Quick background: I’m a NorCal Cat 3 road racer who’s consistently in the top 10 (but not quite top 5). I was a competitive runner and mtb racer prior to being a roadie.
Issue: I’m new to TR and just got started. I didn’t start SSB MV1 until today. However, I took a ramp test three days prior to officially starting (out of curiosity) and had a w/kg result of 4.02, with FTP of 241. When I took the first ramp test it was early in the morning and I hadn’t eaten anything. Today, I took the first official ramp test of SSB MV1 after work and was quite full of food/energy. My w/kg for this ramp test was 4.28, with FTP of 256. I made sure to calibrate my Quarq Dzero power meter before the test. I noticed that by the last minute I was holding significantly lower than the required watts but still held on as hard as I could.
Question: Does food/energy make THAT big of a difference or did I mess up the result by holding low-ish watts for the last minute? Also, if I go with the higher FTP, is there a risk of over training? And if I go with the lower FTP, is there a risk of under training? It’s a 15 watt difference in FTP’s but I figure that could totally skew my training zones.
To be completely honest, 4.02 sounds pretty consistent with where I think I am (top-ish tier of Cat 3), especially in December. 4.28 would be amazing but I’m not confident that that is where I am.
Any insight would be super helpful for this TR newbie.
Thank you in advance!
The ramp test takes the highest power put out for a minute, so you can’t mess it up by carrying on, even if you can’t make demand power anymore.
I think food/energy can have an effect, and I also think there is a learning curve to the ramp test. And, depending on the ftp guess you put in before you very first ramp test, the first test might be longer or shorter than ideal, which might skew the results.
Two things typically happen wih the ramp test ftp - some people test high (likely because of good vo2max capabilities), and then struggle with the longer sweetspot efforts. And some people test low, and then can’t do the vo2max workouts. If either of them consistantely happens, adjust your ftp. (Give it at least 3-4 weeks though, because SSB1 starts of pretty easy).
I’d take the higher FTP and carry on, and if you really struggle to get through the workouts, knock it down a few W. That ‘FTP’ is only meant to scale the workouts to something that is challanging but doable, so don’t get too hung up about the absolute number.
Use the FTP from when you would normally be working out, morning versus after work. Adjust your FTP going forward if your RPE doesn’t match the workout text or what you’d expect for that type of intensity (ie: over/unders aren’t hard).
Nope. Ramp test results are based on your actual performance, not expected performance.
I think I officially decided last night I’ll never do a ramp test again. Consistently garbage results for me. I’m more of a sustained power guy. My body doesn’t seem to understand gradually increasing intensity one minute at a time.
Super, super helpful. I ended up reading the FAQ’s of the ramp test after posting this and read the same thing re: the best one-minute power.
And yes, I think even taking the ramp test the second time was an advantage as I was able to make some adjustments and have a carrot out in front in terms of my old point of failure.
I’ll move forward with my 256 test result and make adjustments if I totally can’t keep up.
Thank you so much.
It’s weird because Tues-Thurs I workout after work on a full stomach. But Sat and Sun I workout on an empty stomach.
Any insight on adjusting for this? Thanks again!
Strange… Maybe give it a few weeks? Might just take your body time to learn how to increase watts each minute? Seems like it would yield useful data regardless of your power profile.
Yeah i don’t know. I was underwhelmed last year too. Although i did 90% of disaster day Saturday, maybe still fatigued Tuesday…
I asked a similar question recently, ‘how hard should the workouts be, because i feel the workouts are too easy’. Mostly the answers were that I should trust the ramp test.
I’m glad I didn’t take that advice, I bumped it up and can sustain my original ramp test FTP as what I’d consider a tempo pace. The ramp test gave me 235w ftp, I bumped it up to 250w to make the SSB workouts at least challenging and on SSB med volume sweet spot workouts I’ve also gone 250w + 5-10% on a bunch of workouts to make them feel worth it. Over/Unders work for me at 250w, it near kills me, that seems right.
Not to take anything away from TR, but I don’t trust the forum advice. Our cycling history is too individual to rely on a ramp test then a guessed plan to train, then advice from strangers with no information about us. If I’d listened to the forum then done SSB1 at 235w I’d be going backwards right now.
So your advice is to not listen to the advice given on the forum?
That’s terrible advice from me… Thereby proving myself correct?
No, definitely not the case. The forum is an amazing resource, it’s just a point worth making not to take everything you see as a certain fact.
Everyone’s free to do whatever they want but this approach is more likely to deliver suboptimal results and overtraining.
More likely, but not definitely, so you may be fine doing that.