I just meant that it’s a common experience for someone not following a training plan, to have more variable AP, and more tightly grouped NP numbers.
Folks who follow a training plan tend to have decidedly harder days, and easier days. Thus, wider range of daily AP, and NP values.
Folks who are newer and “just riding” (as I usually do), but who like to feel like they got a good workout each time they go out for a ride (as I also do), tend to autoregulate a bit, and often end up with very similar or tightly bunched NP values for many of their rides.
My experience is very similar to the OP here. My NP is often in the 240-260W range, but my average power may range from 140-240, a much wider quantitative range.
For riders on most good training plans, and on plans like that put out by TR, where there are easy days (say… 130W AP, 170W NP), more steady state aerobic days (say 220W AP, 225W NP), and interval days (say, 220W AP, 290W NP), there tends to be a wider range of both AP & NP, rather than a tight cluster of daily NP values and a wider range of daily AP values.
Apologies if I was unclear before. I was attempting to comment on the human psychology of training plan adherence vs. no training plan, and what tends to happen with AP & NP values and their ranges.
You could most certainly achieve more highly variable NP values while not on a training plan.
I didn’t mean that this tight NP spread and wider AP spread was a guaranteed result of lack of training plan adherence. Just a human psychology quirk that tends to occur for some folks.
It just takes some level of intentionality to have more widely spread NP values from ride to ride, for some people, myself and my wife included. If left to my own devices, while training 3-4d/wk outdoors, I’ll have pretty tightly bunched NP values out of personal preference (and no attention paid to power numbers while riding), This happens just because there is a tight range where I feel like I got a good workout, but not killed myself… which is where my brain tends to self-select on most days. How I might achieve that could be widely variable from sprints-and-soft-pedaling, to steady riding on flats, to climbing up and down a local hill.