Failing Workouts Consistently after FTP Increase

Hi, TR community.

I’ve been plagued by a series of failed workouts since an increase in FTP from 261 to 276.

The timeline: Started using TR in Jan of 19. I did SSB1, 2, Sustained Power Build, Century on my way to my A race. Started with an FTP of 251 based on a 3rd party test. I did great from 251 to 261. During my next test I did some math to see how many steps I need to get to see a significant increase. Made it to 276. Then, I started failing workouts. Since May, Ive failed better than 50% of the workouts (most in the 1-1.5hr duration) on my calendar. A race was the Climb to Kaiser in June. Race went well, thanks to TR and a read through “How Bad do you Want It?”. Stayed off the trainer for about 2 months. Hopped back on in July and went from 276 to 277 without really trying to “game” the test. Again, have failed about 50% of the workouts since.

My question: do I need to bump the FTP back down so I can complete these workouts? I am a bit confused how I can repeat an FTP test at 277 but struggle to complete the workouts. Maybe I am just at a mental cross roads where I have to push through and HTTHU to make gains/complete workouts.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks, all.


I would ask what workouts are you doing, and failing, after a two month break? Did you ride at all for those two months?

In short IMHO, if you are consistently failing, then yes you need to bump your FTP back down to 276.

Some athletes are well represented by the ramp test and some are not, which probably changes depending your current level of fitness. If you are good at VO2, then you will extend your time at the top of the ramp quite possibly into a zone where the workouts are too hard. You could try the 8min or 20min test and see how you go with those.

For me personally, my last ramp test had my FTP 24w lower that what I have manually set my FTP to be and I am not failing workouts. Maybe you were to fresh. maybe the power meter/trainer needed calibrating… could be 100 things but in the end it’s just one point in time and not worth worrying about.

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A few questions:

What test are you using?
What workouts are you failing?
What does your power curve look like? (e.g. can you smash out short duration power efforts easily? or are you more of a steady state person?)

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The same happened to me, I bust my ass to get an increased FTP on the ramp test, but then kept failing the workouts or really struggling to complete them. I went back to my previous FTP and found that they were still tough but I could finish the majority, still go to work and perform and still be a nice person to be around!


The simple answer is that you should reduce your FTP so that you’re training at appropriate intensities. You’ve got a pretty large amount of data telling you that 276 is too high. Trust that indication. It’s OK to make manual adjustments, both up and down, to your training numbers to make them appropriate. I have had a lot of success backing off from a decent FTP increase, training at a lower FTP, and then subsequently surpassing that number and being able to train successfully at the higher number for 2-3 hour sessions.

The additional detail that @stevemz asked for will help tell the real tale, but IME the simple answer is that you need to reduce your FTP and move on training. I’d start by going back to 261. If you are finding those workouts managable, increase by 1-2% or so every couple of weeks between tests.

Ultimately, you’re going to hit a point where manual FTP adjustments become something you need to do and be comfortable with by listening to your body and looking at your training results.


What test are you using?

  • The TR Ramp Test
    What workouts are you failing?
  • During Century Specialty it was a lot of sustained threshold stuff. Now, In short power build…it’s 50/50’s (Ansel Adams), Thor and Bashful…workouts like that.
    What does your power curve look like? (e.g. can you smash out short duration power efforts easily? or are you more of a steady state person?)
    15 sec: 900W - 1100W
    1 min: 400W
    5 min: 300W

I struggle with where to identify myself in terms of short power or sustained power.

Doesn’t seem to be a particular trend then, which supports the idea that 276/277 is simply too high an FTP for training purposes right now. Maybe it’s simply a level you can hit when well recovered, motivated and fuelled, but can’t back it up 3 times per week. Drop back to 261, get a couple of weeks under your belt of completing all your workouts and feeling good about your training, then start manually bumping it up little by little as and when you feel you can handle it.

I think the more experienced you get the less necessary the tests become. I’ve only done 6 tests in the last 2 years, and even so I honestly don’t think any of them told me anything I didn’t already know. RPE during TR workouts combined with power numbers from racing (particularly as I do quite a few TTs and hill climbs) gives me a very good idea of where my FTP should be set on TR.

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I have an FTP of 283 according to the latest ramptest I took. Same FTP as I had late May before starting speciality and my numbers are the following:

15 sec: 965W
1 min: 517W
5 min: 349W

So I’d say your FTP is probably a bit on the high side. I’m not failing any workouts though.

If your 5 min power is close to 300W, 276W is likely too high for your FTP. This isn’t really about how you classify yourself. The reason Steve asked those questions the way he did was because certain types of riders with strong anaerobic capabilities may be able to test really well on the ramp test, but not be able to train at that FTP nor sustain that tested FTP for relatively meaningful periods.

Your short power numbers relative to your other numbers indicate you might be particularly strong anaerobically and thus able to test well at higher powers, but when you’re asked to sustain high power relative to your FTP for longer periods, it’s not sustainable.

Impossible to say, but you could probably try lowering to 265W and see how you do. If your 5-minute power is truly 300W (and not somewhat higher than that (330 or more)), then 265 may be still too high. I suspect you’re probably not that far off, and a reduction into the 260s will see you training well again and making progress. I think it’s safe to say 276 just isn’t realistic right now based on your workout results.

(Some n=1 reference numbers at 70kg, only to provide perspective… I’ve been training with high compliance in sustained power workouts recently:
My training FTP: 272W
My 5min power: 330W
My 1 min power: 485W)

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@kurt.braeckel, Thank you for the thoughtful reply. i appreciate the guidance. I’ll give this a go and look to, like you said, get a few good weeks of completed workouts under my belt.

Looking back at my power curve over a broader range (the last 6 weeks) the numbers are a little Different.

15 sec: 885W
1 min: 534W
5 min: 325W

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I don’t get how you could have a 5 minute record of 300W and have scored 277W on the ramp test…indeed the last 5 steps (5 minutes…) would all have been in the range of 300W to 370W or so. Am I missing something?

Indeed – shouldn’t a ramp test result of 277 W get you a 5-minute power PR of about 335 W?

I took those numbers as a rough estimate of his power profile.

If you are failing the Century plan workouts, then either you need rest or your FTP is set too high. None of those workouts are particularly devious (with the exception of Old Rag and Shortoff)

I’d drop things down to 265 and see how things go. The difference in total workload is not that much but being just below threshold versus just above threshold makes a HUGE difference.

If you are particularly anaerobically inclined, then usually you can get a higher number than is optimal for your training. This is less of a big deal for Base and Build, since the workouts are at a lower percentage of FTP and effectively you are still below threshold during sessions, but once you get to the 95-99% range for the long duration intervals, you want to make sure that your FTP is set correctly otherwise you are going to be in a world of hurt.


This is true for me. It’s one of the limitations of the ramp test. I get a better read on my FTP from my performance on various workouts eg like Lamarck.

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I just realized I can pull these numbers from TR. I was previously getting them from Strava.

TR Numbers:
1 sec: 1407
15 sec: 1015
1 min: 537
5 min: 340 (set during a Ramp Test)

See this thread:

TR Ramp test is a Maximum Aerobic Power (MAP) test. So all your TR workouts are based on a percentage of a percentage of VO2Max (MAP). Problem is for some riders FTP is 60% of VO2max & for some riders FTP is 85% of MAP. Sometimes a rider’s FTP will be 75% of VO2max & all is well.

A MAP test favors, well, maximum aerobic power. So if your MAP has increased more than your FTP during a block you can get into the situation described in the linked thread. 75% of your MAP is actually 105% to 110% of your FTP. Theshold workouts turn into VO2max workouts. So you can limp along but it’s torture. Worse, that type of workout favors improved VO2max more than improved FTP so your next ramp test is likely to make the problem worse.


Ansel Adams, Thor and Bashful are all workouts where you are up around 120% FTP for VO2 max work. It might be for you that you hit your V02 max a little lower around 115%.

For the VO2 workouts you could try dialing down the intensity a little but leave your FTP as-is and see how that works for workouts with 15-20 minutes just below threshold.

There is the “inertia” that failed workouts bring. I know if I fail a hard workout, especially more than once I tend to go in with a “I can’t complete this” attitude and well, you know that just makes it harder to complete. I imagine the same would apply to repeated failure of multiple workouts. Putting the FTP down leading to good compliance will at least get you back on the road of success and move it up very slowly from there. Something like 2-3w a week I would suggest.

Hey guys;
I hope you can help me figure this out. Indoor trainer rides seem so much harder than outdoor rides. For example, for the same RPE there seems to be a 20W+ difference. I have confirmed its not a difference in power meter readings. Is it that I am mentally weak? Does everyone experience this? I have tried mental tricks, got a second fan etc. My primary question is should I be doing indoor or outdoor rides if I can ride harder outside (even though it will feel the same). I think my mental toughness would improve equally but physically I should improve more outside if I am riding at higher output. I would appreciate any ideas