First Ftp power test - data advice

Just started with TR. Am 47 and historically mostly fair weather tourer and weekend road biker. After a few years off the bike am loving being back, and as you get older you realise time’s running out to get faster! I never tried structured training before - just riding. Years back I did some training with HR monitor and did an ftp test but new to doing with Power.
I don’t have a trainer so I went for the 2x8min option in a park (is most practical where I live).

Probably made a few mistakes in prep and execution but after the first run my knee was too sore and I decided to save the second run for another time.

So here’s a screenshot of the 8 min lap of my first run. After a 10min rest I felt that I probably couldn’t repeat the same pace, so of the 262W average I took off an arbitrary amount (40w) and then averaged the two and multiplied by 0.9, giving me an ftp of 218W.

Obviously I’ll redo this at some point and refine technique but I’ve nothing to compare it to - so I’m just wondering if where the ftp line sits on my power data seems somewhat reasonable as a starting point?

Thanks for any input.

Before thinking about FTP values I’d address why your knee was sore after only 8 minutes.


Appreciate your concern @Supermurph19 - that’s a combination of factors including; age, genetics, past sporting endeavours, surgery, jump from break in riding to hundreds of miles, lack of riding full power recently, etc etc - I know the signs and take care and am working on some bike fit adjustments. This test was 8minutes but I’d ridden a fair bit the past week and before the test. I know the signs and back off when I need to - hence not doing the second set.

But all that I can work out myself. It’s the ftp stuff I need help on! :grinning:

i’m not sure that yo ucan really extrapolate that much from a single 8 minute test. You’d basically be taking all the weaknesses of short test protocols and making them worse. i.e., the weaknesses that are inherent in taking an effort that is well above sustainable / steady state power and using it to estimate a steady state; sort of like using a 5K pace to estimate your marathon pace, the relationship between the two will be different for everyone.

Nobody will be able to tell you if that number is correct. Chances are it’s probably not, but you can use it as a starting point. Maybe your best bet is to do a few of the zone 4 workouts with that FTP number, and see how they feel?

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Thanks. So if I understand correctly, zone4 in TR terms is ‘sweetspot’. I’ve setup my garmin with the same thresholds so will try it. What should sweet spot feel like?

Zone 4 is between 90% and 105% of your FTP.

My advice is to try the workout called ‘Lamarck’. If you can complete that odds are your FTP is probably in the right ballpark.

Just wondering why you are running when you seem to be wanting the data for your cycling.
Also maybe it is the running that is causing your knee pain. Have you considered getting a smart trainer to use indoors. It is much more effective and will get you faster and fitter more quickly!

@Velo-city I’ve never taken the 8min test but my advice would be you will have a much better training experience if you start with a valid FTP.

That said, FTP is typically 85% to 90% of maximal 8min pwr for me. I’m sure this can vary from rider to rider.

Your 264W effort was not maximal since you knew ahead of time you were going to repeat the effort.

So 218W is most likely a conservative estimate of your FTP.

My best advice is to retest & give yourself the best chance to train well. 2nd best advice is add 10W, start training, adjust +/- 5W depending how workouts go.

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Should be uncomfortable but you do not see any reason to stop - legs are tired but nothing is burning and HR is below threshold, after 10 minutes is steady. Your aerobic engine is working and you devouring minutes. After 20 minutes you feel that you want to stop but you keep going simply beacuse you can. After 40 minutes you are tired but still there is no point of stopping as you come as far, after 1h you are happy that you have reached 1h mark, you are tired but you want to see how much longer you can go.

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Agree with this, but by zone 4 I meant the workouts that are at or around FTP. Ha, I always thought sweet spot was zone 4a.

So to the OP, ftp intervals should be just a bit harder than how jarsson describes sweet spot here. It’s uncomfortable, breathing becomes heavy, but a few minutes in, you still feel like you could maintain it. Just below the point where your muscles start burning and you think to yourself, “okay I have maybe 8 minutes of this in me”. Maybe like a 7.5 out of ten. The intervals should start to feel challenging by the end of the workout, but in the beginning they should feel very doable.

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For me threshold is when 5 min in is hard, 10 min is hard and 30 min is hard. But the difference between 5 and 30 min is not huge in terms of RPE. After first 10 minutes body adapts and you keep going for another 5, 10 or 20 minutes.


yeah the duration component is what makes it hard to describe. for me the first threshold interval doesn’t really feel that bad, once you settle into it. But the second one starts to hurt, and the third one is even harder. But you never get that feeling of, “oh sh&t there’s no way i’m completing this,” as sometimes happens with intervals substantially above FTP, haha.

There’s a parallel i think with a 10K pace. Like if you are going to for a PR 10K, you’re running fast but in the middle of it, it doesn’t feel that hard; certainly doesn’t feel like you need to stop. Contract with a 5K, where from the very beginning to the very end, it feels absolutely soul crushing.

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Thanks for all the advice.

Reading the replies, I’m a bit confused on TR power zones now. I used this guide to setup my garmin with matching zones 1-7.

Active Recovery
(55% - 75% FTP)
(76% - 87% FTP)
Sweet Spot
(88% - 94% FTP)
(95% - 105% FTP)
VO2 Max
(106% - 120% FTP)
Anaerobic Capacity
(>120% FTP)

My understanding was they are zones 1-7?


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Ok so this evening I did a ride, and during it I couldn’t resist a hard 7 mile lap - so just over 20 minutes. I’d say not quite a 20min ftp test effort, and more a power I could probably just about hold for an hour. Haha, I guess I’ll never know.

Anyway, I’d put all the above data and ftp of 218W into my garmin before the ride, at the end, it suggested a new ftp of 224W.

Not sure how Garmin gets that but I guess for now I’ll just use that number and move ahead.

Now I need a training plan. Coming late in the year and with no specific goal I guess I’ll just do one that gets me to end of Summer and then think about whether I can squeeze a trainer in the house…

WELL, sort of. The zone numbers come from a system that predates the “sweet spot” concept:

By the time Frank Overton started talking about sweet spot, the zone numbers were already well established. Sweet Spot is the overlap between what you’ll usually see referenced as zones 3 and 4, tempo and threshold:

It makes a wild guess. Seriously, you should do the actual 20- or 8-minute protocol (or go full Kolie Moore), under conditions that you can reproduce consistently, if you want an assessment that will actually track your progress and give you accurate training zones. Or don’t worry about the number and go by feel. Riding hard for eight or twenty minutes is not an FTP test.


Sounds like you’re on track now. Congratulations on getting this figured out in less than two tests! :smiley:

Why not schedule your own ‘A’ event? How about another 7 mile lap 2nd week of August? Tell Plan Builder it’s a Time Trial. I guess because it will be!

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You think that’s enough time to get any noticeable benefit from training? I’ve read a fair bit of the info on the site and these forums, the impression I got was I really needed to do a whole winter of base training, and then several months of other structured training before an ‘A’ event.

But honestly I have no gauge for timescales. If I had any noticeable improvement that soon, I would be a power meter structured training convert for life! :slight_smile:

Oops. Wrote August but meant September.

Even so, if I understand your previous training correctly, even a quick 4 week mesocycle…3 ‘on’, 1 ‘off’, re-test…is very likely to yield some material gains. @Velo-city, it’s going to be so much fun for you. Make the most of it! Enjoy it! Pretty soon you’ll be scrapin’ and clawin’ for just 10 more watts.

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Well, I tried my first ride today - [edit] Goddard. Pretty overwhelming to be honest - since the power numbers mean nothing to me yet, it was hard to hit the target. Adding in gear changes, slight terrain adjustments, and gusty conditions and I found myself over and undershooting constantly and an unhealthy amount of staring at the Garmin screen. Plus I was still learning how the ‘workouts’ on the garmin work as never used them before.

Thanks to garmin connect being down I had to manually input the ride into the 830 - never even used those menus before but it was surprisingly ok, not exactly intuitive but thankfully I had previously synced a workout so that gave me a good idea how to do it. Now I know a whole lot more about Garmins!

I guess the judge of what power you’re riding becomes easier over time? I can definitely see how a trainer would be better for this type of thing, but since I don’t have one and prefer riding outside (especially in Summer anyway), I’ll just give it a few more weeks and see if I get the hang of it.

Can’t even sync the data to see how I did but I know it’s going to be a bit of a rollercoaster!