FTP high - then what?

Hey folks.
Started a custom plan (after a year of self selecting workouts) and the initial ramp test returned a sizeable jump in FTP (278 to 308). I had been working hard, so improvement in the test was anticipated and welcomed. The (Sweet spot low volume 1) starting training block I have started on is really testing me - ie 20min SS intervals at what was above my FTP 3 weeks ago. I hangin in, but can’t do cadence, aero, or pedal efficiency drills during the intervals - just gritting my teeth to complete intervals and workouts. I know there are various threads on over-testing in ramps, but my question is more specific. If I just continue the block as is, will this result in the same targeted gains and allow me to “catch-up” to this FTP for remainder of the plan, or am I just wasting my time and should reduce my FTP? If I do continue as is and I do the ramp at the start of the next block, won’t I just face the same problem of “over testing”? Or am I just a sook who needs a cup of concrete to harden up?

I am new in TR but I have been doing interval training indoors for more than 20 years, using power in the last 5.
I tested my FTP in the beginning of the program but the prescribed workouts were simply not doable.
I adopted a double strategy of scaling down to a -1 or -2 version and reducing the factor to 95% in the first week, moving it up 1% every week. It is working quite well and yesterday I finally was able to complete a workout (Fang Mountain -2) at 100% and I even adjusted it up 1% in the final interval cluster.


I think it depends what type of rider you are…we are all different. I weigh 60.5kg and have a Ramp test FTP of 300W. But in the only tt I did this year before lockdown I averaged 270W for 54 mins flat out ….felt like a good effort - now that could have gone up with more races but not to 300W so I think the ramp overestimates (so does 95%of 20 mins for a lot of people as well). That said SS o/u and VO2 max intervals are doable with 300W as the FTP on TR but …in the middle the 108% super threshold stuff isn’t. I think this is because 1/ I do a lot of long 50 mile tt so I am good at SS and maybe I’m natural good at VO2 but in the middle I can’t cope. You may think well that should be you focus then and I would agree but in the mean time I just cut the intensity of those sessions by 3% (only9W) and they are doable. Maybe in the future I will increase it a bit…I would keep the FTP where it is and just cut the intensity a small amount for the sessions you find undoable and then try and inch it up slowly over time.

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This is to be expected with that big of a jump in FTP. While it might be an overestimate, it might not be. Your body is used to doing these workouts at a much lower FTP, so when you suddenly raise the power targets by 30 watts it’s a shock to the system and will take a week or two to adjust. As you move through the block you will adjust to the work and get more comfortable with the longer efforts.

Not being able to do the additional OPTIONAL drills Coach Chad puts in the workouts is also not surprising since these can increase the difficulty when you are already struggling to adjust to the new work load. However, I would not reduce FTP just because of this. If you are unable to finish the workouts, or if doing so smashes you so badly you cannot recover in time for the next hard workout (although this is not likely on the low volume plan), then I would revisit a reduction in FTP.

Also, it is important to keep in mind that people often have different FTPs outside and inside, so while it is a relevant data point to use in making your decision and evaluating your training it is not a dispositive factor especially if you use a different power meter outside (since no 2 power meters will read the same).

It is unlikely you see a jump like that again in the next block. If you can complete the workouts and aren’t thrashing yourself I would keep on keepin on as your body adjusts. It will be tough but you will become a better cyclist. But as always, listen to your body and if something doesn’t feel right re-evaluate.


I saw the title and immediately wanted to respond


I think the above posts are correct. As you work through the block, your fitness will “catch up” to that number. Another thing I think the plans will bring is as or more important than raw watts - repeatability. Especially in Base I, I always find my ability to do the same watts over and over (whether SS or Vo2) with less rest between starts to grow and this translates really noticeably outside. Going hard again after a big effort outdoors becomes natural and I think that’s where I see the biggest “gain” on time spent on the same local loop.

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One thing you might consider is actually following a plan prescribed by Chad. Those workouts are selected to gradually increase your workload until your next training block. FTP isn’t everything and the gradual increase in intensity and stress prepares you for the higher FTP you ultimately get when you re-test. Usually if you’ve had a good training block, the increase in difficulty of the workouts is relatively a non-issue as you essentially had been training as if your FTP was higher already.


My N=1: proceed as planned.

I was relatively unfamiliar with sweet spot work, so any interval over 12 minutes was really taxing for me. I took a 30 second back pedal if needed to get through the interval, but didn’t adjust my FTP or the intensity. I’d say after about 5 SS workouts, I noticed a significant decrease in RPE, and now I can bang out 15, 20, 30 min sweet spot intervals “comfortably”.

I saw a bump from 335 to 350 after SS base adopting this method, so you may be in for another nice jump after this block.


I think this is dependent on whether you can recover from the workload. If you really did ‘over test’ and you are actually doing low threshold intervals instead of the prescribed SS intervals then you are doing a decent amount more work than intended. If you are able to properly recover from the work then you most likely will see gain in fitness. However, if this results in you being over worked then you may see a temporary drop in fitness as you attempt to recover.

I don’t know exactly what your training history is but 20 min SS intervals are challenging. Though if you are actually fighting to finish the intervals then I would venture to say your FTP is too high. SS should be pretty uncomfortable but I don’t think it should really hurt. For me most of the discomfort in long SS intervals is mental and just having to keep pedaling. After 5-10 min my muscles kinda hit a steady feeling of discomfort that doesn’t seem to get worse the longer the interval goes on (though the mental fatigue grows). But for a threshold interval, that feeling gradually ramps up. If you think you are experiencing the latter then I might lower your FTP to maybe 297-300 and see how that feels.

Not necessarily, different aspects of your fitness could improve at different rates. So it’s possible that your ramp test might not move too much but your ability to tolerate long SS intervals could grow immensely. Though if you consistently over test with the ramp test then consider using a different testing format in the future.

Finally, remember that your fitness will not be made in a 6 week training block. But if you thrash yourself in every workout and lose motivation to train then that training block will have hurt you more than it helped. So keep an eye on the horizon and remember that the best training plan is one that you are able to do consistently for as long as possible.


It isn’t? But I’ve been basing my entire self worth around this number! I feel like such a fool…


Not to get into a discussion about your self worth, but my point was not about the value of FTP itself. It was that you can still get stronger as a rider without seeing an FTP increase. Your ability to handle intensity, repeatability, sustained work will/may increase even if your FTP stays the same.


I know, and I edited that “quote” to try and pull something funny. Your point is right on.


Thanks, mate - “another bump”??? :exploding_head: LOL

Thanks - mate - some helpful thoughts and good signs to look out for to inform my decision going forward. I think I am going to hang tough with it and see what the next ramp reveals - scrolling forward to the build phase and some of the VO2 and overunder interval watts make my eyes water a little…but imagining I could actually be making improvements to hit those numbers is good enough motivation to continue. As you say, though, a small grop in the FTP might help gains in the long run…

Late update - but, I managed every workout in the first block (base 1) except Palisade today (the last workout of the block before recover week and base 2) where I wound down the 4th (out of 5) interval by 10% and the last be 20% just because I didn’t wanna get off - but I was truly smoked. I am chalking it up to fatigue at the end of the block with a big step up in FTP. Hoping i still got some benefit from 3 super tough intervals and some (effectively) low sweet spot work at the end in the wound-down intervals. Any thoughts on this outcome or encouragement gladly accepted…

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