Feeling a bit despondent with my progression

I’m feeling a bit despondent.
I’m have been following SSBMV and I am now in Build Mid Volume sustained power.
I started with a ramp test at 213w
When auto FTP detection came in (during the second half of SSB it gave me an FTP of 220w).
At the end of SSB my progression levels were 7.3 for endurance, 7.0 for sweet-spot, 7.4 for threshold and 1.2 for VO2max (there isn’t any in SSBV).
At the start of the build phase, auto-FTP dumped me up to just 223w despite what I thought were pretty good progression levels.
I’ve just done auto-detection for the start of the second build phase, and again just a bump of 3w to 226w. My progression levels before the auto-detect were endurance 6.1, sweet-sport 5.5, threshold 5.5 and Vo2max 7.5.
The workout suggested instead of the ramp test was Elephants +1 (VO2max with 6x6min@108%). I nailed it with 3 intervals increased to 102% and rated it as hard. My VO2max progression level is now 8.4!

I have only had one struggle session in the entire plan. Most workouts rated moderate/hard with a few at very hard.

All that effort for a 6% increase in FTP and with a VO2max progression level of 8.4.

I am 56 years old, about 62kg, hit the gym twice a week and can beat Coach Chad’s lifting recommendations for “all rounder” (except chin-ups, which I find super difficult!).

Not sure whether to plod on or change something up. Thoughts?

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You are not alone, as there are threads like this “no FTP progress…” throughout the forum.

  • In short, FTP is only one aspect by which to look at your fitness. Even when we hit this tough gains and/or plateaus, there are others things to consider besides this one value.

  • Is your Time to Exhaustion (TTE) improving? Meaning, are you able to hold that same FTP longer? This is a basic goal within the Sustained Power Build in particular.

  • Has your power and/or TTE at other outputs (Tempo, Endurance, VO2, etc.) improved?

  • Have you improved your aerobic decoupling for long Endurance?

Essentially, you need to look far wider than that one metric to see what is actually happening with your training.

Edit to add: You mention PL’s repeatedly, and I think it’s important to frame them a bit. Keep in mind they are relative to you and your current FTP. They are meant to aid AT in adapting your plan and ultimately select appropriate level workouts to follow a planned progression.

They are NOT “fitness” values in the traditional sense, and should not be viewed as such. They will rise and fall within the TR world, and it’s best not to attribute any long term assessment based upon them.

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How long have you been cycling?

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I think this is the key. If he’s an experienced 56 year old rider, I can tell you I’m close to that, and I’d be ecstatic to see those increases.

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Well, @PhilM66 I give you an A+ for consistency. You’re doing great there.

Maybe you should just take the ramp test instead of letting AI select for you. The AI model is not going to be spot on for everybody. There will be excursions & maybe you are one.

Another option, and probably what I would choose, is just use the Alternates button to select stretch workouts. Just don’t go crazy on week 1 of a 6 week mesocycle. Then adaptive training will adjust workouts during the high volume weeks and you can crush yourself.

Bottom line: don’t let AI FTP selection convince you that you aren’t feeling what you are. If your FTP feels like it’s a little low…take the ramp test. Pick harder workouts.

I think you are doing great. Steady progress and consistency. Another 22 watts and you will be at 4 W/kg. Perhaps do the actual ramp test validate the auto selection. I think gains are hard earned at our age.

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13W in just two blocks sounds pretty good to me. Here’s a question, what were you expecting? What, in your mind, would have been a good result?

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The weather in the UK has been unseasonably sunny which meant I knocked TrainerRoad on the head for a week of outside rides.

What impact this had on my predictive FTP of 205 from 200 I don’t know. Whilst ok with the result I still opted for usual FTP as comparison. The result, 220. Well pleased and currently in build.

My progression levels reverted to a reset position but whilst I don’t have any informed view it seems there are two avenues for building fitness.

Lower predictive gains but more intense workouts with greater associated progression levels.

A more accurate ftp datum with a lower baseline of intensity.

As for gains, it’s been said above. I’m 55 and it’s taken 7 months , low and med volume to get to the level of 2020 after last years poor year for cycling.

Hi. About 10 years focused on cycling, before that about 10 years of triathlon (but eventually, too many running injuries).

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Hi. Thanks for all the replies.

@mcneese.chad - looking at season match for the last three seasons I am ahead at 1min and 1hr by a few watts, but behind elsewhere (which could be a function of the types of workout on the plan). My aerobic decoupling for Townsend last week was 2.8%. Yes, you’ve got to keep in mind PL’s are relative to you, but nonetheless, Elephants +1 has an IF of 1.0 for the 51mins of intervals/rest, so they are some measure of overall difficulty. I guess I was surprised AI would offer a small increase in FTP and then expect me to do a +0.9 PL VO2max workout (which I did do!), say rather than a larger FTP bump and then back off the PL.

@WindWarrior and @Pbase, Hi, I have about 10 years focused on cycling, before that about 10 years of triathlon (but eventually, too many running injuries). I am starting to understand that at my age it is a battle to avoid decline, rather than expect stellar gains :frowning:

@Brennus, Hi. Yes, I am toying with the idea of maybe selecting tougher workouts. I was a bit worried about over-stretching (given my age), and thought I would rely on the AI to guide me. Maybe as you said, push it in the last week of the block and then at least you have the recovery week. I might work myself up to an FTP test, in the past, I have had higher FTPs with the 2x8Min or 20min test vs the ramp test (which I think is a reflection of one of my weaknesses, which is holding 130%+ for any seroius length of time…).

@mbenn488 - thanks. I was at 4w/kg a few years back when I did the Taiwan KOM, but looking at current progress, not sure I am going to hit that again :slight_smile:

@JMacII good question! I guess seeing that I have been super consistent, nailed all but one workout, pushed up the PL a few decimal places occasionally and reached Threshold PL 7.4 at end of the base phase and V02max PL of 8.4 at the start of build2, I was hoping for a little bit more. I basically followed and nailed the plan so far.

I know I shouldn’t be fixated on FTP, and in fact, I am not, other than as a personal validation /reward for the time and effort put into training. The weather is improving in the UK so hopefully I’ll see some real-life make-you-faster results on the club runs, segments, sportives and the few races I might line up for!

My final thought prompted by @JMacII, is to pose the question the other way round, and I think is an interesting one for TR (which they hinted at in a recent podcast about FTP prediction). If I consistently follow a plan, nail each workout AI suggests, rating most between moderate (endurance types), hard (sweet-sport, threshold, VO2max) and some very hard for the workouts you just hate (anaerobic for me), what progression should I expect?

Once again thanks.
Phil

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@PhilM66 if it helps ease your mind I just allowed AI to predict FTP in lieu of a ramp test. It suggested NO CHANGE. :smiley: So at least you made some progress.

But, I’m gonna level with you, I just won a gravel race on a 40km solo break. So I’m not too worried about whether or not AI thinks my FTP showed much progress. I can do what I need to do with the fitness I have.

Same with you. You are pretty experienced and conscientious about your training. You can afford to trust yourself a little. Don’t let AI FTP prediction wind you up.

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Joe Friel wrote some blog posts about aging, in 2013 just before his 70th birthday. Here’s one from that series: https://joefrieltraining.com/aging-whats-behind-the-decline/ Worth reviewing those, or picking up his Fast After 50 book. The key recommendations to combat age related declines in muscle and aerobic capacity are to lift weights and do high intensity intervals. You seem to have the HIIT angle covered but might want to tweak that. Good luck navigating the training puzzle!!!

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I’m 51 and this is the first year I’ve had to really change my training drasticaly. I’m now doing 2 on 1 off for the cycle. You might need a bit more rest overall. There’s a coach that says “Fresh is fast” and that might be something to look at.

It’s amazing how quickly we can change when we age. I went from being able to do SSB with it’s 5 weeks on then a week off back in 2018 and got decently fast to now needing way more rest.

Good luck.

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Wow - chapeau!

Yes started hitting the gym a couple of times a week since lockdown restrictions eased. I can beat Chad’s lift guidelines for ‘all-rounder’ (chin-ups excepted).

Writing this has had the desired cathartic result, so put I’ll put it behind me and onwards and upwards.

Thanks.

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I’m gonna add one more thing that’s just tangential. So read this sorta for entertainment’s sake. HA!

There are a lot of posts similar to yours…most I look at and their data is private so I don’t comment. A lot of those with public data are skipping one or more workouts a week…going for Strava KOMs in base…noodling around the hills outside town instead of sweet spot…etc. Many times reality doesn’t match commentary & I’ll comment if there is a worthwhile comment to make.

Your workout history is one of only a couple that when I looked at it I thought, ‘Oh. Maybe I should suggest this athlete take a week off the bike.’ So that’s something to think about. Don’t just hammer forever. Take a week off the bike a couple times a year. Not saying it has to be now…but, you know, it’s been about 5 months since you did, right?

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