Disconnect between 1 hr and 5 min power

I’ve been on TR for 4 years and really like it but that said the plans have never really worked for me. I have a huge gap between my 1 hr and 5 min and even more so 30 sec power. I’ve worked w/ 2 coaches for feedback and slight modifications w/out success.
Question; do I focus on my fatigue resistance for 60 min, or stick with trying to push up my ftp w/ VO2 work? For 1-2 hr rolling road races
Can anyone recommend a coach that will work w/ TR?

Its not clear from your post, so I’ll assume you have a relatively lower FTP compared to your 5 minute power.

I am in the same boat (245 FTP / 350 5 min / 760 30sec) and have been spending a lot of time recently thinking about it. I have pretty much always been this way… for me, it makes sense because my riding tends to focus on shorter power (short hills locally, strava segments, etc). It takes a lot more planning and focus to work on the long duration power.

My plan for this year is to actually make it through SSB and sustained power build plans and then focus on TT’s. I keep wondering why my FTP is low compared to my short power numbers, but I have yet to put in the time and effort to develop sustained power.

My vote is to focus on sustained power. Despite your road race goals where shorter power is needed, if FTP is your limiter you may not be around at the end of the race to show off your short power numbers

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I have similar #s and feel there are a lot of us out there but surprised there is not more discussion on it. My experience has been I can raise my time to exhaustion, sustained power, not my ftp at the same time
Kind of wondering like you suggest if focusing on SsP might w/ more patience or commitment raise ftp?

Percentage-wise, what would you want your 60-minute power to be compared to your 5-minute power, and what’s your reasoning for that goal?

Great question, hadn’t thought of it that way, perhaps 80%??
Would like to know what a coach would think is a good goal??

I think it depends on your goals. As a percentage, what are you at now? (best 60m/best 5m) If you focus on top-end power, that number gets lower. I would say a time-trialist would have a high percentage, a breakaway rider lower. Either way, I wouldn’t use it as a metric, or even worry about it at all. Instead, I would look simply at a yes/no question: are you accomplishing your goals in the races you do? If yes, no problem. If no, is your power curve the problem? I was actually just talking about this with @TheCyclissimo. A very brief survey of a few cat1/2 road racers within text message range revealed 60/5 minute ratios of 65-72%. Neither of those riders get dropped often.

Look closely at where you struggle in a race. Is it long, hard efforts? FTP work may help. Is it short punchy ones? That top-end may need to go higher. Of course, it’s hard to go wrong with just building base aerobic power. But personally I don’t think the numbers are too worth worrying about.


Interesting, I find these pro%s less than I would have thought.
It makes me wonder if us self coached and even coaches have this wrong
Can you increase your 1 hr power by pushing up an ftp determined by a ramp test?
Or, should we be working to close this gap between these 2 metrics? I’m doubtful you can grow your ftp with working your 1 hr power?

my 5mins power is 82% of my 60min power and 85% of my ftp

How are you measuring FTP? To get an accurate comparison of VO2 power vs FTP, you can’t use a ramp test for FTP as that estimates FTP from a test that more closely measures your VO2 power. So it’s circular. You need to do different tests that are designed to specifically measure that aspect of your performance.

5 min power is a good approximation for VO2 power.

And a longer test to measure FTP is better (what you’d ideally measure is MLSS power) - at least the 20 minutes minus 5% protocol, but ideally longer like a true 60 min test.

So let’s say you’ve got good numbers for 5 min and 60 min power (aka VO2 max and FTP).

With your numbers, I’d propose you skew fast twitch muscle fibers. Good short power, but relatively lower time to exhaustion / sustained power due to lactate generation and accumulation, and fast twitch fibers getting fatigued sooner than slow twitch. In the words of Sebastian Weber, you have a high VLaMax (you create a lot of lactate).

Have you tried long low cadence intervals intervals at high tempo/low sweet spot? This “converts” fast twitch muscles to perform more like slow twitch, and increases their fatigue resistance. The intervals need to be long, hence the recommendation for lower intensity (vs typical TR sweet spot intervals).

Here’s a great podcast on this topic.

Also, search for the term VLaMax if you want to learn more on this.


Thanks for the info I’ll definitely take a look!

My FTP from a ramp is is 260, but I usually knock it down to something I know I can sustain for 40+ minutes. I agree that it biases up for me due to a strong anaerobic contribution. This is based on intervals, Zwift racing, full gas efforts up Alpe du Zwift, etc.

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Thanks, great input I’ll definitely try and more specifically what I am getting at and trying to figure out

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Is this your true best 60m power, or your FTP estimated through a testing protocol?

The numbers @jeremy is referencing from our chat are true PR numbers, not numbers extrapolated out from tests.

To elaborate a bit further on the numbers, in my personal riding and racing, I’ve never gone out and pinned it at 100% for an hour, so the number probably has some flex there, but to give you more data points, my best 60m power is ~94% of my FTP.

The truth is, as @jeremy stated above, the numbers are rarely ever relevant. When referencing a Coggan chart, or through TrainingPeaks, I’m usually put in the “mediocre/not so great Cat 3” grouping. However, I am a Cat 2, and have no problem going out and smashing it in the high level races.

Really? Just so I’m understanding your math, you’re saying that with your sample group, using a 300w FTP as an example, the range of 5min. power is from a high of 461w (.65%) to a low of 428w (.72). That range is extremely high based on my experience - assuming the 300w FTP is held constant.

Yep my true 60mins is 82% of my 5min
There is very little difference between my 60min and my ftp

Small sample size, but yes - really. I asked the riders to take their best 60m powers and 5m powers from last year and give me the ratio. That’s what I got.

The point I’m trying to make, especially to @agboett, is that this is a pointless metric. We might say that percentage seems low - compared to what? Where is a benchmark set for this? I don’t think coaches are thinking about this wrong because I don’t think coaches are thinking about this. To improve real-world performance, you have to look at the problems you face there, and what the causes are. Random metrics can only distract you from that.

I’ll throw another data point out there for the people who think that being over 80% in our favorite useless metric is a goal: I’m at 83%. If you ask anyone who rides with me regularly (hey @TheCyclissimo) they would tell you I have a woefully under-developed top end on my power curve.

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Yeah - in concept, what determines FTP is pretty simple. VO2max power, and % of that you can hold for, say, 60 minutes - or more specifically, MLSS power as a % of VO2max power (also known as fractional utilization).

So you can either increase VO2max power. Or increase fractional utilization.

If you have a profile like @harrington, I’d propose the same response - you should work on increasing fractional utilization. If you skew fast twitch, this means reducing VLaMax and increasing fatigue resistance by low cadence tempo intervals. Curious - have you ever done these?

The podcast I linked to above is great. Worth a listen.

Certainly some coaches are. A big part of Sagan’s training has been to reach the right balance between VO2max and VLaMax. He needs to be a good sprinter (high VLaMax) but not have too high a VLaMax so he has the endurance to get to the sprint after 5 hours of riding. While also getting VO2max as high as possible…

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I think a lot of us will have to accept that the ramp test or the 20 min ftp test is not a great indicator for our 1 hour power. Over the years I’ve seen my 20 min power as high as 285 watts but my maximum 1 hour has never been above 240 (actually tested on a 1 hour non stop climb)

We’re just more VO2max leaning and our sustained power isn’t great. We can work on it and improve it but 5min power will always be more of a strength. So why not use that to our strength instead of seeing it as a weakness?


I agree that it’s a pointless metric in and of itself. I guess I was just surprised to see those ratios. Having the ability to do 450w for 5min. with only a 300ftp just stuck out for me - I am by no means disputing the numbers, but was merely checking we were doing the same math!

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It has been a real Chicken or Egg for me. Driving up my ftp (based on a 20 min test) has not increased my 1 hr power; can I call this my MLSS?
I’ ve gotten it up to 3.6 w/kg whereas now at 3.1 w/kg I’d say my 1 hr power is better.
The million$ question remains, will your 1 hour power come up with 5 min? Or do you tackle the 1 hr power for 6 weeks and then the 5 min for 6 weeks and try to bring the 2 together? Or work simultaneously?
Thanks for the feedback of lower cadence, higher torque, longer efforts, I’ll try this