Failing final round of long ftp intervals, stagnant FTP

48 yo cat 4 new to structured training (always trained on feel, got FTP to 4w/kg) finished road/cx in October, did nothing but z1/2 for a couple weeks, then my own half assed polarized training for a month, then started SSB1 late Nov, low volume so I could still do a little of my own thing in addition. Tested FTP at 304 at the beginning, about what I expected (ramp test). No problem with most of those workouts. Decided to be more structured so scheduled SSBIIMV. Tested at 295??? So I split the difference, and set FTP at 300. First sign of trouble was on Jepson, second to last and last intervals. Had to cut back a few %. Then was able to hang in until this weekend, when couldn’t finish last intervals of Mary Austin and Tallac +3. Had to cut power at back and take a litlle mid interval recovery. Also feeling very tired.
It seems to ba a fitness and not strength problem, as I would get HR at and above max aerobic.

Assume all other variables are as optimized as they’re going to get (nutrition, rest, etc – not at all optimized, but realistically not going to be able to make a lot of change)

Anyway, as I approach the last work week of the program with trepidation, I wonder if after this I should retest and redo the program, or move on to general build? Race season is starting.

The good news is, the last 2 weeks of SSB2 are hard. Mary Austin is tough, Tallac +3 is tough, your VO2 intervals tomorrow are tough, Leconte is tough…
I just finished the last week of SSB2. I’ll share my experience, which seems similar to where you are and where you might be heading. I felt tired last week at this time also:

  • spencer +2 put the hurt on me. I crushed all VO2 work until now (I’ve been doing 1.5hr on tues the prior weeks of SSB and killing it), I had to break in the middle of the 3rd interval.
  • I rode Baxter Wednesday
  • Lamarck Thursday was hard but doable.
  • I rode Baxter -2 Friday
  • I realized Saturday when starting Leconte that I should NOT have been on the bike Friday… I should have eaten more, I should have rested more, I should have respected that workout like I did for Mary Austin. I failed and bailed.
  • I rode Leconte on Sunday instead, and that rest day really helped… but man am I still tired

if I were me, and did the last week over, I would

  1. Recover and rest hard on the offdays. I know you say you can’t tweak it much, but there’s likely little wins you can get - take those.
  2. I’d have dialed down Leconte for the first set, reassessed, and then worked up to 100%. Chad mentions on the latest podcast dialing down the intensity some days and still getting the work done (ie: bringing a threshold down to sweet spot, sweet spot to tempo, etc) - and realizing “I may not get fitter today, but I’m not losing fitness either”. That mindset would have helped me more this last weekend rather than trying to HTFU.

Recovery week next week, earn it this week :wink:


Sounds like you are just overly fatigued. try tuesdays workout and if you still feel like crap turn the week into a rest week and move onto build next week. That is what id do atleast. Oh and eat a ton of carbs during all workouts. This makes overunders and long sweet spot much more bearable for me.


I would say that being new to structured training as you are then just have a play around with pre ride nutrition at the very least. Sweet spot and threshold training is very demanding, if you’ve not got at least a good pre ride meal in you they become MUCH more challenging.

Good replies, thanks. My on ride fueling is ok I think, having my typical Maple syrup shots.

I’m going to try to ride my commute in little ring only, and like the idea of starting the longer workouts at lower intensity and increasing as able rather than bailing out at the end.

I guess I’m discouraged because I feel like my fitness is going backwards, but I suppose I should really wait, finish it out, rest then retest before making any judgements.

Edit: one other question – I may not have time this weekend to do the final two. Should I try to do shorter more intense or recover and do the following weekend, or just call it complete?

SSB2 is hard. I’m right where you are… having nailed most every workout until this past weekend’s Tallac +3 which I tried to do 14 hrs after Mary Austin -1. In the future, with time not a limiter during the week, I plan to adjust my SSB2 runs to have the 90 min over/under on Wednesday and the 60min threshold on Friday with 2hrs on Saturday.

At 41, I can’t pull off that short turnaround as well as I’d like, so I’ve suffered through some of those Saturday long rides.

SSB2 is way harder than SSB1, and you stepped up from LV to MV. You’re gassed. No shame in that. I like the suggestion to take recovery week early and move on to build. I may be forced into that myself if wifey goes into labor!


Good luck with the baby. That’ll be time for low volume plan for sure.

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New to structured program, but not structured rides.

I’m not nearly as fast/strong as you but I recently jumped from SSB1LV to SSB2MV and was cruising along until the last week or so. Believe it or not I actually told a buddy that I might raise the effort a few percentage points and then without raising the effort i got crushed. I took an extra rest day and pressed on and completed SSB2MV.
Moved on to Sustained power build MV. I had a nice bump in my FTP and have even found the first week (with my 20 watt increase) very doable.
I’m 54 (not a racer either) and didn’t learn about moving up the recovery week until I was done with SSB2MV.
If I’ve learned anything from the forum it’s to be as consistant as possible.
I’m just saying to regroup mentally and you’ll be fine.

Also being in the 5th week of SSB2 currently I can tell you that this week is HARD.
It’s a marked change from the prior weeks, and every ride except for the final one is greater than .90IF, with the final one being 0.85 which is no slouch by itself.

I do find the jump in the Tuesday workouts much larger than they appear. Mills is only 45s @120% and then tapering for the remainder of the 2min interval. Where Spencer+2 not only adds a full 60s to bring the interval to 3min total, but it also sustains at 120%. I’d be interested to see from @Nate_Pearson and @chad what the failure rate of this one is, or when you look at the completion rate of Mills and then Spencer+2 a week later if in fact there is a drop off.

Lamarck vs. Darwin…they are so similar that if you treat them with respect it shouldn’t be bad. Same goes for Mary Austin vs. Leconte…both of those are widow makers and people know to treat them with respect, so if you can finish one you should be OK finishing the other if you fuel and rest properly.


Totally agree with this. When I did Mills, I tried to hold power steady for the duration of the interval rather than gradual reduction, I think that helped me get through Spencer +2. Sometimes I feel like I look ahead at workouts too much or over analyze, but this time I feel like that worked in my favor lol

For me it hasn’t been finishing the difficult workouts. I get through those fine. I’ve run in to trouble now twice trying to do the 2-hours sweet spot workouts the day after. To be fair, both times I tried a shorter (13-14 hour) turnaround rather than a full 24-hrs. Getting old sucks.

Someone suggested trying Dade -1 in place of Mills; it’s 2-min at 120% on 2-min rest. That seemed like the next natural progression, so I did. I found it more difficult than the previous VO2max workouts, but still manageable. Hopefully that translates for Spencer +2 this week.

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This really sums up the problem.

I have wondered if there any age appropriate modifications for progression, but I suppose there is so much individual variability it swamps any purely age related signal

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I think you have to be willing to move things around and not treat Chad’s training plans as gospel. For me, that means moving some workouts to different days. Chad designs these plans to work for most people, meaning the longer workouts are on the weekends. That’s not going to work for me as well, considering I can do 90 minutes during the week in the morning, hence my idea to swap workouts and I think that’ll work for me. We’ll see.

You see a lot of forum posts about “is it OK to _________?” More often than not the answer is “yes,” but people seem to think TrainerRoad won’t work unless you follow every plan and complete every workout to a T. Our advantage as - ahem - more experienced athletes is that we know better.

That jump from from 2 min VO2 to 3 min VO2 kills me as well. I did Givens -2 this morning which is 2.5 on at 118% 2.5 off which I’m hoping will prepare me better for Shortoff+1 next week (similar to Spencer +2 but less recovery time).

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Theoretically Dade -1 should be as difficult as Spencer +2, purely by IF. Dade -1 is 18 min at 120% divided up into 3 sets of 3x2 min on - 2 min off), Spencer is 6x3 min on, 4 min off. I’ll let you know tomorrow if theory to practice works out. :smile:

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i’m testing that theory tonight as well.
i’d argue while the cumulative effort is the same, the way in which it is dosed is not. Dade has a lower IF for a reason in comparison to Spencer and it has to do with interval length at same power level.

Well, I have proven I don’t really know how to get above 4 W/kg, so my hope is this will end up working better.

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Dade -1 is the same IF as Spencer +2; that’s what I was driving at.

All this stuff I posted 7hrs ago saying

I should have listened to my own advice.

Doing Mary Austin on Saturday, then Tallac+3 yesterday, I don’t know what the hell I was thinking even trying to give Dade-1 a go with no rest day in between. That was a struggle to make it through for sure. Completed but barely. This week needs respect.