Hi everybody. So I just joined recently and got 259 FTP based on the ramp test. I just completed my first week of Base, Sweet Spot I, Low Volume training, which was comprised of Baxter and Mount Field. I was expecting to be exhausted, but I was not. These exercises felt less intensive than what I would have done during my recent days of unstructured training. Does it get harder or should I retest the FTP to make sure I’m getting the most out of my Base plan?
I’m thinking there might be a purpose to not pushing to exhaustion such as focusing on burning fat vs sugar and making sure TSS is manageable. What are the signs that the Ramp Test-derived FTP might be too low?
I am doing the same plan at the moment, although a bit further ahead.
I too felt that both workouts were a bit easier than I originally expected. You have to keep in mind that this is a “Base phase”, where as the name suggests, you’re not supposed to be smashing yourself with VO2Max workouts. Ideally, you’d be doing other workouts during the week and be focusing on your strength.
My suggestion would be to leave the FTP number alone and get through the whole 6 weeks. Things will start getting more interesting in the second half of the block. Be patient and enjoy it while you can.
Thanks Tim. Will do as you say!
“Primarily, Baxter is about Increasing your aerobic fitness by growing your body’s ability to utilize fat for energy and spare sugar stores.”
i.e. it should feel relatively super easy.
Mount Field I think you should be sweating by the end but I don’t think it should take you anywhere close to failure.
Personally after getting through SSB2 and General Build I’m really looking forward to getting back to doing Mount Field again
Of course you can not gauge ftp/scaling by sweet spot workouts. Only use over-under workouts to gauge your ftp. If you’re not totally exhausted toward the end, your ftp/scaling is low.
For VO2max workouts, sometimes you need to increase the scaling a couple of percent, sometimes decrease, depending on your fitness profile. You should be “drowning” toward the end, like in over-under workouts.
If I were you, I’d withhold judgement until after Eclipse, Warlow and Palisade. Just keep to the plan. If those last three are easy for you, then your FTP is too low. It’s just a number. The best number you can strive for is the number of the workouts in the plan, on the right days, in the right order. It’ll sneak up on you.
Eclipse, Warlow and Palisade - now you created some suspense in advance of these workouts! Thank you.
I did Antelope today. It made me realize my FTP is just right.
One thing that I do differently is that I don’t follow the aero position recommendations because I’m training for MTB trail (not XC) performance. I also want to develop more torque, so did the Antelope with 69 average cadence. Does anyone see a problem with this approach?
Wait 'till you get to week 5 with Carillion, Tallac and Palisade scheduled in.
No matter how easy previous weeks may seem, these three will give you a real good hammering, so better be sure you are fueled up before hand.
Baxter and Mount Field are the easy ones. I’d do those if i knew i was supposed to be doing some sweet spot work but really barely wanted to do anything even remotely hard.
They get harder… much harder…
So if the workouts get much harder is it a normal thing to fail to keep up with target power? What’s the consequence of that? Does one need to repeat the workout or does one move on to the next workout? Thanks
It is best to either:
- Drop the intensity during the workout, or
- Shorten the workout by finding a “-1” version before the start.
My personal suggestion would be to drop the intensity if during an interval you feel that you’re going to crack soon.
Thanks Tim. Hasn’t happened yet, but I feel it’s coming…
First set of over/unders (Reinstein) I did caused me to “fail”. But for me in that workout, I just backpedaled for about 15s during the sub threshold interval once and stepped off for a bathroom break during a rest interval once. That’s all it took to finish intact. Since then it’s been tough but all good. Consider a quick backspin or stop and let your head reset. If your FTP is accurate, it’s all doable if you dig deep.
Well, I had my first failure today on Monitor. I died during the 6th interval. I think that because I sent my FTP during a low-cadence ramp test (avg cadence = 63), I am more susceptible to muscle fatigue impacting my performance during sustained, high power sessions. I will give it another shot tomorrow. I might need to power up before with some Gu Roctane…
You probably nailed it. 63 is a pretty low cadence, and if you follow the instructions, Monitor pushes you to a higher cadence and taxes your “speed endurance”. Odds are, you need to raise your aerobic capacity and get used to riding at a higher cadence. SSB focuses at least one workout a week on raising speed endurance. It’ll come; it’s a process. Good news is you’re pushing yourself through 6 intervals before failure, so you’re surely going to see some improvement fairly quickly.
Your suggestion conflicts with my objective: to be able to deploy sustained high-power during MTB climbs using torque. I don’t see the benefit of spinning on MTB trail rides (I don’t ride XC). This means I need to have stores of sustained power with bursts of power (overs/unders) for climbing roots, rocks, etc. I am far from an expert on this, but it seems to me I need to be sticking to the low cadence approach and extend muscle endurance. Happy to debate the matter with someone who is more experienced, of course.
I wasn’t trying to tell you what to train, simply that your ability to complete Monitor will improve as your ability to tolerate higher cadences improves. I’m not an MTB guy, so I won’t even try to expand on it further than that, other than to say riding exclusively at 60rpm sounds painful. Suffice to say that I think most any rider would benefit from being able to tolerate a wide range of cadences rather than solely being strong in one narrow range.
@LarrytheStanimal, I can empathise with your approach and think you have some sound basis for it.
I spent all last winter through my TR plans spinning a high cadence (often 95-100rpm+) in a high gear in ERG mode and got a great FTP growth but at the expense of hill-climbing prowess. I’d ended up with a fantastic cardio vascular system but not the best development of leg strength for pushing up steep gradients. My target events are TTs, many of which are quite hilly.
This winter I’ve actively addressed this issue by
(a) reducing my gearing (to make it feel more like every workout is uphill, which is the effect of the reduced wheel speed and resulting reduced “helping hand” of flywheel inertia) and
(b) reducing my cadence. Although not to the lower levels you are aiming for, it must be said (more like from high 90s to 85-95 in my case)
I think you are okay to pursue an element of lower-cadence work for your MTB goals, but I honestly think that the level of muscular fatigue that you will get when you get to over-unders like Palisade will be too hard to take and you’ll crash and burn and wonder what’s wrong. It’s all I can do to survive these workouts at around 90rpm, and that’s when I’m trying to keep my cadence as low as I can!
If I were you I’d target lower cadence work, definitely, but do it strategically, maybe confining it to the sweet spot type intensities, or maybe just in selected blocks (or part blocks) of the threshold workouts (in place of aero drills for example).
If you don’t do some of the threshold/VO2/over-under type workouts at the intended cadences (usually advised at 85-95 level or even higher for the very high wattage stuff), I believe you’ll be missing out on some valuable cardio vascular developments, not to mention that they will just be impossible at very low cadence.
That’s my two penneth (approximately two cents if you’re from over the pond!), I hope it helps a bit and I wish you all the best with your training!
This is a good nugget of truth. To @LarrytheStanimal, wait until Palisade before assessing whether or not you think your FTP is set correctly.