FTP drop. Fatigue?

Hey guys! I have a question about my previous FTP test(s). This week I tested 20 watts lower than previous test. Retested a couple days later and got a similar result.

Here is my background/stats. Experienced racer. Started with TR after the first of this year. Using plan builder, I followed a plan with a peak in mid June. I am using the 20 min test, as I am consistantly 20 watts higher than with the ramp test. Went thru what looked like a shortened version of SSB1, SSB2, then Build. Just finished build last week, erased my races from plan builder, and am restarting SSB1/SSB2/Build until races show back up on the calendar.

First test (January) 263w
Second (February) 277w
Third (March) 283w
Fourth (April) 266w

I was going to chalk it up to a bad day but I tested twice this week and got a similar result. Did a ramp test on Tuesday because I wanted to do the group workout with my buddy. Got 263. Did Taku yesterday, then rested and fueled before hitting the 20 min test this morning and got 266. Was holding well for a slight increase but my legs gave out 13 min in. Easily pedaled for a min then ramped back up to a tempo ish zone for the remainder of the test just to finish it.

Sleep and food have been consistent and I’ve been feeling great all thru the plan(s) since January. Only missed 2 workouts in 16 weeks, and no failed workouts. Could I be fatigued but not necessarily feeling it or showing symptoms? Am I simply not recovered enough from the build phase? Any guidance would be appreciated!

Sometimes tests don’t go to plan and you don’t hit the numbers could be not hydrated enough or over heated etc. What was your target watts. At the 13 minute mark it does get sticky. I usually just easy about 5 or 10 watts off the pedals and the lap might come down a couple of watts then for the next 5 I only think of 1 minute at a time. I would personally leave your ftp as it is unless you have being failing

I’d take that basic FTP and hop into a higher intensity workout via your plan. Look at the IF, Duration, and general expectation of how that workout should feel based on your past experience ahead of time.

Do that workout with all that in mind and see how it feels with that FTP. If it’s “right” then you keep that FTP. If It’s “too easy”, then either adjust up Workout Intensity mid workout, or consider bumping your FTP afterwards by 2-4% and do another workout.

Essentially, use that as a starting point and see if it is about right (meaning the tests were valid) or not right (meaning you had “off” tests).

I tried to stay around 300 watts. I knew that I needed to do at least 298 for the 20 to equal my last test, so I shot for a little higher then would ramp it up if I could towards the end.

@mcneese.chad, that’s not what I wanted to hear! Ha. Obviously I would prefer to at least keep my old FTP, especially going back into SSB1, but you are probably right.

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You can take that old FTP and apply the same approach. Just be mindful and be open to lowering the Intensity if needed. Either place is fine to start, really.

And it could be fatigue. It looks like you’ve ramped up your weekly TSS recently. This year you’ve increased it by 75% or so. Rome wasn’t built in a day so it could be 550 TSS is more than you can sustain right now.

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I was thinking the same thing Russell. But I also haven’t been feeling fatigued, even after the 550 TSS week.

Anything else different? Are you using a different power meter? Calibrated? Spindown? Did the 20 min test change, were you including the 5 min effort before the 20 min? What was the build plan you were using?
Fatigue can for sure play a factor, if you’re just going to go back into SSB1&2 again then no biggie to keep it what it was after a few more days of rest, and if you’re feeling okay retest when it tells you to again.

Have you been taking rest weeks?

Personally, I’d just use the new FTP. Better to push from below rather than have an over-stated FTP and training too hard.

Since no competitions are happening anyway, it might be wise to rest and then build the base with lower intensity rides before returning to harder work.

I highly recommend checking HRV daily. HRV4Training is only $10. I do it every morning and it definitely shows me the trends of fatigue setting in. And, there are plenty of times when it shows I’m digging the hole a little too deep but I can still get out there and ride and perform adequately. When I do that though, I seem to dig the whole a bit deeper.

Same meter, calibrated before every test. 20 min test was done on TR every time, so it included the 5 min anaerobic before the 20 min effort. Sleep and diet all basically the same.

Yep! Every 4th week, as scheduled. Always stuck with the recovery week to a T.

I was using plan builder. So whatever it laid out for me for a peak in mid June for a 3hr rolling road race. Mid volume plan.

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I personally think you probably went over hard for your current fitness level. The 300 is a nice benchmark but its tough to do. Have you dropped any weight since the last test. The same ftp with lower weight is still an improvement. Also do you use lap power when doing it can help to really pace the effort. A couple of years back I went through a period where I failed the ftp massively everything showed it needed to go up then I cooked it up so my coach left as is then a month later did again and failed. This time after my coach analysed the data my zones did go up so I got the stimulus required. Then I had a weeks training camp in Spain ended up ill with a weekly ts of 1300 and was down at negative 37 so basically wrecked then had an easy week on the bike then did the test with my weight at 66kg hit 296. Sometimes it just takes a few shots to get there. This year I’ve not done any ftp test bit my coach changed them o the fly or did get that bad i dreaded my zones going up but it was all about pushing my potential. Then this time in spain did a test and I went off too hard and popped. The next day the test again but rode much smoother and hit the target watts. Don’t get to hung up about a bad test

Same weight. Same everything, really. And 300 should have been attainable, especially since I did 298 for 20 mins on my previous test. I have also had a previous 300w FTP (not just 20 min) in the last few years, at a lower weight, (4.8 w/kg) which means I should be able to get back close to that. I’m thinking maybe I just haven’t recovered from the build phase quite yet.

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I always use the interval average to help pace my efforts, yes.

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I wanted to update this just in case it could help someone in the future. With another week to recover, all of my power (plus a few watts) has come back. So it really did take nearly 2 weeks for me to recover from the end of the build phase, despite me feeling good.

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Glad you had it back, do you know your TSB values in the last 3 weeks? That metric also might help to see if you are over training (i use intervals.icu to see it )

@MichaelMihalik which approach did you take to get you back up. I just had a similar experience. Started build with a test of 293 and after build 1 (3weeks on and 1 week rest of actually keeping mostly compliant, the most I have ever been) ftp dropped to 276! Felt good going into the test felt rested, maybe even over rested… same PM same caffeine, same music, so weird…

Honestly, I didn’t change anything. This happened after finishing 8 weeks of build, and my plan was to go back to SSB1 after, since there is no racing on the calendar. After the first week of SSB1 (at my old higher FTP) my power came back up on its own. I probably should have just taken another recovery week, but oh well! You might just need a little more recovery time, or maybe it was just a bad day.