Too bad the swim isn’t longer. I would’ve liked triathlon better (though I still enjoyed it). I fit your description fairly well and I was a distinctly average distance swimmer in HS. Similar experience with swim training impacting my bike more than anything else.
This thread is making me want to start swimming again.
Haha…I’m motivated to go back to Tri just because even well over 4w/kg I’m so light my raw watts I just don’t hold up in local cycling races. I was at least competitive for overall wins in local tris, even at much lower bike fitness.
Problem is I just struggle to find time for that stinking swim - my bike/run fitness is at all time highs for triathlon racing.
The biggest changes were switching to the ramp test and switching from a fluid trainer to smart trainer. My bike training volume is roughly the same. Weight training, swim, and run increased to sensible numbers. I’m a much better overall triathlete since then. I scored less on FTP tests but I think training “easier” paved the way for consistency improvements. I kinda knew this answer already in one sense but the feedback from my question reminds me that there’s no replacement for doing the work.
Also, nice graphs! That’s a level of record keeping determination I don’t have.
It was pretty easy - I use an analytics package (WKO5), ran reports, and put the numbers into a spreadsheet. Started doing spin classes in 2014 and picked up a free TrainingPeaks account back then to log all my walks/swims/cycling.
I’ve just never been able to get into duathlon. Think I would like it a lot better if they just ditched the run/bike/run thing and do just one run. I also enjoy the challenge of trying to balance the three sports, even if I stink at the swimming.
When I started training properly 7 or 8 years ago, I used to obsess about FTP… And then you realise there’s a ceiling for everyone. You can’t keep improving else we’d all be winning the Tour.
And then regardless, I do wonder about the worth of tests that estimate FTP. Similar to the OP, I did a ramp test a couple of weeks ago, and it proposed an FTP about 10% down on the power I can and have already been holding for an hour in recent previous sessions. So I set the FTP in TR to reflect what I know is nearer to my true number so that sessions actually challenge me from the start.
And that’s where I am going to keep it. Using sessions to extend time to exhaustion at all power numbers. Doesn’t really matter what 1min/5min/20min/1hr powers are if they don’t stack up in a race scenario.
I’ve been pretty stable at 280-290 the past couple years, but I’m seeing improvements in other ways so I’m not sweating the fact my FTP is not changing.
Although my FTP has stayed within that 10 watt range the past couple years my ability to train at that FTP has improved a ton.
After I first hit 290 on the Ramp test I would struggle to get though some of the longer sweet spot and threshold workouts. Best example I can give is a 20 min sweet spot interval would get really tough for me with 8 or so minutes to go. Now, I’m getting through them and a sweet spot interval feels like sweet spot from beginning to end.
Improvements like that are actually motivating me more than FTP at the moment. They are also translating to me being able to put out more power for longer in races. I’ve seen big improvements in performance without raising my FTP.
Yep, I always find it amusing people state an FTP number or absolutely believe in the FTP number generated from a “short form” test but then would struggle to hold it for anywhere near an hour. Even say 40mins…
More precisely, you’ve consistently hit 370-390 for peak min on the ramp. That’s a useful number to keep track of, but is dependent on both your FTP and Functional Reserve Capacity (FRC or work you can do above FTP). You can increase your FTP, but reduce your FRC - say because your threshold is a higher percentage of VO2MAX - and end up with a relatively stable peak min on the ramp despite substantially different (and relevant to goals) fitness.
IIRC from Skiba’s latest book, more fit athletes tend to have a lower FRC, but recharge that FRC faster. Unfortunately the recharge is not possible to assess in the ramp, but will come out in suprathreshold workouts.
So all that means is that ramp can demonstrate increased fitness. And it also may not demonstrate increased fitness, and/or granulate where you increased your fitness. But with AT it doesn’t matter much, so don’t worry about it! Use other assessment methods with TR for fitness checks. And just provide a reasonable guess of FTP for setting intensity and just be consistent.
Thanks to everyone for the replies, this is by far the most positive response I’ve ever got to any internet post I’ve made! It’s comforting to hear that others are experiencing similar phenomena, where maybe the FTP doesn’t necessarily go up much anymore yet we see improvements in other ways.
For my own triathlon improvement right now my focus is general balance of strength and the run. The run is comparatively my weakness right now and it just feels good to be strong. You’ve all inspired me to try in throw in an extra pettit or dans if time and energy allows.