Big mis-match in Power and Heart Rate (HR) - How to proceed?

After a long winter on the turbo and making some FTP gains, I have started to ride outside with the warmer weather. After a week off for a skiing holiday and 2 weeks of illness, I started easy with a couple of endurance rides with the focus on riding power Z2. with an FTP of 280W just before the break, my endurance zone is 150-210ish which i expect to have a heart rate of 125-140bpm. I knew I would have lost some fitness, but to maintain a lower heart rate, I had to ride 50/50 between power Z1 and Z2. I ended with a NP of 146W, which I expected to be more like 170-180W.

So, should I continue to do these easy aerobic rides according to power or keep a focus on trying to keep my HR down to? I know I have lost some fitness, and will need to retest soon, but I can’t have gone backwards that much in such a short period of time.

Sounds normal. 2-3wks off, especially the 2wks of sickness is more than enough to decondition. Ease back into things. Train by power and/or feel for a few weeks. You will see your HR come back down before you know it.


You don’t specify if you see using the FTP from before your break and illness or from a test taken after.

  1. If your FTP is still set at the “higher” old value, reduce it. That is not your FTP now. Maybe a 5-10% drop is appropriate for a guess.

  2. If you retested and have a current FTP (likely lower than before), take it a bit easier if you feel the efforts are still too taxing, and pace yourself back into the plan.

Cardiac drift is the term - and this is one of the key things I monitor to avoid burnout (failed two years in a row but I know what to look for now).

Given these circumstances no reason for alarm. As Chad said above you could retest and new FTP would be lower and I bet the mis-match wouldn’t be so great.

You could keep firing away and try to catch back up, but you may struggle on things like threshold.

I personally just missed 1.75 weeks and came back to this. I went for a lot of EN first to get things back in order, then threshold (4x8 min blocks, i did 1.5 of them) and then a race. By the race I was back at it.

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