@wapes Here’s how I think about FTP and testing:
FTP … are we talking about the same thing?
I see a lot of confusion in the forum about what FTP actually is. A lot of people believe that “the power I can hold for an hour and every other test is trying to approximate that”. Handily Coach Chad has a good explanation in episode 187 of the podcast at 9:40 that makes clear that FTP is the power output at the physiological point where lactate starts to accumulate. For some people that might translate to their “hour power”, but for most that’s unlikely.
Now that we know that FTP is a physiological marker, it becomes clearer that all testing protocols other than blood lactate testing are trying to approximate your point of MLSS. Ramp Test, 8 min, 20 min, 1 hour, … all trying to approximate that point.
I’m not sure I understand your point about the 1 hour test not suiting your riding style? Are you suggesting that you don’t typically ride for long duration at steady-state so a 1 hour test wouldn’t be appropriate? Maybe explain more about your concerns are about riding style and testing protocol.
You mention that you get difference results from different training protocols. I’m not surprised by that, but you don’t mention how much of a difference you’re seeing. If the spread is 10 watts or less, I wouldn’t worry about it. If it’s very wide, then I’d want to more about how you tested. Were they all on the indoor trainer close together (within the same week)? If you didn’t standardize the tests (a mix of indoor and outdoor testing, using different power meters, different times of the day, fueled differently, etc) I don’t think you can trust them too much.
What I use FTP for
The only thing I use it for is to ensure that I’m roughly training in the right zones based on the intention of the workouts I’m doing. If your FTP is set 50 watts too low for example, you won’t be training in the right zone for a VO2Max workout for example. As long as I feel confident I’m in the right zone, I’m good. This of course offers some acceptable variance since the training zones are reasonably wide. If you could know 100% your true FTP for that day, a 5 watt variance isn’t going to screw up your training.
I can’t see your ride history to get a sense for how much you ride and how often you test. In my experience, the more frequently and consistently you ride in a standardized environment, the easier it is to judge your FTP based on RPE. I ride in my garage on the trainer at least 5 times per week. The trainer and the TR workouts act as a constant to judge workout difficulty based on RPE. If you only did a handful of TR workouts in a month I think it would be almost impossible to judge effectively the relative RPE of similar workouts. I know what a 90 min sweet spot workout generally feels like, so if a couple of similar workouts in a row feel easy I start to think that my FTP likely needs to increase and I should be expecting a bump in the next Ramp Test.
A single workout to test them all
Your question about a particular TR workout (like Lamarck) to validate your FTP, in my opinion, is probably the wrong way to think about it. A single workout on a single day only tells give you information at a point in time. I think this type of approach is more useful for invalidating your FTP, rather than validating it.
Let’s say you have an FTP, but you’re not sure that it’s right and you ride Lamarck to test it. If you have a total fail on the workout half way through, or you complete it really easily then I think this tells you your FTP is not set correctly. If however you complete it, and it’s really challenging, but doable; what does that tell you? Your FTP might be set about right is one option, but could you have also completed it with an extra 10 watts? Could you complete Shortoff +4 at the same FTP? We’re not sure. What it would tell me is that the FTP is likely in the right area, keep it there and continue to assess.
If you haven’t committed to structured training, ride inconsistently or in a variety of very different conditions, then I don’t think any of this really matters. FTP is really only relevant for anchoring the zones of structured training. If you don’t have consistent, structured training in place, then really dialing in your FTP testing is kind of pointless. Don’t stress about it, just do the Ramp Test since it doesn’t require any pacing skills and do your workouts. It’s going to be close enough for this type of rider.
If however, you have committed to structured training and consistently apply yourself to quality workouts, then the training itself over time will validate the accuracy of your FTP. You’ll just know if it’s right or not based on your experience and continual validation in a comparable environment.