FTP change over the course of training plan


I’ve been back on trainerroad for a couple of months after a long layoff (post crash). As expected my ftp had dropped quite a bit, especially now I’m training on the TT bike rather than the road bike.

I’m hoping (!) to see some increases in FTP fairly quickly as my fitness starts to come back and I adapt to the TT position.

My question is, do the training plans factor in any expected increase in FTP over the course of the plan i.e. do the workouts get slightly more difficult as you proceed through the plan ?

Yes, the workouts are progressive and get a bit harder each week, but since your fitness will be increasing as well, you should be able to handle it.
If you find the workouts still too easy, because your previous fitness might come back quicker, you could also nudge your FTP up manually by a few watts and go from there.

Good luck in training!


And there are Ramp Tests as part of each plan. So you will assess at the start as well as other parts of the plans to evaluate your FTP along the way.

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Hi Chad

Yes I’m aware of the ramp tests at the START of each plan. My question is to what happens to the workload over the course of the plan…does it assume an increase in FTP or static FTP.

It may well be a moot point and “near enough” is ok…but that doesn’t seem like the TR way :slight_smile:

I am guessing a bit based on Coach Chad’s prior comments, but the general assumption is that you will be gaining some fitness (likely shown in FTP test, but not always) over the course of most plans (Specialty is a notable exception).

In parallel to that, the plans include planned ramp rates of stress (seen in the TSS increase from week to week, as well as simple comparison of individual workouts from week to week) that will increase loading on you. This is true regardless of any changes to your fitness (again, may or may not show in FTP test).

And to reiterate my point above, all the Build plans include a 2nd Ramp test half way through the 8-week plan. In those, you will get an updated FTP result. This can be (and often should be) adjusted a tad as mentioned above, based on actual results on subsequent workouts.

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I suppose it begs the question - did Coach Chad design these workouts expecting FTP to change over the course of them and if so what was the expected rate of change

Obviously everybody’s body responds differently and I’m asking this in the context of a (hopefully) quick initial change of FTP due to an extended layoff.

Asked a similar question before and never quite got to the bottom of it.

My take is that there is an assumption built into the plans that you will get fitter (whether that’s FTP, endurance, VO2, etc depending what the plan is targeting). I.e. If you took the FTP test and then jumped into week 5 of a 6 week plan, or week 7 of an 8 week plan, you would likely fail to complete it, or else completing it would dig you into a big hole. Which is kind of the point - the plans are designed to be progressive and make you stronger at the end than at the beginning.

In practical terms it means that if you’re not progressing during a plan for whatever reason (work stress, poor recovery, interruptions from injury or sickness, or maybe you’re just stuck on a plateau) then you might find the latter weeks of a plan are really tough and may not be possible. I’ve had this happen a couple of times, and have had to either adjust intensity to get through some workouts, or replace them with a slightly easier version. Have also had the opposite when coming back to cycling after a break and my fitness is shooting up much quicker than is built into the plans and I’ve had to adjust FTP up between tests because the workouts are too easy.


As you say, it’s hard (really impossible) to predict the amount and rate of change. There are far to many factors to make anything approaching a realistic estimate.

You are best to just jump into a plan, nail the workouts, recover properly, and fuel appropriately and let the FTP land where it lands. It’s merely a data point to set training levels. It has little bearing directly on results as the events themselves rely on so many things beyond FTP.

It’s not something worth the amount of focus we commonly see.

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Just my $0.02 as I’ve recently experienced this exact thing!

Tested FTP at 315w (20m at 328w) the week prior to Ironman Cairns at the beginning of June, took 2 weeks off following and bought/was fitted on a 2019 Giant Trinity. Starting SSBMV1, did 2 different protocols of Ramp Test, 1 by TR (248w) and one following the format I’ve been using for a couple of years (25w jumps every 150s starting at 150w) which was 260w. Took 260w for my FTP and have bumped up 5w when a workout that was supposed to be threshold/sweet spot felt more like sweet spot/tempo, closest I came to failing was the first over under workout (McAdie) at 260w, whereas just finished McAdie +1 at 295w in the penultimate week. Have now set ftp at 300 for the recovery week (mostly Z2) and look forward to testing next week at the start of SSBHV2!

In regards to TT position, I find it is holdable almost indefinitely at Z2 efforts, with time I am able to sustain decreasing as I approach FT (indoors also harder than outdoors in this regard). While Vo2 max isn’t worked on in SSBMV1 the small amounts I have done seem substantially harder than on road bike.

Hope this helps!

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