Demotivated by increasingly harder workouts

After the initial elation phase, having successfully completed ramp test at >400W, I saw Garmin and other devices suddenly notice my increased FTP.
'That was nice, but now I have harder workouts.
My very first workout was 10 minute intervals at approx 100% of the NEW FTP which I only completed at the lowest end of the range and I really struggled.
I didn’t even do the workout planned for next day.
With no specific event in sight, the way I see it, if my FTP ever increases again, the following workouts will be even harder.
I know this will have some detrimental effect but I’m thinking of letting go of the plan for a bit just to enjoy riding a bit more, I also have a week away coming which will wreak havoc in the plan as well.
Any tips on how to navigate this and not loose a ton of fitness in the coming couple of weeks?

You probably get an inflated number with the ramp test. There are better ways to test FTP.

See this thread: Kolie Moore's FTP test protocol

In the mean time before your next FTP test I would just do your workouts at a lower power. It is way more better to get an entire session completed at a slightly lower power than completing one interval and being too tired to do another.


This. When I do a Threshold-training, it keeps feeling like a Threshold-training for me. When I do Sweetspot-training, it keeps feeling like a Sweetspot-training. Etcetera.

How much did your FTP increase by? Also it’s not uncommon for the first week following an FTP increase to feel really hard. I’m sure the TR guys have data on workout compliance on that.

It’s possible that you overtested on the Ramp Test so try doing a binary split so: old FTP = 380W, new FTP=400W, so try 390W if that’s too easy try 395W, too hard try 385W. It’s not an exact science, just find a figure where you can complete the workouts and that you feel you are being stressed in the way that the workout notes indicate.


If you don’t care about raising your ftp anymore, then just do maintenance workouts. You won’t get stronger without putting in the work.

1 Like

a) It’s not necessarily true that the workouts get harder. If your FTP goes up, then those workouts should feel the same as they wouldn’t at a lower FTP. Most are afraid of an FTP bump and then realize they are fine as the workouts just match their new capabilities.

b) It’s totally okay to leave structure for a while. Going through sweetspot and build are mentally taxing and sounds like you need to get away to clear your head. I do that quite frequently, every few months. You should eventually get they urge to come back to structure.


While this is sort of true, people who are new to structured training can make very significant gains from base training and this can really throw your perception of difficulty, which is what I think the OP is experiencing. From OP’s post history, their FTP has gone from 275W to >300W since May, so they are seeing a high rate of improvement. I am in a similar position having just finished SSB MVI and MVII, having started essentially untrained (but having been much fitter in previous years). I gained 30W in SSB MVI and 20W after SSB MVII, so my FTP is up 50W in 2 months. With these types of gains in such a short time frame, it means that workouts that I thought were threshold workouts at the end of SSB MVI were really only sweet spot workouts. When you improve at this rate, your first threshold workout on new numbers is always going to be a shock to the system. When the gains are harder to come by, this effect obviously diminishes.

So to the OP, I wouldn’t worry - after a big bump, you will find it tough, but you won’t keep getting such big bumps forever so the shock of new numbers will decrease over time. However, you can’t hide from the fact that getting faster will require you to keep working harder than is comfortable, but that is the point of training. I’d say enjoy making big gains while it lasts and don’t be afraid to dial the numbers down a bit if you really aren’t able to complete sessions.

1 Like

This is isn’t true. The workout should get harder that’s what brings about stimulus. Workouts at your current FTP won’t feel like workouts at a lower FTP. Realistically your new capabilities won’t be felt for a bit after you’ve done some work with the new FTP. So stick with it and don’t give up now because your break you are speaking of definitely will have no structured to it and will see you fall back even more.

If you need to lower the intensities of each workout do that. If you need to drop your FTP a bit do that. Nothing wrong with either of those. Your FTP isn’t a number you’re forced to live with. It’s a snapshot in time of what your fitness looks like to set your zones. Your FTP and zones are variable so work within them.

Also if you feel after a while that your FTP is still hard to manage there is no need to keep retesting. Sometimes I stay with an FTP for awhile if I feel I haven’t quite adapted to it to keep getting stronger in that range.

1 Like

As has probably been said above, if you can’t do 10 min at 100% FTP, it ain’t your FTP and you need to do a longer test!

The Kolie protocol linked in the 2nd post is good!


Thank you everyone for comments and encouragement.
I think it was just a subjective thing - I skipped a single workout on Sunday and did vo2max yesterday (adjusted for new FTP) and it was very hard and unpleasant but I managed 41 out of 42 intervals so feels like difficulty was dialled really well.
Did a smaller recovery ride today and legs feel strong again - must have been fatigue or some mental block.
Looking ahead at the new block which is a lot of vo2max efforts looks almost exciting - it says “little time, high stress, comparable adaptation.” I guess the catch is the “high stress” part and maybe potential for injury, but I’m guessing it enables further gains that another round of sweet spot wouldn’t give again…

1 Like

VO2 max is a bar steward. No ifs, no buts, no coconuts.
If you haven’t done any in a while, even if your FTP had been constant, you would still find it super hard. Because that’s what it’s about.
The only thing that makes VO2 max easier, is more VO2 max. The mental recognition that you will survive this session, because you’re used to that kind of pain.
A point was made in the latest podcast about that if i’m not mistaken (i was listening while doing supra-threshold, so who knows what they really said…)


It looks like you have gone into a Build phase with a new FTP, so its Threshold work and VO2 max work. I always find that hard if my FTP went up by 10 to 15 watts , my Build efforts are really hard on my legs, Also my recovery suffers because of this. If you are going to race, then Threshold and VO2 efforts are required to simulate efforts of racing. If you have no races planned in the next 12 weeks. Go Back to a base plan and enjoy the Sweetspot workouts with your new FTP


Spot on. While I may never need to race for real, I feel like sticking to the plan and the phase for now.
I might be a bit naive here, but I hope for more ‘visible’ improvements from vo2max trainings and who knows - those explosive sprints followed by sustained effort might come handy in the next coffee ride :wink: