Am I wasting my time on TR? Update: no

Might help if you open up your careers page so folks can look at actual stress too

Without more context, my guess is your FTP has been overestimated, and you’re dropping workout %s to manage suprathreshold workouts that aren’t actually hitting the systems you want. Would suggest you try a different FTP test (e.g. 20 minute or the infamous Kolie Moore test) and see if you get a decently lower number.

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Don’t take my question the wrong way because I mean no offense whatsoever!

Are you pushing yourself? If you are lowering the workout intensity, are you giving up too early?

I read something once that some people think one thing that separates pros from amateurs is tolerance to pain. Being able to suffer.

So, my question is, are you truly suffering? These gains don’t come easy.

Suffering is so subjective, and I am not asking you to hurt yourself. But ask yourself the question if you NEED to stop, or you WANT to stop.

I mean no condescension and I’m not trying to patronize you. I ask myself the same questions when I put in an effort.

It is pushing that increases your fitness. I know some people will disagree with me and that is ok, its just how I feel.

Also, look at fueling and cooling, as these things can affect RPE drastically and RPE affects motivation to finish.

My point to this entire post is that if you don’t continuously push, your body will adapt to what you are doing and then stop. You have to give it novel stimulous.

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This is probably going to sound so dumb, but I’m going to say it anyway. The Coggan Chart shows 4 watts/kg as good so thats what I picked as my goal, knowing I was already at a 3 with little effort and no formal ‘structured’ training. If its a matter of it will take more time thats fine, but from the comments here its looking more like my potential is just not as high as I had assumed it was. Thanks for the response.

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Thank you so much. This is good info. I will look into the FasCat plans.

Are you feeling like you can handle more after every exercise?

The RPE survey at the end of each workout should be helping you realize your full potential.

My personal feeling is you’re expecting too much too fast. These things can take years.

OK, good to know. Without a decent history of training, setting a fairly arbitrary goal like w/kg can lead to issues when people miss it for a range of reasons. We are not all meant to get there, unfortunately. Adding in your current age is also very important. That Coggan chart is not necessarily aligned for those of us with 4 decades under our belts :wink:

I don’t mean to dissuade you from that if it’s what you want, but it’s important to set goals that are achievable, while still being a reasonable challenge. For reference, this 4w/kg goal comes up a LOT, and you can see the related discussions, how people hit or missed it, and some other ideas for goals besides that one (which can be elusive).

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I can’t find the podcast that touched on this right now but when you start decreasing it as much as this you aren’t developing the systems that the workout is expecting you to develop.

This is my opinion with no insight from TR Maybe @IvyAudrain can correct me but AT will not see this as a “Fail” and will continue to push you along the PL so a workout that was hard today will become harder tomorrow.

I would suggest going back to low volume? You talk about struggling to complete the workouts and then decided to heap more stress on top of it?

I can’t see your TR Profile calendar or your PL’s but I almost think it is time to do a hard reset. Ie. Manual Ramp test
Then for the first workouts may need to find alternatives with lower PL scores because it sounds like yours may be over inflated. ie If AT is telling you 6.3 VO2 max find one around .5 lower. So you can nail it.

Also if you aren’t already I would suggest putting a goal event for next spring/summer so TR Plan builder will create you a road map to follow.

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Thank you Chad. I was worried that some responses would be that it was unrealistic, but somehow the way you put it actually makes me feel kind of relieved in a way.

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I did exactly the same, Coggan chart, what seems to be good and is a round number - 4!

And 4w/kg might be doable for you. There are plenty big - in cycling terms - 45 year olds that can/could do it. I (and I think others) just mean that 3.3 is pretty good and 4 might be a pretty tough ask.

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And to re-reference a worthwhile chart via TR info, check out the Men 40-50 chart for men in this post.

Top of bell curve for men

  • 40-50 : 2.75 - 3.0 FTP/kg

This is not absolute or conclusive (since it’s only TR rider data), but shows that those at or above 4.0w/kg in the 40-50 range are the outside end of the curve. Worthwhile perspective that is likely more relevant than the Coggan chart, at least for us older riders.

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I’m currently a disillusioned 4.0 w/kg chaser too :rofl:

But if it’s any consolation, I’m not using TR. I’m just self coaching around work and life.

I broke my legs a couple of years ago and stopped cycling afterwards, and got fat.

Back when I was Crit racing- I never even reached 4w/kg then- I got my cat 3 on about 3.6 but with good short power numbers.

So “4.0 by 40” (Jan ‘23) was a nice target when I started back up in May ‘21.

I ended up peaking in May ‘22 with about 3.85 and then hayfever and work has scuppered me since and I’m probably more like 3.4 now.

I’m now not sure I can get there in time. I personally find fuelling for life and hard training virtually impossible alongside dieting. So that leaves me at 95kg needing an obscene FTP :rofl:

I guess I don’t want it badly enough because it is just arbitrary at the end of the day. I can ride a 10h straight gravel race, attack the front of a Cat 3 crit and hang with a 24mph chaingang on my gravel bike. I can also race flat A races competitively on Zwift (being an actual A category racer was always the driver for 4.0 but since they’ve added other criteria to Autocat- even that isn’t so relevant.) so I really don’t know what I think is going to change by hitting a certain power and weight on one specific day.

I suppose I’m saying by all means chase it if you think there’ll be value in it but it may not actually be that meaningful once you get it. And TR or not TR is probably irrelevant. It’s motivation, consistency and volume that will get you there I reckon.

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Just curious, but what does your diet and sleep look like. I am a much smaller guy, 64kg and I think that it is much easier for someone my size to make it to 4w/kg. But I am also older as well.
I will be 57 next month next month and I have always known that sleep was my limiter, but I had never really tested it until the last few months.
Because of time constraints, I have always gotten up at 4:00am and rode at about 5:00am, so getting much more than about 6 hrs of sleep a night was really difficult. But after about six months with almost no gains, I decided to do my very best for a couple of months to force myself to get more sleep.
I immediately started to see improvements. I have been hanging out at around or just below 4w/kg for a little while now, but I really feel like if I could figure out a way to average 8 hours plus of sleep per night for a year, even at my age, I think that I can get to 4.5 w/kg. But for me at least the sleep is absolutely mandatory.

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I want to jump in and address a few things we noticed about your workouts and training history with us.

Other athletes on this thread are asking you really good questions, the answers to which could all potentially result in an impact of your progression as a cyclist, and within TrainerRoad. Apart from speculating what could be going on though, we do have a lot more insight based upon your ride data that is worth addressing to clear up some confusion.

You do a lot of your workouts outside, which is great! The most significant point of possible confusion we’ve noticed in your workouts is how your Outside Workouts differ from their intended goals and structure, where the goals of the workout itself are not being achieved.
I’ll be brief about the training implications of that, but as a result, you’re missing out on they key work assigned in those intervals that ultimately help you get faster.

When we talk about workout compliance within intervals and rest, you should be able to see from the ride file the general structure matching the original profile of the workout, and there are definitely ways you could improve this in your key workouts that would have a meaningful impact on your fitness and FTP gains. I’d be happy to set up a zoom or even just DM you with more explicit examples of this and how those key workouts can be improved upon!

It might sound cliche, but truthfully, the best way to ensure you dont get faster with TrainerRoad (or any program) is to not follow the plan. That said, working on consistent, smooth power that aligns with your targets (for both work and rest), and answering post-workout surveys honestly once you start really nailing those workout goals will change the outcome of your success in TrainerRoad pretty drastically.

Once you’re really following the structure of a workout closely, overtime, you’ll start to see gains and benefits that make it clear why doing things like reducing a power target by a few percent (like in your example), doesn’t have nearly as significant of an impact when you’re meeting overarching goals.

I’d be super happy to meet or DM and cover some key examples for you in detail, and to provide some more outside workout tips to help you really nail those workouts. Let me know!

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This. ^

I personally increased ftp about 6-8% per year for 3 years then basically plateaued. Volume and relatively constant around 8-10hpw. My ftp was about 20% higher than my ‘just on the bike’ ftp coming from a fit background in other sports.

Your goal was just not realistic. TR seems to be working well for you with a large gain. You may consider revising your expectations or taking a different perspective as others have stated. Keep up the good work and go out and do some fun rides outside!

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Spend more time at higher progression levels before updating FTP

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I would also suggest looking at improvements in fitness other than your “FTP”.

If I assume that your FTP has always and only been set by the Ramp Test in all the above results, I would hazard a guess that there may be other improvements hidden in there. You may be an over-tester on the Ramp Test and actually now be riding at a more “accurate” number.

Or to put it another way, has your TTE at FTP changed/increased at all?

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with 4w/kg as a goal as Chad says above, but it’s easy to see the rapid response of some athletes and think that’s a fair expectation.

As above, I’ve never had an FTP increase beyond a few percentage points since I started with Power. 15% is pretty good, your real world increase may be more, or you may have had an increase in FTP and an improved ability to ride at FTP.

Ultimately you have to have faith in the system and plan you use. It doesn’t sound at all like you’ve maxed out/are wasting your time on TR. However if there’s something out there that motivates you more to follow the plan etc then that’s a major consideration.

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Ftp is only part of the equation. I might have the same ftp over a year but my sustained power is better at a lower hr as an example.

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I know mid-40s is a busy time in life, I’m right there with you. Kids, family, work…it all demands the majority of our time. And when time is limited that 6-7 hours a week is impressive. But… could it be that 7 hours a week just isn’t enough volume to get the gains you’d like to see?

As many have said you have had a solid improvement, is it that the work put in matches the gains?

And then there’s the age factor. At our age I kinda feel like we are holding on and trying to stop the slide rather than get the gains we would see in our youth.

I see two red flags here: you have a very concrete goal, 4 W/kg, which at 84 kg is a lot, and you are expecting to go up 1 W/kg within a very short period of time, a year or a year-and-a-half. You also seem to assume that training outdoors “would have been more productive.” IMHO you are setting yourself the wrong goals and expecting too much, too soon. This is very, very dangerous, getting better at endurance sports means playing a long game, thinks years. And it depends on your age.

Both of your goals, 4 W/kg and 336 W (= 4 W/kg at your current weight) are well above average, especially your absolute power goal, so you should not expect to automatically get there, especially not within a year. Some people are struggling for years and might never get there. (Not everyone is above average …) Age is another big factor, in your 40s you are not recovering and adapting as well as when you were in your 20s. For context, I started structured training in

Importantly, not all fitness is captured by your FTP. We frequently use FTP and W/kg, because these are fitness metrics that are easy to grasp and relatively easy to measure. Unfortunately, other metrics are harder to capture and track. So you might be missing ways in which you have gotten fitter, because you aren’t looking.

Moreover, independently of whether you use TR’s training plans, FasCat’s training plans or find yourself a coach, structured training is very different from unstructured riding. And you might need to reduce the number of unstructured rides to make sure it doesn’t interfere with your training. Structured training for endurance athletes is balancing recovery and fatigue with intensity and volume. What you describe here sounds as if you are doing too much:

That is another red flag: it means the workout is too hard for you to handle. The reasons for that could be manifold, e. g. intensity, too much training fatigue (i. e. too little recovery) and inadequate fueling come to mind. Instead, you should choose workouts that you can complete without modification.

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Hey mate, I was in a similar boat chasing 4W/kg and spent a long time around 3.5w/kg. I finally reached 4w/kg and am currently at 4.18w/kg. I didn’t gain power(not a significant amount anyhow) I lost weight.

Theres one thing that seems a bit taboo to talk about here in the w/kg calculation and that is the weight. For reference sake I have a 4.18w/kg ftp with an FTP of 218.

At 84kg. Unless you’re a pretty big frame, you probably have room to shift your weight. If you lost 16kg and got down to 68kg, you would be 4w/kg.
I don’t know your body composition, but I’d recommend a dexa scan so you have some insight. I always thought I was relatively lean at 63kg but turns out my body fat % was actually 23%/14kg of fat(I’m short with a small frame) I knew I could get that down to 10% without any consequences.

Obviously you’ve got to be careful losing weight that you don’t lose muscle, run a modest calorie deficit, eat plenty of protein and lift weights regularly.

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