Didn't get much stronger over the winter (or did I)

After working very hard all winter, I was disappointed on my first ride outside on a course I ride often. I didn’t seem any stronger (was a bit slower actually, but not much). On a second ride on that same course, I noticed something: I don’t appear to have any more power, but I may be able to apply the power I have longer/more often.

All and all, it’s still a be disappointing. I was feeling like I was overtraining most of the time. I was having an issue recovering from one workout to the next. It occurred to me just now that it might be that my FTP is just too high. If the FTP was 10% lower, I expect I’d recover faster (almost certainly, I guess the question how much). I definitely feel like I wasn’t struggling with the workouts, I’d get more out of it (more quality workouts, fewer workouts that I’m barely getting through).

Before I started using trainerroad, I was using Systm. They had my FTP 25% lower. There all the rides were easy. on Trainerroad with the much higher FTP, nothing was ever easy (most of the time it was a struggle). Really seems like one was too low, the other was too high. There must some sweet spot somewhere between them.

For the summer, I’ll just be mostly going unstructured. I realize that I might lose ground, and that’s fine. I don’t plan race or anything like that. It’s just about keeping in shape, and enjoying the outside rides when the weather is nice.

I’ll go back to structured training in the fall. If I’m struggling then, I’ll be pretty quick to lower my FTP.

25% delta between FTP is rather large, but factors like the specific test or method used to determine each FTP, as well as the time between each test are important to consider.

  • With respect to TR, what method(s) did you use to get your FTP throughout your training period?

Based on your comments related to fatigue, I’d have suggested a re-evaluation of your FTP as well as the actual plan in place.

  • Having an FTP that is notably off is a problem.
  • Having a plan that has too much volume can also be a problem.
  • And this wouldn’t be a TR plan discussion if we didn’t mention the potential for “too much intensity in a plan”, so why don’t I add that too? :stuck_out_tongue:

adaptive training or not?

Yes, I’m using adaptive training

I was using low volume, and I think too much intensity. I like to see the plan builder allow less intensity. I think I can handle some with a bit more volume and a bit less intensity.

power outside?

I’m just wondering if its about expectations. If you only have 3-4 hours/week to train structured on a TR low volume plan, my first point is that cycling performance scales with volume. And personally I need at least 5-6 hours a week to really start to move the needle. So even if I completed a full or partial base/build/specialty inside on the trainer, if its on 3-4 hours/week then its going to be limited as compared to riding around outside during the summer on 6+ hours/week. Again for me, 6+ hours outside during the summer is going to bump up fitness more than doing 3-4 hours/week inside on the trainer. But others might have a different experience.

How do you think AT worked for you, with respect to survey responses and any changes it may have applied to your plan?

Seems like AT was going higher faster than I was getting stronger, but that might be part of problem that was overtraining.

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I have had decent luck with AT & LV plan as my foundation, then added strength training and one long endurance ride per week. On the few occasions where I was feeling notable fatigue after the two hard days (Tue/Thu for me), I would choose my own Sweet Spot workout and skip whatever VO2 or Thresh session that TR had set for me on Sat. I did that maybe 25% of the time and it helped me stay productive and fresh vs taking on too much intensity.

All that comes after many years training, specifically with TR since 2016, so I have a decent feel for when I need to step away from the plan. Not something I’d expect a rider fresh to training and TR to do without some guidance, but hopefully you can take this past experience and learn what might be a better thing to try next time. The TR plans can be good guidelines, but there are a variety of reasons and times it makes perfect sense to deviate from them. The challenge is known when and how :wink:

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Which plan did you follow? Do you ride with a power meter outside?

I was doing the low volume plan with the speciality set to Cyclocross.

I do have a power meter outside, though not at the moment (Garmin Rally XC200 pedals, one of the pedals had an issue, they are being replaced. Garmin’s support was great BTW).

I’d really like to be able to custom the training plan a great deal more. I was looking at the polarized plans. They are close to what I’d like, but not quite. I’d like to do 2 intense workouts a week (the Polarized plans do that), I’d like to ride 5 days a week (no polarized plan does that). I’d like the two days that are off, to be the days after the two intense workouts.

Just add another ride of your choice (I guess Z2) to polarized mid volume and you’re good to go. :+1:

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That’s probably will be what I’ll try this fall. The summer will just be about unstructured rides outside and rides on the trainer here and there.

We can compare notes. I’m planning on doing something very similar. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I went totally custom this winter, one threshold ride and one VO2 max ride and one Z2 ride/week. Following Friel’s recommendation for VO2 Max, I have been working on steadily longer intervals at 120% of FTP. I recently scheduled a ramp test and AI gave me a 5 watt bump in FTP. Also much stronger outside on our short steep climbs. Seems to be working for this old man. I’m 67


If you don’t have the same power meter outside as last year then it’s almost impossible to compare but the feeling you have of not really having a higher FTP but are able to deliver more repeated short bursts of power is something to be expected after following short power build. If you wanted a higher FTP or be able to around FTP for longer you probably should have followed a plan which included the sustained power build.

I didn’t have a power meter at all last summer, I’m basing the fact that I don’t have more power on the fact that some climbs feel harder than they did last fall, and it’s taking me longer to ride the same coarse. It’s pretty clear.

In the beginning with TR, it was the ramp test, later, it was AI based.

in Systm, it was the full monty.

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The reason we use power meters in the first place is because it’s really difficult otherwise to measure progress on the bike, there are just too many variables that will affect time for a segment (wind, traffic, humidity, temperature etc.)

Did your FTP (tested or detected increase) and/or did your progress levels increase from the start of your program?