FTP changes and Adaptive Training levels

Ok so I had been on a plan builder plan this year and had a peak in mid July for my A race. After that race I went on a 2 week vacation and then had another 2 weeks before my next race where I didn’t do any structure. My plan was to recover from that race and start the polarized training plans but when I went back into TR I saw that AT had finally been publicly released (even though I signed up during the beta announcement podcast I never got into the beta…but I’m not bitter) so I’ve started a new training plan using AT. Problem, due to my time off (I assume) I did very poorly in my initial fitness assessment and saw a drop in my FTP from 211 to 194. I did the first prescribed workout (Thunder) and it was pretty easy but I could tell I hadn’t trained properly in a while. Next workout (Newcomb) felt way too easy and during the Saturday workout (Mono) I wound up turning it up, something I NEVER do for over unders. Also I could tell my FTP was set too low because there was no burning building up in the overs. All the While AT is jumping my levels up because I’m saying things are easy. Tuesday’s workout was Geiger and again I turned it up 5% because it was too easy.

At this point I’m thinking I should do a ramp test and reevaluate my FTP…or just manually raise it. But I’m wondering what that will do to my levels? I jumped from a Sweet Spot 3.1 to a 5.6 (Tallac on the dock for today) but that’s based on my FTP being too low. I do remember from the original podcast Nate saying you’d never have to do a FTP test again and AT would automatically update it…but I’m still sitting at 194 and that’s clearly too easy. So do I retest now? Keep turning the workouts up (AT is smart enough to see I’m doing that right?)?

Honestly I don’t have a lot of time left in my season and in a month and a half or so I’ll be taking a break and then starting off season base work again while looking to my 2022 calendar. But I want to make sure I’m giving AT the best info to work with so it has the best change to make me a faster cyclist.

Thanks

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I’m not aware that AT updates your FTP at this time. Sounds like you undertested. It happens.

@chad once said “You’re not married to the FTP from your test”.

Go ahead and adjust it up by the 5% that you do now. See how that feels and otherwise adjust it up a bit again. Alternatively do another test.

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I’ve been using AT for a while now and started at a fairly appropriate (but def not overstated) FTP. I went through each workout, didn’t turn it up (as I’m not sure AT can recognise that?) and stated ‘Easy’ or ‘Moderate’ for each. The levels just kept increasing and workouts became harder - it was probably the most productive I have ever been in training as I was really being pushed! Ok, the power wasn’t as high as maybe it should’ve been towards the end but my rest was getting smaller and smaller. It was also great to do workouts I’d never done before.
I got to Level 9 (!!) on the areas I was focusing on and took an 8 min test (I don’t get on with the ramp test). Raised my FTP by 25 watts. Now I’m back to level 1 and can’t complete the workouts. Bring back lower FTP and level 9 !
Joking. I will work my way up like I did before but I actually really enjoyed raising my levels rather than FTP at that time and definitely a confidence boost. So now I really don’t even think about FTP, I let AT sort it all out for me until such point when it’s obvious I need to test.
You can test anytime and it will adjust your current plan.

Ok so FTP test will reset PLs…good to know thanks. I’ve got to say I’m a bit disappointed if AT doesn’t see that I’m turning every workout up. 6+ months ago when they released this they made it sound like it was the end all be all of training (I know that happens at product launches but in my experience TR doesn’t go insanely overboard) and it’s got years of my data and blah blah blah.

Also - you can’t complete the workouts at your new FTP? Like workouts plural? To me this would be a massive failure of AT. I’m sure Amber would say how important the psychological effect of completing workouts is. If AT is allowing you to fail multiple workouts without making some big change then I would honestly lose all faith in it. But I"m not there yet, and probably won’t be until next spring. I do think that my aerobic base has always been an issue and while I’m getting better I think it needs a lot more work. This winter my plan is to do a bunch of LSD sort of rides, life and work on weight loss until it’s time to train properly for next season. But that starts in Mid late Oct…I’ve still got a month and a half or so of AT until unPAved.

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Have tested what happens to PLs when FTP is changed. Believe there is a known SW bug that sometimes resets the PLs to 1, but that is not the intended behavior. In my experience increasing FTP typically works, decreasing it can lead to a reset.
If you would increase FTP from 194 to 211W my estimate is that your sweet spot PL will go down about 3.5 points, copied the link with the analysis in below. Would love to hear your feedback though if you would decide to make the change.

In your case - with a sweet spot PL around 5.6 - I would not change FTP yet though. For the next workout select a ‘breakout’ level (7-8) PL and see if you can finish it. AT will propose adaptations accordingly afterwards.

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Yes I have read your thread…saw it after I posted this one. I’ve always wondered how much I should put into the FTP number vs what FTP was supposed to me. i.e. the power that you can sustain for 40-60 min. My last workout was Tallac which is 3x15 min blocks of 88%-95% of FTP (one of those where it varies throughout the interval) with 3 min rests. With the workout set to 105% this resulted in a power target of roughly 187 watts. At the end I was cooked and I believe I would have struggled to hold that power for a solid 45 min. So perhaps 194 is right? or even too high? And I should just do the workouts as prescribed and give an honest answer (going to be easy most of the time) to the post workout survey.

As I said in the post above I believe my aerobic base is still weak (even after 3 years of training with TR) but much better than it was 3 years ago. It amazes me how much work it’s taken to make an improvement there and sucks that over the course of 3+ years I’ve barely made a dent in increasing my FTP (if I have at all).

I’ve noticed that most threshold 6.0 and above are basically 45+ minutes at ftp. Some of these look brutal even with a properly set ftp. For my example screen shot of Trojan, my 2 cents is that if I can complete this workout , its probably a good time to do an ftp test.

Yes sorry - but flippant there. I’ve actually only done 2 since new FTP that I’m struggling to complete. I did FTP test when I knew I felt good and I guess I’m just coming off the back of a peak so could be a usual slump in training plus mental fear of it being that much higher! It’s ok. I’ll plug away and keep saying ‘Hard’ until it gives me something I can complete and build back up.
A while ago an engineer told me AT doesn’t recognise any increase or decrease in intensity so you’re better to keep it up at 100% and mark the response accordingly. It’ll soon adjust, in my experience.

I absolutely love AT but I would also like quite clear instructions on what it can and can’t do and then we decide how to work around it.

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My personal experience is that the risk of training too hard is bigger than not training hard enough during interval sessions. Looking back I did do many sweet spot workouts that were barely manageable and then decided to skip the next threshold workout altogether. Trying to make sure now that those SS workouts (like Tallac) are done at a HR under threshold. When you say you were ‘cooked’ at the end with the SS workout at 105%, that leads me to believe your FTP is not far off (and might not want to increase intensity for SS).
The beauty of the progression levels is that it takes away the singular focus from FTP. So if threshold workouts are easy to complete, simply mark it that way in the questionnaire and/or select a ‘breakout’ workout next time to force a jump in threshold PL.

@Janhein what do you mean select a “breakout workout”? Am I missing an option someplace?

Edit - ok I think I see it…you mean select an alternate workout and then choose Breakthrough and pick the one suggested.

Have done this in two different ways.

  1. On the (iPhone) app, select the next workout from the calendar, then select ‘Alternates’ and change the difficulty level to ‘stretch’ or Breakthrough’ (sorry, used breakout before).
  2. Go to all workouts and simply select zone, duration and PL you want. AT will recognize and adjust PL level after successful completion.
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That’s basically my story too. Glad to see I’m not alone. I feel like I am a stronger rider, but my FTP (testing) doesn’t show it.

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+1. FTP seems to be on a road to nowhere even after several years training. I’m going to focus on base this winter, plus strength, and see where that takes me.

Sounds like +5% works just perfect for you.

This is an old debate. Ramp test and 8/20 min tests are good at setting your training levels. You may not be able to hold that power for 1h unless you specifically train for it.
Alternatively you can do an alternate test format (massive amount of discussion on this forum) which gives you a more accurate idea of what you can currently hold for an hour, but probably gives a bit too low training levels.

At this point, having AT, just up your FTP 5%, provide the feedback after a workout (easy/hard…) and you should be getting he right workouts for you. Easier than ever.

So I manually set my FTP to 205, it reset the levels but I did the workout that was scheduled for today. I think it might be just a tad low yet as I’m not getting any burn on over unders. But I’m going to leave it as is for now and see how things progress.

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Either you trust AT Or you don’t. Follow what it says or don’t use it. Your choice.