Violator - ERG mode

Is there anyone out there who can hit the power targets in Violator with their trainer on normal mode as opposed to ERG?

With wattage targets that high (the first part of the session) the only option I have is to go all out. I cannot hit a specific wattage within a 5 second interval. How do you do that? I'm not saying it can't be done, but I can't do it :-)

I put it onto ERG mode and my Neo reacted quickly enough over the whole session. Everybody says not to do it on ERG.

How do other people approach Violator?

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  • Ok, luckily for you I keep notes on all of my rides right within the app. 

    So, I just looked at my notes on Violator from March 23rd, 2017 (level mode, level 2, Wahoo Kickr 2nd Gen) and some of what I wrote is this:  "Fyi the 5 second sprints were real tough to get up and down in gear so I just kept it at a low number and banged it out OVER the watt parameters that sufferfest set".  My cadence and wattage were through the roof and higher than what they wanted but I needed to get it done and this seemed like the only way. 

    For my Violator from September 8th at 7:02 pm:  "Last 8 sprints I was dying at 2 seconds to the end of the sprint.  I failed and bonked on the last 4 sprints with 3 seconds to go, just could not make it all the way through".  This might not be failure for a lot of people but I want to be able to meet personal goals so I consider it a failure.

    In the end, my advice seems to be that going THROUGH your watt expectation is the way to do it.  This may be why in another thread I am having a "semi"-easy time of it in ERG mode - because I beat the piss out of myself in level mode.

    Disclaimer:  There are 3 videos (Blender, Long Scream, Local Hero) that I have not been able to complete after 3 tries of each of them over the past 9 months.  On three occasions I was 4 minutes short of finishing a Blender and just had to quit because my HR got too high and I just could, not, do, it.  So I am by no means an expert here.  I have weaknesses and they are everything except for sprinting.

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  • I also have a Kickr (which I absolutely LOVE) and I'm sharing some of the experiences posted above. I'm fairly new to The Sufferfest, although not to cycling. So I'm still figuring things out. The big thing for me is that I'm not sure when it would be best to use ERG mode and when to use level mode. And when in level mode, I'm not sure what level to use.

    One important observation is that my Kickr has a 15-lb flywheel that's great for giving a realistic road feel while peddling, but in level mode this makes it very hard to keep it all in the black at the top of a Sufferfest video when changes in power and cadence are required. For short attacks lasting only a few seconds, it's basically impossible. At the beginning of the attack, I'm putting out crazy amounts of power trying to stay in cadence as I get that big flywheel spinning. But then after the attack is over, I'm at 0 watts for 15 seconds or so while the flywheel winds back down to the speed suitable for the lower wattage. I guess I'm not quite skillful enough with the gear changes yet.

    I've tried setting the level higher (up to 8) which makes the flywheel spin more slowly for any given wattage. This does help reduce the "towing a heavy trailer on a rubber band" effect caused by the flywheel, but it makes for unnatural gear selections like 36/23 when I'm supposed to be doing tempo across the flats at 90RPM where I'd normally be on 52/15 outside on the road.

    I've tried ERG mode, and although it does a better job of tracking the required wattage in general, on those quick sprints, there is a delay of a few seconds before I feel the resistance increase, and so basically, I'm cheated out of the effort. Don't want that. It also just seems to make the whole workout feel less strenuous, too, in general. And I definitely don't want that!

    So, maybe the Minions could add a bit more advice to the description of each video on whether to use ERG mode for that video. I know some of the videos have this info (e.g. Full Frontal), but it might be helpful to add it to all of them.

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  • Well, I'll give all I own to the man that can accurately hit the wattage targets in Violator, at the right times and for the right duration, in normal dumb trainer mode.

    If you do it on ERG you will be doing the wattages asked of you. Everyone talks about how the resistance doesn't kick in quickly enough. Yes there's a lag but on a 5 second interval you still get the 5 seconds. The app just compensates for the late kick in and switches the resistance back down later. Time it, and I think you'll find you are getting the correct duration of interval. That's my experience anyway.

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  • Was just thinking about this the other day doing shovel.  Using virtual power (must get a power meter soon) on a "dumb" trainer, any sprints of less than ten seconds are pointless as far as measured power goes, as it takes too long to spin up to speed to make the reading worth anything.  You just have to wind it up as much and as hard as you can and hope for the best.

    Now I know the ultimate answer is "I need a power meter" but some guidance for VP users might be handy.

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  • I have never used virtual power so know nothing.

    If you can afford it get a smart trainer. What a difference they make. Make sure it does ERG mode. Kickr or Neo are good options.

    Power is more useful in training than it is in competition in my opinion. It sets the bar for your training and gives you real feedback and something to beat. It's superb. 

    In competition you are all out anyway. I don't care much about my power when competing. 

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  • I can second what iwbmattkyt said. My only regret about buying my Wahoo Kickr is that I didn't buy it much sooner than I did. That thing is going to make me strong for next racing season.

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  • Really glad I found this thread as it makes me feel better having just done Violator yesterday.  I had to stop at 30 minutes and lay on the floor.  I am riding a Fluid 2 turbo trainer using Virtual Watts and getting to the required watts in 5 secs was extremely taxing.  I generally started getting into a higher gear as I neared 10 second from the print and then just pedal mashed it as much as possible without losing form in my hips.  Total insanity.

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  • Same comment than Jonathan Sampson. Finally had to get some 30s rest between 5sec sprints at the end of the exercise, definitely impossible to get back to 700-800W after 5sec of rest....

    Maybe there is something I misunderstand but I really don't see the point to have such short rest between very high efforts. 

    Would you please clarify the exercice ? 

    My general comment : very nice videos for hard sessions, yoga and strength sessions are great and useful, only lacks easy cycling videos for recovery. 

     

     

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  • I think it's a lot to do with your strengths and weaknesses as well.

    I've ridden Violator several times, and can always hit the targets. Yes, in pain, yes, eyes bleeding, yes, frothing at the mouth. But hitting those targets or going all-out after them!

    It's an extremely demanding workout - the title serves it right. Hitting those 5sec sprints is one of the best MAP workouts because your HR stays high the entire time, and that's the point of the last set.

    As for recovery: there are the Open videos, there's the NoVid recovery spin, or ride literally any video with reduced power targets or just Level "0" and spin it out.

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  • Violator in ERG mode might be problematic, simply because some of the efforts are so short that smart trainers have trouble adjusting the resistance as fast as the video requires.  I recommend using flat mode.  Using flat mode also comes with the side benefit that it gives you practice in shifting to the gear you need and then instantly turning on the power.  A successful sprint has as much to do with good timing and technique as it does with having tree-stump legs.

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  • I have failed Violator 3 of 3 attempts.  In no case did I get past 46min which is less than 1/2 way though the 2nd set.  In those cases, I have went in with form ~= 1 which is not exactly "well rested".  What form do you guys go into it?

    I am trying again today (which is why I am on this thread).  form = -2 currently.  

     

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  • Where do you get the "form" value from?

    Is Violator scheduled on your plan or are you doing it spontaneously?

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  • Form is a parameter in the TrainingPeaks methodology/Rubrik. See https://help.trainingpeaks.com/hc/en-us/articles/204071764-Form-TSB-  It is useful in gauging accumulated fatigue but you have to callibrate it to ones own physiology.  For me, I would be quite fatigued with form < -10 and very rested with form > 10.  Form between -5 and 0  is about where I do the hard stuff.  I get the sense that pros train more around -10 to -20 but I'm not sure about that.  Im just a 55 yr old guy is pretty good shape that wants to get faster, or at least, not decline with age.  Seems like when I am in the -10 range or less, I cant really give my all on the hard stuff.  

    I have done Violator as part of my scheduled plan's (sufferfest based plans) in the past.  Today's attempt was part of a homecooked plan that follows a similar pattern: 2-3 hard sessions per week and the rest is easy endurance paced stuff.  Although my homecooked plan is not quite as rigidly structured.  For example, 3 days ago, my 'hard' session was mountain biking up a a peak in Tahoe (without power meter).  But usually, the hard stuff is sufferfest that focuses on AC and MAP and, more recently, NM.   

     

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  • Alain Berezin: If Violator is kicking your butt the way you describe, then sounds as if you're doing it just the right way. It's supposed to kick your butt. This is doubly true if your relative weakness is your 5-10 second split (a.k.a. your neuromuscular power). Do Violator regularly in a well-rested state, and compare results over time. Eventually, you'll get through it clean.

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