Best Way to Raise FTP, Pro Nutrition, Strava Segments and More – Ask a Cycling Coach 296

If you play the bingo/drinking game, it’s gonna be an easy/rough one for ya! :joy:

Special guest Keegan Swenson joins us to check in on his 370 for 30 challenge with Nate and discuss what’s new with his program for 2021.

We’ll also talk about what type of training best raises FTP for him and dig into the science behind it, what pro athletes eat on and off the bike, the world’s most aspirational Strava segments and much more in Episode 296 of the Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast.

Tune in live on YouTube, Thursday at 8:00am Pacific, or catch the archive on your favorite podcast app!

YouTube Video:

Topics Covered in This Episode

  • Intro 0:11
  • Nate and Keegan’s 370 for 30 challenge 10:22
  • Is Sofia getting too fast for Nate at Cape Epic? 17:10
  • Avoiding hand and arm fatigue while descending 19:55
  • What raises FTP better: threshold or suprathreshold? 52:35
  • How to avoid GI Distress during running 1:16:05
  • Favorite ride food options of Keegan Swenson 1:42:52
  • What are the best Strava segments in the world? 1:53:04
  • Does “road feel” even matter with trainers anymore? 1:57:44
  • The hosts’ go-to grocery shopping lists 1:58:46
  • The hosts’ favorite cycling glasses 2:03:22
  • What to do if dogs are chasing you on your bike 2:07:19

Resources and Studies Mentioned in This Episode

  1. Software Engineer Job Posting

  2. Successful Athletes Podcast

  3. Keegan’s 370w for 30min Ride File

  4. Fat Gripz for strength training

  5. Rogue Axle / Stubby Axle

  6. Rogue Wrist Roller

  7. Wolf Tooth Fat Paws

  8. Blog Post: What Is Lactate Threshold and How To Train It

  9. Carbohydrate intake during exercise and performance

  10. Fructose–Glucose Composite Carbohydrates and Endurance Performance: Critical Review and Future Perspectives

  11. Carbohydrate feeding during exercise

  12. CHO Oxidation from a CHO Gel Compared with a Drink during Exercise

  13. A Step Towards Personalized Sports Nutrition: Carbohydrate Intake During Exercise

  14. Comparable Exogenous Carbohydrate Oxidation from Lactose or Sucrose during Exercise

  15. Addition of sodium alginate and pectin to a carbohydrate-electrolyte solution does not influence substrate oxidation, gastrointestinal comfort, or cycling performance

  16. Addition of an Alginate Hydrogel to a Carbohydrate Beverage Enhances Gastric Emptying

  17. A Hydrogel Drink With High Fructose Content Generates Higher Exogenous Carbohydrate Oxidation and a Reduced Drop in Dental Biofilm pH Compared to Two Other, Commercially Available, Carbohydrate Sports Drinks

  18. Carbohydrate Hydrogel Products Do Not Improve Performance or Gastrointestinal Distress During Moderate-Intensity Endurance Exercise

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11 posts were merged into an existing topic: Chased by a dog or other life threatening beasts & critters :wink:

I would love it if they at some point discuss, not the ideal training breakfast, but the ideal race breakfast on a day where the race starts early in the morning.

High Cascades 100 starts at 5:30 AM, Dirty Kanza starts at 6:40 AM, i’m sure there are others. What to do if you really need to fuel but maybe don’t want to set an alarm for 3:30 in order to do it


Calling @mcneese.chad to split this off.

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I will bookmark this and creat the split when I get on a PC tomorrow. :smiley:


OK, got it set.

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Regarding lactose, this is a common raw ingredient in beer brewing, go to your local home brew shop if you want to purchase it in powder form.


Regarding grip strength: Jonathan mentioned how arm pump differs from grip strength which was super important. If your forearms are rock hard and filled with blood, listen to AJ Catanzaro on youtube talking about arm pump. Just thought I’d throw in a reference as arm pump is a tricky thing. If Trainer Road could be the first to find a way to eliminate arm pump 100 percent without surgery, there is a few motocross racers out there i know that would pay ALOT to get that information. 90 percent of talented motocross racers that don’t make it, didn’t make it because of arm pump. LOL

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Arm pump on the MTB is pretty tame compared to climbing. Swap out your pull-up bar for these:


Soooo…when TR asks KS if he does polarized training…and he responds with (paraphrasing): “No, I spend a lot of time at 70-80% FTP/the line right between Z2 and Z3…then throw in some hard stuff…” – and then TR gloats about pro cyclists not doing polarized training…

And then KG disses other pros for wasting their time doing 7hr long rides…sorry, Bernal…you’re never going to win a gravel race.

I haven’t tuned into the podcast for a long time, doubt I’ll be back.

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Well that would be quite childish. But you’re entitled to that approach.

P. S., I think you missed a couple of threads where you could gloat about your positive experience with Z2, may want to double check you got them all.

P.P.S. I also think nate was quite clear that some pros do do POL, and that it works for them.


This is what I came for!

But KS also said his rides are 4 hours long. So my next question is, what if I only have 1.5 hours? What is the best utilization of that time? Can a 40 year old office worker with two kids (me) really hope to replicate a professional bike rider’s training plan? I’m no vegan cyclist.

I just started a POL block because I’ve been doing SS for a year. Like Coach Chad said, you gotta switch it up. However, my “low slow” rides are ~80% FTP and only like 2 hours long. I’m sacrificing a little sleep to fit that in. So whether or not this works is still up in the air (so far I’m able to hit the hard days a little harder, but I’m not that far in).

In the end, something tells me KS’s physiology, and Kate Courtney’s physiology are most certainly not my physiology. I just take notes on my progress and see what works.

[edit] Kind of relevant: Nate also asked Chad to repeat “there is no one solution”. It really doesn’t matter what KS does (no offense). It matters whether I see results with what I do.


Keegan doesn’t train polarized. His Strava is open and has power on it. It’s a classic pyramidal distribution


Across what time frame?

He says he doesn’t train “polarized” yet in the same breath says he spends lots of time on the border of Z2-Z3/70-80% FTP w/hard efforts thrown in…sounds very POL (even if the season does result in PYR). Maybe the panel was confused about POL zonage. Or maybe they were purposely disingenuous in order to promote their own product, which is fair, but I can watch GCN for promoted yet more entertaining content.

How a national MTB champ trains isn’t descriptive of how WT roadie pros train (e.g. Mike ‘Palmarès’ Woods: “During these months [November and December], Woods says he usually rides between 20 and 33 hours per week.”). Would be interesting to hear KG’s defence on “pros wasting their time doing long 7hr rides”.

(It was also astounding to hear the non-logical argument that you miss out on precious recovery time if you ride longer and easier vs shorter and harder. Garbage. No wonder the forum is packed fulled of so many question-based topics.)

In the end, as has been stated, it doesn’t matter what KG or TR promote to be the “best way to raise FTP”, because there is no “best way”:

Many reasons why I dropped the TR plans, and now the podcast.



“Hard” is not a very specific adjective. I don’t really care about how he describes how he rides when I can just look at his power files and see what the distribution looks like. It’s not polarized in the Seiler sense and is very obvious upon inspection.

I also do lots of Z2, have done a VO2 block, and have done minimal threshold work so far this season and this is what the distribution looks like. I don’t train as much as Keegan, but I’m towards the higher amount of volume.

I have a pretty good BS meter and I don’t know where you are getting this sense from.

You seem to be frustrated with some aspect of the podcast and I think it would be more clear if you stated your actual criticism rather than assuming some sort of malfeasance of intention.


And drop the forum by any chance? :wink:


bye felicia


Moderator Note:

  • Let’s keep comments on topic, productive and within the forum guidelines, please.

There was some good talk about the different forms of carbs here, even the use of lactose. I am curious about how does cluster dextrin fit into the mix? I know that scratchs super fuel, and Nick Bares G1M sport both use cluster dextrin as a long chain carb source. How does it act?is it simply another form of glucose?