Hey everyone. Last year I went with a training plan via Training Peaks and at the height of my fitness, I got to an FTP of 364. I got to that doing 1 to 2 structured training sessions on the trainer and around 3-4 unstructured rides outdoors.
At the end of the year, I got injured doing bmx, followed by Covid, followed by another bmx injury. This meant 3 full weeks off the bike. At the start of this year, I measured my FTP at 334.
Since the first of January, I’ve been on a low volume TR plan, doing 3 structured workouts per week. I’ve also added 2-3 unstructured outdoor workouts.
I tested my FTP today and dropped to 328.
In spite of the drop, I feel like I’m back at peak fitness and I’m happy with how my training is going. When I tested at 364, I felt this number was unrealistic as I doubted I could even hold it for 20 minutes. I feel 328 is much closer to accurate as I think I may just about be about to hold it for around an hour.
My bro science is telling me that although my FTP has come down, my ability to ride at steady state power has improved a lot. Previously, I had a very strong 1 minute power which I think was skewing the test. My 1 minute power is now down, but my 5,10 and 20 minute power records are all up.
Does my theory sound correct to you or I’m I just excusing poor performance?
334 - 328 = 6 Watts is about 2.1%, which is about the margin of power meters. Couple that with your FTP varying day by day (tired, fatigue, fuelling, weather) i’d say your FTP is pretty much the same.
But you are right. FTP is only part of your overall fitness and performance.
FTP is roughly the 40-70 minute power. Say you have 328 FTP and can do 40 minutes. Then after a plan you still have 328 FTP but can hold it for 70 minutes. That is still improvement.
328 is still a nice number, anything above 300 sounds nice.
What did you do to get 364 FTP the previous time?
Ramp test on TR?
Thanks for the reply Thanas. Last year I was testing with Zwift ramp test.
Check your power stats on intervals.icu and see how your 1s 1m 5m 20m, 1h, eftp etc power outputs compare now and before
If you think you are getting some anaerobic contribution and/ or short power impacting your testing perhaps try a longer testing protocol than the Ramp test. Eg. the Kolie Moore Baseline Test protocol. It has worked for many as an alternative to the Ramp test in TR etc (including myself).
Good forum thread here on the subject: Kolie Moore's FTP test protocol
Rather than comparing Jan '22 FTP with all time best FTP, it’d be far more worthwhile comparing Jan '22 FTP with Jan '21 FTP…
Hitting your best numbers now would give me cause for concern (providing your goals are in Summer).
It’s a good point, however, my main concern is being down from my test done on 1 Jan, after a 3 week injury/illness break. I expected to be down for that test, which I was, but I expected to pick up quickly from that point, which I haven’t.
Thanks for that. I think I’m testing more accurately now as my power profile seems to be subtly changing towards more steady state.
Really wouldn’t worry about it. Magnitude of difference isn’t that much and cycling is a multi-year game.
If you had it, it’ll come back
I wouldn’t worry too much about that. As someone else pointed out, a 6 watt difference is basically the same measurement. Not that it’s nothing but when you figure in the accuracy of power measurement, it’s very close. Also, I’m not sure what you’re training looked like after before that 3 week break but it is possible that if you were carrying a lot of training stress in then you actually came out the other side not that unfit but actually fresh. So now, even if you’ve gotten fitter you’ve also gotten more fatigued and it’s masking your fitness.
Just remember that even if the test result has gone down (or stayed the same) there are lots of other ways that fitness can improve that is less frequently measured. So if you can hold more power for different intervals, feel more fresh after longer workouts, can do one more interval than before, etc then you are getting fitter even if it isn’t reflected in your FTP.
Thanks, that’s great advice!
What did overall volume look like, compared to last year?
My read of sports science and coach interviews on podcasts… Endurance sport performance:
- scales with total volume, therefore start with consistently doing 4 or 5 rides a week
- allocate 2-3 days for intensity, the amount of intensity required depends on a number of things including your current fitness and ability to recover
- if you drop volume then increasing intensity (up to a point) will help
- progressive overload science has shown that de-load/recovery/adaptation weeks are required to give your body the chance to make the best gains
My bro science wonders if coming back from your 3-week ‘off-season’ you a) dropped volume in January, and b) didn’t wait long enough to see gains.
FWIW my numbers are different, but over 6 seasons when I consistently push 8 hours/week my fitness is high (around 275W), and when I tried dropping volume to 6 hours/week and upping intensity using TR then my fitness dropped (around 255W). Beyond ftp, dropping volume resulted in a noticeable decline in fitness, and I can see the drop when overlaying power curves from two seasons. Biggest surprise was doing more endurance rides really increased my short power (under 5 minutes) and repeatability.
I can have huge swings in my fitness and performance with small moves in my “tested” FTP. Yes, when I’m at my fittest, my tested (and actual) FTP is usually a few ticks higher along with that, but it’s not that dramatic. It also depends on the performance and energy system I’m targeting. Super fit in one energy system doesn’t always translate to others. Endurance/aerobic base tends to help across the board, but you can have a super developed aerobic engine and high FTP and do poorly in events that require big power spikes and repeatability if you haven’t specifically worked those systems a bit.
If you tested at 360+ and are now testing at 330+ (and think you are just as strong), i’d be curious what those tests were. I’d also be curious to understand the difference in training volume. If they were similar tests, I’m surprised you haven’t gotten closer to the original number unless the volume went way down or you are training energy systems that don’t reflect well in the test you are using.
Zwift ramp test at 360, TR ramp tests at 330-ish. I’m also wondering about volume changes.
I don’t know if you or your coach wrote that or copied/pasted from somewhere, but it’s really well articulated and simple. There would be a lot more fast people out there if they followed and understood these concepts.
FWIW straight out of my head, during a Monday morning conf call. FWIW I used to be a technical marketing guy…
I’ve been with TR for over 2.5years now and my FTP dropped about 12W, I have never been able to get it back up ever since. I’ve now decided that in 2022 I will do my own thing and just use TR’s workouts randomly on certain days, I want to see by the end of the year if my FTP won’t go up. I’m sticking with TR because I learn a lot from their podcast to be able to do my own plans, and I think if I just choose some of their workouts whiles following my own plan I might gain. I started with midvolume then moved to HV but my biggest gains where I came very close to before TR was last year when I stopped following the plans and did a lot of outdoor group rides. You might also be the odd one out like myself but maybe give it some time it might work for you.
I set power records on a ramp test last year from 2min to ~10 min in Nov 2020 that still stand after 12 weeks of SSB HV that looking back would have been workouts on the non-AT plan in that Workout level of 5-7 range (and below what my PL would have been).
I got close to those numbers out chasing KOMs and got stronger overall, but haven’t surpassed them.
Thanks for your thoughts. On all occasions, I’ve tested with the ramp test, albeit with Zwift last year and with TR this year. My training plan last year was geared towards a climbing road road whilst this year is towards a rolling road race. The difference is that this year I’m concentrating more on steady state power and last year it was on repeating 1 - 5 minute efforts.
I’ve gone with LV in order to keep doing group rides. I’m hoping over a year, this will be optimal for my A events.