Last night I completed the long awaited "Hour of Power" trainer workout that Coach Dave has been warning me about for quite a couple of months. It consisted of a 15-minute warm-up, 5-minute build to Functional Threshold Power (FTP), and then 40 minutes at FTP, with 10 seconds of either overgeared or undergeared standing every two minutes. Since I don't own a power meter, I had to basically guess a gear ratio/cadence combo that I could sustain for an hour, but was hard enough to induce a level of pain befitting the workout's reputation.
Therein lies the rub with training on heart rate and perceived effort. I spent the first 20 minutes miserable and wanting to throw up but still a couple of beats below my lactate threshold and the last 20 minutes feeling no worse than "I'd rather NOT be doing this" but my heart rate well into zone 5. Overall, I can't say it was nearly as bad as Coach Dave said it would be, so I don't know if that makes me really tough or a real wuss because I couldn't push myself to that level of pain. I'm hoping to get a power meter no later than March so that I can find out.