found for (2xBW)*(.995)=FTP. If their FTP exceeds or matches this value, they have a good chance. If it is below, they need to be able to make up for it with their swim and/or run abilities.

Another example would be a 45 year old male. 45 is 10 more than 35, so the value will be 5% less, (2xBW)*(.95)=FTP.

I would like to add, this is not an "end all, be all" marker. Those out there who are anti-science will say you can't just use these numbers, there is too much beyond this to consider. I will agree there is a lot more beyond this, but this is a marker. Just like an ability to run sub 3 hours off the bike is a marker, but not the only marker. This an important marker that I use with my athletes in their training to determine what the values should be for them to reach. We set goals for their training, as well as for their racing, and this provides a great benchmark. It also helps to give my athletes the confidence of knowing they are ready to perform well.

USAT and any other major sporting organization use performance markers to determine and identify talent for the level they are wanting to compete at. NFL uses a 40 yard dash time, bench pressing body weight, squating amounts, etc. Baseball uses ball speed, and a millon other statistical measures. This is no different than what those organizations do. As a coach, my job to help my athletes reach their goals. If their goal is qualify for Kona, or reach their potential, this is one of the markers to help me to do that.

For females, we simply subtract the value of two times body weight by 10%, for all ages, up to about 45, I find. So the equation would look like (2xBW)*(.90)=FTP. Beyond that, it is very difficult to determine, as abilities can vary so much, and the population base of athletes in these groups are limited.

If you are an elite female, I find the standard is a range of (2xBW)=FTP, with no discounted value, to 5% less, (2xBW)*(.95)=FTP. If you recall, I listed a range for the elite men, so this is the range for elite females, based on results and charts that I've seen.

Elite females are an interesting and diverse group, with ranges of abilities throughout the three sports, moreso than we see with the men, especially at the Ironman distance. Given this, markers for elite females become more dependent on other markers.

Now you have the math to determine your goal FTP in training, if the Ironman is something you're looking to tackle. Best of luck!

Coach Vance

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