Hi everyone, please excuse the long post!
I’m looking for some advice on how to improve my power on the bike. In terms of background, I am a 50yo male long term (beta) user of TR. When I started my FTP was around 220w and over the last 3 or 4 years it has yoyo’d from 220 to 255 and is now sitting at 238w. I’ve been mostly training indoors the last 18 months although last year I did a few long outdoor rides including the Ride London which I finished in a shade over 5hrs. I felt awful on that ride and tired/underprepared. I lost a close family member last year who was sick for most of the year before so I guess that for the last 2 years my training has been a bit disjointed and not very consistent. My training tends to follow the Triathlon plans as I love running but due to a shoulder injury I don’t do the swims. I guess I average around 350 – 450 TSS a week, with perhaps 150TSS coming from running.
This year I am heading to the Alps on a week cycling trip and want to go strong and ready for the climbs. I did the Dolomites in 2017 on a compact with 11/28T and managed everything although there may have been a few moments of deep inner reflection and some silent tears on the Mortirolo and Zoncolan. I want to be able to ride confidently in the Alps this year.
I weigh 72.5Kg and so have a w/kg of around 3.3w/kg. My all-time high was 3.5w/kg. Ideally I guess I’d like to crack 4w/kg and have been inspired a great deal by another thread on here with guys my age and older crossing the 4w/kg line. I think I can get my weight down another 1 – 2 kgs by July. Target FTP then would be around 280w.
I can understand why my FTP seems to have stagnated given my training inconsistency, but I also feel that because I have been doing a lot of base (and more long course triathlon training plans) I’ve not had the upper end ‘oomph’ to push my FTP up during ramp tests. My FTP over the last 6 months has hovered around the late 230’s (236, 238 etc). That’s a long time with no improvement. Given I started years ago on 220 I don’t consider 238 to be anywhere near my max FTP.
I’m about to finish Half Ironman Mid Vol Base (I like the longer weekend bike sessions and runs) but I appreciate I will need to focus more on the riding from now to be fit for the mountains.
My plan (or at least my sketch of a plan) is to switch to Rolling Road Race and Climbing Road Race plans during the remaining 20 or so weeks until the big event. I don’t want to lose my running fitness so I’ll find some time to do 1 speed session (40 mins) and one endurance session (60 mins) a week.
So (thanks for sticking with this so far!), my questions are:
I feel my reported FTP is low as my endurance now feels much stronger compared to last year but my top end has definitely dropped which would have an affect on a ramp test. Should I raise the FTP by for example 5w to 10w to get the right systems working?
With 22 weeks to go, should I go build/base/build/speciality – all road bike focused – and go with my plan of throwing in runs to keep those ticking over (or should I stick with Mid Vol Half distance Ironman plans and add rides and remove runs for example)?
I don’t weight train. Should I? I’ve heard people say that once you’ve conditioned your muscles, the only way to get more improvement is more muscle (makes sense) so if I should weight train am I looking at a 5x5 approach to build strength or something more cycling specific?
Has anyone else experienced this plateau in their training before (an almost permanent sticking of FTP to a similar number) and how did you break the cycle (no pun intended)?
I’ve no kids and a wife who’s almost more addicted to cycling than me so I have the time and flexibility to try different things if anything weird and wonderful is suggested. I appreciate there’s a lot here and so any nuggets you might have would be gratefully received. I’m tinkering with WKO5 at the moment so any advice also on things to track within the software (or any other software that may be useful) again would be welcome.
TR is a great training tool, and the staff and community are top-drawer. Thanks in advance for any advice.