Fine tuning intervals after Ramp test

I’m trying to finesse my Ramp Test FTP result by using my heart rate to see if the intervals check-out.

I have a reasonably reliable threshold heart rate of 161. When I’m fresh anyway, I know how spurious HR can be day to day!

I wasn’t happy with the Ramp Test result so I reduced it by 18 watts and got stuck into my first workout of the Sweet Spot plan (started at week 2, Antelope +2). 5x10min at 94% FTP.

My heart rate was consistently 155 for the 5 intervals.

Do you think I got it right? Would a drop of 6 beats below my threshold heart rate for 94% FTP be about right?

Sorry if this has been flogged to death, but I really want to get stuck into training again and would rather not take another FTP test this week!

Why did you drop the Ramp Test result right off the bat? I would have tried to do a workout with the result before adjusting.

As for tuning based off threshold HR, I find that my fluctuates throughout the season, and is often elevated in the off-season.

RPE is going to be a better way to judge whether its sweet spot work or not.


There was talk about using HR as a metric on the last podcast, and they say basically to ignore HR and just use power as the reference point.

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You’re making me want to give it a shot but I’m sure my HR will jump to the mid to high 160’s. Maybe even hit 170 + on longer harder days!

To explain my reticence I’ll give you the tale of woe…

I had a really bad summer and didn’t really do any proper threshold or high end work for months. Had a month off the bike around September and then decided to do a pre-base base by hitting the outdoors with some big mileage in October all at endurance pace. Got hit by a car and fractured my arm - another a week off the bike. After that I did a few weeks messing around on Zwift, raced once and did some intervals and took the Ramp Test last Sat on TrainerRoad. Then a few days off to freshen a bit then started the SSB plan (on week 2).

So this test, it puts me only a few watts under my best ever test in Feb 2018 which was also a Ramp test (beta) after Sweet Spot base I and II last winter.

I just don’t see how I can be at that level of fitness so… just took 18 watts off. Was tempted to do more, was thinking knock around 10% off… but am considering toying with HR to work it out.

Should I just grow a pair and have a go at the original value, and if it wrecks me then take a day off to recover, or just incrementally toy with it? Not sure I want a brutal session just as I’m getting motivated to train again.

Sorry for the huge story!

So what? :slightly_smiling_face:

Maybe your link between HR and threshold is wrong? HR is so variable. Go with power, trust the test and see how you get on!

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Worried that I’d be doing VO2 and burn out quickly if my HR is that high!

Alright, fine. I am somewhat tempted to just stick the value to what the Ramp Test gave and try at least few intervals. Will try today and see how it goes. Monitor+1 so the intervals are only 6 minutes long. Perfect time to have a go :sweat_smile:

If I feel like absolute hell I know who to blame :hammer:

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Have you done a recent FTP-Ramp test, or, are you basing your perspective on the one you did in Feb '18? In any case, sounds like your riding/training had been unstructured of late. I would do another Ramp test and return to SSB I-II or something similar. Don’t worry about heart rate, just do a plan and stick with your FTP-Ramp test result. Your HR will improve (come down) with more structured and consistent training that moves out of your lsd “endurance” zones and into Steady State, Threshold, VO2, intervals, etc.

Good luck.

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Oh yeah, I did the Ramp Test last Saturday!

Sorry if that was confusing. I’ve been all over the place with the training this year. Every plan I tried to do I failed. Just couldn’t complete workouts because I was dieting too hard. Ended up wrecking my metabolism, couldn’t get HR up, and even riding outside for 150watts felt like I was pushing a 58tooth up front!

Stopped dieting and started eating normally again and regained about 8kilos since late August and the past 4 to 6 weeks have seen my heart rate and everything return to normal, well, normal is in I can sustain a high heart rate for a while and can complete workouts that I attempt without feeling like hell. The workouts I was testing myself with were in general rather easy. Tempo workouts and 4 min threshold workouts on Zwift at a random FTP value I thought would be doable. Then I got motivated to try training properly again hence coming back to TR.

Having been through all that… I was just really surprised to see my Ramp Test match (well just a few watts under) my best ever result in an FTP test which was last Feb (when TR beta’d the Test).

I thought maybe it was just some anomaly or maybe I’m better than average at that end of things which makes the FTP result unrealistic.

Anyway, after posting here I have done that Monitor+1 at only 8 watts under the FTP test result, which for me still seemed high and a bit daunting. On the last two blocks my heart rate did max out at 165, but in terms of feeling, it wasn’t what I would consider stressful. Actually quite enjoyed the workout and am considering keeping the FTP value there.

Another wall of text that complicates the situation even more haha! I have had a weird and demotivating year in terms of cycling. Dieting hard really has messed with me. If I was to tell you the power I was struggling to push and the FTP result I just got, I’m pretty sure you’d also be extremely skeptical :smiley:

I would try a consistent HR at 85% of max. Works like a dream for me.

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Apologies to hijack the topic slightly, do you know if ramp test is static or changes depending on current FTP? Reason I ask is I nearly went over the last step last time. If I knew it was last one, I probably would’ve, but the way it was displayed I did not know it was the last and expected another one after that, so mind didn’t play it right :slight_smile:

The test scales on your current FTP. And, you should just push as long as you can hit the power targets, only stop after you get can’t anymore. The interval graph does not tell the “last step” of the test.

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@Rainier that sounds good actually, will try that!

@nordic it changes depending on your current FTP value. Something I forgot about until after my test recently actually. Some of these step type tests start everyone off at say 100 watts, regardless of FTP but think TrainerRoad tests in a different way.

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Thanks a lot. If I understand correctly, you mean the test will carry on as long as you pedal? In other words, on the picture, that was not the last step?

I think the test should go on way past the twenty minute mark shown in the picture if you endure that, since the break-even point for your currently set FTP is at around 19:30. So if and when you get past that hitting the targets, that will result an increase on your FTP.

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Regarding your more basic question about using HR as a benchmark, I think it is useful (though I know TR disagrees). I trained for a year without HR and didn’t miss sit at the time, but as I started using it again, I feel like I am missing information from that time when I look back to try to analyze. If you are interested in polarization at all, it will be critical to figure out your right zones. I also found it useful when I rented a bike on vacation this year, without a PM. Using cadence and HR kept me in the right neighborhood of effort (perceived effort). Lastly, for ramp tests and other high intensity workouts, I can use max HR as an indicator of how hard I worked. For instance, I did a ride recently that had the toughest climb - 2 miles total, last mile 10%+ and last .3 mile 30%! I had to jump off right before the top. And was disappointed. Went back and looked and hit all time highs for FTP for the duration AND hit my highest HR ever. Useful! I ramp tested this week and hit that number again (didn’t know it at the time). When so much of our training focuses on how “deep” we can go, HR is super useful.

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