Advice please - Over....tested?

So to start this most certainly isn’t a “look at me post” I generally am a little confused and not sure what to do next.

I am early 30’s and in the process of winding down my career of “trying” to be the best XC and CX rider, I could be during my mid 20’s, during this time I made it to the top 10 in the UK. I know have committed to my young family and work and are slowly reducing my cycling commitment whilst still trying to race as much as I can and do as good as i can.

I moved from being coached by a ex-world tour pro to using Trainerroad roughly 2 years ago and absolutely loving it especially the added freedom and flexibility and have seen some great results. Since early 2021 i started a base, build, speciality cycle and then raced some XC in summer, early August i started a build and CX speciality cycle towards my season goal of the December, January CX races which i wanted to peak for. Early races building up to this was going well despite a few setbacks but as i got into late November i could feel myself really fatiguing but pushed through and completed some really gruelling training, however, come to the season goals I was completely flat and had nothing to give. I was very disappointed and knew there was nothing i could do so come January i stopped my plans and prescribed myself just 2 weeks of recovery or light endurance riding but also focused on upping my gym work to roughly 5 - 6 days a week i also took the time to refocus on my diet and get back to better habits there.

Fast forward to yesterday and I decided to head out and do my usual 20 minutes FTP test before i restart some base training this week. My FTP protocol is always the same and has been for the past 2 years with the same starting point and route with obliviously the finishing point varying on speed. The only variable is my bike, during the winter its my steel road bike and in summer it’s the lightweight carbon road bike, the summer bike always feels like i do better power helped also by the summer conditions. So hit the test yesterday and felt on fire from the start, i ended the test just 1 single watt shy of my all-time power PB that I recorded in the summer after the best training block i have ever done. Power meter was calibrated before the test and looking at the date there is no signs that the power meter was miss reading. naturally, this has blown me away. The test means i need to increase my current FTP by 26 watts!


Firstly for all of those wondering i can honestly say from my own experience if you are disciplined enough then what TrainerRoad offers is as good if not better than what a top tier coach can offer.

Secondly, how has this happened? I guess i was overstretched going into my A-races and the recovery has actually brought me onto form?

Lastly do I really up my FTP by 26 watts, this is going to put me at the start of winter when i am looking to wind down my training with the best numbers i have ever trained with, sounds like this could make training at this time of year incredibly hard and i question how much if at all i can actually improve beyond this FTP.

Purposely not spoken about the numbers to make this about the situation not the numbers.

Thank you

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What’s your training look like over the next few months? Sweetspot, Endurance etc?

If endurance focused, I would ride to RPE (as it sounds as though you’ve plenty of experience). If Sweetspot, I would be proceed very cautiously, but first off could be a longer (i.e., the Kolie Moore) FTP test to sense check your 20 min result.

Sounds like you share the same reluctance that I have. My training plan is to start back with a Base High Volume Sweet Spot block with a focus this time on some high-quality lifting in the gym too.

Then a build, speciality cycle to bring me to my “mini peak” in June before going back into another Base, Build, speciality cycle for the start of CX season in late September.

I am going to start tomorrows training with my new FTP from yesterdays test and just be very cautious, I might then manually bring down my FTP 8 - 12 watts if I feel I am overcooking myself.

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Yes - if you’re naturally a fast twitch rider (CX/XC), then SS could destroy you. It’s a long season and always better to be a little under cooked than burnt out by March.

Good for you on your ftp increase. I don’t know why you’d consider ignoring your results. Despite your ftp number, your offseason training is lower intensity or less intense sessions. Artificially lowering your ftp number to train less intensity is one way to accomplish it. It makes more sense to just keep your true ftp number and follow a training plan with less written intensity.

Very valid point, although base HV sweet spot is certainly not short of intensity (however I have not yet done a cycle of the new style TR Base plans)

That would be my guess. You basically did a two week taper, shedded a lot of fatigue, and your weight training may have topped up your anaerobic and neuromuscular game bringing you into peak form.

For some reason I don’t see that as great result.

The issue was not with the plan, I was completing the plans, adding volume and then combing with 3 - 5 days of gym work whilst holding down a 9 - 5.30 job and being present for a young family. This ultimately can sometimes lead to some issues.

All of that is what TR recommends on the podcast. I’m nearly twice your age, although what I’m about to say has worked very well for local guys in your age group. Fresh is faster. This guy won two US masters championships this year and had this simple advice to offer: 2021: what worked for you, what didn’t - #8 by brendanhousler Best of luck with the programming!