Home Testing Ideas

In my recent Tipcast I discussed using the current lock down for COVID-19 to conduct your own research projects. The following short article offers ideas and methods for some easy at home tests.

Sweat Rate: This one is pretty easy, but takes several tests to get a good average. It’s important to keep a log of the weather/indoor training environment and a range of intensities; the harder your exercise the higher your body temperature will be and hence your sweat rate. You should also do the testing for different activities, like road, MTB, and running. Using this handy sheet developed by Jeff Rothschild, MS, RD, here’s what you need to measure:

  • Pre and post training body weight
  • Conditions (temp, humidity, etc…)
  • Fluid intake

Warm-up: Complete four 5-10 k TT’s (choose one distance for all trials) in random or alternating order. Half the TT’s are completed after a standard 15-min easy spin, or perhaps nothing, and compare it to your preferred warm-up. Alternatively, if you currently employ a warm-up lasting 30-min or more, compare it to a warm-up like this:

  • 5-min easy
  • 3 to 5-min ramp-up to ~1-min above threshold
  • 2-min easy, followed by 3 or 4 10-sec sprints
  • 3-min easy, then rest 5-min
  • Time trial

Supplements: Similar to the warm-up study, perform four time trials with identical warm-ups. If you cannot blind yourself to your supplement (e.g., beet roots strong flavor makes it impossible to blind for at home study), then perform at least two trials with and two without the supplement in random order.

Threshold Power: Dare I call this FTP, but the 20-min test has become ubiquitous to the point of pointlessness. However, it’s convenience is often placed above it’s validity. Rather than simply rely on an 1-hr power estimate of 95% of 20-min power, actually perform a 1-hr (or close to it) TT a few times each year. Not only will you reap the rewards of the effort, you’ll finally answer your own question: What % of 20-min is my FTP. With that information, you can now use that 20-min effort more effectively.

Have other ideas? Post them in the comments!

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