Frustrating FTP progression, and specialist training plans

Oh boy, ‘someone moaning about weak FTP test’ post #873638892.

I did a ramp test today, as scheduled in my training plan, and am a bit frustrated with myself and disheartened by my progress. Today’s test saw an ‘improvement’ of 1watt!! I may as well have lost the watt, given my turbos margin for error… (tacx flux s). This has been the case for the last 2-3 tests.

For what it’s worth, I’m well rested, well fueled, well focussed, and I’ve been training consistently per the TR plan. I’m M, 30, 186~lbs, 17-19% body fat, so a million miles from physical prime. I feel like I have a lot more to gain, however my testing is telling me otherwise.

One thing that I was thinking about asking recently, and may or may not be related is my geography, and the type of riding I do. I live in a very flat part of the world (East UK) and my riding and training has largely been focussed on endurance rides, sportives etc. I’m wondering if I am limiting myself and my progress by focusing on long, steady efforts, and not allowing myself to build up my weakness that is higher effort, VO2 type work. By the time I’m 18-20 mins deep in a ramp test this is obviously where I’m at, and despite being prepared for it, I just gas out!

I noticed on a recent 5hr ride that after 3-4 hours even going slightly above my steady endurance pace for a short period of time (eg a moderate hill/ slope, taking 30-120 seconds) felt tough, tougher than I would expect.

I was thinking of manually changing my speciality plan, from century, to rolling road race. I’m my head this will stil be applicable for my goals (sportives and group rides) however will also help me on my weaknesses.

What are your thoughts, am I missing something?

Thanks in advance.

How long have you been training? What is average number of hours per week?

@bbarrera , I’ve been on TR since the beginning of Jan this year, I was ‘training’ on zwift for around 15 months before that.
Im on the LV plan, so 3.5hrs a week on the turbo, plus 1-2hrs junk miles at the weekend.

you might simply have (mostly) maxed out on gains at ~5 hours/week. Given the intensity in TR plan, weekend endurance rides are not junk miles. One thing that improved my cycling early on, at around 6-7 hours/week, was doing early season century rides once a month.

Your gains aren’t bad for the volume you’re doing. The sad truth is, the longer you’ve trained, the harder it is to make gains. I ride 6 days a week - over 10 hr/week just to maintain my current fitness.

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As said, you likely need more volume. You could look at climbing road race to see if the extra VO2 stuff gives you a boost.
I’m in the Fens (there’s not much flatter) and use that approach to train for my multi week Alps trips.

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ride notes suggest you haven’t been well recently and are having intermittent knee problems during workouts? this will likely contribute. congrats on going from 230 to 246 :partying_face:

Thanks all. I’m wondering about adding in an extra ride via ‘train now’ when possible. If bumping volume slightly means gains for me it’s possible to fairly simply rule that in/ out of the equation. Although from looking at people’s experiences, and listening to the podcasts I would be surprised if I had maxed my gains/ plateaued on LV!?!

@creid314 , yes I was having knee pain, however this has largely subsided through stretches and ice packs, and wasn’t a problem during the ramp test. Whilst during the ramp test I don’t think my knee was the limiting factor (I gassed out, like I mentioned). Although I appreciate this may have affected my training partially, during the last month. Thanks for the encouragement.

I was wondering about trying one of the new ‘polarised’ plans, as this may have more VO2 work. What are thoughts/ opinions/ experience of this? (Without opening too big of a can of worms!)


you certainly will benefit from another z2 ride each week in the long term - as has been said, volume is critical.

It may be that switching away from a century plan will provide a different stimulus - some vo2 might just allow you to make gains as you’ve simply done enough SST work for a while. Z2 work could also help here and then in future switch back to tempo and SST again etc…

The flatter terrain wont be an issue - I made loads of gains riding into the wind on flatter roads for years :smiley: Served me very well for weeks in the mountains of the Alps, Pyrenees, Dolomites etc. Good luck

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^^^ everything Bigpikle said. Slowly increasing volume over time is good. Without looking at your previous training its hard to say what you might expect from trying one of the polarized plans. From your FTP history I can’t tell where you are in a ‘season’ (base>build>specialty progression).

I don’t think a polarized plan on LV is going to do much. Switch up what your doing. Start a Build phase but try sustained power or short power build.

If you have the time add in some more volume either an extra day or tack on 10-15 mins at the end of each workout. I really think the key is more volume.

As a side note it’s only been 4 months since you’ve started TR. think of it in the long term. Why is everyone in such a hurry to increase their FTP? Let the plans build your fitness. Sometimes I don’t want an increased FTP because the workouts are hard enough at my current one!

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The TR FTP ramp test is not the perfect asesment tool for everyone. If you are nailing your workouts, especially in the last non rest week of the plan then I think you should manually bump up your FTP or the workout intensity 2 to 3% after the rest week. Give that a whirl.

Yeah, I have just been reading some other posts that suggest that polarised doesn’t work well with LV/MV.

For those that asked/ wondered my last ramp test was off the back of SSBLV. I’m now starting general build, LV. The plan buillder had me doing sustained power build, but I’m more interested in seeing if I get results from general build.

Thanks again.

FTP aside, do you feel like you’re stronger? can ride longer than you could before and be fresher at the end? feel better / able to do work sooner after a hard workout than you used to be able to?

Just to remind, there are other aspects to fitness and performance than just FTP