Performing manual workouts with Optimize

Wondering how to do a prescribed workout without having it programmed into your computer or your smart trainer? It's not hard. You need to know the basics of your day's workout, your training zones, and what not to worry about.

You can do your workouts indoors or outdoors, with or without a power meter. Here's how:

Step 1 - Know your day's workout

If you are following a plan in Optimize, your day's workout is laid out by time in different zones. Sometimes the whole workout is in zone 2. Sometimes it's simply doing a group ride. And sometimes it is an interval day.

Commit the basic day's plan to memory before you head out the door or hop on the trainer.

know your workout

For interval workouts, look at the number and duration of the intervals — and which zone they are in. It might be 3 x 10 minutes of tempo, or 4 x 5 minutes of sweet spot. Those are the parts to remember.

Step 2 - Know your zones

Power-based workouts are all about power zones. At FasCat, we use the standard 7-zone methodology, plus Sweet Spot, which overlaps the top end of zone 3 (tempo) and the bottom end of zone 4 (lactate threshold). 

The Optimize app calculates your power zones for you. The first time you use it, go to Profile, then Training Zones, and enter your functional threshold power (FTP) and threshold heart rate at the top of the chart, and the chart calculates the zones from there.

Optimize training zones

Don't know your FTP? No problem; our power-based training plans begin with a field test to determine your FTP. (Warm up, ride steadily as hard as you can for 20 minutes; 92.5% of your best 20min average power is your FTP.)

Training with heart rate and not power? No problem. Just take your average heart rate for that 20-minute all-out test for your threshold heart rate.

Step 3 - Use your computer for time and power

One of the cool things about current Garmin and Wahoo computers is that they can display your power output color-coded by zone, so you don't have to worry about tracking the minutiae of flickering numbers. Just enter your FTP in your Garmin or Wahoo, and use a screen that displays your power by colored zone as well as by number. This way, you can just glance down periodically to make sure you're in the right zone.

Elemnt Roam

If you are doing an interval workout, use the lap counter button to make sure you're doing the correct duration. Got a 3 x 10 on tap? Once you have reached a safe place to do your work intervals, press the lap button, start your first interval by pedaling in the right zone - glancing down at the color-coded information as needed - and then press the lap button again when you get to 10 minutes. Rest, recover, and repeat.

Step 4 - Don't sweat the non-interval details

In our workouts, we prescribe warm-up and cool-down durations as well as the work interval durations. Worry about the work interval details; don't sweat the exact minutes of the warm-up and cool-down. Whether it takes you 16 minutes or 21 minutes to get to a safe place to do your intervals is not important.

If you have a zone 2 ride or a group ride on the schedule, shoot for the prescribed time, but don't freak out if it's a few minutes shorter or longer.

Focus on daily consistency. Focus on your intervals. Know your zones, and know the basics of the day's workout.

Would you rather do your workouts in an automated way on your bike computer? No problem! If you are an Optimize subscriber, contact us via the app chat function (the dialog box in the upper right with a question mark in the center) and we will apply your training plan to TrainingPeaks, which can sync with your bike computer.  

If you are keen are having automated workouts sent to your bike computer directly from Optimize, vote here for the FasCat Software Engineers to develop this feature as soon as possible. 🚀🐆💥