Advice for Spencer +2

I need some advice on a workout coming up next week and was hoping someone could help.

A bit of background info:
I completed the ramp test a week ago today and got 234 down from 254 at the end of December. It was quite cold and I think I would have benefited from a warm-up workout before starting the test. However I still lowered it.

The first 20 min interval on Sunday’s session went well, I rode at 232 for 20 mins and my heart rate stayed fairly low. Perhaps 234 was too low after all.

I thought I’d try and sustain my old ftp for the 2nd 20 min interval. I got to 10 mins and gave up so 254 was too high.

So 254 being too high and 234 too low, I decided to go with 248 (half way :wink:)

Tuesday I had 2 min V02 max intervals at 120%. I really struggled with these, failing to hit the power targets on two and bailing on the last 3 intervals. I also failed a similar session before my recovery week and was one of the reasons I decided to add an extra recovery week during SSB2.

Yesterday however, my Threshold session felt easy so I increased the power on the intervals which were supposed to be 5 x 10 @ 96 - 99% ftp. Instead I rode 5 x 10 mins @ around 246, 252, 250, 254 and 255.

So, here’s the issue. if I increase my FTP again then I know I won’t be able to complete my Tuesday session this week which is 3 minute intervals at 120%. In fact, I don’t think I’d be able to complete it if I were to drop my ftp by 8 watts!

Why do I think this? Well in both of the 2 minute 120% ftp sessions, although the inervals had the %ftp decreasing after 1 minute I tried to keep at 120% but couldn’t. I don’t think I am suddenly going to be able to do 3 minute intervals just one week on.

So, I’ve decided I just suck at VO2 and have more of a diesel engine!

I’m going to try insreasing my ftp to 251 and see how I get on with Mary Austin tomorrow. If I complete that workout then perhaps my ftp is set roughly right.

So back to Tuesday’s session of Spencer +2, which is 3 min intervals at 120% ftp, should I keep the same format but decrease the %ftp to say 115% instead, or should I just try last week’s workout again where I ride at 120% ftp for two minute intervals or some other combination?


I’m no expert…but if it were me, I’d use whatever FTP the ramp test says you have (through actual testing based on your performance) over your best guess at what your FTP is(based on…guessing, mostly).

That’s not to say the ramp testis perfect. But its a legitimate performance based approach to get as close as possible. So I’d quit thinking about it, use the ramp test, and then adjust mid workout if something is obviously off.

Edit: Also…you don’t KNOW you cant do the VO2 intervals coming up. You havent even tried them on that day in the plan yet. You THINK you cant do them. Again, no offense, but IMO, thr entire point of something like trainer road is the ability to abdicate responsibility for devising testing, analysis, and creation of a training plan to a more knowledgeable person. You’ve essentially paid for yhat service, but then not used it…

This is what happened to me last week. For the first time in life I can’t hit 120%.

After much reading online…
The solution was find your repeatability vo2, don’t be stuck and muscle your way if you cant repeat it for the whole workout. Mine just end up being around 114-115% for those 2-3 min vo2, but I kept it 120%+ for anything under 1:30.

Anything around 110-120 would be considered as a successful workout.


Another vote for sticking to the test result.
Increasing intensity on your threshold intervals is a mistake imo - you will add fatigue making the vo2 max session even harder!
The aim is not to push yourself to the maximum every session

Lots of points here:
You did an FTP test seemingly in the middle of SSB2, I’m curious as to why? Mainly, because the VO2 work that you do in SSB2 builds on the previous week. So even Taylor and Bluebell on the weeks prior should help you get ready to extend those VO2 efforts into longer durations.
If you skipped the first couple weeks of SSB2 (maybe you opted to shorten it a bit?), then those VO2 efforts are certainly going to be difficult… you’re jumping right into 2-3 minute efforts. Something like Taylor or Bluebell might be a better place to start there.

That aside - I’m also a fan of sticking with the result of the FTP assessment result and seeing how the workouts overall go. If you choose to raise intensity (rather than changing FTP itself) on a certain type, then by all means do that if you can sustain it, but be careful that it’s not affecting your next hard workout. I wonder if that’s the case, where you increased the weekend’s work and you were still feeling some fatigue when Tuesday came around?
Keep in mind - that Sunday workout you did was sweet spot… so though you should have felt it, at this point in training you should be “used to it” and it should ideally be a power level you recover from fairly quickly.

You might choose to start Spencer +2 at 115% and work your way up to 120% if you can as the intervals go on. Or depending what you did in the prior weeks you might choose to substitute something a little more forgiving if you skipped that Taylor/Bluebell combo.

@Wayne, @earena and @Tom_Dean, thanks for replying. No I didn’t just jump in to weeks 4 + 5. I completed weeks 1 to 4 after my test in December but failed 2 workouts in week 4; the VO2 workout and Mary Austin-1. I decided to add a recovery week instead of continuing with week 5.

I’ve accepted previous ftp results from ramp tests but I know this one didn’t give me a correct ftp for the following reasons:

  1. Heart rate topped out at 172 whereas in December it was 193. My legs just felt dead. Like I said it was really cold that day and think I could have benefited from a warm-up beforehand.

  2. Yesterday I did 228 watts (97.5% ftp from ramp test) for 1 hour where that hour included 12 minutes of recovery.

  3. Having previously completed hour long ftp tests I sort of have an idea what an ftp effort feels like.

  4. Lastly, it would be kinda odd dropping 8.5% after 4 weeks of SSB2 and a recovery week.

No, this isn’t related to FTP. I think this is the relation between ftp and VO2 max. Surely 120% ftp won’t feel the same for everyone. What if my 120% ftp effort feels like your 125% effort?

@earena, as mentioned in the OP, I have tried in two separate workouts to hold 120% of ftp for 2 minutes. I can hold it roughly there for the first 2 or 3 intervals but then my legs are screwed for the remaining ones so, yes I kinda know I’m not going to be able to hold it for 3 minutes multiple times.

I think I might take the advice of @osmondcreative. Cheers dude! Better to complete the entire workout at a lower %ftp. I might start at 115% and then adjust if it’s too easy.

Thanks everyone!

1 Like

If you haven’t done so already, you may want to keep a cheap thermometer in your workout area and take note of the temperatures when you perform poorly or well. I know the TR podcasters say hot weather can kill your performance, but I’ve experienced that with cold temps (below 40F) as well. In my experience it can make a huge difference.

Good luck to you. FTP tests are my nemesis…

1 Like

I think you are looking at two different issues here. First is FTP. If you can easily do 20 min intervals at the (estimated) FTP, that estimate is probably too low; you should struggle to complete (but succeed) 3x20min at 100% FTP, after suitable training to become accustomed to that level of effort, both physically and mentally. Second is VO2Max intervals. TR uses 120% FTP as a target, but if you read the fine print, nobody went to the top of a mountain and came back with that number engraved into a rock. It is quite possible that you need to do your VO2Max at 130% of FTP, or at 115%.

1 Like

I actually ended up setting my ftp to 251. Did this on feel instead of keeping it at 234 like the poor ramp test suggested. I changed Spencer +2 for another session with 3 min intervals set at 115% instead. I still struggled with the last few intervals and went below the target power. I did however smash Lamarck two days later and even added a 5th interval making it Lamarck +1. Rode each 10min interval between 254 and 258 so I’d say 251 ftp is roughly right. Just seems I’m better at muscular endurance over VO2 work. Something to work on during short power build!