Drop in power - More volume, more rest, keep going?

Hey team and @chad hoping for some advice if you have the time!

So long story short, been using TR since end of Jan 2018 where my first ramp test gave an FTP of 219.
By Nov 2019 my FTP was at 265.

Here is TSS chart (using a power meter outside as well):

In late December 2019 I started working with a coach to work for a specific event and I used TR for a lot of the workouts he wanted me to do. When we started working together he had me complete a ramp test but with a slightly different methodology and he asked me to set my training zones based on an FTP of 255.

In the attached TSS graph you can see a big sustained jump in TSS at the end of 2019 which is where the plan with my coach really started kicking in.

At the end of March i rode the 3 day event culminating with a weekly TSS of 863 - the next week I took easy, finished working with the coach and got back on to the TR plans.

I retested using the TR ramp and recorded an FTP of 265 as part of a low volume plan using plan builder.

After the first block of base I retested and I think recorded the same or there abouts. Note that I was bumping up the TSS with regular outdoor group rides and some of them were really long.

I’ve just completed the first block of sustained build and my tested FTP is 262.
I went into the test feeling well rested, I think I had enough sleep and ate enough as well.

I’m not one to get caught up in numbers too much; I get that my endurance levels could have gone up, that my sustained power might be better but I am concerned a little bit with a slowly declining FTP and what that might be telling me.

My TSS over the last block of sustained power build has declined compared to the last ~6 months and I thought that may be why my FTP has decreased so I was planning to add in more endurance rides.

However, looking through the forum at previous posts, I’m wondering if my TSS trend might be suggesting I need a rest? In particular this thread: Is it normal for your FTP to fall even tho you continue to train?

I’m wondering if the jump in TSS at the start of the year and the relativity high workload (for me) without enough rest may be dragging my FTP down?

I would love to hear any words of advice!

My current thinking is I add some volume for the second phase of build but I’m second guessing myself.

Thanks in advance for any assistance people can help with! :slight_smile:

Looking at your TSS scores , it looks like since 1st June, you have dropped to almost a maintain level of training, so FTP will drop a small amount .You are using TR, but prior to this you were riding outdoors a few times per week, so were you doing structure rides outdoors? All in all I would go back to base Sweet spot training. Pick the Grand Fondo, General Build program. And if you can make the plan Mid Volume so it will give you 5 training sessions per week. The other thing to say is a lot of people report on this forum a drop in FTP when they do the Build phase of plans so not unusual. So the main thing is to keep to structure training. Use plan builder for your next event and let it pick your workload and FTP testing.

Thanks for your reply!

The riding I was doing outside was largely at the weekend with a small group and unstructured but with 2-3 TR sessions a week (albeit based on my coaches training plan from Jan-March).

I’ve been doing structured outdoor rides over the last 4-5 weeks that are part of the TR plan I have been following since around the end of May.

It will probably be about 12 weeks of structure to see the FTP rise more substantially. Are you doing mainly VO2 and Threshold structure just now? or Sweet Spot? the VO2 stuff gets you ready for racing, Sweet Spot builds the strength endurance to hang the VO2 stuff onto

If you use the search spy glass, And put in FTP drop after Build. There is loads of examples

FTP dropping after base - build

So with regards to structure, I’ve been following a structured training program for 18 months but with extra outdoor rides when I can.

For example, this will be my 4th cycle of base and build using TR.

Thanks for the link, I’ll take a look but I’ve read multiple threads but there are quite a few contradicting opinions - I guess this is where a paid for coach earns their money! :slight_smile:

I have followed the plans for a few years. I also stuck outdoor rides, (Solo) 3 hours -60 miles not really structured, but if i was supposed to do SS, i would ride hard for the 3 hours. I started Mid Volume , now on the HV plan for the first time. Probably a few other questions to carry on. Do you fuel okay, take any supplements? ( Caffine, beetroot juice, Beta Alanine).
The other thing, the podcast stuff says, some drop in FTP can happen, it is not the be all and end all. It just is a reflection of where you are just now. Forgot to ask what was your previous life of training. ( Example i have trained since i was 8 years of age now 56, not all cycling)

I think you’ve highlighted a really key point. The TR Team have also said that it’s absolutely NOT a reflection of your ability as a cyclist.

The Ramp Test (or any other test) should be used to enable quality, structured and consistent training. If after two weeks at your new FTP things are obviously too easy or too difficult, you can manually adjust.

Sometimes we just have to put our pride to one side and say ‘right, this is where I’m at right now. Let me see what I can do to move this forward’.

Apprentice you taking to reply, thanks!

I should point out, I listen to all the podcasts and I’m really not getting caught up with the number.

My concern is my FTP is gradually decreasing after a full block of base and 4 weeks of build; that doesn’t sound right to me and I’m trying to understand if and what corrective action should be taken.

Have you reducerade the TSS/volume in base/build due to not beeing able to complete more or just because you do not have more time (or motivation) to workout?

If the latter, sounds like you need more volume to keep up. If the former, much trickier…

265 → 262 is slightly over 1%, which is about the stated accuracy of most power meters. I wouldn’t consider it indicative of any loss in FTP. Even if the PM accuracy was 0.000001 watts, how much time in the ramp test does it take to go up those 3 watts? I suspect small enough that there are many other causes other than a FTP decrease that can explain it.

Those numbers are so close that continuing with build with either FTP is not going to have a significant difference in power targets. I have been in your place and would just pick which ever one you prefer (or flip a coin) and not agonize over the difference.

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Quick update.

I just retested today after finishing Sustained Power build with an FTP of 272 up from 262.

I took a proper recovery week (where as usually I get tempted to do a longer ride 3-4 days in) and feel this really helped coming into the test.

Just an aside but other than the VO2 max session the longer threshold days I’ve done outside, I tend to push a bit harder outdoors than inside (I think that is likely a cooling issue inside) and I think that may have helped as well - really enjoying the outdoor workouts!

Thanks to those who were able to offer advice.

Now in to century specialization!

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