Come to my pity party

Literally just posting because I feel sorry for myself. I had a massive drop in fitness in October (-60 w) for reasons I don’t fully understand. I’ve been training very consistently since then, decided not to stress and to just keep at it, and yes the watts have moved upwards. Now I just checked what I was doing this time last year and I’m still 20 watts below what I did last year after just 6 weeks of using Trainerroad. That makes me very sad. :cry: :cry: I have honestly no idea why I made apparently effortless gains last year as a complete newbie, but not now. And yes, I’m measuring power using the same equipment. How depressing.


it’s a bummer but have you taken time off? Could be due to too much (or not enough) time off. Watts come and go, but keep at it and you will be back where you are, provided you take time to work, recover, and repeat.


What plans are you following now and what were you doing then? Have you added non-biking training stress such as lifting, swimming, running, etc? Has life stress increased?

For me, while I was able to complete (struggle) through MV build, I wasn’t getting enough rest and recovery. I’ve switched to the POL Base plan and found that doing two hard workouts (threshold or above) per week and one long endurance ride gives me the right amount of training stress that I can still recover from. The MV build plans have three hard workouts and one sweet spot. So, for me, doing fewer hard workouts each week led to increased fitness.


I took October off after several months of rowing races and a 650 km Audax but that break apparently killed my watts. Since then just the usual rest week every fourth week.

I’m on the century road race plan now and I think it was the same one last year. I just started lifting weights twice a week three weeks ago, actually to see if that will improve things. Life stress seems the same. I’ve actually never done the full TR week because I’ve always replaced the weekend ss workout with a long club ride.

One thing I’ve pondered is the fact that over the winter all club rides have really slowed down, so I always end up doing 100 km at z1/z2, but as per polarised philosophy I don’t think that’s necessarily bad. I think I maybe got a boost from a couple of 200 km rides quite early in the year, so I guess I should do that again soon. Apart from that I really have no idea.

If you just finished a race season and are going back into the base season your watts are likely going to drop. If I take a month off at the end of a season I have dropped like 40ish watts before but you get it all back before the end of base in my experience. I think the less cycling training you have, historically, the less resilient your body is against the drop.

In my opinion, I wouldn’t freak out about it and just keep doing what you have been doing if it aligns with what you did successfully last year. I have no idea what your FTP is or anything but you may require a higher/lower training stimulus but unfortunately, it might take a few weeks to manifest itself.

You could also be recovering from the hole you dug through racing and that long event. How are you feeling? Are you motivated to train? If you don’t have any target events in the near future it may be beneficial to just take a couple weeks of zone 1/2 rides to get your feet back on the ground before digging right into another training plan

Find a way of falling back in love with the joy of riding a bike. Forgetting the numbers and just riding is sometimes the best medicine :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


Something to consider.
I took 2 weeks completely off in feb for an offseason. I am 4 weeks back to training. I believe I will be back to similar fitness in 2-4 more weeks. So 2 weeks off has taken me about 6-8 weeks to get back to fitness. I consider this normal.
I ride about 8-9 hours per week consistently.


Taking October off probably didn’t help!

Is this all on exactly the same equipment and testing protocol?

I struggled when I switched over from a Tacx Vortex to a real power meter. My FTP dropped 40 watts! The Vortex is a piece of crap when it comes to power measurement.

There’s your answer but in the longer term you’ll be stronger. I had an enforced 5week break in 2019 and I was quite a bit weaker in the months after but in the longer term 2020 was probably my peak power. I actually bettered it 2021 (PB wise) but I think that was technique rather power as there was more events to improve technique on.

Newbie gainz is a real thing. Thats part of it. Your progression is going to be fast at the beginning and slow down over time. There’s no getting around that and you’re not going to have linear or super-linear progression forever.

And taking an entire month off doesn’t help. I thought Jesse Coyle had a good video on how to do ‘maintenance’ periods when life intervenes. Not a lot of work to maintain what you’ve built over the previous months.


Well that explains my drop in fitness (even though I thought it was quite extreme) but doesn’t really explain why it’s still not back up 5 months later. That’s the bit that depresses me. I mean, I had only a 3 watt increase over the last five weeks, so it doesn’t even feel like there’s an upward trajectory now.

Yep. Same, sadly

[quote=“rolaand, post:6, topic:70786, full:true”]
If you just finished a race season and are going back into the base season your watts are likely going to drop. [/quote]
Yes I guess that makes sense. My most recent FTP is 210 and I was really hoping to get to at least 230. I’m training for a 100 m Gran Fondo in June where I want to not be terrible compared to the other middle-aged ladies. I am feeling pretty motivated to train generally and not really tired. I guess (hope) 20 watts over three months could be doable.

Progress is not linear. I know you’re bummed that your FTP is still 20 waits lower, but if you keep progressing and it is 240 by next October, then on a year over year basis, you would have improved.

Also, I would not put too much stock in just your FTP number. I think we all have a tendency to look at that number and tie our self-worth as a cyclist to the number, especially when there are other metrics that are of equal or more importance. For instance, is your time to exhaustion improving? Can you hit higher numbers on a 5 minute effort? Can you ride longer?

Lastly, I know you said you are doing the century plan-what volume level are you doing, and how old are you?

Over the last 6 years since getting into road cycling I’ve routinely seen massive 60W fitness drops when taking a month off. Optimizing training is still more art than science, don’t get sucked into marketing slogans. For many, after the newbie gains it is about finding the right balance of aerobic endurance and intensity to consistently push up volume/load. Club rides without constant pressure on the pedals aren’t the greatest for working on aerobic endurance. Polarized is yet another slogan, not some universal truth.

Figure out what makes you happy, keeps you putting pressure on the pedals, consistently and slowly pushing up volume/load over a season, and focus on that. Whatever that is.

Find your happy place and be patient.


Same thing happened to me last October too (didn’t use TR or any structured plan at that time) and I still do not have a clue what happened. Had an eftp on of 242 but that was not even from maximal efforts. I’m finally sort of back at my old level maybe even better though (better on the endurance side not quite in sprints) since following a plan starting mid November.

My best theory so far is that as it got colder and darker outside I started riding less and just didn’t go deep enough to maintain peak fitness (covid which I caught end of October didn’t quite help either but most of the fitness loss happened before that)

edit: analyzing my data the exact same thing happened the year before


we are not alone, average power is down by 16% in winter!!!

How about your diet and resting? Are you on top of those? Are your fueling your workouts, getting adequate protein, sleeping well? Did you make any changes to those in the past year?

It takes time sometimes, we are not always perfect machines, in the longer term you’ll be back up and flying again. Thats at what I was hinting at in my enforced break, it took me a long time to bounce back but in the longer term I was stronger. Power is just one measure though as hinted at by my 2nd year, power was down again but results were better. One thing I did that season was to set my FTP to one level and not bother about it going up, just consistently trained. Keep at it be consistent and it’ll come back👍

So you took a month off, maybe several months (where you riding the months you did all the rowing) and then did months of the lowest intensity, most endurance focused option. That is likely to build durable long term endurance, but unlikely to move your FTP very much very quickly.

That said, if you make your account public and share a link to your profile here the mad scientists here can probably tell you exactly what you have done poorly and how to see the results you want. I have done so in the past, did what folks suggested and saw changes in the results. Be warned, they will make observations you may not want to hear.

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