What is Durability and why you didn't know about it until now

Training 14/03/24 07:00 Migue A.

A new metric emerges to define a cyclist's performance and form: durability, a term you will have to get used to as you once had to do with watts/kilo or VO2max, a data that takes into account not only how much power the cyclist can generate but how much he can put on the table under fatigue conditions.

Cycling training science incorporates durability into its vocabulary

"The ability to produce power under fatigue conditions", this is how durability is defined, a quality that has become essential to determine the potential of cyclists, especially elite ones since it is at the end of long stages, with many ports and disputed at a frantic pace when races are decided.

To define this parameter, what is done is to relate the power that the cyclist is capable of generating with the work that the cyclist has done, the latter is quantified in joules and is a data that the power meter provides us.

In reality, durability is a concept that has been researched for decades however until now coaches did not know how to quantify it and how to work it specifically, in fact, if we look at data like the FTP that is used to determine work zones, we are talking about a value that is only achievable under test conditions and during a very specific effort. However, races are decided after hours of accumulating fatigue and that's where it was necessary to rethink the approach to training.

However, knowing durability can be a good metric to quantify the chances of success of a cyclist in a long and hard test, especially if we talk about races like the monuments or the World Championship in which the duration of the test far exceeds the usual in any other race of the season.

To quantify durability the procedure consists of performing the usual power tests of a cyclist and then, repeat these tests under fatigue conditions after significant work, about 2500 kilojoules for example, which would be, for a professional, the equivalent to ride about 3 and a half hours. By comparing the results being fresh and in fatigue, coaches can quantify durability. Obviously, that cyclist whose power figures decline less will mean that he is able to arrive fresher to the decisive part of the races and will have more options to fight for victory.

In fact, it is often said that such and such a young cyclist has spectacular power figures but, however, when they are subjected to a durability test, these figures decline significantly. By the way, it is also necessary to take into account that the gain of resistance that the cyclist acquires over the years, in which they become more efficient machines, helps this parameter to improve.

In any case, it is a concept of training on which research continues precisely to be able to standardize the way to quantify it and know how it can be efficiently integrated into training beyond, precisely, subjecting the body to intensity work in fatigue.



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