Training with a power meter or heart rate monitor is meaningless without an understanding of what the numbers are telling you.
Endurance athletes and coaches have traditionally used a one hour time trial to establish FTP wattage or threshold heart rate – and building training zones around these numbers to dictate training intensity.
Going all out for an hour is very difficult, both mentally and physically. Not to mention how hard it is to find a course where you can ride uninterrupted for an hour.
So the 20 minute field test has become the established “gold standard” – with the athlete reducing the 20 minute average ~ 5%-7% to reflect what you would see after a full hour.
If FTP is a new concept for you, this podcast episode featuring Master Instructor Cameron Chinatti should help get you up to speed.
The Sufferfest Rubber Glove (Fitness Test) is specifically designed to motivate you through the pain you’ll experience over a 20 minute field test.
While it wasn’t technically designed as a 20 minute fitness test for FTP or threshold heart rate, the second half of Epic RaceDay – has a very intense 30 minute criterium race that I’ve used on a number of occasions for FTP field test classes.