In a couple of the recent podcasts the guys have commented that it is better to operate at a lower % of a higher ftp than the other way around.
I was only half listening so may have missed the key point, but this has got me thinking, if you were sensible with progression, rest and recovery etc. Why do you need to follow base, build, specialty? Would it not be more efficient to just find 1 workout that gives you the most growth in FTP per hour and then continually repeat?
I guess what I’m asking is, does specificity actually matter if the goal is just as big an FTP as possible and then picking an appropriate % for the event?
The reason that following a Base, Build, Specialty progression is recommended is because this is the best way to gain overall fitness and get the most benefit out of your training. If you chose one workout, you would be really good at that one workout (and whatever zones/intervals it consists of) but you would be lacking fitness in other aspects of cycling.
Think of this as building a house. The base phase could be the foundation of the house. If you don’t have a strong foundation on a house, the building on top of it will crumble. The build phase is the overall structure of the house. Without base, this structure could be the best build structure but if it’s sitting on a weak foundation, it will fail. Specialty phase is the detail on the house, the trim, the paint color, etc. Specialty is really to pinpoint your fitness so that you can show up to your A event in peak fitness.
If you don’t have an A race or event planned, a specialty phase is a great way to work on a weakness you have.
Not to mention that doing the same workout, or even similar workouts, over and over and over again would lead most people to lose motivation pretty quickly, especially when they inevitably stop seeing FTP improvements.
The body responds to stimulus, then adapts to that stimulus. Doing the same thing over and over again will lead to some gains, especially large gains for the untrained, but your body eventually adapts to it and you’re forced to change the stimulus. Hence, a boat load of aerobic/sweet spot work early can lead to fitness gains for a while, then you plateau… then you add in higher end VO2 max and push higher… etc. Allowing for adequate recovery after these cycles and you can continue to see gains over the long term.