Ok, so I took a look and your ride history. I want to start by saying that I am not a coach. I’ll share my insights with you in the hope that they give you some helpful things to reflect on.
Your original concern is that you dropped FTP by 6% after a training block. You trained on a 246 FTP, so you trusted this number and a new test result of 231 is discouraging. You felt that you trained well during the block are you consistently had ~500 TSS other than race weeks where you tapers.
I’m going to tease these components apart a little.
1) Drop in FTP
In order to drop in FTP, you have to trust both FTP tests and be able to compare them. I don’t think you can do that. Your first test was an estimated FTP from Training Peaks and your second was a ramp test on TrainerRoad. Not only were these two tests not under the same protocols, you didn’t even do two tests. I’m not saying either score was invalid, but straight away I don’t think you can compare them.
2) Original FTP of 246 was valid
Your main argument for this being a valid FTP for you is that you trained on this number and completed workouts. There are two parts here, the calculation of the FTP at 246 and then training on it.
- Calculation of 246. I honestly don’t know how TP estimates FTP, but in the weeks leading up to October 20 when you set it in TR you used different power sources for your ride data. A PM on your bike and your Kickr for TR workouts. Some of those outdoor rides also seem a little suspicious:
If you could hold 1.03 IF for an hour, then this would be a clear indicator that your FTP is set too low. I assume TP is using both sets of data to estimate, but again you’re mixing in a lot of different variables here (different power measurements as well as both indoor and outdoor rides) which just raise a lot of questions about that 246 number.
- Training on 246. You said that you completed all your TR workouts in your training block other than the ones that you cut short in your taper week. In the 5 weeks between your FTP tests (Oct 20 and Nov 21) you did 6 TR rides and 13 outdoor rides. For the TR rides you completed 3, but the maximum IF was 0.65 on Baxter -1. The workouts that offered more intensity (Huxley -5 and Pahrah) you didn’t complete.
Different tests, different conditions, outdoor rides with extremely high IF and indoor rides either low or incomplete. When I take a step back there is just a lot of variables that make me distrust that TP number, at least for the purpose of comparing to your later Ramp Test in TR. Many users in this forum have stated that they can put out more power outdoors compared to indoors on the trainer. Motivation (outdoors is fun and some of your ride data is from races which push you harder) and cooling play a big part in this, I suspect there is some of that going on here that muddies the water for direct ride analysis.
Let’s put all that aside and look at your training block. Let’s assume the FTP test on October 20 of 246 was valid and comparable to the Ramp Test on November 21 of 231, which gave you a drop of 15 watts (6% of FTP).
Following a Training Plan
You said that you completed your Specialty Phase after peaking for an event. Honestly, I can’t tell what training plan you were following. All the TR plans are 8 weeks long, but yours was just short of 5 weeks between your FTP test results. Maybe your training block started earlier (around the second week of October) but there isn’t a clear progression of work in this period, in fact your TSS declines as the weeks progress. Within that, you completed 6 TR plans, but most of those were aerobic endurance rides. The 2 workouts that standout were Huxley -5 and Pahrah. Pahrah is not on any training plan at all, let alone a Speciality Plan and Huxley -5 is included in the Low Volume Criterium and Rolling Road Race plans. If you just look at the number of workouts per week:
- Week 1: 5 workouts
- Week 2: 4 workouts
- Week 3: 3 workouts
- Week 4: 4 workouts
- Week 5: 4 workouts
Some of those workouts were part of a taper week, some of them were races and 1 of them was the Ramp Test on Nov 21. You might have been following a plan, but not consistently and not a TR Speciality Plan (that looks anything like design of the Training Plans).
It’s possible you’re following a plan other than a TR plan. Maybe one prescribed by a coach, taken from another source or designed yourself. So, the next thing I looked at was workout quality. If you were fine-tuning for a race, I would expect to see a lot of Vo2 Max workouts. The Low Volume Rolling Road Race plan is an example of what I’d expect to see. A lot of tough workouts around 0.9 IF with intervals in the 140% range of FTP which would be around 340 for your FTP. It’s hard to tell based on your ride data what was going on. Your TR rides were mostly lower intensity aerobic rides and your outdoor rides look super hard. As I pointed out earlier some of your outdoor rides have an IF over 1.0 for an hour and some other rides don’t report power data so I don’t have any insight. Only you will know the quality of your rides, but it does look like you’re doing 3 high-intensity rides per week during this period. Were they structured VO2Max intervals? That’s only something you will know,
Looks like you’re taking care of this. Most of your tough rides have a day off between them, so you’re not doing your 3 hard workouts on consecutive days.
So, likely this went deeper than you were imagining, but I got intrigued as to what was going on. My summary thoughts after looking at your ride data is that you didn’t drop from 246 to 231. You got two FTP estimates, 5 weeks apart that were different. Two data points that can’t and really shouldn’t be compared with each other. The question really is “what should I do with the 231 FTP result from my Ramp Test?”. I think this question gets a little more interesting. From what I can tell, you mostly do your high intensity workouts outdoors.
- If you intend to keep doing that, I suspect your TR FTP estimate is not going to be very helpful. With a 246, you’re already doing IF rides >1.0 and this is only going to make it worse. I would restest outdoors and see where you land.
- If you’re intending to move your quality training indoors, then I would keep your 231 FTP and use that as your baseline for SSB1. As I stated in an earlier post, SSB 1 should not be judged based on completing workouts. You’re trying to improve your aerobic base, If you set your FTP too high and feel good because you’re finishing workouts, it’s possible you’re working too hard and training in the wrong zone. 231 to 246 (or 240 where you have it set now) isn’t too different so I think this is low risk for you, but something to keep in mind.
What I do think you’ll benefit from is more consistent training. Your TSS chart does not show a progression over time. There’s lots of peaks and valleys in there.
September had a good build to it, then a week off and you go into October, but the work tapers off there. Looking at the year it looks like winter off the bike, ride around a bit in the spring, hit it in the summer and then decline during fall. I think consistency of training is so crucial. I believe that a gentle wave pattern through the year allows you to develop your fitness, recover and then build on that in the next block. Here’s my chart:
I’m not perfect, but something I focus on and think I do well is consistency in my training. Every 4-6 weeks you see a little wave of workout intensity rise and then fall. If I was being critical, I would say that I don’t recover enough from a training block, or during the year. But when I have an FTP test that is disappointing, I can safely look at nutrition, recovery or testing performance instead of training consistency or workout quality. So, I feel like I’m putting the big rocks in first.