Frustrated with FTP

Using TR for almost 5 month now,my FTP raised from 149→168→176→179,and today I did a new ramp test,ftp drops to 175,i feel frustrated. However when i ride outside,Garmin shows my FTP raised from 149→169→183,and a few days ago with new record 190. Should i update my ftp on TR or just ignore this test,maybe do the test again?or Manually raise up 5% when i do the training? what should i do?

What are you using to measure power inside and outside?

How consistent is your training?

Are you nailing workouts?

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outside and inside using the same power source.
and yes i finish the trainning 5 days of a week.

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Get a bigger fan.

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Chad asked the relevant questions, so I’ll just throw in that I think you’re looking at a really positive thing in a negative light. Your FTP went up 30 points (20 percent!!!) in 5 months. That is absolutely incredible! Congratulations! IF it truly went down, it went down 2%, but your net is still a positive 18%.

Remember that FTP is just a number to train with, and many of us see higher numbers when we ride outside. This isn’t an exact science, and plus or minus a percent really isn’t going to make a difference. Maybe split the difference and do some training at 185 and then adjust up or down a percent or two if needed?

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Thanks, i will try to do that and continue my training​:kissing_heart::kissing_heart::kissing_heart:

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you do have a point

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Ain’t no easy way to reconcile that without a deep dive. Consistent but ‘wrong’ training could be the issue, or something else.

I see nothing much wrong with the numbers, it is more about the singular importance you place on them. Your post is a bit bare bones, so here are a few factors to consider:

  • Any FTP test has an uncertainties, e. g. perhaps you are in good/bad form on the day that you test. The difference between 183 W and 179 W is about 2 %; in case we are comparing 190 W and 179 W, the difference is about 6 %. Most power meters have an accuracy of 1.5–2 %. Are you using the same power meter indoors and outdoors? If you have a power meter for outdoor rides, which then feeds into the Garmin, and you have an indoor trainer whose power numbers you use indoors, the power numbers on the trainer should be lower, because of drive train losses.
  • Weight loss. Given your FTP, I assume you are a beginner with structured training. So you might have lost weight in the process. So your FTP might have plateaued, but your W/kg may still have increased.
  • FTP is just one data point of your fitness, and there are other factors like endurance.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • How do the workouts feel? If you use 179 W in TR, do the workouts feel challenging in the right way, not too easy, but not super hard every time? If yes, stick to 179 W. If they feel too easy, either retest or nudge up the number by e. g. 5 W.
  • Start to track other metrics like weight if you aren’t already. If you start endurance sports, your body will transform. Generally, you will lose fat mass.
  • How do outdoor rides feel? You write that you hit a record of 190 W recently. That sounds like you are making measurable progress. In that case, I’d say your training is working.
  • Stop myopically focussing on FTP as your sole way to gauge your fitness.
  • Like others have said, get a bigger or a second fan. Cooling makes a huge difference.
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Thanks for the reply and suggestions.

  • Yes, i am using the same power meter to train both inside and outside.

  • Based on all the reply, i will still with the same FTP but increase the FTP by 5% to train.

thanks again for the suggestions.

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A few things here.

  1. Some people will have differences in their FTP between indoors and outdoors. There are multiple factors for this including cooling, and motivation.

  2. Your Garmin says your FTP is 190 vs a ramp test that says it is 175. I am assuming that your Garmin is based on a hard 20 minute effort. If so, comparing a 20 minute test vs. a ramp test is apples to oranges. A lot of people find that the ramp test either over or undershoots their true FTP.

  3. Was the Garmin effort a true 20 minute all out effort? Was it part of a group ride? If it wasn’t a full 20 minute all out effort, I wouldn’t necessarily rely upon that result.

  4. I know you were disappointed with your ramp test, but have you found that you can sustain efforts for a longer period of time? After completing workouts are you seeing PRs for the day. If so, then you are improving.

  5. FTP is just one number, and is useful to help you set your training zones. That number likely varies from day to day based on things like fatigue, stress, and other environmental factors. Just focus on consistent training, and not burying yourself and you will improve.

  6. Lastly, don’t switch your indoor FTP to the 190 number based on an outdoor workout. That will only set you up for a lot of failed workouts. Trust me, I have been there before. Frankly, I think a lot of us probably are always bordering on training too hard, or trying to push the numbers too much. Just recognize that it is a process, and as long as you are improving the time that you can hold certain wattages (as opposed to pushing the number up constantly) know that you are improving and getting faster!

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I think this is a bad habit to start.

It’s best to follow a repeatable test system for structured training - same conditions for test, calibrate power meter properly before test, etc.

You read about the riders on the forum who constantly fiddle with their FTP based on feel. Why bother even doing structured training at all if you are just going to fiddle with the numbers and not test?

Bumping 5% will usually be meaningless to the training effect. Or it could start to get detrimental if you have the FTP much higher than it really is. It turns your endurance pace into tempo, and threshold into VO2max. The later is a problem for aerobic development.

FTP will not go up and up forever. It will not go up as quickly as it did when you were new. In the future, you will also probably not be able to maintain a peak summer FTP through the winter.

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A lot of people produce more power outside vs in, mostly to do with cooling. If you are struggling to keep cool indoors, that should be step one.

Depending on the model, Garmin uses heart rate data vs power to estimate FTP. EVeryones experience is different, but for me it is pretty damn close to the ramp test numbers.

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I don’t ramp test. My 530 updates FTP estimates frequently, at least 3 times a month, and those estimates are usually close to WKO and Xert and sometimes intervals.

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Wise words!

I use a ramp test and my garmin 530 also shows a estimated ftp around my ramp test results. I must be one who’s ramp test is somewhat accurate. Last estimate was 335 and my ftp at the time was 339 from a ramp test.

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Wow, mine rarely does. I have had it change on my last few races, and occasionally when I do an FTP test. I just attempted a 20 minute test today that I failed at (my first time trying one) and I didn’t get an update then either.

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Many of my updates are from efforts below FTP, when HR-to-power clearly improves. For example mid August Garmin estimated 264W after vo2/threshold workout. Then I was mostly off the bike in September, followed by a downgrade to 244W on October 5th (5-min tempo intervals) and honestly FTP was lower than that! Then 253W October 11th (1 hour z2 with HR almost returning to pre-break), 258W October 29th (6-min tempo+bursts), 252W Nov 3rd (12-min tempo+bursts), 259W Nov 19th (over-unders), 252W Nov 20th (3 hour z2 at slightly elevated HR), 254W Dec 3rd (3 hour z2 with tempo), and 258W Dec 6th (over-unders) on Monday this week. Its wandering around 252-258W, margin of error stuff, over the last two months. And power-to-HR at z2, z4, and z5 is basically back to immediately after a May field test that put me around 264W. It all seems reasonable and believable.

@jcdfnz always hard to say what to do, keep in mind the points above on inside-vs-outside power, sufficient cooling inside if you have no fan, and that you might have more motivation outside. Personally I’d be conservative and if training inside, use the ramp test estimate of 175 for inside workouts. If training outside I’d still be conservative and split the difference, and use something like 185 and see how it goes.

Lets look at your 176W estimate and assume the same power meter inside and outside. Power meters aren’t 100% accurate, so looking at two common cases of error margin:

  • +/- 1% power meter accuracy takes that 176W and puts it into a range of 174-178W
  • +/- 2% power meter accuracy takes that 176W and puts it into a range of 172-180W

Moral of the story - don’t get frustrated over minor variations like 176 to 179 to 175. Along with power meter accuracy you also have daily fluctuations. And things around this time of year when my FTP drops a little due to losing heat adaptations when weather goes from hot to cool. Hope that helps put things in perspective.

You had a nice 20% jump from 150 to 180+ and that is to be celebrated!

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Because for some people the tests do not yield usable numbers, and because there is sometimes quite a lot of variation in test results that’s not necessarily indicative of actual FTP variation.

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thanks.

I did a new ramp test today, less 3w than yesterday. So i will just keep 179 and train for now.

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